Plant Conference Schedule

 

Pre-Conference Workshops

Mushroom Cultivation for Everyone

Thursday, October 26, 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Tradd Cotter Members $45 | Non-members $55

If you think growing mushrooms is too complicated, here’s your chance to see how easy and rewarding it can be. This workshop will get you growing, and you’ll leave understanding the best ways to cultivate delicious mushrooms at home or on your farm. You’ll learn about inexpensive start-up options for beginners, and many commercial ideas to expand on. This class will energize your efforts and maximize your production! Topics include: life cycle of fungi; mushroom behavior and intuitive growing; choosing, buying, and storing spawn; woodland mushroom farming (logs, wood chips, and composts); indoor production (small and large scale); converting existing structures into grow rooms (barns, chicken houses, storage containers); marketing your mushrooms (trends, demand, strategies); organic pest management; alternative product development (powders, extracts, composts).


Earth Colors

Thursday, October 26, 9-4:30 p.m.

Robin Whitfield

Members $95 | Non-members $115 (lunch included)

Earth colors refer to pigments found in nature, and may come from soil, leaves, bark, berries, flowers, mushrooms or mineral deposits. Participants will learn to identify, collect and experiment with plant and mineral materials as artistic media. October in The Garden is full of color! Paying deep attention to the natural nuances of this season is the most important part of the class. Natural materials will be observed, gathered and sketched for visual ideas and elements that reflect a sense of place. Robin will demonstrate ways to extract color and texture from a variety of materials. She will supplement what is gathered with other natural colors such as black walnut ink, oak gall ink, a variety of ochres and charcoal. Students will do their own experimentation with materials collected around The Gardens - learning processes of extraction and development of a color and texture palette. The workshop will conclude with participants using their natural color palette to create a mandala on watercolor paper. A Mandala is a circular symbol representing the universe; they may be employed for focusing attention and for establishing a sacred space.


Living Landscapes – Designing for Biodiversity

Thursday, October 26, 8:30-4:30 p.m.

John Tobe

Members $95 | Non-members $115 (lunch included)

Attending this workshop will give participants a greater sense of place amongst the wild things of North America and the world. They will be taken back in time to see how the geographic process that changed the North American continent over millions of years still influences the distribution of plants, helps shape plant communities and ecosystems and created iconic landscapes. Our presenter will use landscape scale views, maps and selected plants to illustrate plant geography. Learn how the fundamental principles of ecological restoration have become an important part of sustainable horticulture and how to identify natural assemblages of plants even when they are hidden by the cultural landscape. John Tobe shares plant lists derived from floristic studies and field work - which may be used to create plant palettes for use in horticulture. He will also share his experience with using native plants in selected landscape projects. A list of important references for those interested in continuing their natural history studies will be distributed. John will include selected refugia and discuss their importance to plant selection and climate change. And to summarize everything discussed above, he will share 45 years of experience creating a garden – one created for study and experimentation, permaculture and ecological restoration, pleasure and a personal refugium. Limited to 20.


Habitats for Humans and Pollinators

Thursday, October 26, 8:30-4:30 p.m.

Bashira Chowdrury

Members $95 | Non-members $115 (lunch included)

Planting wildflowers is something many of us do to protect pollinators, but providing food for them is just one of many steps we can take to provide for pollinators. The process of pollination is an intricate ecological interaction between plants and animals that connects plant reproduction with how animals eat. To nurture pollinators we must provide more just than food; we need to provide better habitat, also. including bees, flies, moths, and even beetles, with designs that account for how these insects call Alabama home. Equally as important, we need pollinator habitats that work for us, especially landscaping answers that match Alabama’s values with our practical needs to be wise with our water, soil, and dollars. In this day-long workshop, we will walk through how to design artistic yet sensible pollinator homes, select native flower and shrub combinations, and discuss landscaping alternatives to traditional yard maintenance—all to encourage better native pollination and more efficient use of our landscaping resources. We will build many of these solutions together and demonstrate how these alternatives can work for your home.


