Tending Nature Study Group, Week 6

This week we’ll focus on garden design and the practical aspects of incorporating native plants into the garden or landscape. Author, instructor and garden designer Debra Knapke will deliver our Friday webinar: “Native Plants in My Garden? Absolutely!”

The garden sage landscape

Debra is an expert horticulturist and the author of several Ohio-specific books on plant material. She is also involved in many community projects in Central Ohio, including the native plantings at the Governor’s Mansion, the Franklin County OSU Extension office at OSU’s Waterman Farm, and Chadwick Arboretum. She understands the tension between great garden plants and what the industry can grow and market, and believes native plants can be included in most any landscape.

This week’s journal prompts will focus on your garden. How would you describe your gardening style? How can you use native plants to enhance your garden spaces? Which plants are on your “wish list” this year?

Last week, our Tending Nature study group here in Ohio invited Livia Raulinaitis to a zoom meetup to discuss native plants for specialist bees, with a focus on Ohio. Livia just relocated from Ohio where she worked in plant conservation with the Dawes Arboretum to a position in Maine with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. I’ve posted the video here for you to enjoy.

It’s hard to believe we’ve reached Week 6 of Tending Nature! All readings, materials and recordings will be accessible indefinitely on this website as well as on YouTube. Feel free to share resources and recordings with others.

I welcome your input, comments and suggestions. Thanks for all you do to help spread the word about the importance of Native Plants and Every Gardener’s Role in Fostering Biodiversity!

I hope to see you in March as we launch the Bumble Bee Short Course for Community Scientists.



Tending Nature Study Group, Week 5

This week we’ll focus on those flying teddy bears beloved by almost everyone: bumble bees.  Author and Biologist Heather Holm will be our featured presenter on Friday as she discusses the “Bumble Bee Banquet: Selecting Native Plants for Bumble Bees.” Heather is the author of several excellent books on bees, wasps and native plants. Heather’s camera is always close at hand when she’s out in the field, so her programs come to life with her amazing photographs. Find more about Heather’s work and books here.

books by heather holm

Prompts for the journal will also focus on bumble bees. Which bumble bee species are common to your area? What resources does your garden offer bumble bees, including forage (food) and nesting resources? Consult Conserving Bumble Bees from The Xerces Society for strategies to help bumble bees.

This week we’ll finish up Bringing Nature Home with chapters 13 and 14 and the Afterword. In Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, we’ll read chapter 5, Places to Raise Young.

Last week, our Tending Nature study group here in Ohio invited Amy Stone to a zoom meetup to discuss invasive plants, with a focus on problem plants in Ohio. I’ve posted the video here for you to enjoy.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you on Friday!



Tending Nature Study Group, Week 4

This week, we’ll turn our attention to specialist bees. Bryan Danforth of Cornell University will illuminate the fascinating world of specialist bees in Friday’s Tending Nature webinar (10AM EASTERN). These bees live their lives in tight association with specific plant groups, depending on a narrow range of pollen to nourish the bee larvae. Bryan is coauthor of The Solitary Bees: Biology, Evolution and Conservation. He and a team of authors published the recent guide to specialist bees: Creating a pollinator garden for native specialist bees of New York and the Northeast. Read through pages 1 – 4 for an overview of specialist bees to get you ready for Bryan’s talk.

Not surprisingly, the journal prompts this week focus on specialist bees. Who are the specialist bees in your region, and which native plants can you add to provide habitat? Check the Learn With Us reading list for this week to find Eastern, Central and Western specialist bees. Ohio even has its own guide to specialist bees.

This week’s readings in Bringing Nature Home (chapters 11 and 12) will focus on specific plants and garden strategies we can take to enhance backyard habitat. In chapter 4 in Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife we’ll turn our attention to providing cover. Over the last year I’ve been working with OSU wildlife specialist Marne Titchenell on a factsheet project. Marne has helped me gain an appreciation for the many plants that provide cover for birds and others. With over 16″ of snow on the ground this week, my yard’s shrub dogwoods, brambles, spruce trees and  a few large brush piles are providing many sheltered places for birds struggling to reach my feeders and hide from the Cooper’s hawk.

Last week, our Tending Nature study group here in Ohio invited Marne to a zoom meetup to discuss native plants for birds, with a focus on Ohio plants. Marne is an excellent educator; I’ve posted the video here for you to enjoy.

Find Marne’s most recent The Wildside@OSU” blog post here.

Enjoy your week! I look forward to “seeing” you on Friday to learn more about specialist bees from Bryan Danforth!



Tending Nature Study Group, Week 3

In the first week of Tending Nature, we considered what E.O. Wilson called “the little things that run the world” with Mary Gardiner’s focus on beneficial insect biodiversity. In Week 2 we zoomed out to consider the importance of native plants with Doug Tallamy. In Week 3, we’ll broaden our gaze to consider the human community. How can neighbors, neighborhoods, organizations work together to enhance habitat using native plants?

