Celebrate the South’s biodiversity at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Native Plant Conference

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens supporters – photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

Want to fall in love with bees, mushrooms, nature’s colors, bogs, longleaf pine forests, orchids, butterflies and much much more? Here is your chance. Register today for the Native Plant Conference at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The conference which is one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast is aptly titled “Celebrating the Astounding Biodiversity of the Southeast.”

The four day conference features an endless buffet of speakers, field trips, receptions.

A sampling of the presentation titles and descriptions (links) include:

Pre-Conference workshops/presentations – October 26th

Mushroom Cultivation for Everyone
Earth Colors
Living Landscapes – Designing for Biodiversity
Habitats for Humans and Pollinators 

Day 2 – Plenary Presentations

The Native Flora of the Southeastern United States – Deep, Diverse, Durable, Deserving… but Endangered
Beyond Saving the Bees
Our Beautiful Southern Bogs  

Additional examples of the concurrent sessions:

In Some Melodious Plot of Green: Bird Song and Natural Soundscapes
Dragons and Damsels: Creating Water Features to Attract and Nurture Our Dragonflies and Damselflies;
A Towering Ghost: The Cultural Legacy of Longleaf Pine in the Deep South
Restoration of the American Chestnut
Birth of a Forest: Creating a Species Rich Beech-Magnolia-Oak Forest from Scratch

On Saturday morning conservationist and nature writer Bill Finch will be honored at the conference.  Finch will also give a presentation about the many opportunities  across the South to preserve its abundant biodiversity and landscapes.

“This conference puts our state and your garden at the center of efforts to preserve our country’s biological richness.” stated Finch.

Birmingham Alabama
Bill Finch – photo via Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The conference resumes on Saturday with more presentations about the South’s biodiversity, including appearances from local favorites Mark Bailey and Butterflies of Alabama authors Sara Bright and Paulette Ogard.

About his lecture on the connection between Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, native plants and biodiversity, conservation biologist Mark Bailey stated – “Managing for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers requires frequent prescribed fire, and that in turn benefits a treasure trove of rare and declining plant species that require a fire maintained landscape. It’s all interconnect and and important to the South’s biodiversity.”

The conference concludes on Sunday with Field trips.

Birmingham Alabama
Ruffner Mountain’s “Tree House” visitor center

Field Trip #1 Bibb County Glades: Alabama’s Botanical Lost World
Field Trip #2 Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve
Field Trip #3 Never Enough Natives: An In-depth Look at the Native Plant Collections of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The field trip at Ruffner Mountain will have added significance since it coincides with the celebration of the nature preserve’s 40th Anniversary this month.

If you love nature, this is a can’t miss event.  Checkout how you can attend the entire four days of the conference and/or special lectures.  All the details about registration can be found – HERE. 

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Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama’s cancer risk and mercury standards.

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