Day 2 

Friday, October 27

7 a.m. Early Morning Birding

7:45-8:30 a.m. - Registration/Coffee & Baked Goods

8:30 Welcome - Executive Director Tom Underwood and Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion  

8:45-9 a.m. – Certificate in Native Plant Studies Graduation

Plenary Presentations (3)

9-10 a.m. Plenary #1

The Native Flora of the Southeastern United States – Deep, Diverse, Durable, Deserving… but Endangered

Alan Weakley

The Southeastern United States has assembled a rich flora, because of its diversity of geology, soils, climates, disturbances, and habitats over time. We will explore the crazy quilt of Dixie biodiversity, and what we now understand about its evolution and retention through past eras. The richness and resilience of the flora and fauna of the Southeastern United States offers us lessons and advice on its future conservation – if we choose to take them.


10-10:15 a.m. Break


10:15-11:15 a.m. Plenary #2

Beyond Saving the Bees

Bashira Chowdhury

Pollination is how a flower transfers pollen from its male parts, or anthers, to the female parts, or stigmas of another flower of the same species, or in some cases, its own stigmas. Flowers need to move pollen from their anthers to stigmas to ensure that they will produce fruits and seeds for the upcoming year, an insurance that often bees and other pollinators guarantee as they move among flowers for food. But the way we live has disrupted this balance of plant-animal interactions that define pollination, leading to alarming consequences like recent shortages of honeybees for our food crops. We need our plants and pollinators connecting across Alabama, not just on our farms, but everywhere—from the heart of our cities to our most wild areas: plants and their insect pollinators help make Alabama our home. We will start with how our native plants and pollinators, insects ranging from bees, flies, moths, and beetles, weave among our homes, farms, cities, and even roadsides to deliver pollination and discuss what this means for how we live in Alabama. With this understanding, we will walk through steps we can take to keep native pollination going in our state.


11:15-12:15 p.m. Plenary #3

Our Beautiful Southern Orchids

Jim Fowler

The Southeast and the Southern Appalachian Mountains, in particular, are blessed with one of nature's finest creations -- Southern Bogs. In general usage, the term "bog" refers to herbaceous, saturated, acidic wetlands of Southern Appalachian coves and valley bottoms. These fragile wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate, and much effort has been expended to save and restore the few areas that remain. The culprits are agricultural and residential development. Our natural places are often unwisely sacrificed in the name of Progress. The denizens of Southern Bogs are comprised of orchids, pitcher plants, and a bewildering variety of other beautiful wildflowers. Many of these species are on either state or federal listings of endangered or threatened species. Come learn the differences between a bog, fen, and seep and why these distinctions are important. Also learn about one of the rare and endangered critters that inhabits a handful of our wonderful mountain bogs.


12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch/Plant & Book Sales


1:30-4:45 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #1

Mycoremediation in the Landscape: Healing Soil, Water and Ecosystems with Fungi

Tradd Cotter

Many species of fungi sweat powerful enzymes, or “chemical keys,” capable of molecular disassembly of complex molecules such as hydrocarbons, aromatic chlorinated compounds, and pesticides. A few species of fungi are also well adapted to filter, stun, and destroy pathogenic bacteria (such as those from pet and livestock waste). Learn how fungi perform these miraculous tasks and how to develop a living barrier or filtration system that is customized to fit your needs. Cotter will focus on biomass expansion, site engineering, and species of fungi that can be used for mycoremediation projects. He will also discuss using fungi for pest management, habitat restoration, and how to incorporate fungi into “mycoswales” or rain gardens to capture pollutants from site runoff.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #2

In Some Melodious Plot of Green: Bird Song and Natural Soundscapes

J.R. Rigby

Gardens and gardening are a feast for the senses: the striking color of a rose, the smell of a gardenia, the feel of a spring breeze or soil in your hands, and of course the taste of a fresh tomato. Most of us, though, are comparatively oblivious to the sounds on the landscape. Birds provide the most conspicuous melodies of the garden, but a host of sounds characterize a place. Join us to explore natural soundscapes and what they can tell you about your favorite landscapes.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #3

