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"A Focus on Sustainability - Season 2" October 2014 - April 2015
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Edible Native Plants for Your Landscape
February 11, 2015 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - PST
Presented by Russ Cohen
There's an increasing inclination to utilize more native species in home landscaping and in parks and other conserved landscapes, thanks to books like Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home, which extol the virtues
of native plants over exotic ornamentals for attracting and sustaining beneficial insects. Yet, for some property owners/managers, this alone may be insufficient motivation to "go native". Perhaps knowing that many native species are edible by people too will provide an additional incentive to plant native species. Juneberries (Amelanchier spp.), for example, are equally edible by songbirds and people. The taste of the ripe fruit is like a cross between cherries and almonds. Edible wild plants offer opportunities for people to connect to nature via their taste buds, thereby building their enthusiasm and public support for adding edible native plants to their home landscaping, as well as for conserving other lands that offer foraging opportunities. Adding native edible plants to a landscape can boost biodiversity as well as "spice it up" (literally as well as figuratively – i.e., we can have our acorn cake and eat it too). Learn about at least three dozen of the tastiest native species the Northeast U.S. region has to offer. Keys to the identification of each species are provided, along with edible portions, seasons of availability and preparation methods, along with guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging.
Russ Cohen's "day job" is serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration. One of his areas of expertise is in riparian vegetation. He has compiled a list of native plant species suitable for planting in riparian areas; wrote nine fact sheets on the ecological and other beneficial functions of naturally vegetated buffers along rivers and streams, intended to aid the effective implementation of the Mass. Rivers Protection Act; and (in partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club) prepared "Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife", a set of outreach materials (YouTube video, brochure and PowerPoint presentation) intended to raise the awareness of paddlers, riparian land owners and managers, and others about the ecological and other beneficial values of retaining trees and other woody vegetation (living or dead) in and along rivers and streams. In his spare time, Cohen pursues his passion of connecting to nature via his taste buds. He is an expert forager and the author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, published in 2004 by the Essex County Greenbelt Association. Mr. Cohen has been teaching foraging since 1974 and leads foraging walks each year at a wide variety of venues throughout the Northeast.
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Soil Not Just a Dirty Word: Exploring the Mysteries of Managing Soil Biology
February 17, 2015 @ 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm - PST
Presented by Steven Zien
Qualifies for 1 CEU for the EcoLandscaper Soils badge
Soil contains an incredible diversity of organisms that make up the Soil Food Web. You may consider yourself a landscaper. In reality you are a landscape supervisor and your workforce is the Soil Food Web. Successfully manage these soil artisans and they create the glorious landscape you desire with minimal input on your part. In this webinar you will learn the invaluable contributions these essential creatures make to the landscape process. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, mycorrhizae and others improve plant fertility while helping manage pests. They sequester nutrients and improve soil structure, which protects ground and surface waters from contamination. A healthy Soil Food Web results in healthy, pest resistant plants minimizing or even eliminating the need for pesticides. Explore methods to maximize the benefits from the Soil Food Web as we dig into the latest tools and techniques of environmentally sound soil management.
Steve Zien founded Living Resources Company (LRC) in 1974 as an organic farm that also rented 1,000 community gardens in Southeastern Wisconsin. Moving to California in 1977, Steve transformed LRC into a horticultural operation providing organic landscape and garden services to businesses, governmental agencies, and the general public. These services include soil analysis, custom organic fertilization formulation and application, organic pest management, consultations, and educational instruction. With Steve’s commitment to education and outreach, he quickly became known as Sacramento’s Organic Advocate while writing an organic garden column in the local paper, teaching courses in organic horticulture at American River College, the University of California Davis, serving as the IPM Specialist at the California State Fair, managing an organic retail nursery and regular appearances on radio talk shows. Steve has worked with and served as a technical advisor for numerous organizations including the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns, Pesticide Free-Sacramento, California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s School IPM Program, Our Water Our World, EcoLandscape California and others. After receiving his Soil Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Steve became a Wisconsin Certified Soil Tester. He currently is a California Licensed Pesticide Applicator utilizing only organic practices, a Qualified EcoLandscaper, and a California Certified Nursery Professional.
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