Monday, November 28, 2016

Press Release: NOFA Annual Gathering December 9th

For Immediate Release - November 28, 2016 Derby, CT:
     CT NOFA and its NOFA Organic Land Care Program are pleased to announce the 11th Annual Gathering of Land Care Professionals on December 9, 2016.  The event will take place at the Aqua Turf in Southington, CT and features prominent garden speakers, writers, researchers and filmmakers all addressing the theme "Biodiversity in the Landscape." This conference is very timely, as the Connecticut legislature unanimously voted in the Spring of 2016 and approved SB231 An Act Concerning Pollinator Health, an act which aims to reduce the use of neonicotinoids and to create a pollinator advisory council to reduce further pollinator die-off.
Catherine Zimmerman, The Meadow Project
      Coming from Maryland, activist, author and film director Catherine Zimmerman will be delivering the keynote speech "Creating Habitat Heroes across the Nation" and sharing what she learned while traversing across the country and filming people who are committed to planting native plants and designing habitat-friendly gardens.
     Catherine's latest film is called "Hometown Habitat" and demonstrates the impact which local garden and environmental groups can have when they educate the public about planting sustainably and in favor of the local environmental conditions and fauna.  This approach is in contrast to our contemporary yardscape which may contain a sterile monoculture of lawn and a few ornamental plants which often do not supply nectar or nesting places for our native pollinators to live and survive. Catherine hopes her new documentary will help fire up the movement toward making natural landscapes the new landscaping norm!
Karen Bussolini
Karen Bussolini is a national garden speaker and writer hailing from Kent, Connecticut. Karen will give a talk called "The Year-Round Pollinator Garden" and will highlight plant varieties which appeal to pollinators in early Spring, late Fall and Winter which many gardeners do not plan for in their designs. Karen is a seasoned garden photographer and has co-authored many garden books such as the "The Naturescaping Workbook."

Linda Walczak
     Julie Snell and Linda Walczak from TEND Landscape, Inc. located in Philadelphia, PA. will bring an urban design perspective to the conference when they present "Biodiversity in Urban Gardens - Opportunities and Challenges." The two women met while working at Pennsylvania Horticultural Society which designs and manages hundreds of city gardens and parks. Now they work in their own landscape design firm continuing to offer an organic approach to urban land care through design.
Julie Snell

 Diane St. John will represent Natureworks Garden Center in Northford, CT, where she leads the efforts to raise hundreds of monarch butterflies each summer.  She will teach the audience about the process of taking care of these magical creatures from eggs to butterflies, which at times fill the
garden center with cages and chrysalises beyond capacity!
Diane St. John, Natureworks Garden Center
   The conference will have two academic researchers presenting their work.  Dr. Kim Stoner is an entomologist from Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.  Her day job includes researching the effects of pesticides on pollinators, writing formal research papers, and speaking at
Dr. Kim Stoner, CAES
national conferences.  In addition, Dr. Stoner spent years founding the NOFA Organic Land Care Program to advocate for safe, sustainable land care practices in the non-agricultural arena.  Kim will be presenting "What do Bees Need?" in order to inform the audience about bee populations, their food sources and nesting patterns so they can be preserved and not harmed by landscaping practices.
John Campanelli, UCONN
     The second academic presenter will be John Campanelli, a graduate student in Ecological Restoration from University of Connecticut. John will share his research on "Native Mixes for Borders and Roadways" with the audience.  John hopes his research will help CT Department of Transportation to easily select the best plant mixes for roadside establishment, plants which will be low maintenance, not require herbicide applications, and which will also be a food source for pollinators - a win-win!
     The audience will include landscapers, environmental educators and related professionals who directly care about our landscapes, many of whom have completed the 30-hour NOFA Accreditation Course in Organic Land Care. All are welcome and can sign up at or call 203-308-2584.