Confirmed Speakers

Friday, June 15

Saturday, June 16


Friday, June 15

Mark Seeley

Just Added: 

Dr. Mark Seeley, former Extension Climatologist and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota (1978-2018).

In his role as Extension Climatologist and Meteorologist Dr. Seeley managed the Weather and Climate Education Program, as well as doing research and teaching. He has served as a weekly commentator on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” news program and written the weekly newsletter (blog) “Minnesota WeatherTalk” since 1992.  Dr. Seeley has helped Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) produce award-winning documentaries on Minnesota’s most memorable historical weather events, and on how climate change is affecting the state’s infrastructure and natural resources.  He is author of Minnesota Weather Almanac (1st edition published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2006 and second edition published in 2015), and co-author (with Don Breneman) of Voyageur Skies: Weather and the Wilderness in Minnesota’s National Park (Afton Press, 2011), an award-winning book about the state’s only national park.  

Dr. Seeley has been honored with a variety of awards, some of which include: Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Association Outstanding Service Award, December 2017; Minnesota Agri-Growth Council Distinguished Service Award, November 2017; The Siehl Prize in Agriculture for lifetime contributions of knowledge to the agricultural sciences, May 2014; The University President’s Award for Outstanding Community Service, May, 2012; The Scientific Communication and Education Award from Sigma Xi (2001, 2008, 2017); the University of Minnesota Extension Dean and Director’s Award, 2006; the MN/DOT Research Center Partnership Award (for design and use of snow fences), 2003.

Dr. Seeley’s great-great grandfather, Ira Seeley, founded the town of Mazeppa, MN (Wabasha County in 1854) and was a member of the first Minnesota Territorial Legislature and State Legislature (serving from 1854 to 1862). His great grandfather Robert was a Minnesota veteran of the Civil War, and his grandfather (Ira II) was a farmer near Appleton, MN.   Dr. Seeley loves to share stories and lessons from Minnesota’s weather history, and discuss the management and preservation of Minnesota’s natural resources in the context of a changing climate.

Tom Smarr



Plenary Speaker

Tom Smarr
Horticulture & Natural Areas Director, 21st Century Parks Inc. Louisville, Kentucky

Tom Smarr is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in horticulture, botanic gardens, conservation, and organic landscaping. He holds a master’s degree in urban horticulture from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.  He has worked for established institutions such as the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle, WA and New England Wild Flower Society’ botanical garden “Garden in the Woods” in Framingham, MA.  But Tom’s most notable work has been leading horticulture management at new urban designed parks starting with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in downtown Boston, MA built on top of the infamous “Big Dig” and the High Line in New York City. He now leads horticulture and natural areas design and management for Parklands of Floyds Fork, an almost 4,000 acres parks project opened in 2016 by 21st Century Parks Inc. located in Louisville, KY. 
Tom speaks widely on the importance of modern parks in urban society along with current horticulture design trends with plants and ecologically sustainable practices. He is committed to the preservation of our cultural landscapes through sensible design, horticulture practices, and public education.

LaDonna Redmond
Watch her Ted Talk
Ted Talk
LaDonna Redmond       

50 Minute Plenary Panel
MODERATOR, MASTER GARDENERS AND YOUTH: GREEN GARDEN BAKERY PANEL
When LaDonna Redmond couldn’t find an healthful in her Chicago neighborhood, she decided to rebuild the urban food system. The farmers market, food distribution network and urban farms sites led to a grassroots movement of citywide-and then national-conversations about food justice. It is her quest to see that every citizen has a right to food.

A long-time community activist, Redmond has successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to evaluate junk food, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store and worked on federal farm policies to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities.  Redmond is a 2003 WK Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow. In 2009, Redmond was one of
25 citizen and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time Magazine.
In early April 2013, she launched the Campaign for Food Justice Now (CFJN), a membership-based organization that uses a race, class, and gender analysis to promote food and agricultural system reforms, and advocate for the adoption of right-to-food policies in the U.S.

She is currently diversity and community engagement manager for Seward Community Co op. In that role LaDonna lead an effort to build a natural foods co op in an historically African American community.
The 2nd co op opened October 2015.

LaDonna host a weekly radio shows called 'It's your health" on KMOJ - FM in Minneapolis.

