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31st Annual Native Plants & Natural Area Management Seminar

CAMPTON HILLS, IL     Reservations for Garfield Farm Museum's 31st annual Natural Area Management Seminar to be held on Saturday, February 20th from 8:30 am-4:30pm are now being taken. From backyard gardeners, home owner associations to owners of natural area acreage, this seminar covers all the key methods and techniques of preserving and using the best adapted plants for the Illinois environment. Experts Conner Shaw, Jack Pizzo, Ben Haberthur and Jerome Johnson will help explain the best techniques and methods to increase and maintain native plant communities. There is a $55 donation for the all day seminar which includes lunch and refreshments. Half day attendance without lunch is $25.

     The day's outline will consist of researching property history, identifying native plants, identifying invasive species and the use of fire, herbicides, cutting and brush stacking equipment.  Topics include using native flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs in home landscaping.

    With the extreme ranges in weather over the last dozen years, only native plants have the genetic ability to deal with such fluctuations. Deep roots, delayed germination or growth, drought and flood tolerance, can be just some of the defenses against an uncertain environment. This is where the 100 years plus collective experiences of the seminar's speakers will help guide property owners in selecting plants that are genetically programmed to withstand climatic extremes.

     The long term picture is problematic but Conner Shaw knows what trees and shrubs can thrive here and provide a food source for animals. Shaw is one of the few people who collects seed from the wild and can grow native Illinois trees and shrubs like few others. Since 1978, his Possibilities Place Nursery in Monee, IL is one of a kind. For homeowners in town who want just the right tree for their backyard, Shaw knows what will grow in such suburban conditions. For larger properties, his combinations of native shrubs like the viburnums and deciduous oaks or Kentucky coffee trees makes one's landscaping truly grand scale.

    Jack Pizzo of Pizzo & Associates brings over 26 years of experience discussing professional methods for restoring existing natural areas, creating a sustainable landscape on corporate campuses, or helping home-owners' associations manage their community resources. Based out of Leland, IL, his firm has done projects from Michigan to Missouri.

    Ben Haberthur will join Jerome Johnson in speaking on management techniques. Haberthur has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, but it was the environmental devastation he saw as a Marine in Iraq that led him to environmental restoration. He has worked with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and is now in charge of the natural areas restoration of Campton Township's Open Space Program.

    For property owners who are looking to turn the backyard into a natural area to large acreage owners, Johnson will bring his 30 years of experience to the table. Jerome Johnson, executive director and museum biologist, grew up walking the fields, woods, and streams around Garfield Farm. Recalling woods full of spring flowers, little did he realize how rare such features would become with habitat loss, invasive plants, and over grazing by deer which were once rarely seen. Housing developments certainly caused loss but without management, Johnson quickly learned at Garfield Farm, even its prairie and woods were struggling to survive.

     This seminar has both a history and method unlike any others. It offers information that can be directly taken to the field and put in place. Participants are welcome to return in March to gain hands on experience in the museum's controlled burns.

   Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. For reservations call 630 584-8485 or email