The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society
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  • The Power of Native Plants!

The Power of Native Plants!

  • 04/11/2024
  • 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Garrett College Performing Arts Center - McHenry , MD

Due to technical issues the speaker presentations did not record, so unfortunately they won't be available on the UME YouTube Channel.

Make the critical connection between native plants, people, and wildlife!

9:00 Check-in

9:30 Evidenced-based Ecological Landscaping Approaches with Native Plants - Karin T. Burghardt, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland College Park, Department of Entomology

Humans actively manage and alter the majority of earth's habitats. In this presentation, Dr. Karin Burghardt outlines ways that decisions within one's own personal scope of management (gardens, yards, parks, and other green spaces) alter plant/insect interactions particularly the successful completion of insect life cycles. Further, Dr. Burghardt suggests tweaks that can be made to practices such as native plant selection, vegetational complexity, yard care, and pest management to retain biodiversity and function in the spaces we inhabit everyday.

Dr. Karin Burghardt is an Assistant Professor in the Entomology Department at the University of Maryland and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Trained as a community ecologist, she specializes in understanding plant-insect interactions in human-modified landscapes ranging from suburban yards to abandoned agricultural fields to managed forests. By examining how human management practices alter the support of biodiversity in these spaces, the lab’s research program helps determine best practices for how humans can share space with a variety of flora and fauna.

Karin received her M.S. and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University working with Oswald Schmitz on herbivore-induced defenses in goldenrod plants. Prior to that she received a B.S. from the University of Delaware in 2007 working with Douglas Tallamy on the role of non-native plants in ecosystems. Find more information on the lab’s work on her website.

10:30 Break

10:45 Climate Resilient Gardening - Pru Foster, PhD, Maryland Native Plant Society

As human driven climate change accelerates, rain and temperature patterns in our gardens are changing. This impacts frost dates, water table levels, soil health, pollinators, and plant pests and diseases. Knowing how to successfully garden in this changing environment may seem overwhelming, but eco-friendly practices actually go a long way to resolving this dilemma. In this talk, Dr. Foster will explain how Maryland’s climate may evolve and practices to promote a resilient ecosystem in our gardens, now and into the future.

Pru Foster has a diploma in Horticulture from the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK, similar to a Master Gardener certification, and one in garden design from the Garden Design School of Bristol Botanic Garden. She currently serves on the board of the Maryland Native Plant Society as secretary and is assistant editor for their publication Marilandica. She is also active in her local garden club and Wild Ones chapter, as well as stewarding her one acre lot for wildlife and beauty.  

Pru has a PhD in astrophysics, but spent most of her paid career working on the impacts of climate change on ecosystem distributions and biodiversity. She was a co-author on some of the very first papers linking climate change to a species extinction - a rather depressing honor.  Pru has also been a life long activist working in areas like great ape rights, sustainable lifestyle choices, voting, and most recently, native plants.  She is author of “A Drop of Grace: Finding and Protecting our Common Ground” - a call to all to embrace low impact choices. She writes a monthly sustainable choices newsletter, “A Prudent Lifestyle”, which is available for free at  

11:45 Lunch

12:30 Controlling Invasive Plants - Judy Fulton, Principal, EcoPlant Consulting and Vice President, Maryland Native Plant Society

Biodiversity is crucial for the survival of life on earth as we know it, but a third of U.S. native plants are headed toward extinction, and two-fifths of our ecosystems are at risk of collapse. Worldwide, 60% of plant and animal extinctions have been partially or completely due to invasive species. In this talk, Judy Fulton will describe how invasive plants are so successful at taking over, the damage they cause, and how to manage them. Come hear how we can all help native plants in Maryland's natural areas and in our own backyards.

Judy Fulton, founder of EcoPlant Consulting, believes healthy ecosystems are crucial for human survival. She transforms places overrun by invasives into native landscapes, shares her knowledge via workshops and field trips, and serves as an expert in invasive plant litigation. Judy is Vice President of the Maryland Native Plant Society and a member of the Board of the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council. She has earned a Harvard MBA and three Maryland’s Top 100 Women awards from the Daily Record.

Because she is passionate about natives and healthy natural communities, Judy is active in promoting native species and in fighting invasive species. During the 2023 Maryland legislative session, she worked with the Sierra Club on a number of bills and was pleased to see the Maryland Native Plants Program signed into law. Currently, she is working on proposed Maryland invasive plant legislation. Her consulting, her co-authoring Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, Field Guide, and her lead role in creating the Mid-Atlantic Invaders Tool, an online guide to more than 900 invasive species, have positioned Judy as a sought-after advisor in ecorestoration.

1:30 Break

1:45 Cultivating Place: Returning Natives to Your LandscapeLinda Kramer & John Totten, Landscape Consultants and Woodland Plant Nursery Owners

Western Maryland, although small in size, contains a wonderful diversity of plants and habitats. Mountain bogs and swamps as well as one of the hottest driest habitats in the Mid-Atlantic mix with more familiar fields and forests.  Translating this abundance into your own landscape can be a fascinating journey.  Join us as we take a hands-on look at using native plants to invoke the special places that surround us.

Linda and John own both a landscape gardening firm and a woodland plant nursery and have been active in native plant education and conservation for many years. John holds a Master's Degree in Forest Ecology from the University of Michigan and Linda received a Master's in Education from Penn State. They have taught classes on native plants, community ecology, propagation and horticulture for Penn State, Chatham University and Phipps Conservatory. In addition, they have consulted on native plant projects for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Chatham University, Pittsburgh Zoo, and Fallingwater.

2:45 Wrap-up

3:00 Symposium ends


Sponsored by the Mountain Laurel Garden Club, Maryland Native Plant Society,

Garrett College CEWD, and University of Maryland Extension.


This is an approved MD Master Naturalist & MD Master Gardener Advanced Training Event.

Conservation landscaping resource books will be available for purchase from MNPS (cash or check only.) 

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