Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sustainable Landscape Symposium

Ohio Sustainable Landscape Symposium
Saturday, September 15, 2012
8:30am - 4pm
Hosted by The Dawes Arboretum, in partnership with Licking County Master Gardeners.
Learn about the benefits of native plants, their importance to the green industry, and practical approaches to sustainable landscaping.  Discover new ways to integrate sustainable “green” ideas into widespread traditional practices.

 From the keynote address to the twenty-minute talks and garden tour, spend the day at this exciting symposium exploring a world of native plants that are both beautiful and ecologically important!

One of the world’s most distinguished horticulturists, Allan M. Armitage, is a professor at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he teaches, conducts research on new garden plants, and runs the University of Georgia Horticulture Gardens.  Charming, lively and highly knowledgeable, Dr. Armitage is in constant demand as a speaker and has lectured worldwide.

Additional symposium presenters include plant experts and designers from The Dawes Arboretum, The Ohio State University, and Central Ohio.  Symposium fee includes lunch and garden tour.

Early bird registration through September 1 - $50, after September 1 - $60

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ohio Invasive Plants Council

Strengthing the Bridge between Research & Management

OIPC's annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2013 at Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center, OH (just north of Columbus). 

Asian Bittersweet is taking over a Lake County Ohio Metropark.
The Ohio Invasive Plants Council is a coalition of agencies, organizations, and individuals throughout Ohio concerned about the introduction, spread, and control of invasive, non-native plants in Ohio's natural habitats. OIPC promotes public awareness of invasive species issues and encourages land management and research to detect invasive species and prevent new invasions into natural ecosystems.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mark Brand, University of Connecticut:
"Horticultural forms of barberry and euonymus: Are they really that invasive?"

Other presentations by:
Nidia Arguedas, Cleveland Metro Parks.
Kendra Cipollini, Wilmington College.
Ryan McEwan, University of Dayton.
Helen Michaels, Bowling Green State University.
Joanne Rebbeck , USDA Forest Service.
Crysta Gantz, University of Notre Dame
For more information:
Or contact: David Gorchov, Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056:

Call for Abstracts:
We invite researchers and land managers to present
posters at this conference. Abstracts must be
received by Nov. 21, 2012. Abstracts will not be
published, but will be made available to conference
participants and at the OIPC website. Information on
submission will be made available later this summer

Registration is $30. Online registration is now available hereFor more information: or contact: David Gorchov, Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056:


Thursday, August 23, 2012


SEPTEMBER 15, 2012  9:00-3:00  
Grange Insurance Audubon Center
505 W. Whittier Street
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 545-5475
Post by Jim McCormac,

A stunning female Autumn Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum, regards your blogger with her inscrutable, beautiful bicolored eyes.

Dragonflies and damselflies - the Order Odonata - are among the world's most successful insects. They're on every continent but Antarctica, and have outlasted the dinosaurs. "Odes" are also aesthetically stunning, masters of flight, and rabid predatory carnivores. What's not to like?

On Saturday, September 15, the Midwest Native Plant Society and Grange Insurance Audubon Center (GIAC) will be hosting a workshop entitled: "Dragonflies and Damselflies: the fascinating world of Odonata". It'll take place at the gorgeous new GIAC, from 9 am until 3 pm. The cost is only 30 smackers, and that includes lunch. To register, just pop off an email to GIAC's own Ann Balogh at or ring her up at 614-545-5481.

We'll learn lots about these interesting six-legged beasts, because two experts will be in the house and delivering their characteristically interesting and informative PowerPoints. There'll also be a third speaker - me - and I'll do my best to offer up a potpourri of informative dragon info. There's some nice wetlands and a huge river right outside the center's doors, and we'll hit those habitats to find some of these critters in the flesh.

That's a male eastern pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis, above. Don't EVER come back as a bug and get yourself in the crosshairs of one of these. It'll snap you up and eat you. Pondhawks, gram for gram, are among the most brutish predators on earth.

This animal, which at least in the coloration department looks nothing like the other pondhawk, is indeed a pondhawk of the same species. Many species of dragonflies are dimorphic - the males and females look quite different, just as with some birds. Fortunately a true Odonata Master, Bob Glotzhober of the Ohio Historical Society, will be at the workshop. Bob's got a great talk on the basics of dragonfly identification, which also covers lots of other basics about damsels and dragons. Bob literally wrote THE BOOK.

This plant, and others of its ilk, are VERY important for dragonfly reproduction. I'm going to talk mostly about finding dragonflies and the various habitats that various species frequent, and touch on the ecological roles that they play, including plants that are ode-friendly. I'll also throw in tips about how to photograph these often flighty insects once you've got them in your sights. Getting up close and personal with an insect that can see in nearly every direction simultaneously, and far better than you do, can be a challenge.

This calico pennant, Celithemis elisa, is a true showstopper and epitomizes the artistic beauty of these animals. Small wonder the Odonata have inspired many an artist. Janet Creamer of the Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Department, is also on the slate and I know that the beauty of these insects has inspired her to delve into the mysteries of the Odonata. Janet is a naturalist's naturalist, and a wonderful presenter. She knows tons about the subject at hand and will deliver a fun fact-filled presentation about the intriguing and lesser known aspects of dragonflies.

