A New Place to Gather: Using Native Plants to Create Welcoming Outdoor Spaces

Join us for an online ecological landscapes workshop to learn about implementing healthy, native ecosystem designs into functioning outdoor spaces

Thursday, October 15, 2020
8:30am - 1:00pm Eastern Online Event

A New Place to Gather: Using Native Plants to Create Welcoming Outdoor Spaces

October 15, 2020


Register Here

As the world has recently changed, so has our perspective about gathering outdoors. In this era of social distancing, creating native outdoor spaces for classrooms, offices, medical waiting rooms, family meeting spaces for the elderly, recreation, and our own backyards has never been more important. In this new normal, where we need quiet, peaceful outdoor spaces, there is no time like the present to learn about healthy, native ecosystems and habitats from experts in the industry.

Join Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center (TRSAC) and Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) for an exciting online workshop with keynote speaker Larry Weaner of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates (founded in 1982). Larry’s knowledge combines expertise in horticulture, environmental science, and the traditions of garden design. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Garden Design, American Gardener, Wildflower magazine, and the North American Native Plant Society’s The Blazing Star. He has also won numerous awards for his work.

Other expert speakers include: Rusty Schmidt from Long Island Native Plant Initiative and Nelson, Pope, and Voorhis, Jillian Bell from Audubon Connecticut, and Helen Forgione from Natural Area Conservancy.

Topic Highlights

  • Native plants and invasives
  • Ecological design for functional spaces
  • Benefits for people and beyond
  • Implementation tools, tips, and strategies
  • Community and team collaboration
  • And more!

Workshop Fee: $45 per person (limited-time discounted rate, $70 per person after October 8)

  • Continuing Education Credits available (4 hours of content / credit hours, for LA CES, CNLP, CCE Master Gardener, ISA credits)
  • Hosted on Zoom (log-in info will be sent to you via email after you register)
  • Your workshop fee helps to advance the work of TRSAC and LINPI—thank you for your support!

For questions or more information, email or call 516-922-3200.


8:15 - 8:30 a.m. — Zoom Log-In Support

8:30 - 8:35 a.m. — Welcome TRSAC and LINPI

8:35 - 9:20 a.m. — Defining Native: Healing and Memory Gardens—Respite in a Corporate and Medical World

Presenter: Rusty Schmidt, Landscape Ecologist (Nelson, Pope, and Voorhis) and President of LINPI

Learn about the differences between native species, native cultivars, aggressive species, and invasive species, as well as the impacts of each on ecosystems as Rusty shares demonstrative projects and methods on how to create safe outdoor spaces. These natural havens offer places to visit with loved ones, providing a restorative environment for reflection and rejuvenation, while still sustaining a true habitat and mini-ecosystem. The spaces are designed for the patient, worker, student, and all to visit, work, and find respite. Multi-functional spaces like these also allow for the creation of small habitats that benefit birds, insects, and wildlife. It's essential for a healthy living space to include outdoor areas, especially in this stressful time. Everyone needs a space that provides clean air, solace, and quiet—establishing these spaces through sustainable design that uses native plants, healthy soils, and cleansing water is key.

9:20 - 10:05 a.m. — Audubon's Bird-Friendly Communities and Schoolyard Habitat Program

Presenter: Jillian Bell, Bird-Friendly Communities Program Associate (Audubon Connecticut)

Audubon Connecticut’s Schoolyard Habitat Program is an initiative that develops healthy schoolyard habitats for both children and wildlife, integrates place-based environmental education into the school curriculum, and promotes environmentally-friendly practices among children and their families at home and within their community. Working with our partners, this innovative program establishes a vibrant and sustainable network of schoolyard habitats in urban communities that engages schools in place-based, community-focused environmental education, and stewardship. It is an integral part of Audubon’s larger Urban Oases initiative. In this session, learn more about this initiative and discover how Audubon and its partners are using a combination of local land stewardship, demonstration gardens, citizen science, and innovative education and teacher training programs to create a replicable model for community-based conservation that engages diverse audiences and transforms parks, schools, and other green spaces into beneficial places for wildlife and people.

10:05 - 10:15 a.m. — Break

10:15 - 11 a.m. — Choosing Appropriate Climate-Adapted Plants for Restoration and Native Gardens

Presenter: Helen Forgione, Senior Ecologist (Natural Areas Conservancy)

Get a firsthand look at conservation with plants in action with an introduction to the Natural Areas Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to restore and conserve NYC's 20,000 acres of forests and wetlands for the benefit and enjoyment of all. Helen will share how all this is possible by way of restoration work within the five boroughs, including collaborative work with local community groups and native planting restorations in areas of NYC that benefit communities traditionally under-served by access to green spaces. She will also introduce a web-based application developed to select appropriate native plants based on the natural plant community present and climate change considerations.

11 - 11:10 a.m. — Break

11:10 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. — Finding Your Niche: Establishing an Ecological Focus for Your Landscape Projects

Presenter: Larry Weaner, Principal and Founder (Larry Weaner Landscape Associates)

Demand for ecologically beneficial landscapes is increasing, and businesses and individuals with an ecological focus are realizing an expanded client base and public interest with an invigorated creative atmosphere. Implementing an ecological approach, however, requires knowledge and skills rarely taught in horticulture and design programs. This presentation will guide landscape architects, designers, contractors, and others interested in gaining know-how through what’s needed to establish a respected, visible presence in the fields of ecological landscape design and management. Participants will gain a new understanding of local plant communities, learn about design projects modeled on regional ecosystems, acquire practical design, restoration, and management techniques, and discover new ways to grow their skills and business. Learn how to select natives for designing outdoor commercial or residential gathering spaces that will not negatively impact the surrounding environment, while enhancing the aesthetic of the space.

12:10 - 1 p.m. — Panel Q & A With All Presenters

Register Here

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