Leatherflowers – Our Native Clematis, the Darlings of Native Vines

Aaron Floden

There are approximately 300 species of Clematis in the world, many of which have long been considered favored garden plants. In the southeast US, we have nearly 30 native species, which differ from the common garden clematis. Due to recent and ongoing research by our presenter and others in the Viorna complex, the Leatherflowers, there are more species than once thought. Several of these remarkable species will be profiled, many of which are rare; others easy to cultivate.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #4

Into the Water – Gardening with Native Aquatic Plants

Danny Cox

Adding a water feature to your landscape offers a new palette of plants you may grow, whether the water feature is an in-ground pond, a whisky barrel or a ceramic planter. Aquatic plants are excellent choices to provide food/habitat for many species of animals, and will attract birds, amphibians, dragonflies and others. This talk will focus on many native aquatic plants, how to grow them and their benefits.


2:30-2:45 p.m. Break


2:45 -3:45 Concurrent #1

Dragons & Damsels: Creating Water Features to Attract and Nurture Our Dragonflies and Damselflies

John Abbott

Installing water features is an effective way to “wildscape” your garden. They not only add beauty, but also attract and provide a home for a diverse array of wildlife, even in urban environments. Participants will learn how to attract dragonflies, damselflies and other insects to their gardens. With the ongoing loss of our wetlands, creating water features for dragonflies and damselflies creates stepping stones of habitat which helps mitigate the loss and/or degradation of many urban landscapes. Our presenter will offer instructions on how to (and how not to) develop water features and discuss the insects that they will attract.


2:45 -3:45 Concurrent #2

A Towering Ghost: The Cultural Legacy of Longleaf Pine in the Deep South

Mitchell Robinson

Once spanning 90 million acres from East Texas to Virginia, Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) was an essential member of the biotic and cultural communities of the Deep South. With Northern timber supplies rapidly depleted through the 18th and 19th century, this unparalleled natural resource fostered the naval shipyards in the US and England, and later fueled the vast turpentine industry. Yet, this stalwart of Southern culture was exhausted in the blink of an eye, as the introduction of industrial agriculture, fire suppression, and more favorable Loblolly Pine overtook its range. Having once covered 60 percent of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, it has been reduced to less than 3 million acres, two thousand of which are considered old growth. Lost, though not forgotten, are the habitats, flora, fauna and cultural legacies that comprised North America’s most diverse botanic spectacle. What drove the gravest destruction of habitat in modern history, and what do we have to learn from those remaining ghosts? This program will highlight the ecology of Longleaf Pine ecosystems and the historical industries that led to its demise, while paying reverence to the southern culture that was built around this unique species. Using images and artifacts, Mitch will introduce the techniques and practices that led to the disappearance of this vast ecosystem in just sixty short years.


2:45 -3:45 Concurrent #3

Conservation of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Alabama.

Mark Bailey

Most of Alabama's nine native woodpeckers are fairly common and secure, but the ivory-billed is extinct and the red-cockaded is endangered. Once a common bird statewide, the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) requires mature, fire-maintained pine forest, a habitat that is now in very short supply. In Alabama, RCWs are now reduced to about 250 breeding pairs distributed among six populations, four on National Forests and two on private land. All of these populations are either stable or increasing, however. Mark has worked with one population in Bullock County that has increased by 900% in 10 years. He will discuss recent advances in management techniques as well as other aspects of the natural history of this fascinating bird.


2:45 -3:45 Concurrent #4

Restoration of the American Chestnut: A Conservation-based Strategy to Breed for Resistance to the Chestnut Blight and Phytophthora Root Rot Diseases in the Southeast

J. Hill Craddock

Restoration of the American chestnut to the forests of the southeastern US depends on the concerted efforts of citizen scientists, enthusiastic volunteers, private landowners, university researchers, and state and federal agencies. It is a multidisciplinary undertaking, drawing together classical plant breeding and silvicultural techniques with molecular biology and recombinant DNA technologies. We are breeding and selecting for resistance to two catastrophic diseases: chestnut blight and Phytophthora root rot. Our breeding strategy is based on conservation of naturally occurring chestnut trees, hybridization with disease-resistant chestnut trees, screening for disease resistance, and testing of hybrid progeny under forest conditions. It's a long-term project. But the prognosis is good. We can move disease-resistance genes into American chestnut and recover disease resistant progeny in a way that allows us to conserve significant amounts of the genetic diversity of the native species. The Southeast, and Alabama in particular, harbors vast amounts of genetic diversity of great potential value that is largely unexplored.


