As native bees as well as European honey bees struggle for survival, their reduced numbers put natural ecosystems and agricultural systems at risk. And bees are not the only pollinators that are suffering. Beetles, butterflies, ants, birds, and bats all help with pollination. In response, landscape professionals and concerned homeowners across the country are learning more about the habitat needs of the creatures that pollinate plants – and using that knowledge to make planting decisions.
In landscapes across the country, a movement is gaining momentum as landscape professionals and gardening enthusiasts learn more about the plants that support pollinators – and make planting decisions accordingly. Join us for the ELA Season’s End Summit as these four experts help us to learn what we can do to be part of the solution in support of pollinators. Program schedule below.
A landscape rich with a diversity of flowering plants is both beautiful and helps support the thousands of species of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinating insects we have in the U.S. However, planning your pollinator-friendly landscape does not end with your plant list. The layout of your gardens, layout of your plants, and your maintenance practices all affect pollinators. Here is a set of considerations for choosing the best types of plants for pollinators, plus how to use them to create the best pollinator sanctuary possible.
“Plant it and they will come” has become the new mantra for those wishing to attract birdlife to their yards and gardens—the “it” being native plants, which have co-evolved for millions of years with our native birds and form the foundation of a healthy North American ecosystem. Audubon’s Plants for Birds program, part of its Bird-Friendly Communities conservation strategy, focuses on inspiring people to take action wherever they live, to help the birds they love. By growing native plants, everyone can do their part to help support breeding and migratory bird populations imperiled by habitat loss and climate change. Plants for Birds program manager Tod Winston will explore the importance of native plants to our birds, delve into the creation of bird-friendly yards and gardens—and give a tour of Audubon’s native plants database, which provides users nationwide with customized lists of native plants and the types of birds they attract, and connects them to local native plant resources and expertise.
Thomas Berger has spent many years studying pollinators including native bees in Southern Maine. Thomas will discuss food and shelter for many pollinators including food needs for all stages of butterflies – including the often overlooked food source for larval stages. He will also discuss food plants for bees, since many species are specialized. Also an amateur photographer, Thomas will provide excellent documentation and photos of many common species including bumblebees and solitary bees, and will explain some of their differences including their needs for nesting sites. Bee hotels have become very popular in Germany, where Thomas is originally from. He will share the findings of his recent research with bee hotels and other methods to support bee nesting and overwintering and will address problems with diseases and pests and how to avoid them.
Sam Jaffe from The Caterpillar Lab will showcase dozens of native New England caterpillars – the early stage of many pollinators. In addition to maturing into lovely butterflies and moths in our gardens, caterpillars are critical to healthy ecosystems. Expert entomologist and author, Doug Tallamy, explains that 96 percent of terrestrial birds rear their young on insects and that caterpillars are the form of insects required for baby birds.
Sam will share information about caterpillar biology, metamorphosis, defensive adaptations, parasitism, caterpillar husbandry, photography, silk making and more. Live caterpillars will be displayed on branches of their native New England food plants. The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, photography, and film projects. An increased understanding of caterpillars is integral to understanding the plant-pollinator partnership.
CEUs have been approved by several organizations including: LA CES 6 credits, APLD 6 credits, NOFA OLCP 4 credits, MLP MCLP 2 credits, and MCH 1 credit.
Season’s End Summit Schedule
Thomas Berger grew up in a small rural town in Germany. During his childhood he was an avid collector of shells, bones, sea creatures, and fossils. He also gardened with his father and kept bees and sheep which led him to study agriculture. As an adult, Thomas worked on farms in Germany, France and Australia, and joined the German Volunteer Service in 1984, working in an agricultural project in Niger, West Africa. In 1994 he moved to the United States, where he started a landscape design and construction firm, Green Art, and received an award of excellence from the New Hampshire Landscape Association in 1998. Thomas is a regionally known stone sculptor, expressing his love of nature through his art. Thomas has won many awards and commissions and his sculpture is displayed at many public venues throughout the Northeast.
Samuel Jaffe is a naturalist photographer who grew up in Eastern Massachusetts chasing birds, mucking through ponds, and turning over leaves. Over the last five years he has developed a project to raise and photograph all of the more charismatic native caterpillars. The project has blossomed and expanded into caterpillar exhibits, shows, walks, and talks, culminating in the creation of The Caterpillar Lab in 2013. Sam is currently working towards a Masters in Environmental Education at Antioch University of New England. Sam’s most recent photography exhibits can be seen hanging at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics in Cambridge, MA, and in the hallways of Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.
Annie White is a Horticultural Researcher at the University of Vermont and owner of NECTAR Landscape Design Studio & Consulting. Annie has a PhD in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Vermont and a MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For years, Annie worked as an ecological landscape designer and continually saw native cultivars being substituted for native species in her designs. Recognizing a lack of research to support this, she began researching the topic herself as a PhD student. Using replicated research methods, Annie has evaluated about 20 native cultivars in comparison to the native species for pollinator preference, floral abundance, bloom duration, and hardiness. Her research was funded by a SARE Partnership Grant and the New Hampshire Horticultural Endowment.
Tod Winston joined the Bird-Friendly Communities team at National Audubon in 2016, where he manages the Plants for Birds program and native plants database. As a lifelong birder and gardener, he found the project impossible to resist. Though he’s lived in New York City for many years, Tod grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where for 30 years he maintained a native plant hummingbird garden. While raising awareness about the importance of native plants for birds (and the entire ecosystem) is currently his principal professional pursuit, Tod also keeps a foot in local ecology work. For the past six years, he has worked in several different roles for New York City Audubon, where he continues to lead birding tours and coordinate the organization’s annual Harbor Herons Nesting Survey. He is continually amazed by the great variety of bird species that find refuge in New York City’s mixed habitat of green spaces, concrete, and waterfront—from sea ducks to night-herons to whippoorwills to hummingbirds to warblers.