Top navigation

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2023 Conference: Season’s End Summit – New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, MA

Thu, October 26, 2023 @ 8:30 am EDT - 5:30 pm EDT

Join ELA for the 2023 Season’s End Summit either online, or in person at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, Boylston, MA.

This fall conference invites professionals to learn from experts, leaders and each other on OCTOBER 26, 2023.

Attend Season’s End in person and get the value of visiting New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill and its acres of varied landscapes. Or attend virtually from anywhere in the country and get the benefit of hearing these great stories from experienced professionals.


This year’s Season’s End Summit will be held on October 26th at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, located in Boylston, MA.  As far back as geologic time our landscape has undergone many disturbances, from glaciation, to the early Americans use of fire and agriculture, European colonization and the harvest of much of our forestlands, to reforestation. Today our landscape faces even bigger challenges such as urbanization, break up of forest blocks, commercial agriculture and not least, a changing climate. How can we address invasive species filling in every open space, heat islands, soil compaction and the extreme weather from droughts to deluges?

We present four speakers who will address Disturbance in the Landscape at this conference. Each will present their approach to either abating disturbance or using it to create a more native and natural landscape.  Join us this fall at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill



Conference Schedule

8:30 – 9:00 am Registration, Welcome, coffee and pastries will be available


How to Create Low Maintenance Native Landscapes in Collaboration with the Ecology of Place
Owen Wormser of Abound Design, Conway, MA

Landscape designer, Owen Wormser, will discuss key principles behind designing beautiful landscapes and garden spaces that also  strengthen the health of the environment. Most yards are an ecological burden due to too much lawn and too many non-native species. However, our yards can be readily transformed into ecological assets while also providing beauty and a stronger connection to the natural world, all right outside your own door. Using strategies based on the observation and emulation of naturally existing plant communities, Owen will share techniques for creating regenerative, low-maintenance landscapes that enhance local ecology.

10:15 – 11:15

Restoring Penikese Island, Massachusetts to Benefit Nesting Seabirds
Carolyn Mostello  Coastal waterbird biologist, MA  Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, NHESP program.

Penikese Island, Massachusetts is located in the Elizabeth Islands archipelago southwest of Cape Cod. It was one of the few places on the Atlantic Coast where terns survived the plume trade of the late 1800s in large numbers, but terns there had disappeared by the 1950s. Management of the island for domestic and game species over the last century resulted in a vegetative community that was not favorable to nesting terns. Restoration work since the late 1990s has changed the vegetative structure and composition of the island and improved habitat conditions for terns; however, much work remains to be done.

11:30 – 12:30

How to Make the Most of Challenging Project Sites: Making the Imperfect Our Paradise
John Swallow, Pine and Swallow Environmental, Groton, MA

Dr. Swallow will offer a far-ranging discussion of the chemistry, biology, and physics of soil restoration of despoiled sites – of sites where healthy soils are few and far between – and of sites that are loved to death. His worldwide built-projects range from new embassies in war zones to campus projects to farms on remote islands to mega parks on urban islands and lots in between. We will explore the technical aspects of problem sites including drainage, soil gradation, biology, organic matter content and compaction issues, and assessment of soils through field and laboratory testing.

12:30 – 1:30


There will be an option to purchase lunch from The Farmer and the Fork for an additional charge. The link will be sent when you register and when we are closer to the date (GF options available). You are also welcome to bring a lunch

1:30 – 2:30

Using Fire as an Ecosystem Management Tool
George LoCascio, Mount Wachusett Community College

We will discuss the role prescribed fire has as an ecosystem management tool and the necessary  steps in order to conduct a prescribed fire. We will also cover several New England fire conducive habitats that benefit from prescribed fire.


Guided Walks of New England Botanic Garden will be offered by staff members after the last lecture,

You may also feel free to walk around on your own at this beautiful garden.


More information about sessions and speakers

Owen Wormser of Abound Design

Owen Wormser received a degree in landscape architecture in 1998. Shortly after that he founded a landscape design/build company and since then he has designed and installed hundreds of landscapes influenced by his ongoing study of horticulture, permaculture, organic agriculture, and ecology.

Owen is the principal at Abound Design, which provides design and installation services with a focus on creating sustainability, regeneration, and beauty. In 2016, he co-founded a nonprofit, Local Harmony, that initiates and installs local regenerative projects built entirely with volunteers and community support. His first book, Lawns Into Meadows, Growing a Regenerative Landscape, was released in 2020. A newly revised second edition of Lawns Into Meadows was released in the fall of 2022.

Carolyn Mostello

Carolyn Mostello has been a Coastal Waterbird Biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for over 20 years. She coordinates statewide conservation efforts for rare and endangered seabirds and shorebirds, especially terns and piping plovers, working closely with partners and landowners to effect beneficial management actions. She has led protection, research, and management activities, including habitat restorations, for roseate and common terns on the Buzzards Bay nesting islands (Bird, Ram, and Penikese) since 2000. After receiving her Master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Hawaii in 1996, Carolyn began studying seabird colonies in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and became fascinated with marine and coastal birds, which are among the most vulnerable of bird taxa.

John Swallow

Dr. John Swallow is a Principal and founder of the firm. His professional practice spans four decades and has emphasized service in areas of soil science, analysis of environmental conditions for plant growth, and site rehabilitation. His projects range from initial site investigations to detailed design of soil-water-horticultural systems, construction specifications, and construction observation. He served on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Technical Core and Soils Committees for many years. His worldwide-built projects range from new embassies in war zones, to campus projects, farms on remote islands, mega parks on urban islands, and lots in between.

George LoCascio

George LoCascio has a graduate  degree in conservation    biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he studied plant-insect interactions under Dr. Lynn Adler.  Currently, George is an assistant professor at Mount Wachusett Community College, in Gardner, where he teaches for the Environmental Conservation degree and the Regenerative Agriculture certificate. He is a former wildland firefighter and teaches the foundational wildland firefighting class that provides a federally recognized certification. In addition, he works with the Native Plant Trust conducting research with wildland fire smoke and its effects on seed germination.

Are you interested in SPONSORING?  Click here

CEUs will be offered from:

  • LA CES
  • NOFA
  • ISA
  • SER



Thu, October 26, 2023
8:30 am EDT - 5:30 pm EDT
Event Category:


ELA Office
View Organizer Website