3:45-4 p.m. – Break


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #1

New Names for Old Plants in the Southeastern Flora – But is it a Good Thing?

Alan Weakley

The scientific names of plants change. Humans don’t like change. “I learned it as Abra cadabra, and that’s good enough for me!” But understanding the reasons for change can enrich our appreciation of the plants themselves, persuade us (maybe even) to accept and learn the new names, and help us communicate with others more accurately.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #2 

After Dark: Pollination by Night

Bashira Chowdhury

Pollination is an ecological interaction that links how plants reproduce to how animals eat. We only tend to think about how plants and animals connect during the day, overlooking the fact that pollination happens around the clock, even when most of us are sleeping. We will first talk about how pollination happens at night and how our native moths and beetles move through Alabama’s cities, farms, suburbs, and even highways to feed themselves while pollinating our flowers. We will move into how we have changed the night, in some cases making it harder for our native plants and their nocturnal pollinators to meet up, and follow up with how we can make it just a bit easier for our nocturnal neighbors to interact. Collectively, we will work through landscaping solutions that we can take to improve nocturnal pollination while balancing our needs for nighttime security.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #3

Native Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Jim Fowler

The Southern Appalachian Mountains region is recognized as one of the most floristically diverse areas in North America. Its rich forests and wet, boggy meadows provide the perfect environment for dozens of species of our colorful and mysterious native orchids. Stretching from West Virginia to northern Alabama, the rolling hillsides are host to orchid flowers from March to November. Many of our native orchid species are quite small, and some of them would not be recognized as orchid species except by a trained naturalist. Learning to identify a few of the more common species will add richness to any hike in the woods. While there are only three of our native orchid species that keep their green leaves through the winter, many of those that lose their leaves in the fall will leave their characteristic seed capsules behind for identification. If you know where to look, it is surprisingly easy to find many of the more common orchid species even on roadside margins within easy reach for photography and study. Come join me for an in-depth look into the jewels of Southern Appalachian flora.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #4

Birth of a Forest: Creating a Species Rich Beech-Magnolia-Oak Forest from Scratch

John Tobe

This is the story about creating a native forest. Beginning in the early 1970s the site was direct planted in a diverse forest, this resulted in an almost complete initial failure. After more observations of reference sites, in 1972, a new methodology involved planting loblolly, slash and longleaf pine on the west side of forest adapted trees, to act as a living shield from intense sunlight and heat. The pines were gradually removed, and this allowed for rapid growth of broad-leaved trees. The canopy trees were “released” and eventually created a closed canopy (1994-present). In the mid to late 1990s, sub-canopy trees were added, as well as wildflowers. The challenges of this type of “natural” gardening will be discussed in the context sustainable landscapes and climate change.


 

 

Friday evening Oct. 27 Whole Hog Revue and Medicine Show (Dinner/Drinks/Entertainment) This event will consist of a pig roast dinner made from locally-sourced and sustainably raised ingredients.

Conference Attendees $25

Non-Conference Attendees $35

Full Time Student Conference Attendees $20

 

 


 

Day 3 

Saturday, October 31

7:45-8:30 a.m. - Coffee & Baked Goods

8:30-8:45 a.m. - Welcome/Announcements/Finch Tribute - Executive Director Tom Underwood and Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator John Manion


Plenary Presentations

9-10 a.m. Plenary #1

Trillium - Sessilium: A Closer Look at These Charismatic Plants

Aaron Floden

Astute gardeners seeking novelty and diversity have driven the demand for interesting variants of many plants. Trillium lovers have long cultivated many of these unique forms of common species. Thanks to advances in gene sequencing, researchers are now discovering that some of these plants with variations are actually unique species. A brief overview of the genus will be offered so we understand some of the genetic relationships of the species. We'll see new species, recent species, and long-standing species in cultivation and in the field. We will then examine the genus from a naturalists and gardeners perspective to connect our common understanding to the emerging family tree.


