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Session 2: Meaningful Maintenance – Fall Cleanup with Positive Impact

November 2, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Human beings seem to be obsessed with cleaning things up outdoors, and tidying up every nook and cranny in the landscape. And nothing could be worse for the ecological balance and biodiversity in our living environments. Many butterflies, moths and other pollinators overwinter as eggs, larvae, pupae and adults in the leaf litter, in plant stems, and attached to dead plant debris. Cutting down and removing these structures in winter destroys their homes, and reduces their populations in the coming season.

Not only does Compulsive Cleanup Syndrome harm the faunal biodiversity of our landscapes, it robs us of the opportunity to enjoy the various seed heads of native flowers, as well as the hues of the prairie grasses in winter. Some species retain seeds well into winter that provide emergency food for both songbirds. Come spring, many male songbirds utilize the perches provided by the previous year’s flower stalks as singing perches to attract mates. A cleaned-up garden is a dead garden in winter that could otherwise support so much more life.

Neil will discuss the how and why of Meaningful Maintenance in fall with an eye to retaining desirable debris to sustain life in the garden and meadow throughout the fall and winter, while providing subtle seasonal interest that we too often overlook. Leave the leaves and save the stems for wildlife to use all winter long!


Event details:
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
7:00 – 8:00 PM Eastern Time
Presenter: Neil Diboll

About the Presenter:

Neil Diboll, Prairie Ecologist
Prairie Nursery

Neil Diboll received his degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in 1978. He attended the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, MI (“Boot Camp for Biologists) during the summer of 1977. He has since worked for the U.S. Park Service in Virginia, the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado, and the University of Wisconsin. In 1982, Neil began his involvement with Prairie Nursery, producing native plants and seeds and designing native landscapes. He has since devoted his efforts to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants, in contemporary American landscapes.

In addition to helping popularize the use of native plants long before they were “cool,” Neil developed the first scientific methodology for designing prairie seed mixes. By calculating the relative numbers of seeds per square foot for each species in a seed mix, the resultant prairie plant community could be more accurately predicted. Neil also worked to set industry standards for seed purity and germination to assure customers receive quantifiable, viable seed.

Neil’s work includes designs for residential, commercial and public spaces throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States. The essence of Neil’s philosophy is that we, as stewards of the planet, must work to preserve and increase the diversity of native plants and animals, with which we share our world. The protection of our natural heritage and our soil and water resources is essential to maintaining a high quality of life for today, and for the children of future generations to come.


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



November 2, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Renee Boronka