2011 Annual Gathering

Annual Gathering 2011

Trees: Landscaping for Future Generations

For a quick recap of the Annual Gathering - see the OLC Blog!

Each year the NOFA Organic Land Care Program hosts an Annual Gathering open to the public, with a program focused on emerging science and issues pertinent to NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals.

Check out photos from the 2011 Annual Gathering:

Keynote Tom Wessels

The Foundational Principles of Sustainability

For 3.5 billion years life has not only sustained itself, but has thrived on this planet.  To create sustainable systems we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we only need to embrace the foundational scientific principles that govern sustainability in all living systems. This presentation covers three of these foundational principles: the law of limits to growth, the second law of thermodynamics and its relationship to entropy, and the law of self-organization. Examples of how these laws work in the natural world will be used to show how they can be applied to human systems like a community or an economy.

Tom Wessels is an ecologist and founding director of the master’s degree program in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. He is the current chair of The Center for Whole Communities that fosters inclusive communities that are strongly rooted in place and where all people have access to and a healthy relationship with land. He is former chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation that fosters environmental leadership through graduate fellowships and organizational grants. He served as an ecological consultant to the Rain Forest Alliance’s SmartWood Green Certification Program. Tom has conducted landscape level workshops throughout the United States for over 30 years. His books include: Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape.

Additional Presentations

Kevin T. Smith, Ph.D.
"Tree protection and Defense for Long-Term Landscapes"

Since 1977, Dr. Kevin T. Smith investigates the growth and decay of trees as part of the flow of energy and the cycling of elements within forests. As part of the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service, he leads a research team to determine the role of disease and environmental stress on forest health and productivity as well as the role of forest fungi to maintain forest fertility and biodiversity. Kevin has published more than 90 articles in scientific journals, trade magazines, and book chapters. Kevin is an honorary lifetime member of the New Hampshire Arborist Association and in 2010 received the Award for Excellence in Education from the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Peter Wild and Todd Harrington
"Pioneering the Organic Tree Care Trend When Nobody was Listening"
Peter Wild is the founder and CEO of Arborjet Inc., a manufacturer of tree injection systems and medicaments.  Wild is also the president and owner of Boston Tree Preservation, an organic-based, proactive tree-care business founded in 1977. Wild developed Soil Solutions, the first completely organic lawn-care program in the Boston area.

Todd Harrington is a true pioneer in organic lawn care having made it his business since 1987. Todd has proven that organic lawn, tree, and shrub care works and operates a profitable business near Hartford, Connecticut called “Harrington’s Organic Land Care.” He is an international consultant and national organic speaker and trainer who has written numerous published papers — of which some have been employed as the basis for legislation.

Diane Devore
"Designing with Trees: Grouping, Natives and Sustainable Choices"

Diane Devore is a registered Landscape Architect and principal of Devore Associates, a landscape architectural firm located in Fairfield, Connecticut. Ms. Devore received her undergraduate degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Delaware Valley College and her graduate degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. Devore Associates, now a mid-sized firm with projects throughout the Northeast, was selected as the award recipient for residential design by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects eight times.

Jim Conroy, Ph.D. and Basia Alexander
"Tree Whispering® and Cooperative BioBalance®--Paradigm Shifting to Restore Balance in Nature"

Dr. Jim Conroy or the Tree Whisperer®, earned his doctorate in Plant Pathology from Purdue University and spent 25 years as an executive in top ag-chem companies. Now, he is an authority on Nature-based communication and a global expert who holistically heals stressed trees, plants, and ecosystems with his own bioenergy-healing approach. As creator of Tree Whispering®–a holistic, hands-on, earth-friendly, no-product, and sustainable solution–he shows people how to restore tree and plant health by healing internal functionality.

Basia Alexander, The Chief Listener, is a catalyst for positive change and a leader in the new field of Conscious Co-Creativity. As an expert Nature communicator, Basia leads workshops and produces innovative curriculum.  Both Dr. Conroy and Basia are on faculty at Omega Institute and are co-founders of the Institute for Cooperative BioBalance.

Claire Rutledge, Ph.D.
"Emerald Ash Borer Update"

Dr. Rutledge's research specialty is wood-boring insects.  She specializes in understanding the mechanisms by which these insects locate their host trees and what determines the range of acceptable hosts.  Her research has focused on understanding the interactions between plants, their herbivores and the natural enemies which attack the herbivores.

Robert Marra, Ph.D.
"Assess Internal Decay in Trees Nondestructively Using Tomography"

Dr. Marra has expertise in mycology, fungal genetics, population biology, evolution, and molecular biology.  While his research program's focus on forest pathology, he studies a range of plant pathogens from the perspectives of population biology, ecology, and mating system evolution.   He has been a key participant in efforts to prevent the accidental introduction of the Sudden Oak Death pathogen, from western states.  He was instrumental in designing and running the department’s Molecular Plant Diagnostics Laboratory.

"Solutions to Assist Your Business in Challenging Economic Times"
Todd Harrington, Diane Devore and Mike Nadeau of Plantscapes Inc. in Fairfield CT
Our panelists will discuss findings of an survey circulated among our AOLCPs to determine the impact the economic recession has had on landscaping - especially orgnaic landscaping.  The panelists will share strategies to capitlize on organic services based on their experience and some of the sentiments expressed by the survey.