10-10:15 a.m. – Break


10:15-11:15 a.m. Plenary #2

The Mushroom Matrix: The Dark Matter that Connects Life

Tradd Cotter

Join mushroom expert Tradd Cotter, mycologist and founder of Mushroom Mountain, for a fascinating lecture on native plants and their fungal partners. In order to sustain life on this planet, a complex matrix of organisms has evolved to orchestrate the balance. Plants and fungi have merged and continue to unveil the benefits of collaborating with nature. We have a lot to learn from these relationships, and understanding the respect they have for each other can teach us more than just soil biology. Our native plant communities are communicating through their own internet, reaching out to other organisms to help repair the ecosystems that perpetuate life on this planet.


11:15-12:15 p.m. Plenary #3

The Alabama Butterfly Atlas: A New Website Dedicated to Butterfly Research, Education, and Conservation

Paulette Ogard & Sara Bright

The new online Alabama Butterfly Atlas (ABA) is filled with hundreds of beautiful and informative images of this state’s butterflies. Pictures of caterpillars, eggs, and chrysalides enrich the species accounts. But photo galleries are just the beginning! Join us as we look at flight charts, county maps, and landscaping tips. Discover lists of caterpillar host plants that have been verified in Alabama, and see how they are live-linked to the Alabama Plant Atlas. Find educational resources that can be used by teachers and program presenters. And finally, learn how to contribute your own butterfly sightings to help build this valuable database.


12:15-1:30 p.m. - Lunch/Plant & Book Sales/Poster Session


1:30-5:00 p.m. – Concurrent Sessions

1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #1

Into the Water – Gardening with Native Aquatic Plants

Danny Cox

Adding a water feature to your landscape offers a new palette of plants you may grow, whether the water feature is an in-ground pond, a whisky barrel or a ceramic planter. Aquatic plants are excellent choices to provide food/habitat for many species of animals, and will attract birds, amphibians, dragonflies and others. This talk will focus on many native aquatic plants, how to grow them and their benefits.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #2

Dragons & Damsels: Creating Water Features to Attract and Nurture our Dragonflies and Damselflies

John Abbott

Water Features are becoming a popular way to “wildscape” your garden. They can not only add beauty to an area, but also attract and provide a home for a diverse array of wildlife, even in urban environments. I will talk specifically about how to attract dragonflies and other insects to a water feature in your yard. With the continued loss of many aquatic systems, digging ponds for dragonflies and damselflies can create stepping stones of habitat and provide much-needed aquatic resources to help replace wetlands that have been lost and degraded in many urban landscapes. I’ll go over some dos and don’ts for pond construction and discuss the insects that you can expect to see.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #3

Restoration of the American Chestnut: A Conservation-based Strategy to Breed for Resistance to the Chestnut Blight and Phytophthora Root Rot Diseases in the Southeas

J. Hill Craddock

Restoration of the American chestnut to the forests of the southeastern US depends on the concerted efforts of citizen scientists, enthusiastic volunteers, private landowners, university researchers, and state and federal agencies. It is a multidisciplinary undertaking, drawing together classical plant breeding and silvicultural techniques with molecular biology and recombinant DNA technologies. We are breeding and selecting for resistance to two catastrophic diseases: chestnut blight and Phytophthora root rot. Our breeding strategy is based on conservation of naturally occurring chestnut trees, hybridization with disease-resistant chestnut trees, screening for disease resistance, and testing of hybrid progeny under forest conditions. It's a long-term project. But the prognosis is good. We can move disease-resistance genes into American chestnut and recover disease resistant progeny in a way that allows us to conserve significant amounts of the genetic diversity of the native species. The Southeast, and Alabama in particular, harbors vast amounts of genetic diversity of great potential value that is largely unexplored.