Combining art with activism Ladonna curates theater performances called SOUL food monologue. SFM encourages people write and perform food, land and justice stories with an emphasis on healing the relationship between land and people.

Green Garden Bakery


Green Garden Bakery

50 Minute Plenary Panel
MASTER GARDENERS AND YOUTH: GREEN GARDEN BAKERY PANEL

Green Garden Bakery is an award winning youth-run business selling vegetable based desserts to the Minneapolis community.

Xavier Porter, Karen DePratto


Growing Good
Watch a video about the Growing Good Program

50 Minute Break Out Panel
GROWING GOOD YOUTH PANEL

Growing Good is an outreach program of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Moderators will be Karen DePratto, M.Ed, Youth Development Coordinator and Xavier Porter, Education Program Associate

David Abazs












David Abazs
Farmer/Researcher/Teacher - Round River Farm, Wolf Ridge Organic Farm, and AgroEcology Center Director in Finland, Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
GARDENING & FARMING CAN BE A PART OF CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS

David develops food and farming curriculum and manages the Wolf Ridge Organic School Farm planned to provide all vegetables and eggs for the 140,000 meals served annually. David designs aquaponic farming systems, served as University of Minnesota Senior Fellow, and his family recently won the MN "Farmers of the Year" award.

 

David Bedford

Watch his interview
with Lynne Rosetto Kasper

The Splendid Table

David Bedford
Senior Research Fellow, Horticulture Research Center, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
HONEYCRISP AND BEYOND; APPLE BREEDING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Mr. Bedford is an apple breeder and research scientist at the University of Minnesota for 40 years. During that time he has been involved in the development and introduction of multiple fruit varieties including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pears, plums and apples.

He has been involved with the development and introduction of six apple varieties from the University of Minnesota: Honeycrisp, Zestar!, SnowSweet, SweeTango, Frostbite and First Kiss/Rave.

His job sometimes requires him to taste up to 500 apples per day as part of his duties to evaluate the 20,000 apple trees generated by the University of Minnesota apple breeding program.

 

Heather Holm Heather Holm
Award-winning author and nationally sought-after speaker, her newest book is "BEES: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide"

50 Minute Break Out Session
SELECTING NATIVE TREES AND SHRUBS THAT SUPPORT POLLINATORS

Heather had an avid interest in natural history and botany at a young age, and spent much of her childhood exploring the woodlands and prairie on the family property, established by her great great grandfather in the 1850s. She studied horticulture and biology at the University of Guelph and later web programming and digital design at Seneca college, Canada. Heather is an award-winning author and nationally sought-after speaker spending much of her time passionately educating audiences about the fascinating world of native bees and the native plants that support them. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, published in 2014, helped establish her as a knowledgeable resource on the subject of the interactions between native bees and native plants. Her latest book,  Bees,  published in 2017, has won five book awards.

Heather currently lives in Minnesota with her husband. She is a self-employed author, designer, and publisher. For the past few years, she has been assisting with native bee research projects. The most recent research project was a two-year study to determine the types of native bees present in cultivated blueberry farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The study included developing customized plans to enhance and expand both forage plants and nesting sites for bees within the farms.

In her spare time, she is an active community supporter, writing grants and coordinating neighborhood volunteer landscape restoration projects. Currently, Heather is working on three projects with volunteers, restoring approximately ten acres of city-owned land in her neighborhood for pollinators and people.

David Zlesak

David Zlesak
Associate Professor of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin River Falls

50 Minute Break Out Session
BREEDING FOR DISEASE RESISTANT ROSES

David has been breeding plants for greater adaptation to our upper Midwest gardens since 1984. He coordinates the northern Earth-Kind Rose Trials and works with colleagues at the University of Minnesota on research of new rose viruses and resistance genes to rose black spot.




 Anne Sawyer

Anne Sawyer
University of Minnesota Extension, Extension Educator

50 Minute Break Out Session
TINY BUT MIGHTY: HOW SOIL BUGS, WORMS, AND MICROBES INFLUENCE PLANT HEALTH

Anne is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator for On-Farm Food Safety in Horticultural Systems, helping growers to minimize microbial contamination in fresh produce. Anne has a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota, where she studied nutrient management and microbiology in switchgrass. She also has an MS in Watershed Science from Colorado State University, has been a snow scientist with the National Weather Service, and has worked as a park ranger with the National Park Service in Utah and Alaska. She has been a Master Gardener in Rice County, Minnesota, for seven years and a citizen member of the Rice County Extension Advisory Committee for six years. She's also been a market grower, selling produce and managing a small market in Dundas, Minnesota, where she lives with her husband, Joey, 10-month-old son, Asher, their dog, several chickens, and occasional pigs.

