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 We would like to thank all of the attendees that enjoyed a highly informative and successful symposium! 

 We would also like to extend a special thank you to the following contributors.  Without their support none of this would have been possible!




Keynote Speaker: Mr. Arthur Haines
Director of the Delta Institute of Natural History, and Author of the “New England Wildflower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae: A Manual for the Identification of Native and Naturalized Higher Vascular Plants of New England

Lunch, Refreshments and Tradeshow Included with Registration

Continuing Education Credits Offered:

NYSDEC Pesticide, ISA, SAF, NOFA, CNLP, & Landscape Architect. 



8:00 a.m.         Sign in, Refreshments and Educational Exhibits

8:45 a.m.         Welcome and Introductory Comments

9:00 a.m.         Flora for Fauna - Arthur Haines, Research Botanist, New England Wild Flower Society; Director, the Delta Institute of Natural History; Data Overseer, Go Botany website; Author of the new flora, “Flora Novae Angliae”, Camden, ME.

10:15 a.m.       Coffee Break - Visit Exhibits 

10:30 a.m.      What Native Cultivars Are and Their Impact on Native Flora and Fauna - Rusty Schmidt, Landscape Ecologist, Nelson Pope and Voorhis- Melville NY ; President, Long Island Native Plant Initiative, Hampton Bays, NY.  Adjunct Professor, Horticulture Department at Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY. 

11:00 a.m.      Enhancing Highways: Lessons from the Roadside -  Dr. Susan Barton, Professor and Extension Specialist in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE. 

11:45 a.m.      Tough Plants for Tough Places: Improving Biodiversity in the Built Landscape - Mr. Michael Butts, Foundation & Bulk Seed Manager, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, NYC Parks Department, Staten Island, NY.

12:30 p.m.      Lunch (provided) and Trade Show

1:30 p.m.        Audubon's Plants for Birds: Plant It and They Will Come  - Mr. Tod Winston, Program Manager, Plants for Birds, National Audubon, New York, NY.

2:15 p.m.        Invertebrate Dynamics and Pollinator Presence in Urban Plantings - Dr. Anand Persad, Researcher/Lecturer and Manager of Arboriculture and Plant Sciences, Davey Institute, Kent, OH.

3:00 p.m.        Coffee Break - Visit Exhibits

3:15 p.m.        When does Grassland Restoration do more Harm than Good? - Ms. Polly Weigand, Executive Director, Long Island Native Plant Initiative Hampton Bays, NY. Ecologist, Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, Westhampton Beach, NY

4:15 p.m.      Program Wrap Up and CEU Distribution

To download a copy of the agenda and event details:  Click Here.

Speaker Abstract and Bios: 

Flora for FaunaArthur Haines, Research Botanist, New England Wild Flower Society, Director of Delta Institute of Natural History, data overseer for Go Botany website, and author of the new flora, “Flora Novae Angliae” Camden, ME.

This presentation will address the human need to interact with wild plants on the regional landscape.  To illustrate this, examples of the nutritional superiority of wild plants, along with the eco-conscientious practices of evidence-based herbal medicine will be highlighted. Arthur will explain how connection to wild species is often best facilitated through using those organisms in a sustainable manner—while “hands off” conservation tactics often fail to protect biological resources because the populace loses knowledge of why a particular species was so valuable and important to conserve. He shows that in many circumstances, conservation through usage is the historical practice that has most merit. In short, Arthur’s goal is to convince people about the necessity of interacting with wild organisms to prevent their loss.

Bio:  Arthur Haines graduated from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Wildlife Management and a M.S. in Botany and Plant Pathology.  He is a research botanist for the New England Wild Flower Society, his latest projects include the comprehensive new flora titled “Flora Novae Angliae” and overseeing data collection on the Go Botany website, which allows users to identify wild plants growing in New England via several identification tools.  Arthur also runs the Delta Institute of Natural History, a human ecology school that aims to protect wild plants by teaching people how valuable they are to human wellbeing.  Classes focus primarily on foraging, herbal medicine, and ancestral lifeways.  His series of YouTube videos has inspired thousands of people interested in wild edible and medicinal plants.

