On February 25th, the Native Plant Society of Texas held their 27th Annual Spring Symposium as part of their efforts to educate Texans on the value and necessity of native plants. This year’s symposium focused on the many ways we can conserve and support the growth of native plants throughout Texas. The event was held at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX. Five speakers were invited to present at this year’s symposium, one of which being our very own, Erin Franz, Texan by Nature’s Executive Director. Erin was honored to be invited and gave a presentation on comprehensive conservation and the value of taking care of our natural resources where we work, live, worship, and play, a goal shared closely with the Native Plant Society of Texas.
Erin emphasized the importance of “internalizing the values of good stewardship, while also sharing the knowledge and principles that will help our state’s collective conservation ethic grow and endure.” Conservation is crucial to the future of Texas and it should be our aim to “shift the mindset that conservation is something that someone else does” and to “get all Texans – from CEOs to kindergartners – engaged and excited about conserving our natural resources.”
The speakers at this event included:
Reflections on Water – Tom Spencer, best known as the host of Central Texas Gardener, is also director of Texas Living Waters Project.
“A general and philosophical reflection on conserving water resources and cultivating a kind of rootedness where we as humans accept our personal responsibility to heal, steward and protect our environment.”
Integrating Native Plants in a High Use, Urban Area – Beth Carroll, project director of the Trail Foundation will talk about using native plants on the hike and bike trails around Lady Bird Lake.
“See how one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the U.S. is utilizing native plants in an urban, high use, naturalized setting; specifically examining the intersection of human users and the needs of a healthy native plant ecosystem in the context of a riparian environment.”
Local Heroes: Designing with Native Plants for Water-Saving Gardens – Pam Penick, Austin-based blogger and author of Lawn Gone!and The Water-Saving Garden. Pam will have a book signing following her presentation.
“A fresh look at creating water-wise home gardens that don’t sacrifice beauty. Get inspired by before-and-after photos of native-plant gardens and Pam’s creative design ideas for water-conserving gardens.”
Texan by Nature – Erin O’Neil Franz
Native Edible Plants: A Taste of Place – Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Wildflower Center.
“Research and strong public interest of wild and native edibles are timely today, as it relates to health, history and culture giving humans our sense of place and taste.”
The Native Plant Society of Texas is an organization that is on the forefront of protecting Texas’ native plants and wildlife. They are a non-profit organization that strives to promote research, conservation, and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas, working to further their mission first hand in communities around the state. Founded in Denton, TX in 1981, the Native Plant Society of Texas has already grown to more than 30 chapters statewide, from Big Bend to the Piney woods, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.