A little over a year ago I was interviewing Doug Tallamy and we were discussing the value of native plants in our landscapes and bemoaning the fact that after so many years of him traveling around the country speaking on this topic, and the many others also speaking about this, that so few people are aware of how much we can make a difference for wildlife and our environment by adding more native plants to our landscapes.
Doug said to me that we needed to find a way to have a bigger voice so that more people would learn about this much quicker. And with that thought in mind, I set out to create that bigger voice. I invited some experts from around the country to join the team at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens so that we could begin a conversation about native plants, wildlife gardens, ecological restoration, schoolyard habitats, energy and water-wise landscapes, green roofs, and so much more.
And here we are a year later!
It’s so exciting. And I am thrilled and honored to share this space with some amazing people who have made this site such an important resource. And I wanted to take a moment to thank and acknowledge each team member who has worked so hard to bring you such well-researched, thought-provoking, and informative posts.
So, in no particular order, big thanks to the following amazing folks:
Susan J Tweit
Susan J. Tweit — author of 13 books, including Walking Nature Home, and the newly released Kindle version of the award winning Pieces of Light. A plant ecologist who has studied grizzly bear habitat, wildfire behavior, and sagebrush communities, Susan J. Tweit grew up rescuing wildflowers from development sites and picking up roadkill to stash in the freezer for study. After “evolving” into an award-winning writer, speaker, and teacher, Tweit began collaborating with her husband, sculptor Richard Cabe, to design “living landscapes” that restore our connection to nature in our everyday landscapes, from industrial areas to city parks and private gardens. She writes for magazines from Audubon to Popular Mechanics, and is the “Whole Life” columnist for Zone 4 Magazine . Follow her search for a whole and mindful life on her blog, Walking Nature Home, and check out her books and landscape restoration work on her website.
Pat Sutton lives near Cape May, New Jersey, the world renowned migratory crossroads that is famous for its hawk, owl, songbird, shorebird, and Monarch butterfly migration. She has keenly studied the natural world for 30 years. Pat and her husband Clay’s landmark book, Birds and Birding at Cape May, is the in-depth result of their efforts over many years documenting and protecting the migration and the hometown that they so love. Pat and Clay Sutton together have co-authored How to Spot Butterflies, How to Spot Hawks & Eagles, and How to Spot an Owl. Pat has been a working naturalist since 1977, first for the Cape May Point State Park and then for 21 years with New Jersey Audubon Society’s Cape May Bird Observatory, where she was the Naturalist and Program Director. She is a passionate advocate and wildlife gardener for (and photographer of) butterflies, moths, birds, and other critters. Articles and photography by Pat & Clay have appeared in New Jersey Audubon, Peregrine Observer, New Jersey Outdoors, Sanctuary, American Butterflies, Wild Bird, Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birder’s World, Birding, Living Bird, Defenders, and others. Check out Pat’s Facebook page.
Christina Kobland is an award-winning, native-landscaping biodiversity and wildlife specialist. Christina founded Native Return, LLC, based in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, as a one-stop shop for clients wishing to establish native plant habitat rich with biodiversity. She advocates for native wildlife and their habitat through her blog at east33.org, and she also educates the public about the benefits of native landscaping through her lectures. Christina is currently within a multi-year research project at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, studying her patent-pending, low maintenance, no-mow turfgrass FlightTurf™, a turfgrass grazing wildlife such as geese and deer avoid, resulting in safer conditions – for wildlife and people — in areas such as airports and roadsides.
Ruth Parnall’s favorite business card would be “Ecocentrist: Curator of the Native Landscape.” In reality, the cards of the two main threads of her professional life say “registered landscape architect and botanist” and “co-principal of Learning by the Yard, Consultants for School Grounds.” As the former, Ruth has a design practice focusing on low-impact site design and native plants. She has also, for the last twelve years, been Landscape Curator for Manitoga, the woodland garden of Russel Wright in the Garrison, NY. As the latter, Ruth and Ginny Sullivan (author and educator) design for children’s experience in lush natural habitats, teach teachers, and inspire all who will listen.
Emily has a Bachelors degree from Cornell University and a Master’s of Environmental Interpretation from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She lives with her husband Chris and Greater Swiss Mountain Dog McKinley in northeastern New York where they run Fiddlehead Creek, a 100% New York native plant nursery that specializes in growing plants for water quality and conservation projects.
Ellen Sousa gardens, farms, writes and teaches from Turkey Hill Brook Farm, a small horse farm in the Worcester Hills of central Massachusetts. Author of The Green Garden: The New England Guide to Planning, Planting and Maintaining an Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden, published by Bunker Hill Publishing in summer 2011. She also blogs about habitat and earth-friendly gardening in New England and is on the team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Follow @THBfarm on twitter.