What Native Cultivars Are and Their Impact on Native Flora and Fauna - Mr. Rusty Schmidt, Landscape Ecologist, Nelson Pope and Voorhis; Melville, NY.  President, LINPI, Hampton Bays, NY;Adjunct Professor, Department of Horticulture Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY

Co-author of “Plants for Stormwater Design Vol. 1 and 2” and “Blue Thumb Guide to Rain Gardens”

Rusty will begin by explaining what a native cultivar is, as compared with a native species. Then he will describe the impact that cultivars are having on the ecosystem of Long Island and its fauna due to the loss of native species traits no longer available in the native cultivars replacing them. He will demonstrate why promoting native species over cultivars is important, and wrap up by talking about the founders plots maintained by Long Island Native Plant Initiative and how they are making true native species more readily available for everyone to plant on Long Island.

Bio: Rusty Schmidt is a landscape ecologist employed by Nelson Pope and Voorhis in Melville, NY. He holds a BS in Biology from University of Minnesota, where he did three years of course work toward an MLA. He is the President of LINPI and is an Adjunct Professor with the Horticulture Department at Farmingdale State College. Mr. Schmidt designs and constructs alternative methods for managing stormwater runoff, creating sustainable landscapes and ecosystem restorations for wetlands, woodlands and prairies. He has created hundreds of designs for habitat restorations, complete restorations of ecosystems, as well as many raingardens, bio-infiltration swales, bio-retention basins and stormwater pond ranging in size from small backyard raingardens to large multi-acre sized raingardens throughout the nation. He is a co-author for three books, two on plant selections for stormwater management “Plants for Stormwater Design Vol. 1 and 2” and a homeowner guide to raingardens “Blue Thumb Guide to Raingardens.”

Enhancing Highways: Lessons from the Roadside Dr. Susan Barton, Professor and Extension Specialist in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Dr. Barton will discuss the Enhancing Delaware Highways project, which is designed to reduce cost, steward land, and improve aesthetics along Delaware roadways. She will talk about both enhancement and management strategies for sustainable landscapes. Many of the strategies employed on the roadsides can be translated to other public and private landscapes, accomplishing the same goals.

Bio:  Susan Barton, PhD is an extension specialist and professor in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department at the University of Delaware.  She received her BS in Plant Science from the University of Delaware (1981), her MS in Horticulture from North Carolina State University (1984) and her PhD from the University of Delaware in Plant Improvement (2005). She has worked closely for the past 13 years with DelDOT to research and implement new roadside vegetation management strategies.  She has also worked with partners to develop the Plants for a Livable Delaware Program, designed to provide alternatives to known invasive plants species and to promote sustainable landscaping.  She teaches Plants and Human Culture, Landscape Management, Farm to Table and coordinates the Landscape Horticulture Internship.  She also works closely with the nursery and landscape industry, writing newsletters, organizing short courses and conducting horticulture industry expos with the Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association.  Susan received the Nursery Extension Award in 1995 from the American Nursery and Landscape Association and the Ratledge Award for service from the University of Delaware in 2007.

Tough Plants for Tough Places: Improving Biodiversity in the Built Landscape - Michael Butts, Foundation & Bulk Seed Manager, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, NYC Parks Department, Staten Island, NY

Michael will discuss efforts to protect and restore biodiversity in NYC’s natural areas, focusing on the importance of native flora and fauna, with the goal of enhancing diversity in highly disturbed urban landscapes. He will show how improving storm resilience in response to Hurricane Sandy has led to new municipal policies that promote native plants and pollinators. Describing Greenbelt Native Plant Center and its Foundation and Bulk Seed Program, Michael will show how it has provided hardy native plant species for seed mixes and plantings at Staten Island’s Oakwood Beach and at various site projects on Randall’s Island. Throughout his talk, he will suggest native plant species alternatives to introduced exotic species.

