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Pollinator Symposium – Session 4

February 23, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens will educate and inspire homeowners, horticulturists, botanists, naturalists, landscape architects and designers, educators, conservationists and anyone eager to learn about creating pollinator and wildlife habitats using native plants and trees to promote biodiversity, species richness and ecological resilience.

The free webinar series will feature five sessions intended to guide you from start to finish 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.

Book Recommendations
We’ve collaborated with local bookstore, Loganberry Books, to set up an easy-to-use, one-stop bookshop to find and purchase all the titles. This includes pre-ordering our Session 1 presenter Uli Lorimer’s The Northeast Native Plant Primer: 235 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden, which is scheduled to ship on May 10.


Session 4  Nature Connections: Creating Functional Ecosystems in Urban Settings
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
1:00 – 4:00 pm ET

The fourth of five, this session will address the connectivity of greenspaces in more densely populated areas. These small but mighty sites can provide critical habitat for pollinators and other wildlife as they navigate through the natural world.

1:00pm ET
Smart Solutions for Urban Garden Designs
Roy Diblik, Co-owner, Northwind Perennial Farm

Designing, planting, and managing gardens in urban areas can be challenging, but also presents a great opportunity to engage people by demonstrating the beauty achieved through multiple patterns of plant combinations using robust native perennials. Roy demonstrates how to raise the level of plant diversity to provide food and shelter for insects and migratory birds. He has created gardens for the Shedd Aquarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, Fontana Boulevard meridians in Fontana, WI, the Lurie Garden, Union City streetscapes and Kenosha, WI roundabouts to name a few. Roy will show us his design and management strategies for several of these public gardens. Important to Roy is welcoming the public into the gardens and enlightening them on the opportunities plants provide for deep, rich, life-supporting beauty.


2:00pm ET
Brooklyn Bridge Park Lessons (so far!) in Constructed Ecology
Rebecca McMackin, Director of Horticulture, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Habitat stewardship is a vital aspect of creating an enduring and ecologically vibrant landscape, particularly in an urban setting. But traditional landscaping practices rarely take biodiversity into consideration, leaving a dearth of effective guidelines. For horticulturist Rebecca McMackin and her team at Brooklyn Bridge Park, cultivating habitat is central to their work. She shows us how they are using ecological insight and experimentation to develop new management strategies, and why careful observation and documentation of the insects, birds, and other wildlife in the park has been so crucial to their success. This 85-acre, organic park in the middle of New York City sited on the Park’s award winning piers provide top-notch recreation, but they also contain woodlands, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes and numerous meadows. Rebecca details many of the strategies employed to cultivate and manage biodiverse parkland. If we can do it, so can you!


3:00pm ET
Connect the Dots
Jennifer Grieser, Director of Natural Resources, Cleveland Metroparks

As climate change shifts the home ranges of plants and wildlife, the importance of connected greenspace becomes invaluable to providing habitat that supports pollinators and wildlife. We’ve all heard the old adage “bigger is better” and that’s true of natural habitat as well. But with the rapid expansion of housing areas, commercial development and large expanses of roadways, our large natural habitat areas are now fragmented revealing the decline of pollinators and wildlife. Utility rights-of-way present a promising and viable solution to not only connect the dots between natural areas, but to engage the public. Jenn describes Cleveland Metroparks partnership efforts with the US Fish and Wildlife Services and FirstEnergy to turn utility “highways” into pollinator “flyways.”

Speaker Biographies:

Roy Diblik
Co-owner, Northwind Perennial Farm

Roy Diblik is an internationally known perennial plant expert, grower, designer, speaker and author of The Know Maintenance* Perennial Garden. His nursery, Northwind Perennial Farm, and display gardens are located just north of Lake Geneva, WI. Roy has 35 years of knowledge growing traditional and Midwest native perennials. He specializes in highly aesthetic, sustainable plant communities for all seasons, while reducing management through design. He believes that gardens should be thoughtful, ecologically directed, emotionally outreaching and yet very personal.





Rebecca McMackin
Director of Horticulture, Brooklyn Bridge Park 

Rebecca McMackin is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist and garden designer. As the
Director of Horticulture at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, she oversees 85 acres of organic parkland
with the dual aims of cultivating beauty and encouraging biodiversity. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s
meadows, wetlands, forests, and ornamental beds are managed as wildlife habitat for birds,
butterflies, and soil microorganisms. Her writing has been published in the New York Times and
Landscape Institute. She sits on the boards of Metro Hort Group and Ecological Landscape Alliance, and is a Northeast Organic Farming Association Accredited Organic Land Care Professional, as well an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist.



Jennifer Grieser
Director of Natural Resources, Cleveland Metroparks

Jennifer Grieser is Director of Natural Resources for Cleveland Metroparks, where she
supervises staff who manage and monitor natural resources throughout Northeast Ohio. Her personal specialty is stream and wetland restoration, stormwater retrofit projects and
watershed volunteerism. Jenn serves as chair of the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory
Committee. Prior to joining the park district, she worked for the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection’s Stream Management Program upstate in the Catskills, working with local communities on watershed planning and riparian buffer protection and enhancement. Jenn holds a Master’s in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management from Indiana University.



Advanced registration is required, a link for the virtual program will be sent upon registration.


February 23, 2022
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Renee Boronka