Born in Argentina and a resident of the United States for about forty years. A biologist by profession and a photographer and painter by avocation. I finally found the way to combine all these different interests in one single package when I became interested in pollinators. I have been photographing and painting them and studying their biology and ecology and I probably could spend the rest of my life doing so because the subject is endlessly fascinating and of tremendous esthetic, ecological and economic importance. Author, with Steven Buchman, of Bee Basics: An Introduction to Native Bees
Mark Turner is a freelance photographer specializing in botanical subjects, especially Northwest wildflowers and gardens. He photographs extensively for books and magazines both in gardens and in a wide range of native plant environments. He is an avid member of the native plant societies of Washington and Oregon and has more than 25 years of experience exploring for native plants, which he describes at the Turner Photographics Blog. Mark is author of Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Bellingham, Washington where he also runs a portrait studio photographing families, high school seniors, and pets.
Kelly Brenner writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat. She earned a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon. Kelly has studied and watched wildlife from a very young age in the great Pacific Northwest and from that has nurtured her passion for creating, discovering and encouraging habitat development in the urban environment. In addition to the blog, The Metropolitan Field Guide can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Kelly also manages a community blog called Seattle Urban Wildlife Experiences. For fun, she enjoys traveling and taking photographs which can be found online at Kelly Brenner Photography.
Heather Holm is an horticulturalist, photographer & graphic designer who is passionate about native plants, landscape restoration and observing, attracting and documenting wildlife in her yard. Her 2/3 acre landscape in suburban Minneapolis is a Certified Monarch Waystation and received a first place award from the watershed district for the “Best Landscape Restoration” in 2009. She is an active member and volunteer of Wild Ones (Twin Cities Chapter) promoting the preservation and use of native plants in the home landscape. She also volunteers her time with her municipality in landscape restoration projects and writing grant proposals for restorations. She is also author of the popular blog, Restoring the Landscape With Native Plants and the corresponding facebook page.
Debbie Roberts is a landscape designer, garden coach, freelance writer, educator and Accredited Organic Land Care Professional who gardens on a woodland acre in southwestern Connecticut (zone 6). Debbie’s blog A Garden of Possibilities features plant profiles, insights on garden design, book reviews and musings on her efforts to continue to create a wildlife-friendly garden that the deer will not feast on. Debbie is also a member of a select group of international garden and landscape designers, The Garden Designers Roundtable, who blog monthly about various garden design topics. Follow Debbie on Twitter, @deb_roberts.
Benjamin Vogt has a 2,000 foot garden on a 10,000 foot lot in Nebraska (zone 5). Roughly 80% of his plants are native to either the Midwest or Great Plains. He is the author of SLEEP, CREEP, LEAP: THE FIRST THREE YEARS OF A NEBRASKA GARDEN (essays) and a forthcoming poetry collection, AFTERIMAGE (SFA Press, 2012). Benjamin’s poetry, essays, and photographs have appeared in several publications, including Crab Orchard Review, ISLE, Orion, Prairie Fire, Sou’wester, The Sun, and Verse Daily. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and an M.F.A. from The Ohio State University. He blogs / rants about writing and gardening at The Deep Middle. You can also find him on Facebook, and if you insist, Twitter.
Kevin and his wife Judy run MetroVerde, a plant-based biodiversity business. Their focus is restoring wildlife habitat to the urban core, ‘volumetric green’ as he refers to the vertical landscaping. Kevin’s undergrad is in biology with a focus in botany and he holds the Juris Doctor in law (environmental and land use). He worked for the USFWS while in law school on Endangered Species Act lawsuit data.
MetroVerde’s green roofs and living walls are designed for cyclone and hurricane impacted areas and designs center around native plants. MetroVerde was awarded the North Florida USGBC’s award for Innovation in Water Conservation and Landscape Design for the Villa Paraiso project.
Carol Duke is an artist and farmer, who has given much of the last thirty years to caring for her twenty-one acre hillside farm in Western Massachusetts. Her greatest joy in working with the land has been to see how her farm has become home to a diverse community of wildlife. Through her blog Flower Hill Farm, Carol shares the beauty of living closely with nature and how with careful consideration of conservation and only using organic practices, while being a steward to the land, one can create a true sanctuary for native flora and fauna. Her facebookandtwitter pages are used mostly for action alerts to inspire activism towards protecting wild places and wildlife the world over. Flower Hill Farm has also become a Retreat for guests visiting the area from all over the world.
Mike Bezner is a backyard nature blogger living in the Pacific Northwest. He started my blog, Slugyard, because of his love for the outdoors and desire to learn more about the world around him. His hope is that blogging about nature will encourage families to pay more attention to the world just outside their door. Slugyard can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
- See all of Mike’s posts
Vincent Vizachero is a native plant advocate and consultant in Baltimore. His focus is on lecturing, environmental education, social media management, and grant-writing. You might think the fact that studied Economics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business would make him a bit of a geek. You’d be right. You can keep up with him onFacebook and Twitter.