Mindy Zittel

Mindy Zittel
Childen's Education Program Associate, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

50 Minute Break Out Session
WHAT DOES SUCCESSFUL LEARNING FOR YOUTH IN THE GARDEN LOOK LIKE?

Mindy Zittel is a youth education associate with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. She works with the school services team leading various seasonal field trips,travels with the Plantmobile program and coordinates the summer urban Children's Garden in Residence program. She has a B.A. in German studies and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

 

Erin Ostrowski

Erin Ostrowski
SNAP-Ed Educator Health and Nutrition Programs, SNAP Education
University of Minnesota Extension

50 Minute Break Out Session
WHAT DOES SUCCESSFUL LEARNING FOR YOUTH IN THE GARDEN LOOK LIKE?


The exuberant sparkle in someone’s eye as they share a personal success story about serving nutritious meals they have grown and prepared for their family is what feeds Erin’s soul. Leading others to capture that same experience further enhances her passion. Erin Ostrowski’s work within Extension Health and Nutrition programming, first as a volunteer then as an employee has allowed her to teach others how to lead healthier lives. Erin has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Kinesiology Exercise Health Science. In addition to gardening and being outdoors, Erin enjoys traveling to tropical beaches, homemade family meals, riding her bicycle and playing cribbage.

Nathan Hecht

Nathan Hecht
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
POLLINATORS AND FRUIT PRODUCTION RESEARCH

Nathan's love for the land was seeded in the bluffs and rivers of his hometown in La Crosse, WI. After graduating from Luther College in Decorah, IA with a B.A. in Biology, he worked as a farm intern at a local organic market garden.  He spent the next 3 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Andes of Peru, working on agroforestry, trash management, environmental education, and biological water quality monitoring projects.  He is interested in locally-adapted efforts to add functional biodiversity back into our agroecosystems in ways that can improve both sustainability and productivity.  His specific interests include farming for beneficial insects, soil conservation, and organic fruit/vegetable production.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing folk music on the mandolin/guitar/cello, hiking, and plant propagating.
 Jackie Froemming

Jackie Froemming
University of Minnesota Extension

50 Minute Break Out Session
LET'S TALK ABOUT MASTER GARDENERS IN SMALL COMMUNITIES

As part of the State Leadership Team of the U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program,  Jackie is tasked with creating and providing resources for the more than 2,300 Master Gardeners across the state. She is creating tools that Master Gardener groups will use to structure their groups; tools to convey public value, and systems for marketing programs and supplies. Jackie’s work also includes building program capacity to reach diverse, underserved, and youth groups across the State of Minnesota; and to build leadership capacity with both current and future local coordinators across the state.

 Lynn Olson, Susan Fleming

Lynn Olson and Susan Fleming
Hennepin County Extension Master Gardeners

50 Minute Break Out Session
BUILDING SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MASTER GARDENERS AND SCHOOLYARD GARDENS

Lynn Olson has previously worked in the teaching field and also the field of volunteer management. She has been a Master Gardener in Hennepin County since 2004, with experiences in question and answer booths, Habitat for Humanity landscaping, and with an extensive concentration in school gardens.

Susan Fleming, Ph.D., has been involved in formal and informal education throughout her career. She has been a Master Gardener in Hennepin County since 2013 and volunteers as a Master Gardener mentor, at information booths, and as an adivsor for a number of school gardens.

 

Jean Larson

Dr. Jean Larson
Manager, University of Minnesota Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

3 HOUR WORKSHOP
THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE

Jean has a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation and a minor in integrative medicine from the University of Minnesota. She is also an assistant professor at the University's Center for Spirituality and Healing, where she teaches six courses: Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture, Introduction to Therapeutic Landscape Design, Applications in Therapeutic Horticulture, Animals in Healthcare, Introduction to Nature-Based Therapeutics, and Horse as Teacher: Equine-facilitated Education and Psychotherapy. She is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, a registered horticultural therapist, and has a certificate in disability services and administration from the Institute of Community Integration.    Jean's work has taken her to Japan, England, Sweden, Norway, Taiwan and Israel. Jean is at home on her family farm north of the Twin Cities along with her husband, dogs, cats, goats, chickens and horses.

