The Grow Native! Southwestern Illinois Event Committee presents a rockstar lineup of speakers for an event in Edwardsville, IL on February 26. They’ll present information from the frontline of concepts surrounding the value of native plants in our landscapes.
Who should attend?: Wildlife Habitat Professionals, Landscape Contractors, Land Care Professionals, Growers, Garden Centers, Forest Managers, Arborists, Landscape Architects and Designers, Engineers, Sustainability Managers, Green Building Professionals, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, and general landscape enthusiasts.
Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 84 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 34 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence.
Jean Ponzi – Green Resources Manager, Missouri Botanical Garden, Moderator
As a 20-year veteran of the Garden’s EarthWays Center team, “Green Jean” works with businesses of all types and sizes to implement everyday and innovative sustainability practices, through the St. Louis Green Business Challenge. She also responds to public inquiries with resources, referrals and information as operator of the Garden’s “Planet Doctor” answer service. She has written for GreenBiz.com, Home Energy, Grist and Missouri Resources magazines and many local publications. She produces and hosts weekly environmental talk programs for KTRS-AM and KDHX-FM, serving as a regional media resource for over 26 years. Her areas of expertise include recycling, composting and waste reduction; indoor air quality, energy efficiency, green building, and water conservation – with special current interest in ecological landscaping with native plants.
Rick Macho, Madison County SWCD
Rick is originally from New York and is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in agricultural engineering. He worked for 25 years with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in New York and Illinois. He is currently employed by the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District.
He has assisted with farmers and landowners for planning, design and construction of conservation practices. He administers several state and federal cost share assistance programs in Madison County.
Part of his duties with the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) includes inspecting all of the current NPDES stormwater permitted sites in Madison County.
Rick has traveled extensively, helping with various environmental studies. He has traveled to: Antarctica, Amazon River Basin, Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Norway, Iceland, Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, and participated in a dinosaur fossil excavation in Montana.
Becky McMahon, DJM Ecological Services, Inc.
Becky McMahon is a Project Ecologist with DJM Ecological Services, Inc. and Pure Air Natives, Inc. From her experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, she brings a unique perspective to restoration projects when it comes to fulfilling the client’s goals, being mindful of project budget and timeline concerns, all while respecting the natural ecosystems she’s called on to steward. She supports all aspects of DJM’s projects—from assessing a habitat, guiding installations, and throughout the stewardship phase. Becky serves on the board of The Open Space Council and on numerous technical advisory committees. Dirt under her nails is a sign of a day well spent, be it a day on a job site, or tending to her own urban homestead.
Mitch Leachman, St. Louis Audubon Society
Mitch Leachman is the Executive Director of the St. Louis Audubon Society and coordinator of their Bring Conservation Home program (BCH). Since its kickoff in 2012, the BCH program has provided on-site native landscaping consultations to nearly 600 landowners in the St. Louis region, delivering detailed, written recommendations on how each owner can improve their property for the benefit of birds, butterflies and their own enjoyment. Over 120 of those same landscapes have been certified by BCH, recognizing their value as habitat and other conservation practices already in-place.
Mitch joined the Audubon network in 1997 and has been active with the St. Louis chapter since 2001. On staff since 2008, Mitch plans and coordinates many chapter activities, including Bring Conservation Home, community stewardship projects, fundraising, communications and outreach. www.stlouisaudubon.org