Monthly Roundup

by Maureen Sundberg

A few months ago, ELA posed the question “What’s your favorite source for native plants?” A lively discussion on LinkedIn generated a list of favorite sources for native plants throughout the country – from Octopus Agave (Agave vilmoriniana) in Arizona to cut-leaved coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) in Michigan to Roughleaf Dogwood (Cornus drummondii) in central Texas. Continue reading

by Maureen Sundberg

Whether you sell a product or provide a service, you need to stay ahead of the curve with your business, your profession, your skills, and your education in order to succeed. Staying ahead of the curve was the goal of over 350 landscaping and land care professionals who met in Springfield on March 3 for ELA’s 17th annual Conference & Eco-Marketplace where they expanded their knowledge base, connected with peers, and explored products and services for the ecologically minded.

Education sessions at the Conference covered diverse design approaches, investigated soil development, and looked at a variety of landscaping projects – large and small. Mercer Bonney, AMEC Earth and Environmental, spent her afternoon sessions with Dan Kittredge and Jerry Brunetti looking closely at soils and came away with “a sense of the wonder of nature.” She noted, “To recall that sense of wonder is important. We need to look with fresh eyes.”

Bookstore 2011
Conference attendees perused a wide range of titles at the ELA Bookstore.

A Marketplace full of ecologically connected exhibits provided many opportunities for anyone strolling through to glean information about plant material, tools and implements, soil amendments, and a range of non-profits with an ecological view. Maribeth Porter, Neptune’s Harvest exclaimed, “It was busy, busy, busy! Every time a session ended, I was bombarded.”

Keynote presentations by William Cullina, The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; Peter Del Tredici, Arnold Arboretum; and Jono Neiger, Conway School of Landscape Design, generated lively discussion on the roles of native, introduced, invasive, and endangered plants in the ecologically managed landscape. According to Ben Larsen, Habitat Garden Design, “The knowledge and experience of the speakers brings much needed perspective to this complex debate.”

Led by Penny Lewis, ELA Executive Director and Conference Committee Chair, a core team of six ELA volunteers began work in June of 2010 to orchestrate the 2011 Conference and Eco-Marketplace. An additional twenty-six volunteers provided support on the day of the Conference by fulfilling tasks that ranged from setting up an insect identification quiz to helping attendees navigate the complex system of Continuing Education Credits offered by the Conference.

Active Zone 2011
Louise Barteau demonstrates how to make paper from invasive plants.

Kathy Sargent-O’Neill, a Conference Committee member since 1997, noted that M.L. Altobelli and Nancy Askin have helped organize all 17 ELA Conferences and Eco-Marketplaces. Asked about the group’s commitment to the event, Sargent-O’Neill said, “It’s gratifying to see folks returning year after year, and new faces as well, hungry for information which will help them in their businesses, on their own properties, and in their communities. To hear the conversations, see the connections being made, and to feel the energy that’s generated at this event – there’s nothing like it anywhere else. The committee that pulls this event together is made up of interesting and talented people, and it’s fun working with them to plan and create an event that gets better and better very year. Stay tuned for 2012; it’s sure to be another winner!”

About the Author

Maureen Sundberg, ELA newsletter editor, writes and gardens at home in Andover, MA.

by Risa Edelstein

risa years end summit

The energy and enthusiasm at last week’s Summit was inspiring. Held in an intimate setting at Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, an old-style mansion in the Boston area, ELA’s first annual Summit was a full day of networking and learning opportunities and embodied the spirit of ELA’s mission.

The Summit began with a morning panel moderated by Karen Howard, a landscape designer and longtime ELA member. The panel covered ecological practices and the issues we all face to make these the norm. Audience participation added to the discussion and there were many valuable comments and questions. Lawn care was a hot topic as well as stormwater management, rain gardens, and native plants. The panel included industry veterans that were happy to share ideas and experience. Monique Allen operates her own landscape firm, The Garden Continuum; Carl Brodeur, is a business owner and an arborist; and Grace Koehler from the Chicago area, is in charge of Sales and Marketing for Pizzo Native Plant Nursery and was past President of MELA (Midwestern Ecological Landscaping Association). Each panelist contributed a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to the conversation.

We were fortunate to have Laura Solana, a principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. present our keynote address. This firm has been spearheading ecological work for many years, long before it was fashionable. Laura reviewed a wide variety of projects completed by the firm in the past several years, highlighting the key ecological components. One of their most interesting projects was the George W. Bush Presidential Center where Laura Bush was apparently a huge champion of ecological practices including a reduced size parking lot and a wonderful native meadow.

The afternoon panel was very animated, with discussions focusing on running an ecological business. Risa Edelstein, ELA’s President moderated this panel of additional industry veterans. Scott Hokunson, the principal at Blue Heron Landscape Design in CT, Peter Van Berkum, principal at Van Berkum Nursery and Michael Talbot owner of Talbot & Associates had great insight and wisdom to share with the group on maximizing profits while ensuring customer satisfaction in an ecological business.

It was a terrific way to wrap up the landscaping season with other professionals who share a common dedication to sustainable landscaping practices and to look forward with renewed inspiration and enthusiasm to the upcoming season.