Mike Maddox

Mike Maddox
Director, University of Wisconsin Master Gardener Program

3 Hour Workshop
THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE

Mike Maddox has been a Horticulture Educator with UW-Extension since 2001 offering a variety of gardening programs throughout Wisconsin.Mike has a MS in Horticulture from UW-Madison, is a ISA Certified Arborist, has a certificate in horticultural therapy.


Saturday, June 16

Marla Spivak
Watch her Ted Talk
Ted Talk

Plenary Speaker

MAINSTREAMING POLLINATORS IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

Dr. Marla Spivak
Distinguished McKnight Professor, and Extension Entomologist, Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota

Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Recent awards include the 2015 Minnesota AgriGrowth Distinguished Service Award, the 2016 Siehl Prize laureate for excellence in agriculture, and the 2016 Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Earth Award. She and Gary Reuter bred a line of honey bees, the Minnesota Hygienic line, to defend themselves against diseases and parasitic mites. Current research includes studies of the benefits of plant resins (propolis) to honey bees, and the effects of agricultural landscapes and pesticides on bee health. Marla's interest in bees began when she worked for a commercial beekeeper in New Mexico in 1975. She obtained her PhD from the University of Kansas in 1989 on the identification and ecology of Africanized and European honey bees in Costa Rica.  She was a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona before coming to the University of Minnesota in 1993.

 

Elaine Evans, Native pollinator Research Elaine Evans
Assistant Extension Professor, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Plenary Session
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA ENTOMOLOGY NATIVE BEE RESEARCH

Elaine Evans is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator and Bee Researcher working on pollinator education and research relating to bee conservation. She completed her M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. She has authored several books: “Befriending Bumble Bees: A Guide to Raising Local Bumble Bees” and “Managing Alternative Pollinators”. She works with volunteers to survey bumble bees in MN though the Minnesota Bee Survey and the Minnesota Bee Atlas programs. Her current work focuses on determining the status of bees in MN, monitoring threatened populations of the rusty-patched bumble bee, and enacting pollinator conservation through research, education, outreach, and citizen-science.

 

Mary H. Meyer Mary Hockenberry Meyer, recipient of the American Society of Horticultural Science 2018 Great American Gardeners Teaching Award!

Professor, Director of MPS Horticulture, Extension Program Leader Horticulture, College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences

Dr. Meyer joined the University of Minnesota Horticultural Science faculty in 1994 and has primarily an Extension and research appointment. Her research interests include native and ornamental grasses and sedges, especially Miscanthus, Schizachyrium, Pennisetum and Carex pensylvanica. She has studied the propagation and production of grasses including cold hardiness, and low maintenance sustainable landscaping. Blue Heaven is a patented little bluestem, (Schizachyrium), she released in 2007. She also conducts research on alternative low maintenance turfgrasses. She has studied Miscanthus and where it has escaped in the United States, especially in national parks, and authored the website entitled Miscanthus: Ornamental and Invasive Grass. She is the author of Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates, which can be purchased from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Dr. Meyer manages the North American Plant Collections Consortium Ornamental Grass Collection at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which was first planted in 1987. In 2012 she initiated the National Grass Trials evaluation with eleven states that evaluate cultivars of native grasses such as little bluestem and switchgrass. For more information on these evaluations, see grasstrials.com.

50 Minute Break Out Session
GLORIOUS GRASSES OF THE UPPER MIDWEST
Tour
Tour of the Arboretum Grass Collection
Book Signing
"Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota"

becky masterman
Becky Masterson
Bee Squad Associate Program Director, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session

Rebecca Masterman first worked for the UMN Bee Lab as an undergraduate in 1992, and returned in 2012 as the Bee Squad’s Associate Program Director and Coordinator. Becky graduated from UMN Twin Cities with a BA (major in history, minor in biology) and then obtained a Ph.D. in Entomology studying the neuroethology of honey bee hygienic behavior under the direction of Dr. Marla Spivak.