In our Friday webinar, Lisa Olsen of Wild Ones presents, “Cultivating a Community of Support for Native Plants.” Three wild ones garden designsWild Ones has developed a series of landscape designs using native plants for nine U.S. cities, including plant lists and video webinars with the garden designers with the premise with, “the premise that using native plants in landscaping can be beautiful, promote wildlife, and be achievable for gardeners of all skillsets in terms of scope and budget.” Learn more about Wild Ones and their exciting Native Plant Garden Designs (and other resources) on our Learn With Us page.

This week’s readings in Bringing Nature Home focus on building balanced communities, gardening for insect diversity, and suggestions for balancing habitat enhancement efforts with the expectations of our neighbors. In chapter 3 of Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, we’ll consider strategies to bring water into the landscape.

Participants in urban areas (and everyone else!) will want to view Gerardo Camilo‘s recent webinar, “The City as Refuge for Insect Pollinators.” Dr. Camilo describes why cities are such important places for pollinator biodiversity. He also discusses St. Louis Audubon Society’s “Bringing Conservation Home” effort which provides a model for creating certified landscapes to benefit wildlife. All five “Pollinators in the City webinar speakers were fabulous (Mary Gardiner, Reed Johnson, Scott MacIvor and Damon Hall); recordings are available to view indefinitely.

Enjoy exploring the resources, papers, and readings this week. “See” you at Friday’s webinar!

Tending Nature Study Group, Week 2

In Week 1 of Tending Nature, we learned about the importance of insects in many natural functions known as ecosystem services.  Mary Gardiner walked us through insects’ roles as decomposers, pollinators and predators. She also highlighted the natural history some of these fascinating creatures. Remember that all Tending Nature webinar recordings will be posted (usually the same day) on our Recordings tab above.

This week we’ll consider the many functions of native plants. In our Friday webinar (1/14/22), author and biologist Doug Tallamy will discuss native plants and the food and habitat they provide for countless creatures in his webinar “Bringing Nature Home: The Importance of Native Plants.” Doug has been instrumental in spreading the word about native plants to gardeners and nature enthusiasts since the publication of his book Bringing Nature Home. Doug will share his insights and answer participant questions. As always, the session will be recorded and posted for those who can’t attend live.

We’ve linked to some of Doug Tallamy’s research and resources under the Learn With Us tab this week, including the native plant finder from The Nature Conservancy and a tool to identify regional keystone plants. If you’re keeping a Tending Nature journal, list “keystone plants” already growing in your garden site and make a wish list of species you may want to add this year.

On Thursday, January 13 from 12:00PM to 1:00PM EASTERN, Robin Wall Kimmerer will be presenting a free webinar sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland in partnership with Holden Forests & Gardens’ NEA Big Read Northeast Ohio (Links to an external site.) with Kent State University.

Good Medicine: A Conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin Wall Kimmerer will discuss how we can repair not only ecological communities, but also the reciprocal relationship humankind has with land. Watch live on Thursday at the website below (click the link now to add your e-mail to get a reminder to join):

https://www.cityclub.org/forums/2022/01/13/good-medicine-a-conversation-with-robin-wall-kimmerer (Links to an external site.)

Hope to “see” you at Thursday’s lecture with Robin Wall Kimmerer or at Friday’s webinar with Doug Tallamy!

Tending Nature Speaker Series

Register Here

This 6-session webinar series focuses on the ecological roles of native plants and some of the creatures that depend on them. We’ll meet virtually at 10AM EASTERN each Friday for 6 weeks from January 7th through February 11th.

All sessions are on Fridays at 10AM EASTERN and will last for approximately 60 minutes plus questions. Join live sessions or connect to webinar recordings.

1/7  Beneficial Insect Biodiversity: What It Is and Why It Matters

Mary Gardiner: author and professor, The Ohio State University

1/14 Bringing Nature Home: The Importance of Native Plants

Doug Tallamy: author and professor, The University of Delaware

1/21 Cultivating a Community of Support for Native Plants

Lisa Olsen: Wild Ones:Native Plants, Natural Landscapes

1/28 Host-plant Specialist Bees – Biology, Biodiversity, and Conserving Them in Your Backyard

Bryan Danforth: author and professor, Cornell University

2/4  Bumble Bee Banquet: Selecting Native Plants for Bumble Bees

Heather Holm: author and biologist

2/11 Native Plants in My Garden? Absolutely!

Debra Knapke: author and garden designer

Sponsored by the OSU Department of Entomology and The Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens and is funded in part by a USDA/NIFA Integrated Pest Management Pollinator Health grant.

Coordinated by Denise Ellsworth, OSU Department of Entomology. Questions? contact Denise at ellsworth.2@osu.edu

Register once to attend any/all sessions. The same link will allow you to join each webinar.

This event will be presented with automated closed captions. If you wish to request traditional CART services or other accommodations, please contact Denise Ellsworth at ellsworth.2@osu.edu. Requests made by will 12/31/21 generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date.

Check back for speaker links, resources and recordings (when available).