My, what eyes you have! If you come, I will guarantee that you'll see many an image like this. Between the three of us who will be taking the lectern, we've got scads of cool shots. We'll romp through about all of the common damselfly and dragonfly species that occur in Ohio, and hopefully offer up a good overview. This show is geared towards beginning and intermediate enthusiasts, and none of us will get overly technical.

Photography has hugely enhanced my appreciation of the Odonata, and pursuing these bugs with a lens has helped me to learn far more about their habits and habitats. I'm not suggesting that you wade in to the wetlands shoulder deep - I'll do it for you, and share the results!

If you have an interest in dragonflies, I think you'll enjoy this workshop, and I hope that you can make it. Again, to register just email or call Ann Balogh at or 614-545-5481.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Clean Out Bluebird Boxes

I’ll admit that I can be a little bit lazy. I know that you’re supposed to clean out bluebird boxes after the young fledge. The old nests tend to harbor botflies and other parasites, which can certainly be detrimental to the next brood. Bluebirds successfully raised a brood at our Adams County cabin several weeks ago, but I didn’t get around to cleaning out the box until I saw the adults checking out the available lodging for a second brood.

You can see the old nesting material spilling out of the hole. Time to stop being lazy, and get it cleaned out. It only takes a few seconds, after all. It’s not like cleaning out my car. But when I opened the box, I realized that it wasn’t empty. I thought at first a mouse had taken up residence, but it was quite a bit bigger.

This guy scampered out of the box, up the tree, and then glided to another nearby tree. It’s a Southern Flying Squirrel, Glaucomys volans. Although they are supposedly fairly common, it’s only the second time I have ever seen one. My first sighting was many years ago, at a feeder in Hamilton County which they were known to frequent.

Flying Squirrels are strictly nocturnal, as you might guess from its large eyes. This one wouldn’t have been in the open if I hadn’t rousted it from its daytime abode. Since they frequently live in abandoned woodpecker holes, the bluebird box was a logical substitute. They aren’t capable of powered flight, like a bird or a bat. Instead they glide downward from one tree to another, as this one did, using a membrane which stretches between their wrists and ankles to get a little lift.

I’ll leave this box alone for a few weeks before I check it again, and I won’t clean it out until my guest moves on. The bluebirds will just have to find another place for their next nest.

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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Up Under Your Trees? A Native Shrub Workshop

What's Up Under Your Trees? A Native Shrub Workshop.
June 16, 2012 9am to 3pm. $8.00 includes lunch. Earth Connection, Cincinnati Ohio. Please join us to learn more about native plants that grow under the canopy of large trees in Eastern Forests and how you can incorporate shrubs and wildflowers into your home landscape. Speakers include: Christine Hadley, President of Cincinnati Wildflower Preservation Society, will discuss invasive shrubs, such as Honeysuckle, how to remove it and efforts being made by local groups to eradicate invasive from local restoration projects, including Ohio State Preserves. Brian Jorg, horticulturist for CREW at the Cincinnati Zoo will show us how to propagate native wildflowers. Chris McCullough, President Greater Cincinnati Wild Ones, will talk about native alternative shrubs for Amur Honeysuckle. Debi Wolterman, Midwest Native Plant Society, will show a video of her bio-hedge and explain what plants she selected and why; then what plants NOT to select, as well as how to deal with neighbors on the other side of the hedge. Tim Sisson, President of Western Wildlife Corridor, will lead a hike to show native shrubs and local efforts to restore prime forest habitat in our area. The hike will last approximately 1-1 ½ hours. Easy to moderate walking. Native plants will be available for purchase from Keystone Flora Cost: $8.00 Includes lunch, pay at the door. Cash only, sorry no checks accepted Location: Earth Connection, 370 Neeb Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45233 (across from Mt. St. Joseph College in Delhi) About 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati Registration: RSVP by June 1 to or call 513-941-6497 and leave your name and the number attending. Sponsored by the Midwest Native Plant Society.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

4th Annual Midwest Native Plant Conference-Registration is now Open!

We have some exciting news!

Registration for the 4th Annual Midwest Native Plant Conference is now open!

This year's conference will be held at Bergamo Conference Center, located on the beautiful grounds of Mt. Saint John Nature Preserve, in Dayton, Ohio from July 27, 28 & 29, 2012.

Here are some great reasons why you should register for the Midwest Native Plant Conference:

  • Learn about native plants and their ecosystems from professionals in their fields
  • Shop our native plant vendors for the widest array of native plants available anywhere
  • Meet other attendees and share your experiences with native plants
  • Visit native areas rich in many species with an experienced guide
  • Walk the restored prairie, woodland and meadows of Mt. St. John Preserve during your stay
  • Join the morning bird walks and evening walks of discovery
  • Meet and talk with our keynote speakers, David Wagner, Marielle Anzelone, Ian Adams and Cheryl Harner.
  • Peruse the booths of nature-related arts and crafts for sale
  • Buy a book and have it signed by the author
  • Extend your stay and explore Greene County shops, nature areas, Air Force Museum, and towns
  • Connect with nature

If you register early, you will reserve your spot, receive a discounted weekend rate, and help to ensure that you will be able attend your favorite field trip. We offer Friday and Saturday only options as well. The conference website offers a conference registration form, a lodging reservation form, bios and program descriptions for all keynote and breakout speakers, and field trip descriptions. Our vendors will be open to the public on Saturday, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Please join us to "Connect with Nature"!

The Midwest Native Plant Society