Alan Branhagen

Alan Branhagen
Director of Horticulture, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

50 Minute Break Out Session

Alan J. Branhagen is the Director of Operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where he supervises capital improvements, horticulture, plant curation, facilities, and information technology. For over 20 years he was Director of Horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden and prior to that he had a nearly decade-long duty as Deputy Director of Resource Development for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District in Rockford, Illinois.  Alan Branhagen received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University with emphasis on planning, plants and design with nature.   He wrote The Gardener’s Butterfly Book in 2001 published by the National Home Gardening Club and has written articles for Fine Gardening, Missouri Gardener, Missouri Prairie Journal, Landscape Maintenance and Restoration and Management Notes. In November 2016, Timber Press published his book Native Plants of the Midwest.  Mr. Branhagen is an all-around plantsman and naturalist (specializing in botany, birds and, butterflies) and travels throughout the Midwest and the country visiting gardens and natural areas. He grew over 1,500 taxa of plants at his Missouri garden "Luna Ridge" nestled on 6 acres of woodland and meadow. He is starting a garden on 2.4 acres in Chaska, Minnesota.

 

 

Sam Bauer

Sam Bauer
Extension Educator, Horticulture, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
TURFGRASS & FESCUE RESEARCH UPDATES

Sam Bauer is an Extension Educator at the University of Minnesota. Sam's research and Extension objectives revolve around environmentally sound management strategies to improve the performance of turfgrass on golf courses, sports fields, general grounds, and home lawns. He has extensive working experience in turfgrass management in the United States, including degrees from the University of Minnesota emphasizing in turfgrass science.

Ariel Dressler

Ariel Dressler
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

50 Minute Break Out Session
INNOVATIVE INTERACTIONS WITH THE PUBLIC: PLANT MAKER STUDIO

Ariel is the coordinator of informal education activities at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. She designs activities for visitors to create art, grow, connect, and make discoveries with plants. She holds a degree in Outdoor Education and Interpretation from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Ariel's previous experience includes the United States Botanic Garden at the U.S. Capitol Building and has also worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. In her spare time, Ariel enjoys gardening in her Saint Paul yard with her husband and two young daughters.

 

Annie Klodd

Annie Klodd
Assistant Extension Professor for Fruit and Vegetable Production, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
THE SCIENCE OF COVER CROPS IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

Rhonda Fleming Hayes

Rhonda Fleming Hayes
Author of Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies and Other Pollinators.

Rhonda is an award-winning writer and photographer applying her passion for all things plant-related with wit and solid research-based advice.  She is a monthly columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She contributes unique feature stories to Northern Gardener magazine as well as her popular “Pollinators” column. She has also been published in Southern Living, Mother Earth Living, The Herbalist, Wichita Eagle, Savannah Magazine and many online sites.

 James Wolfin

James Wolfin
Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

50 Minute Break Out Session
BUILDING BETTER LAWNS: HOW TO MAKE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY LAWNS FOR BOTH YOUR COMMUNITY AND YOUR POLLINATORS

Bee losses and declines in health and productivity are often associated with a number of factors, including a lack of high quality forage.One potential route for improving bee health within urban and suburban areas is through habitat enhancement in turfgrass areas. Turf lawns are typically maintained as a highly managed mixture or blend of different turfgrass species to maintain a desired aesthetic, or recreational function. In this study, we attempt to reduce lawn inputs while also enhancing turfgrass areas with low-growing flowers that can provide valuable forage for bees. Additionally, we attempt to quantify the abundance and diversity of bees within parks with naturally occurring white clover, and parks that have been enhanced with low growing flowers. In total nearly 5000 bees have been collected over three years off of lawn flowers, representing over 40 species of bees.  All audience levels are welcome.

 

 

Mike Maddox Mike Maddox
Director, University of Wisconsin Master Gardener Program

50 Minute Break Out Session
PREVENTING ACHES AND PAINS WHILE GARDENING

Mike Maddox has been a Horticulture Educator with UW-Extension since 2001 offering a variety of gardening programs throughout Wisconsin. Mike has a MS in Horticulture from UW-Madison, is a ISA Certified Arborist, has a certificate in horticultural therapy.


 



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