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Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens and Beyond: Session 1

February 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Western Reserve Land Conservancy, The Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium and Nature Spark are pleased to announce the return of their collaborative series, Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens and Beyond. The symposium features nationally and regionally renowned experts to help viewers create vibrant, ecologically resilient gardens and greenspaces that benefit pollinators and wildlife. Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens and Beyond will inspire homeowners, horticulturists, botanists, naturalists, educators, conservationists, landscape designers, and other to learn more about the value of using native plants and trees to create and maintain healthy habitats.

The free virtual series will feature presentation intended to guide you in creating gardens that benefit pollinators and other wildlife. Join us and explore the importance of restoring our increasingly fragmented and disappearing native habitats beginning in our own backyards—whether small or large.

This symposium is organized by Ann Cicarella of the Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium, Judy Semroc of Nature Spark and Renee Boronka at Western Reserve Land Conservancy.


Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens and Beyond…
Session 1
Thursday, February 15, 2024

1:00 PM ET

The Importance of Wetlands and Why We Need to Save Them
Mark Dilley, Professional Wetland Scientist and Ecologist, MAD Scientist LLC

Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that are home to countless species of plants and animals. Wetlands are critical for the important ecosystems services they provide, ranging from freshwater supply, flood control, groundwater recharge and climate change mitigation. Mark will illustrate different types of wetlands, such as marshes, bogs, fens, and wet grasslands to name a few. He will cover maintain healthy wetlands as well as ways we can restore degraded wetland areas.

2:00 PM ET

Plant Community: Gardens as Social Infrastructure
Chris Fehlhaber, Horticulturist, Chanticleer Garden

Gardens should not simply be destinations and places of escape; they should be the places we live. To ensure a better future in uncertain times, enriching dynamic gardens must become ubiquitous. Our gardens must move beyond their fences and into our communities, making them accessible to everyone. Our world is a garden and it’s time we cultivate it.

About the Speakers

Mark Dilley is Chief Scientist at MAD Scientist Associates. He is a Professional Wetland Scientist (Society of Wetland Scientists) and Certified Senior Ecologist (Ecological Society of America) with over 25 years of experience in wetland science, field biology, ecology, and environmental studies. Mark is certified through Ohio EPA’s QDC program for Level 3 fish studies and habitat assessments for biological monitoring of wadable streams and rivers. He has worked on projects in 25 states but focuses his efforts on his home state of Ohio. (Make the sustainable choice: Hire locally grown consultants!). Mark received his B.S. in Natural Resources in Fisheries Management and his M.S. in Environmental Science from The Ohio State University, with an emphasis on wetlands. His thesis research (Atrazine Fate and Transport in a Created Flow-through Emergent Marsh: An Examination of Key Processes) was completed at the internationally acclaimed Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at OSU. Mark has continued his connection with OSU as a lecturer for the Wetland Ecology and Restoration course since 2012. Mark is also a co-owner of Scioto Gardens Nursery.

Chris Fehlhaber is a horticulturist at the renowned Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. His goal is to raise the public’s consciousness and appreciation of enriching, progressive horticulture. He believes we may all lead better lives by making the world a more beneficial and beautiful place. Chris regularly writes, teaches, and speaks widely on plants and gardening. He is the PPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and provides a garden and design consulting service. Chris holds degrees in Landscape Architecture-Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin.


Advanced registration is required.


Virtual Registration:

Please use this Zoom link to register for Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens and Beyond: Session 1


Organizer: Renee Boronka, rboronka@wrlandconservancy.org, 216-533-8761


February 15
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Renee Boronka