1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent #4

In Some Melodious Plot of Green: Bird Song and Natural Soundscapes

J.R. Rigby

Gardens and gardening are a feast for the senses: the striking color of a rose, the smell of a gardenia, the feel of a spring breeze or soil in your hands, and of course the taste of a fresh tomato. Most of us, though, are comparatively oblivious to the sounds on the landscape. Birds provide the most conspicuous melodies of the garden, but a host of sounds characterize a place. Join us to explore natural soundscapes and what they can tell you about your favorite landscapes.


2:30-2:45 p.m. - Break


2:45-3:45 p.m. Concurrent #1

Identifying Common Beneficial and Pathogenic Fungi in the Landscape and Garden

Tradd Cotter 

Ever wonder what that mushroom is, popping up in the soil? Or why that fungus is colonizing your wood chips or even worse, the base of a otherwise healthy looking tree? Tradd Cotter can demystify the process of identifying fungi to strengthen your CSI skills in the field when you encounter any fungus, into determining its benefits or pathogenicity. Also included is how to propagate and perpetuate beneficial fungi and how to limit or suppress pathogenic fungi using natural organic protocols.


2:45-3:45 p.m. Concurrent #2

A Towering Ghost: The Cultural Legacy of Longleaf Pine in the Deep South

Mitchell Robinson

Once spanning 90 million acres from East Texas to Virginia, Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) was an essential member of the biotic and cultural communities of the Deep South. With Northern timber supplies rapidly depleted through the 18th and 19th century, this unparalleled natural resource fostered the naval shipyards in the US and England, and later fueled the vast turpentine industry. Yet, this stalwart of Southern culture was exhausted in the blink of an eye, as the introduction of industrial agriculture, fire suppression, and more favorable Loblolly Pine overtook its range. Having once covered 60 percent of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, it has been reduced to less than 3 million acres, two thousands of which are considered old growth. Lost, though not forgotten, are the habitats, flora, fauna and cultural legacies that comprised North America’s most diverse botanic spectacle. What drove the gravest destruction of habitat in modern history, and what do we have to learn from those remaining ghosts? This program will highlight the ecology of Longleaf Pine ecosystems and the historical industries that led to its demise, while paying reverence to the southern culture that was built around this unique species. Using images and artifacts, Mitch will introduce the techniques and practices that led to the disappearance of this vast ecosystem in just sixty short years.


2:45-3:45 p.m. Concurrent #3

Leatherflowers – Our Native Clematis, the Darlings of Native Vines

Aaron Floden

There are approximately 300 species of Clematis in the world, many of which have long been considered favored garden plants. In the southeast US, we have nearly 30 native species, which differ from the common garden clematis. Due to recent and ongoing research by our presenter and others in the Viorna complex, the Leatherflowers, there are more species than once thought. Several of these remarkable species will be profiled, many of which are rare; others easy to cultivate.


2:45-3:45 p.m. Concurrent #4

Bee-ing Alabama

Bashira Chowdhury

How we use our land, particularly to grow our food, has caused many of our pollination problems. We are growing more cereal crops, like wheat and corn, that do not support pollinators with food or nesting habitat. And just as important, these same crops do not necessarily give us the quality nutrition we need and celebrate the cultural undercurrents that tie us to our food and land. Alabama has one of the most diverse food cultures in the country, but it is slowly eroding because of our food choices. We will first talk about Alabama’s native food culture, a mix of native plants and pollinators interacting across our long growing season to bring us everything from violet syrups to lady peas. Next, we will dive into ways of curating this food culture through a combination of smarter landscaping, innovative cooking, and ultimately, making better choices at our local grocery stores. Finally, we sample this intersection of native plants and pollinators with a tasting of heritage foods from the area.


