Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is The Power of WE. This theme brings to mind the power of working together as a team.
Back in March of 2011 I was interviewing Doug Tallamy about the seeming flood of scientific articles touting the benefits of invasive plants in our landscapes. We got to talking about why after so many years of him traveling around the country promoting planting more native plants to benefit wildlife, after so many years of my doing the same, and so many years of so many others whose mission is to give something back to wildlife by creating more habitats for wildlife in our gardens, that still so many people had never heard of this idea.
Doug Tallamy’s response to this? We need a bigger voice
With the amount of money that Scotts Miracle Gro and Chemlawn (now TruGreen) have spent convincing us that we must have a perfect green lawn year round, our message of creating more wildlife habitats is a very tiny fish in a very large sea of advertising dollars.
I got to thinking a lot about what Doug Tallamy had said after the interview ended. How could we build a bigger voice to teach people about the benefits of native plants for wildlife?
I looked around at my friends who were involved in this work. I looked at the authors of some incredible books that taught us how to make healthier choices in our gardens. And I realized that the elements for creating a bigger voice were right in front of me. And 2 weeks later, this site was born.
I invited some of the most dedicated, passionate folks I knew to participate in this journey. Folks whose life mission has been about creating welcoming habitats for wildlife, promoting the use of more native plants in our landscapes, making healthier choices in our gardens and surrounding environment, restoring full healthy function to our ecosystems, and teaching by example how to make the world a better place: for wildlife, for the plants that form the foundation of all food webs, and for our own health.
And I’d like you to meet the members of this team whose passion and dedication to healthy environments gives us all a bigger voice. Here they are, in no particular order
Alone we are small, but together we are mighty!
Susan J. Tweit
Susan J. Tweit, is the author of 14 books that look closely at the natural world around us and our place in it. Susan J Tweit is an artist who paints with words. You will see the natural world around you in a whole new light after reading any of her works. You will begin to notice tiny things that you never saw before because Susan has instilled in you a new way of noticing nature, of being present in the moment, and slowing down enough to see. Susan explores the interrelationships that form what Aldo Leopold called the “community of the land.” Susan is a passionate gardener: growing her own vegetables, fruits and herbs, and also enjoys the challenge of native plant restoration and “wildscape” design.
Pat Sutton is author, with her husband Clay, of 4 books: How to Spot Butterflies, How to Spot Hawks and Eagles, How to Spot an Owl, and the acclaimed Birds and Birding at Cape May. Pat Sutton has been passionately teaching wildlife habitat workshops around the country for over 30 years, in the process building up a small army of gardeners who have followed her example and created amazing wildlife habitats in their gardens. 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.
Sue Reed is the author of the landmark book Energy-Wise Landscape Design. 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.
Catherine Zimmerman is the author of the ground breaking book, Urban and Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces. Catherine Zimmerman is a filmmaker and sustainable landscape designer based in the Washington, DC area. 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.
Mark Turner is the author and photographer of Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. 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. He lives in Bellingham, Washington where he also runs a portrait studio photographing families, high school seniors, and pets.
Ellen Sousa is the author of The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planting and Maintaining the Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden.
Ellen Sousa gardens, farms, writes and teaches from Turkey Hill Brook Farm, a small horse farm in the Worcester Hills of central Massachusetts, specializing in habitat landscaping, earth-friendly gardening and gardening with northeast US native plants. Ellen also writes for the team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden
Benjamin Vogt is the author of Sleep, Creep, Leap: The First Three Years of a Nebraska Garden, and Monarch Butterflies: The Last Migration, as well as several books of poetry. 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. Benjamin has a Ph.D. in English and has taught almost forty college classes at every level. He’s the author of three poetry collections, and two unpublished memoirs–both memoirs are based on his own and his mother’s gardens and involved copious amounts of horticultural and landscape design research.
Ursula Vernon is a recent Hugo Award winner for her young adult graphic novel series Digger. Ursula Vernon is the author and illustrator of “Nurk,” “Digger,” “Dragonbreath” and a number of other projects. The daughter of an artist, she spent her youth attempting to rebel and become a scientist, but eventually succumbed to the siren song of paint. 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. Ursula Vernon is also part of the team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
Ginny Stibolt is author of Sustainable Gardening for Florida. A naturalist with a master’s degree in botany, Ginny lives in Green Cove Springs in northern 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. Ginny Stibolt is also co-author of a book about growing vegetables organically in Florida, which will be released in February 2013.
Beatriz Moisset is the co-author with Steven Buchman, of Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees. Beatriz Moisset was 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. She finally found the way to combine all these different interests in one single package when she became interested in pollinators. Beatriz has been photographing and painting pollinators and studying their biology and ecology.
