Our mission is to promote the education, enjoyment, science and stewardship of native wildflowers and their habitats

Landscape Design: Where Art and Nature Meet

Sunday March 8 and Monday March 9, 2015
Kellogg Center, Michigan State University

The Michigan Wildflower Conference is designed for persons who are interested in Michigan native plants and their habitats. There will be general and concurrent sessions both days.

Location and accomodations
The conference is held at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing (map). Discounts on room rates are available for conference attendees until February 3, 2015, or until all rooms have been booked. Please call (800) 875-5090 for reservations.

To register for the conference, please print out a registration form, fill it in, and mail it with a check by February 25, 2015, to the address at the bottom of the form. After February 25, please bring your completed form and check to the registration desk at the conference. Please note that lunch cannot be guaranteed for walk-ins. Sorry, but WAM does not accept credit or debit cards.

Conference Agenda

Sunday, March 8, 2015

8:00am – 9:00am  Registration and Refreshments - Red Cedar Room

9:00am – 9:10am  Greetings and Announcements - Big Ten B-C

9:10am – 10:15am  Keynote Presentation - Big Ten A
DARREL MORRISON, Landscape Architect and two-time winner of the Outstanding Educator Award of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture
Landscape Design: Where Art and Nature Meet
Plant distribution patterns and plant succession in nature can inform and inspire designed landscapes. The relationship between ecology and design will be explored, looking at characteristics of the natural landscape as inspiration for designed landscapes. The characteristics of natural landscapes that seem to appeal to people, based on the work of environmental psychologists Steve and Rachel Kaplan at the University of Michigan, who have identified the characteristics of mystery, complexity, coherence and legibility, will be introduced. Darrel’s more recent projects, including the Native Woodland Garden at New York University, the Old Stone Mill at the New York Botanical Garden, and the new Native Flora Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, will be highlighted as well.

10:15am – 10:45am  Break
You are invited to visit our vendors in the Centennial Room.

10:45am – 11:45am
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
DAN KETO, 9th-Grade Biology Teacher, Kalamazoo Central High School
Reading the Landscape, Sense-of-Place Literacy
We become literate when we derive meaning from words and sentences. We begin reading the landscape, or become “landscape literate,” when we understand why a particular plant is growing in a certain place, in the same way we know why this sentence should end in a period. As any reader builds confidence, expands their interest, and becomes motivated to keep reading, so does the avid gardener build upon their thirst for knowledge. The quantity of resources available for learning about native plants and their communities can be overwhelming, and it sometimes feels like learning a foreign language. Using literacy-education strategies, we will explore fun, easy, and effective ways to quickly make meaning of our native landscapes and all that has been written about them.

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
RICK MEADER, Landscape Architect and owner of Ecological Edge LLC
Bringing Nature to Your Garden Party – Casual or Formal
Did you know that native plants can be used in casual as well as formal landscapes? The basics of landscape design will be reviewed, and Rick will share ways to incorporate native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and/or trees into your yard to add interest and attract birds, bees, and butterflies.
11:45am – 1:30pm  Grant Awards Lunch - Big Ten A - and Break

1:30pm – 2:30pm
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
MICHAEL KIELB, Faculty Member of the Biology Department at Eastern Michigan University
My Really Big Year
For years Michael has participated in "big year" challenges with others attempting to see as many bird species as possible in a year. Why limit the big year concept to birds, he thought? In 2014 this resulted in his recording as many species of plant, animal, and fungi as possible. This talk will focus on the thousand or so plants that were noted in the course of his wanderings in pursuit of diversity.

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
GEORGE W. BIRD, Professor, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
Soil Health Biology, with Special Reference to Listening to Nature
Professor Bird will provide an overview of the rapidly emerging imperative of Soil Health. He will describe the types of organisms that reside in soil and the nature of their functions. This will be followed by a discussion of the types of analyses used to measure soil health and procedures for soil health remediation and maintenance. The presentation will conclude with comments related to listening to nature in regards to successful wildflower systems.

Concurrent Session #3 - Room TBA
WAM Grant Writing Workshop
WAM grants fund projects that involve creating outdoor classrooms, enhancing an existing site, or developing other educationally directed projects that support the WAM Mission. This workshop will walk participants step by step through the application form and provide guidance into the review process. Attendees will come away better prepared to submit a grant in less time while being more competitive.

2:30pm – 2:45pm  Break

2:45pm – 3:45pm
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
BOB GRESE, Director of the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, Professor of Landscape Architecture and the Theodore Roosevelt Chair in Ecosystem Management in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Michigan
Putting Your Native Garden to Work: Designing for Conservation, Sustainability, and Beauty
Native gardens are frequently proposed for novel situations, such as green roofs and lawn extensions, and often serve key functions such as filtering stormwater and preventing erosion on difficult sites. Design and functional characteristics of these new native gardens with an eye to their aesthetics and value as part of larger conservation and sustainability initiatives will be explored. 

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
JIM MCGRATH, Nature Discovery founder and wildlife biologist.
Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians Up Close
Over 50 species of reptiles and amphibians can be found within Michigan’s borders, yet nearly all populations are in decline due to human influences. The more citizens learn about the identification, necessary habitat, behavior, and ecology of each species, the better their chances of survival. Beautiful Powerpoint images, original audio recordings, and live specimens of a cross-section of Michigan-native snakes, turtles, frogs, and salamanders are used to educate and captivate audience members throughout this dynamic presentation.

3:45pm – 4:00pm  Break

4:00pm – 5:00pm  Annual Meeting - Red Cedar Room
A cash bar will be available.