3:45-4 p.m. - Break


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #1

Tools for Learning the Southeastern Flora: New Floras, Wildflower Guides, Websites, and Apps

Alan Weakley

Learning the diverse Southeastern United States flora is challenging. So many plants (8281, and counting), so little time… But, gone are the days of trying to use Yankee field guides in Alabama, floras from 100 years ago, and “floras written by PhD professors for PhD professors”. In this session, we'll review some of the new tools being developed and made available every year, including new floras, wildflower guides, websites, social media, and apps.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #2

The Marvelous Flora of the Green Swamp, North Carolina

Jim Fowler

The Green Swamp Preserve in Brunswick County, North Carolina is regarded by many as a gem of floristic beauty. Composed of numerous longleaf pine savannahs, rich bottomland forest, and wild, impenetrable poccosins, the Green Swamp Preserve provides the perfect environment for native orchids as well as many varied and unusual carnivorous plants. Situated just southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, its 16,000 acres is constantly in bloom with native orchids and other interesting and rare wildflowers from March until December. The Preserve's native orchid species include two species of fringed orchids, one species of fringeless orchid, five species of ladies'-tresses orchids, a couple of rose pogonia species and several others. The peak orchid seasons are mid-May, mid-August, and early November. Orchids are not the only draw to the Preserve. The star performer is the Venus' fly-trap. The Green Swamp Preserve is ground zero for this rare carnivore which is native to only a handful of counties in North and South Carolina. In addition, four species of pitcher plants and their hybrids are evident in the savannahs, roadside ditches, and mucky swamps. The carnivorous plant family is rounded out with a strong showing of sundews, butterworts and bladderworts. This is truly a dangerous place for insects! Come visit this special place with me and learn why this is one of my favorite places to botanize and photograph nature.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #3

Birth of a Forest: Creating a Species Rich Beech-Magnolia-Oak Forest from Scratch

John Tobe

This is the story about creating a native forest. Beginning in the early 1970s the site was direct planted in a diverse forest, this resulted in an almost complete initial failure. After more observations of reference sites, in 1972, a new methodology involved planting loblolly, slash and longleaf pine on the west side of forest adapted trees, to act as a living shield from intense sunlight and heat. The pines were gradually removed, and this allowed for rapid growth of broad-leaved trees. The canopy trees were “released” and eventually created a closed canopy (1994-present). In the mid to late 1990s, sub-canopy trees were added as well as wildflowers. The challenges of this type of “natural” gardening will be discussed in the context sustainable landscapes and climate change.


4-5 p.m. Concurrent #4

Conservation of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Alabama.

Mark Bailey

Most of Alabama's nine native woodpeckers are fairly common and secure, but the ivory-billed is extinct and the red-cockaded is endangered. Once a common bird statewide, the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) requires mature, fire-maintained pine forest, a habitat that is now in very short supply. In Alabama, RCWs are now reduced to about 250 breeding pairs distributed among six populations, four on National Forests and two on private land. All of these populations are either stable or increasing, however. Mark has worked with one population in Bullock County that has increased by 900% in 10 years. He will discuss recent advances in management techniques as well as other aspects of the natural history of this fascinating bird.


DAY 4 

FIELD TRIPS Sunday, October 29

Field Trip #1 Bibb County Glades: Alabama’s Botanical Lost World

Tom Diggs

8:30-1 p.m.

Members $40 |Non-members $45

Step back 10,000 years into Alabama’s natural history and learn about the rare, unusual and endangered plants of this unique habitat. Eight species new to science were discovered there relatively recently, including several endemics. How these plants evolved and adapted to this unique place is a fascinating story. Difficulty: Mild-to-moderate, limited to 20.


Field Trip #2 Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

Jamie Nobles and Jon Woolley

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Members $35 |Non-members $40

Starting 40 years ago with only 23 acres of a mined mountain, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is now 1,038 acres of montane, urban forest protecting ecological systems and permitting public access. Attendees can expect a moderate 3 to 4 mile round-trip trail hike as we explore some of Ruffner’s forest community types, ecology, and possibly remnants of its industrial past. Difficulty: Moderate, limited to 20.


Field Trip #3 Never Enough Natives: An In-depth Look at the Native Plant Collections of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

John Manion

9-noon

Members $25 |Non-members $30

The seven-acre Kaul Wildflower Garden at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) holds one of the largest documented collections of native plants in the state, and is comprised of species native to Alabama and surrounding regions. Included in the collection are several rare, endangered and endemic plants. In addition to exploring the wildflower garden, participants will have the opportunity to see our behind-the-scenes propagation and conservation projects. Difficulty: Easy, limited to 20.


END OF CONFERENCE