Loret T. Setters
Loret is an active member of The Florida Native Plant Society. She writes about wildlife happenings in her native plant garden on a rural acre in Central Florida at the Osceola FL Garden Blah Blah Blog, and is part of the team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Follow @PineLilyFNPS for daily updates on conservation and native plants.
“I garden for wildlife ~ the benefit to my senses is merely a bonus“
Ursula Vernon lives in North Carolina where she gardens for wildlife with her cats, her boyfriend, and a beagle, and is still astonished when anything comes back at all in the spring. She is also part of the team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
Ursula is a freelance writer, artist and illustrator. She is best known for the webcomicDigger and the children’s books Dragonbreath and Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew, and a fantasy novel entitled Black Dogs. Ursula is also the creator of the Biting Pear of Salamanca, a work which became an internet meme in the form of the “LOL WUT” pear. Ursula’s cover for Best in Show won the 2003 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration. She was nominated for the 2006 Eisner Awards in the category Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition for her work on Digger.
Rob Moore is a California Landscape Designer specializing in drought tolerant and native plants at his company, California Native Landscape Design. Rob has designed gardens in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and has lectured on design elements at Tree of Life nursery, and Wild Birds Unlimited. He has written for APLD’s (Association of Professional Landscape Designers) The Designer Magazine and was recently published in The Journal of California Native Plant Society’s Fremontia. Follow Rob at his blog, and on Facebook and on Twitter @LandscapeRob
Master Gardner Sue Sweeney, a life-long naturalist and gardener, specializes in non-chemical, minimally-disturbing conservation area restoration. She is a freelance nature photographer, and author of numerous articles on urban flora and fauna, chemical-free gardening, and similar subjects. A passionate environmentalist, Sue lives in a downtown high-rise, and does not own a car. Her indoor and balcony container garden has shrunk over the years, from a high point of around 500 plants, as her responsibility for Stamford-area conservation work has grown. Currently, she is Volunteer Head Steward of the Scalzi Riverwalk Nature Preserve near the heart of downtown Stamford CT and teaches conservation restoration to Master Gardeners Interns and other interested parties.
Carole Sevilla Brown
Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher, and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife. She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and created the philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening. Watch for her book Ecosystem Gardening, due out soon. Carole is managing editor of Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on twitter, @CB4wildlife and onGoogle+
Miriam Goldberger of Wildflower Farm will be joining us this month
On Temporary Leave
Sue Reed is a registered landscape architect who has helped hundreds of homeowners create comfortable, livable and beautiful landscapes that save energy. She has worked in western Massachusetts for nearly 25 years, including twelve years as an instructor at the Conway School of Landscape Design.
Sue is an expert at designing sustainable landscapes that are environmentally sound, ecologically rich and energy efficient. Her new book, Energy-Wise Landscape Design, was published in April 2010 by New Society Publishers. To learn more about the book, visitEnergy Wise Landscape Design, or the book’s Facebook page
Ginny Stibolt, a naturalist with a master’s degree in botany, lives in Green Cove Springs in northern Florida. She’s written a book, Sustainable Gardening for Florida published by University Press of Florida. Her website, Transplanted Gardenercontains a six-year log of Florida gardening, nearly 100 articles, and links to more than 100 podcasts about gardening in Florida. She’s an active member of the Florida Native Plant Society and is one of the primary FNPS bloggers. She is also an active member of the Lawn Reform Coalition.
Catherine Zimmerman is a filmmaker and sustainable landscape designer based in the Washington, DC area. She has recently authored Urban & Suburban Meadows, Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces, and is putting the finishing touches on a companion video. The book, video and Catherine’s Meadow Project are her efforts to help people rethink their pesticide-ridden, manicured, monoculture lawns and return their land to beautiful, natural habitats for native plants and wildlife. Also see the Meadow Project Facebook Page.
Susan Wittig Albert
Susan Wittig Albert is a mystery author who has incorporated her love of nature and her concern for the environment into her fiction. The China Bayles mysteries feature a Texas herbalist and gardener. The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter tell the story of naturalist, conservationist, and children’s author Beatrix Potter, who bought a farm in the English Lake District in the early 1900s. Her latest project, the Darling Dahlias mysteries, is set in 1930s Alabama and features a garden club. She publishes All About Thyme, a free weekly celebration of the plants, domestic and wild, that have enriched our lives.
In addition to her fiction, Susan has also written two recent memoirs about her life with her husband (and co-author) Bill Albert in the Texas Hill Country: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place.
Genevieve Schmidt is a landscape designer and garden writer in the redwoods of Northern California. She writes regularly for Fine Gardening Magazine and The Christian Science Monitor. Read more from Genevieve at North Coast Gardening.
Thanks to all of you for participating in this conversation with us, for leaving your thoughtful comments at each post, for “liking” and commenting on our Facebook page, for tweeting our posts on Twitter, and especially for your encouragement and support. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we appreciate each of you.
Here’s to another year
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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