Environmental series aims to educate and inspire

John Barber (March 10 speaker) and Lara Roketenetz (March 30 speaker) both have a lot to say about creating a healthy habitat. (Seriously!)

Beginning March 2, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will present a series of six free, live Zoom presentations designed to inspire the community to enrich habitat with native plant species. Register online at http://bit.ly/3cMa5gZ.

Both nonprofit organizations work in the Doan Brook watershed that drains into the Great Lakes—the largest freshwater system in the world—via Lake Erie. As caretakers of this ribbon of water that runs through the Heights communities, they work against the invasion of plant species introduced from other continents that escape garden cultivation.

In the first two talks, Friends of Lower Lake co-chairs will detail how to begin planting native species in residential yards, and how to identify and remove harmful invasive plants.

The third talk, by retired certified landscape designer Robin Schachat, will describe those native shrubs that provide structure in the garden, as well as essential habitat and food for insects and birds.

Next up is landscape architect Chris Cheraso, whose talk about planting with a purpose was inspired by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to his twins.

Building on his talk, the next will provide information about planting for pollinators. It is presented by Lara Roketenetz, Project Wingspan state coordinator of the Pollinator Partnership and University of Akron field station manager.

The series ends on April 7 with the Nature Center’s own Natural Resources Specialist Nick Mikash, who will talk about his favorite natives for the garden with “Nick’s Picks.”

Mikash’s talk will feature plants included in the annual Nature Center plant sale, to be held online on March 22, at www.shakerlakes.org. The sale will offer vegetables, annuals, trees, shrubs, ornamental baskets, and a robust assortment of locally grown native perennials.

For the third year, the plant sale will offer “pollinator plug packs”—selections of plants for those who want to start small. Even small, tree lawn gardens that comprise native plant species contribute to habitat corridors that support pollinators.

Doug Tallamy, author of Nature's Best Hope, advises that “nature” isn’t something set aside in preserves and parks. He stresses that “we can no longer leave conservation to the conservationists,” and advocates for growing our own “Homegrown National Park” to enrich habitat for wildlife, including humans.

To connect with local efforts working to improve healthier native ecosystems, visit www.ecologicalheights.com.

Peggy Spaeth

Peggy Spaeth works to improve habitat with the Heights Pollinator Path; Friends of the Bradford Cinder Path; the Nature Center plant sale committee; and as co-chair, with John Barber, of Friends of Lower Lake.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 7:57 AM, 02.23.2021