Sample Conference Schedule: Focus on ecology

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The local effects of climate change, destruction of pollinator habitats, and water pollution can all be affected by home gardening practice. In this series of sessions, learn about topics like pollinator hedgerows, firewise landscaping, and choosing plants for a resilient landscape.

Registration is NOW OPEN for IMGC 2021!

Optional Workshop:

Microbes Under Your Fingernails | Gwynee Mhuireach

Accumulating research has improved our understanding of soil microbial life and how it affects the growth, health, and survival of agricultural/horticultural crops. However, we still know very little about how exposure to soil microbes might affect the health of farmers and gardeners who spend a great deal of time in direct contact with soil. In this 75-minute class, Dr. Mhuireach will introduce the body of research investigating human exposure to environmental microbes, including those associated with soil and plants, and their potential health effects. You will also explore microbial sampling methods and citizen science projects that co-create new scientific knowledge through collaborations between stakeholders and researchers. Participants will receive: 1) training on how to collect microbial samples from soil and plant parts; 2) a sampling kit to take home for use in their own garden; 3) basic understanding of visualization methods and emerging concepts regarding human-plant-microbe interactions. Max 30; Cost $15

Concurrent Session 1:

Firewise Landscaping in a Changing Climate | Dave Close

What does it mean to be firewise in our home landscapes? What is the wildland-urban interface and what does it mean for homeowners on a national scale? How can we actively work to mitigate the impacts of wildland fires in our own communities and for our clients? How could our changing climate impact wildland fires and their potential impact on your community? Learn answers to these questions and more.

Concurrent Session 2:

Beauty, Integrity, and Resilience | Cole Burrell

Do our gardening practices have a negative impact on the environment? Can we make a difference by changing the way we approach design, plant choice, planting techniques, and maintenance regimes? How do we meet our aesthetic goals while providing the structure and resources necessary to maintain the insects and birds we love? Can we create healthy habitat with a mixture of native and exotic plants? These are a few of the questions to explore in terms of the hallmarks of sustainability when melding aesthetic expectations with ecosystem form and function.

Concurrent Session 3:

Resurgence of Pollinator Hedgerows: Using Science to Create a Pollinator Oasis in Your Backyard | Heather Andrews

This presentation will cover the resurgence of the pollinator hedgerow, “wildflowers instead of chemicals” movement. You will learn: how configuration and localization of small urban gardens affects colonization by monarch butterflies, why attracting bumble bees should be priority for your garden over honeybees, what you should consider planting to maximize visitation of pollinators, and how attracting bats, birds, and good bugs can eliminate what you don’t want and give you more of what you do want.

Concurrent Session 4:

HortEcology: Lessons from Wild Plant Communities | Kelly Norris

Kelly’s love for native plants and his experiences with wild plant communities have shaped his career in profound ways. As a so-called hort-ecologist, Kelly strives to interpret native ecosystems into beautiful, functional landscapes in the urban context. Too often, professional horticulturists appropriate plants as if they were inanimate objects, instead of truly understanding how plants interact and function within the landscape environment. Join Kelly in an exploration of wild plant communities and their constituents from across North America that will inspire and inform your practice whether as a grower or admirer.

Concurrent Session 5:

Climate Change and You | Frank Reilly

No matter what the politics of the situation, climate change is here and still coming. The effects of climate change are far more subtle than simply “warmer summers,” and produce far more impacts. You may be impacted by climate changes far from your home grounds, but you can adapt to climate changes and mitigate against them with real practices in your own spaces. Many speakers talk about the gloom and impact of climate change, but few offer in-depth, specific advice that you can use to prepare yourself, your yard, and your community. In this talk you will get specific advice to help you cope. You will learn how to think about plant choices that are sustainable in the landscape AND benefit your home landscape. You will learn how to plan for changes that can increase storm damage and storm debris, shifts in temperature that may bring release of new pests and diseases, and changes in the precipitation amounts and timing.

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