Friday, June 22, 2012

4th Annual Midwest Native Plant Conference 
Early registration will end June 25th according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, for the Midwest Native Plant Conference. Participants registering for the full three day conference by the early bird deadline will receive a discount.  The common thread of the conference is native plants, but the event is multifaceted with great speakers and field trips, both covering a range of topics. 

The conference will be held July 27-29, 2012 at the spectacular Bergamo Center on the grounds of Mount St. John in Dayton, Ohio. Bergamo boasts an impressive 150-acre nature preserve. The conference offers plenty of native flora FOR SALE, field trips, and more. All activities are conveniently located steps away from the Bergamo Center’s lodging quarters.

Experienced and engaging speakers are a conference staple. This year the conference will feature three keynotes, Marielle Anzelone, Urban Plant Ecologist in New York City, Ian Adams, a legend in the world of natural history photography and finally Dr. David Wagner, also known as "Mr. Caterpillar", of the University of Connecticut. Breakout sessions will also be offered. Presenters for the breakout sessions include Michelle Banker, David Brandenburg, Wes Duran, Don Geiger, Cheryl Harner, Jan Hunter, Jim McCormac, Carol Mundy, Tara Poling and Stan Stine. To see a preview of what is in store, visit Jim McCormac's  blog post on June 20 for  even more information about the conference.

Royal Catchfly, Silene regia
This year's featured conference plant is the royal catchfly, Silene regia. These stunning prairie plants can tower to six feet or more, and are capped by dense spikes of brilliant scarlet flowers, a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird. Vendors will have royal catchfly for sale, along with many other outstanding native species.  The Bergamo Center’s open courtyard is a prime area for vendors to pack this space with all manner of plants – often described as the greatest selection of native flora you could find for sale in one spot in this region.  All vendors will be open to the general public on Saturday, July 28, from 9-4 pm.     

The conference is highlighted by the opportunity for attendees to get out in the field and see lots of plants in their natural haunts. Field trip sites include such iconic natural areas as Cedar Bog, Beavercreek Wildlife Area’s Siebenthaler Fen, Caesar Creek Gorge Nature Preserve. Late July is the time to see the fabulous prairies and fens that occur in the Dayton area and all of the trips are guided by expert botanists and naturalists.
General registration will remain open at the full rate until July 27th, space permitting. Registration material and complete conference details can be found at or by calling (937)477-1131.

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