Join us at UMass Amherst on Tuesday, January 31st for an in-depth, inspiring conversation on Carbon Sequestration and learn what practical steps you can take to ensure that your interactions with the landscape make positive impacts.
At this day-long program you will learn from many land care practitioners including land managers, farmers, researchers, and conservationists about what is possible for soil carbon and landscape restoration. From yards to farms to greenways to commons to gardens, how we treat our soils impacts the climate. Click for conference agenda.
We know soil is alive. In fact, in one tablespoon of healthy soil there are more microorganisms than there are people on this planet. A highly functional, thriving soil has the capacity to store carbon, absorb water like a sponge, and support a thriving landscape. For years we have viewed soil through its physical and chemical properties, and we are beginning to realize the crucial role of biology in soil function and health. Now we are finding that from back yards to farms to greenways to commons to gardens, how we treat our soils has implications for the global climate.
Join Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, the Ecological Landscape Alliance, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass), and the Organic Land Care of NOFA/CT for a day-long program that offers practical tips and applications for how you, too, can be part of the climate solution. Whether you are a gardening enthusiast, farmer, conservation/restoration specialist, or landscape professional, there are positive changes that you can make. Whether you work to reduce compaction using biology, actively build soil carbon, increase soil biodiversity and resilience above and below ground, or heal degraded landscapes, you will walk away with practical tips to apply to your own setting. The synergy of many individuals taking small steps can result in big impacts!
Come learn from experts in the field such as carbon expert and author, rancher and activist Courtney White with his new book Two Percent Solutions for the Planet. Additional carbon experts include Eric Fleisher, Chip Osborne, Paul Wagner, Bruce Fulford, Bryan O’Hara, Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, and Jim Laurie. See below for speaker bios and conference schedule.
NOTE: Due to a family illness, Eric Toensmeier has had to cancel his presentation. We are happy to announce that Jim Laurie joins the list of speakers and panelists (see bio below).
Keynote Presentation: “Two Percent Solutions for the Planet”
The potential for large-scale removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities is both large and largely overlooked. Strategies and co-benefits include: enriching soil carbon, no-till farming with perennials, employing climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food. In Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, Courtney White profiles fifty different strategies that work together economically and ecologically with the aim of reducing the atmospheric content of CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things.
Hotel rooms are available at Hotel UMass conveniently located on the upper floors of the conference venue. The discounted group rate is $109.00 per night and the group discount code for the block is CAC17C. Conference attendees can either book rooms by calling the hotel directly at 413-549-6000 or by going online to www.umasshotel.com and using the group discount code online to book reservations. Hotel discount deadline is January 2,2017. Hotel reservations must be made in advance, this discount is not available for on-site registration.
Courtney White is the author of the recently published Two Percent Solutions for the Planet as well as Grass, Soil, Hope. A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, White dropped out of the “conflict industry” in 1997 to cofound the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, and others around practices that improve economic and ecological resilience in western working landscapes. As White explained in Grass, Soil, Hope, a highly efficient carbon cycle captures, stores, releases, and recaptures biochemical energy, mitigating climate change, increasing water storage capacities in soil, and making green plants grow. A wide variety of innovative ideas and methods that put carbon back into the soil have been field-tested and proven to be practical and profitable. They’re mostly low-tech, relying on natural resources such as sunlight, green plants, animals, compost, beavers, creeks, and more. Two Percent Solutions for the Planet expands upon what White refers to as the “regenerative toolbox” and profiles fifty innovative practices that soak up carbon dioxide in soils, reduce energy use, sustainably intensify food production, and increase water quality. The “two percent” refers to: the amount of new carbon in the soil needed to reap a wide variety of ecological and economic benefits; the percentage of the nation’s population who are farmers and ranchers; and the low financial cost (in terms of GDP) needed to get this work done. Mr. White lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his family and a backyard full of chickens.
Eric “T” Fleisher is the owner of F2 Environmental Design a landscape design and maintenance company focused on landscape management techniques that encourage and maintain natural living systems through soil management techniques. Fleisher was formerly the Director of Horticulture at Battery Park City Parks Conservancy in lower Manhattan. A national leader in the field of sustainable horticulture, soils, and environmental restoration, Fleisher brought this 36-acre oasis of public parkland on the Hudson River to the forefront as the first public park space in New York City to be maintained completely organically. Hidden beneath the subtle beauty of Battery Park City lies an ecologically sustainable system of gardens and biodiverse soil that Fleisher and staff created with the help of community-wide, food-waste composting. During his tenure at Battery Park City, Fleisher’s horticulture staff cultivated the compost to create a healthy soil teeming with microbiological life including fungi, bacteria, protozoa and other microscopic life. A 2008 Loeb Fellow and “Organic Landscape Program Developer” at Harvard University, Fleisher continues to develop protocols to help landscapes recover from the 20th century’s chemical interventions.