Monday, March 9, 2015

8:00am – 9:00am  Registration and Refreshments - Red Cedar Room

9:00am – 9:10am  Greetings and Announcements - Big Ten B-C

9:10am – 10:15am  Keynote Presentation - Big Ten A
DARREL MORRISON, Landscape Architect and two-time winner of the Outstanding Educator Award of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture.
Landscape Design: The Four-Dimensional Art
Whereas paintings are essentially two-dimensional, and architecture and sculpture are three-dimensional, designed landscapes are four-dimensional, with time being the fourth dimension. Growth of individual plants, reproduction and migration, and shifting patterns over time characterize the designed landscape, just as they also occur in nature. Hence, a landscape design is always a "work in progress." The Native Plants Garden at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison, WI, will provide illustrations of the dynamics of a planted native garden from its initial installation in 2002 up to the present.

10:15am – 10:45am  Break

10:45am – 11:45am
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
JULIA KIRKWOOD, Senior Environmental Quality Analyst, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Division: Nonpoint Source Program and Chair - Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership
Restoring and Protecting Inland Lakes with Natural Shorelines
Did you know that the biggest threat to the overall health of inland lakes is lakeshore development? The practice of hardening inland lake shorelines with vertical sea walls and removal of native vegetation has resulted in water-quality problems and the cumulative loss of important habitat for fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), formed in 2008, has created educational programs and supporting resources to promote, protect, and implement natural landscaping and erosion-control techniques to protect Michigan’s inland lakes. Learn how the MNSP is promoting the use of native plants and helping to make native plant choices easier in the natural shoreline landscape.

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
DREW LATHIN, Owner of Creating Sustainable Landscapes, LLC
All About Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are shallow depressions that collect rainwater before it enters the municipal stormwater system. Rain gardens alleviate problems associated with flooding and drainage; recharge the groundwater supply on site; keep water clean by filtering stormwater before it enters local waterways; provide habitat and food for wildlife, including butterflies and pollinators, when populated with native plants; and enhance the beauty of individual yards and communities. Participants will learn how rain gardens work, as well as how to design and build a rain garden.

11:45am – 1:30pm  Luncheon - Big Ten A - and Break
A door-prize drawing will be held during lunch.

1:30pm – 2:30pm
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
STEVE KETO, Natural Areas and Preserves Manager, Western Michigan University
The Power of Community
Steve will trace the rise of native plant awareness and the modern Land Ethic through selected works of famous environmental writers from Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold to Tom and Nancy Small. The use of different native plant forms, including trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, and their importance and function in a diverse and sustainable natural landscape will be discussed.

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
KEN WEIKAL and BETH HAGENBUCH, Kenneth Weikal Landscape Architecture
Landscape Design: Getting Closer to Nature in Artificial Environments
Introducing native plants and landscapes into the non-indigenous environments in our cities and suburbs presents many challenges: harsh man-made conditions, disturbed and compacted soils, contaminated brownfields, client demands, and not least, human perceptions. In this session we will look at how landscape architects create opportunities for greater understanding and acceptance of native landscapes through the art of landscape design. Recent Kenneth Weikal Landscape Architecture projects, including Lafayette Greens in Detroit, illustrate how artificial hybrid environments incorporating native plants and plant communities can draw people into closer relationships with nature. 

1:30pm – 3:45pm  Please note the extended time of this session.
Concurrent Workshop - Room TBA
(Space is limited, and registration is required; check the box on your registration form.)
GAIL GUTH, Freelance artist and principal and owner of Guth Illustration & Design
Botanical Drawing: Seeing What’s Really There
The first step to good botanical illustration—or any illustration, for that matter—is accurate observation. Plants are incredibly complex structures, and drawing them is a challenge; sometimes it seems impossible to capture the correct form and detail. Through a series of visuals and exercises, Gail will lead participants through the process of accurately observing plants and flowers, analyzing structure and form, and translating that analysis to paper, from rough sketches to more finished work. She will incorporate suggestions on layout (placing the image on the page), media and techniques to use, whether to use backgrounds or not, light and shadow, and rendering textures. Participants in this workshop will work in black-and-white, using graphite pencil and paper; the use of color and color media will be discussed.

2:30pm – 2:45pm  Break

2:45pm – 3:45pm
Concurrent Session #1 - Big Ten B
SHAUN HOWARD, Nature Conservancy Eastern Lake Michigan Project Manager
Eastern Lake Michigan Dune Ecology and Restoration
The Great Lakes contain the world's largest freshwater dune system, totaling 275,000 acres of perched, parabolic, and linear dunes, with the majority of these ecosystems located throughout the Eastern Lake Michigan shoreline. This region is also a crucial component of Michigan's growing eco-tourism economy, providing innumerable recreation and quality-of-life benefits. Unfortunately, Eastern Lake Michigan also faces the ongoing threat of habitat degradation, with one of the largest factors being the introduction and proliferation of terrestrial invasive plant species. The Michigan Dune Alliance has implemented landscape-scale invasive plant control across over 500 miles of Eastern Lake Michigan shoreline, and these management efforts are implemented across 36,000 acres of coastal land in Eastern Lake Michigan. Future efforts include creating a healthy set of semi-contiguous natural areas, incorporating Lake Michigan island management, and exporting lessons learned to other Great Lakes coastlines.

Concurrent Session #2 - Big Ten C
CHERYL ENGLISH, President Emeritus of Master Gardeners of Greater Detroit and Owner of Black Cat Pottery.
Bringing Natives Home
Perhaps the greatest barrier to including native plants in the traditional home garden is the typical gardener's mistaken impression that natives are somehow "different" from the plants more commonly seen in the cultivated landscape. While they are different, their differences lay in their benefits to the wider landscape and the minimal care they require, when properly sited, once established. Explore some combinations—some planned, others fortuitous—of native species and traditional garden plants to inspire your own gardening adventures.