Bio:  Michael Butts is Foundation & Bulk Seed Manager for The Greenbelt Native Plant Center (NYC Parks) where he focuses on seed production, working with 60 keystone species for a broad range of local habitats. Used in restoration efforts, these hardy species compete effectively with the invasive species so prevalent in the NYC region. Michael cultivates genetically-rich, eco-typic seed in “founder” plots via cross-pollination of individuals sourced from multiple wild-collected populations. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in botany from Duke University, Michael went on to work for the Botany Department of the Smithsonian, where he led the collecting team for the development of instant species identification through leaf images. This data was used to develop the iPhone application known as LeafSnap.

Audubon's Plants for Birds: Plant It and They Will Come - Tod Winston, Program Manager, Plants for Birds, National Audubon, New York, NY.

“Plant it and they will come” has become the new mantra for those wishing to attract birdlife to their yards and gardens—the “it” being native plants, which have co-evolved for millions of years with our native birds and form the foundation of a healthy North American ecosystem. Part of Audubon's Bird-Friendly Communities conservation strategy, the Plants for Birds program focuses on inspiring ordinary citizens to take action wherever they live, to help enrich the developed environment for birds and other wildlife. By growing native plants, everyone can do their part to help support breeding, migrating, and wintering bird populations imperiled by habitat loss and climate change. Plants for Birds program manager Tod Winston will explore the ecological science behind the Plants for Birds program and delve into the creation of bird-friendly gardens—and also give a quick tour of Audubon’s online native plants database, which provides users with customized lists of native plants and the types of birds they attract, and connects them to local native plant resources and expertise.

Bio:  Tod Winston joined National Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities team in 2016 as manager of the Plants for Birds program. A lifelong birder and gardener, he found the project impossible to resist: Though he’s lived in New York City for many years, Tod grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where for 30 years he gardened for wildlife and created and maintained a native plant hummingbird garden. While raising awareness about the importance of native plants for birds (and the entire ecosystem) is currently his principal professional pursuit, Tod also keeps a foot in local ecology work. For the past six years, he has worked in several different roles for New York City Audubon, where he continues to lead the organization’s annual Harbor Herons Nesting Survey, assist in songbird surveys of national park restoration areas, and teach about birds via local bird walks and the organization’s Beginning Birding course. He is continually amazed by the great variety of bird species that find refuge in New York City's mixed habitat of green spaces, concrete, and waterfront—from sea ducks to night-herons to whippoorwills to hummingbirds to warblers. Tod hold a B.A. in psychology from Oberlin College and a certificate in post baccalaureate premedical sciences from Columbia University.

Invertebrate Dynamics and Pollinator Presence in Urban Plantings - Dr. Anand Persad, Manager of Arboriculture and Plant Sciences, Davey Institute, Kent, OH.

Dr. Persad, a researcher who specializes in invasive insects and tree biomechanics, will address three critical areas for utility arborists and others interested in arboreal ecology. A comprehensive approach to land management, called Integrated Vegetation Management, including the importance of differentiating between targets and non-targets in developing tree care plans will be described. In addition, Dr. Persad discuss the sustainable use of plant material in urban plantings, as well as the dynamics of invertebrate fauna, specifically pollinators, in urban systems.