Charles “Chip” Osborne has 35 years of experience as a professional horticulturist and over 10 years of experience in creating safe, sustainable, and healthy landscapes and athletic fields through natural turf management. Osborne’s personal investigation, study of conventional and organic soil science practices, and hands-on experimentation led him to become one of the country’s leading experts on growing sustainable, natural turf. He is a board member of Beyond Pesticides and Chairman of the Marblehead, Massachusetts’ Recreation and Parks Department. Osborne co-founded The Living Lawn Project in Marblehead, MA, one of the country’s first natural lawn demonstration sites. It is a nationally-recognized, living example that beautiful, healthy grass can be grown without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
Paul Wagner is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist; Certified Nursery Professional; and Certified Pesticide Applicator with more than 25 years of experience working in the horticultural industry. Mr. Wagner has spent many years focused on insect, disease, and weed management and has assisted vineyard in Long Island vineyards, and Massachusetts to set up successful trials managing foliar diseases with compost tea. Mr. Wagner’s primary focus most recently is on soil management and has successfully developed, implemented, and managed organic plant health care programs. He worked with the first plant health care company on Long Island to utilize a commercial compost tea brewing machine. Currently he runs the New York Soil Foodweb Laboratory, and has been working with soil expert Dr. Elaine Ingham for several years.
Bruce Fulford is owner of City Soil & Greenhouse LLC., a Boston consulting firm that provides composting technical assistance, environmental remediation, and intensive crop production methods and technologies. He has worked extensively with federal and state agencies on research, development and implementing technologies and best practices for composting, sustainable agriculture, stormwater management, and bioenergy during his 35 year career. Bruce is a leading proponent of integrating commercial scale composting with bioenergy recovery, greenhouse facilities and on-site horticultural applications that reduce sources and mitigate the effects of climate change. He founded Boston’s first commercial composting business in 1993 at the Franklin Park Zoo. He produces and distributes locally-produced composts, mulches and amended soils to a broad client base. Mr. Fulford is a member Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Statewide Council and its Climate Change Committee.
Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE is an expert on the production and characterization of biochar. He is currently the CTO of NextChar, LLC, previously was Director of Biocarbon Research at Alterna Energy, Inc. and contributed three chapters to “The Biochar Revolution” book. He presents regularly on biochar and urges anyone new to the concept to review the “Understanding Biochar” series available at NextChar.com under the “Resources-Whitepapers” tab.
Bryan O’Hara has been growing vegetables on Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon CT for 25 years. They use intensive farming practices for three acres of vegetables, four seasons a year, which has provided a living for Bryan and his family. After many years of organic soil building practices Bryan fully transitioned to no-till in 2012 with good success so far. The farm mainly sells to the Willimantic Food Coop and also at the Tolland and Storrs farmers’ markets.
Jim Laurie is a restoration ecologist and biologist from Rice University and is a pioneer in biological remediation of waste water. He was the technical manager of the world’s largest “Living Machine” project to clean raw municipal sewage with no toxic chemical using the “living machine” methodology invented by ecological visionary, Dr. John Todd. Prior to that, for twenty years Jim was a biologist and trainer in the chemical industry in Houston, TX. Jim has also been a passionate advocate for Holistic Management of grasslands in the past decade. A student of Allan Savory in Texas, Jim has spoken about Holistic Management throughout US and internationally. Jim is also co-founder of a lively and sophisticated Google Group, Soil-Age, and he invites you to join!
8:00 – 8:30am – Registration
8:30-8:35 Welcome and Overview
Morning Session Focus – Understanding Carbon in the Landscape.
11:15-12:00 Moderated Panel with Morning Speakers White, Fleisher, O’Hara, Laurie
12:00- 1:15pm LUNCH (Organic lunch is included with registration)
Afternoon Session Focus – Humans as Agents for Positive Change Speakers offer their “Top 5 List” of what YOU can do!
BREAK (3:15 – 3:30)
3:30- 4:00 Moderated Panel with Afternoon Speakers Osborne, Wagner, McLaughlin, Fulford
4:00-4:30 – Wrap-up with Courtney White
One person makes a small contribution but many people, acting with intent and carbon awareness, can make a much bigger contribution to carbon sequestration and global climate stability. Take the information from today and work it into all of your land management decisions – whether you’re managing (or helping to manage) a back yard, a farm, or an institutional land management program.
CEU Processing and Networking (4:30-5:00)