Urban and Suburban Meadows Author Interviewed for Today Show
Catherine Zimmerman, author of Urban and Suburban Meadows featured in ELA’s July newsletter, will be a guest on the NBC Today Show on September 13. Catherine will be the focus of Jane Pauley’s “Your Life Calling” series. The series profiles Americans 50 years or older, who have reinvented their careers in order to pursue their dreams. Look for time and channel in your local tv guide.

Professional Guide for IPM in Turf
UMass Extension has recently developed a new, comprehensive manual detailing specific BMPs for all aspects of lawn and landscape turf care: from site assessment, to irrigation and water management, to mowing. The BMPs presented are based on the scientific principles and practices of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and are designed to be adaptable to a wide range of management schemes. This 100+ page manual is offered free of charge and is available for
download at turf program website.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund
The mission of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund is “to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe, and environmentally sustainable communities.” Grants range from $500 – $2,500. Application deadline is Sept. 15. Link to full grant announcement

Patagonia Offers Support for Grassroots Environmental Work
Outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia provides support for environmental work through grants to nonprofit organizations. Most grants are in the range of $3,000 to $8,000 each. Applications will be accepted during the month of August. See the Patagonia website for guidelines.

Conferences and Meetings

Friday, September 24 9:15 AM – 2 PM
The Native Plant Center’s Autumn Landscape Conference: Gateway to Sustainable Gardening
Location: Gateway Center, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY
For more information contact Nancy Inzinna at nancy.inzinna@sunywcc.edu or visit mysunywcc.site-ym.com

Saturday, September 25 – 8:30am – 4:00pm
The 2nd Native Knowledge Conference & Eco-Exhibit
Location: Monument Mountain Regional High School Great Barrington, MA
For more information or to registration visit projectnative.org or call 413-274-3433. A discounted registration fee of $25 is being offered to Project Native as well as ELA members.

Thursday, October 14
Invasive Plant Conference

Location: UConn, Storrs, CT
For more information visit www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg or call (860) 486-6448.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund
The mission of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund is “to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe, and environmentally sustainable communities.” Grants range from $500 – $2,500. Application deadline is Sept. 15. Link to full grant announcement

Patagonia Offers Support for Grassroots Environmental Work
Outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia provides support for environmental work through grants to nonprofit organizations. Most grants are in the range of $3,000 to $8,000 each. Applications will be accepted during the month of August. See the Patagonia website for guidelines.

CONFERENCES

July 27 – 31
The Cullowhee Conference: Native Plants in the Landscape
Location: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina
For more information, and to register online, visit nativeplantconference.wcu.edu.

August 1 – 7
Advanced Topics in Salt Marsh Management – Restoration Adapts to Climate Change with Susan C. Adamowicz and David Burdick
Location: Humboldt Field Research Institute, Steuben, Maine
more information
For additional information call (207) 546-2821 or email office@eaglehill.us.

Friday, September 24 9:15 AM – 2 PM
The Native Plant Center’s Autumn Landscape Conference: Gateway to Sustainable Gardening
Location: Gateway Center, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY
For more information contact Nancy Inzinna at nancy.inzinna@sunywcc.edu or visit mysunywcc.site-ym.com

Saturday, September 25 – 8:30am – 4:00pm
The 2nd Native Knowledge Conference & Eco-Exhibit
Location: Monument Mountain Regional High School Great Barrington, MA
For more information or to registration visit projectnative.org or call 413-274-3433. A discounted registration fee of $25 is being offered to Project Native as well as ELA members.

Thursday, October 14
Invasive Plant Conference

Location: UConn, Storrs, CT
For more information visit www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg or call (860) 486-6448.

Grant Applications Invited for Invasive Plant Control — National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The Pulling Together Initiative seeks proposals that will help control invasive plant species, mostly through the work of public/private partnerships such as Cooperative Weed Management Areas.
Pre-proposal deadline is June 30. Read the request for proposals…

Native Plant Conservation Initiative
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals for the 2009 Native Plant Conservation Initiative (NPCI) grants cycle. The NPCI grant program is conducted in cooperation with the Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA), funding multi-stakeholder projects that focus on the conservation of native plants and pollinators under any of the following 6 focal areas: conservation, education, restoration, research, sustainability, and data linkages. Application deadline is July 1, 2010
Read the request for proposals…

New England Groups Plot to Save Their Dwindling Woodlands
For decades, bands of volunteers and a smattering of full-time employees have worked to stem the tide of development and deforestation, identifying priority projects and working with a small pool of private funders to preserve little parcels of local forestland. See full article at nytimes.com

Conservation Fund Accepting Entries for Kodak American Greenways Program

Grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 will be awarded to land trusts, local governments, and other organizations working to create or improve a greenway, trail, or waterway in the United States. For 2010, the program anticipates awarding up to 50 percent of the grants to greenways projects that involve natural, cultural, and/or socio-political historical themes. This year’s application deadline is June 15th.
Link to Greenways Program Application

Farmers Cope With Round-Up Resistant Weeds

Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. Link to full article at NYTimes.com

May 22 is International Biodiversity Day

The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend. Read More

Grant Applications Invited for Invasive Plant Control — National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

The Pulling Together Initiative seeks proposals that will help control invasive plant species, mostly through the work of public/private partnerships such as Cooperative Weed Management Areas.
Pre-proposal deadline is June 30. Read the request for proposals…