Bio: Dr. Anand Persad is Researcher/ Lecturer on invasive insects, tree biomechanics and insects at The Davey Institute in Kent, Ohio, where he is Manager of the The Davey Plant Diagnostic Unit. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Kent State University. He did post doctorate work at University of Florida, Gainesville in Invasive Species, Insect Molecular Genetics, Hi-Fidelity PCR, and received his doctorate in entomology at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad, WI. in 2000. Currently, Dr. Persad leads a team of industry-focused educators and researchers at the Davey Institute, Kent, OH in sustainable landscape ornamental pest solutions. He is instrumental in transferring technology associated with insect management science to the broad tree and turf care industry groups through collaborative research and joint teaching with several national and international agencies. Since 2009 Dr. Persad, in partnership with the John Deere Group, has taken landscape pest science to mainstream end users in OH, NJ, FL, SC and TN. He is a member of the Continental Dialogue for Invasive Species and has given invited talks at two of the national meetings of the dialogue. As a member of the arboricultural industry Dr. Persad initiated and has led biomechanics research that specifically looked at safety issues to arborists and users of community green spaces in ash trees affected by emerald ash borer. This information was presented through invited talks to the urban forestry units of four US cities and several municipalities and an invited presentation to the national Tree Care Industry Association meeting in 2011. Dr. Persad is creating new focus as well on ecosystem gardening and attracting insects as a precursor to attracting various wildlife including pollinators. He is President of the Arboriculture and Research Academy (AREA) of the ISA 2017-2018, and Chair of the Utility Arborist’s Association Research Committee 2017-2019.


When does Grassland Restoration do more Harm than Good?

Ms. Polly Weigand, Executive Director, LINPI, Hampton Bays NY.Ecologist, Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, Westhampton Beach, NY

This presentation will provide an evaluation of restoration and management on grassland quality within the Atlantic coastal pine barren ecoregion. Grasslands of the Atlantic Coastal Pine Barren (ACPB) ecoregion are globally rare and ecologically distinct; however, management, including restoration, is frequently sourced from research conducted in the Great Plains rather than locally. Being the first comparative study to examine Long Island grassland flora and the influences of management, Polly’s research identified many implications of current restoration practices including encroachment by unique woody and invasive species as well as community composition and structure that are more similar to that of the Great Plains. This indicates that goals to maintain or restore species compositions reflective of sand plain grasslands are not being achieved through current management techniques. Polly’s presentation will highlight many of these findings and provide a variety of ecoregionally based management considerations such as the development of seed mixes and control of woody and non-native species to help ensure the creation, persistence, and/or expansion of Long Island grasslands thus protecting sand plain grassland dependent flora and fauna.

Bio:  Polly Weigand currently serves as the Ecologist of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission in Westhampton Beach, New York, and is responsible for aiding in implementing science, stewardship, and educational activities including prescribed burns, habitat restoration and forest health monitoring in order to help protect the unique the Central Pine Barrens, a globally rare ecosystem. Polly received a Master of Science in Urban Ecology from Hofstra University with a focus in grassland management, and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.  In her free time, she volunteers as the Executive Director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI), which she founded during her 13-year tenure with the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District. LINPI advances wildland seed collection, banking, and plant material production to provide ready sources of genetically adapted and ecologically appropriate plant materials for use in commercial plant production, landscaping, and restoration activities. Under LINPI, Polly also helps oversee the administration of the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA), the local Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) as an additional means to further help protect Long Island’s native ecosystems from the degrading effects of invasive species. Previously, Polly served as the Senior Soil District Technician for the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, Environmental Analyst for Friends of the Bay, a Marine Fisheries Technician with NYS DEC and a Plover Steward with The Nature Conservancy. 

Program Sponsors:

The Long Island Native Plant Symposium is made possible by the generous support of the following:


Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities:

Interested in supporting the Native Plant Symposium and/or highlighting your work, programing or business activities related to habitat restoration, horticulture, education and outreach wildlife management?  LINPI is offering sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.  For more information on exhibitor or sponsorship click here.


Directions to Roosevelt Hall and Parking on Farmingdale State College Campus:

Please note that a parking pass will be emailed to you a week prior to the conference with registration and that permitted parking is in only the below highlighted general or visitor parking areas (in orange).  The Native Plant Symposium Venue is located at Roosevelt Hall  (highlighted in red).


More Information:

For further information on the Symposium, Exhibitor Information or Sponsorship, please contact us at

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