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 he 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 on Facebook and Twitter.
Kevin Songer is the author of City Farming: Lovely Urban Insanity. 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. 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.
Sue has been actively promoting the use of native plants for over a decade now, as a speaker, writer, blogger, and Volunteer. Her efforts have been exerted on behalf of the Florida and Virginia Native Plant Societies, Audubon of Northern Virginia, and the American Horticultural Society, among others. In addition she is a former gentlewoman farmer; raiser and trainer of horses, dogs, and chickens, and thus, certified in all types of composting. More formal credits include Habitat Facilitator, Master Gardener, and also Master Naturalist in both Florida and Virginia, which, it has been suggested, makes her a bi-polar gardener. Thrilled to be a part of the team at Native Plant and Wildlife Gardens, you can also visit her at at her blog Clean Green Natives.
Janet Harrison is the writer and editor of The Local Scoop, e-newsletter for the North American Native Plant Society (NANPS), an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the study, conservation, cultivation & restoration of North America’s Native Flora (formerly Canadian Wildflower Society). Janet’s background is in forestry, fish & wildlife and zoology with field experience in forests, meadows, streams and lakes. She migrated indoors and now deals with the technical aspects of the teaching labs at the University of Toronto, but still maintains an outdoor connection through NANPS, Toronto Zoo and restoration activities. She is the steward of ZooWoods, a re-creation of a maple-beech forest on the downtown campus.
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.
Read Rob Moore’s articles
Heather Holm is an horticulturalist, writer & 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And See My Team at Beautiful Wildlife Garden
About a year before I launched the team project for Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, I had also started another team project, Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Our mission there is to change the definition of “beautiful” in our gardens. We find endless delight and beauty in the wildlife who share our gardens with us.
Some of the team members there are also members of Team Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens and you’ve already met them above, but I wanted you to meet the rest of this team too.
These two teams working together are providing the best information for creating welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden, learning to make healthier choices in our gardens, and discovering the natural world around us.
Judy Burris and her brother Wayne Richards are authors, photographers and naturalists. Their gardens focus on host plants to support native butterflies and other insects and critters in every stage of their development. Judy and Wayne live just 3 miles apart from each other in northern Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. Their co-authored books include: The Life Cycles of Butterflies, The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs, and also Nature’s Notes. Their website is Butterfly Nature
“I am a passionate native plant gardener near Atlanta, GA who is learning to appreciate more every day the relationship that plants have with our native fauna. I created a personal blog, Using Georgia Native Plants, to help increase the level of regional native plant information available to average gardeners. I try to emphasize the beauty and versatility of native plants as landscape choices as well as the value to the local ecosystem.”
Mary Pellerito is a freelance garden writer based in Michigan. She has been published in Gritmagazine and she writes a weekly blog post, Going Native, for Grit as well. Mary also offers workshops on native plants and natural habitat gardening. In her blog, Muse, which is published in The Oakland Press, Mary writes about her garden (and cooking from the garden), her travels, and her thoughts on the natural world. Mary also has a Facebook page, Going Native, where she shares photos and stories about a myriad of topics that interest her. Mary is secretary of the North Oakland Wild Ones chapter and an Advanced Master Gardener.
Karyl Seppalla gardens for wildlife in northern Georgia. Her focus is wildlife gardening, biodiversity and native plants which is truly a labor of love. She writes about her adventures at Native Plant Wildlife Gardening, and you can find her on twitter. She says “…and oh, I’m kind of a dork and get really excited about things like baby turtles. Bear with me on that please.”
“Lifelong lover of nature.. I enjoy writing about what I see around me & photographing it. I garden in Southern California where I have lived many years and have enjoyed all of them. Happy to share tips on native gardening and lessons learned, as well as critters met. Follow @nativegardener on twitter“
Donna Donabella is a self taught gardener who has gardened in central NY State for 25 years. Although her day job has been in public education for 27 years, her passion lies in all types of gardening. Donna’s journey through life has been enriched and influenced by her gardening experiences which she shares on her blogGarden’s Eye View. Donna has recently started her own garden design business, Purple Door Garden Designs.
Kathy Green is a Garden Designer and Coach in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She is also the Owner and Artisan of Dragonfly Dew where she creates all natural products for your face, body and bath. Follow Kathy on twitter@gardenfornature and find her Gardening for Nature on Facebook at GardeningForNature.
I feel endlessly blessed that each of these people has chosen to participate in these teams. I learn something new every day as each person writes another article. I’m honored to know them. And I hope you’ll support each of them. Thank you!
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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