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Swaner EcoCenter webinar shows preserving nature can start in the backyard

Doug Tallamy, professor and chairman of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, will give a free webinar based on his book “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, on Zoom. The virtual event will be hosted by the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.
Photo by Rob Cardillo

What: Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter and the Utah Humanities Book Festival presents Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard” with Doug Tallamy

When: 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30

Where: Zoom

Cost: Free

Registeration: https://usu-edu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wQQU7zJdRq-KHQYvCi0E4g

Web: swanerecocenter.org

Part of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter’s mission is about restoring, preserving and researching specific and native landscapes, but according to Executive Director Nell Larson, not every landscape has to be undisturbed like the preserve.

“Nature can happen in your yard, in your neighborhood or even in the city,” Larson said. “These areas all count as part of our ecosystem, and they’re still valuable.”

To show how backyards can make a difference in preserving nature, the Swaner EcoCenter is partnering with the Utah Humanities Book Festival to present a free webinar with Doug Tallamy, author of “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, on Zoom. Visit swanerecocenter.org to register.

“We love partnering with the Utah Humanities Book Festival, and we’ve been able to present many authors in person in the past, but aren’t able to do that this year, due to the pandemic,” Larson said.

Tallamy, professor and chairman of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, will discuss basic steps homeowners and renters can do to nurture nature, Larson said.

Many things he will talk about will be from his book, “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard,” which is available for purchase at the EcoCenter’s gift shop, Larson said.

“Doug lays out plans for some of these actions, and what that would mean if we all do it collectively,” she said. “So many problems we face regarding the environment are large-scale when you think about climate change and loss of habitat, which makes it all feel so overwhelming. But when you hear about Doug’s research and hear him speak, you realize that there is so much that can happen in the mini ecosystems in backyards that include nesting and seeds.”

One of the points Tallamy’s book focuses on is replacing non-native plants with native plants.

“The reason that’s so important is because these native plants will attract more native insects who will use these plants as habitats,” Larson said.

Native birds, in turn, can eat those native insects, and more native wildlife will follow the birds, she said.

“So you start thinking about the next time you plan your garden,” Larson said. “You may want to select native plants or I will replace this tree that was uprooted by those hurricane winds that blew through Utah last week with a native tree that native moths can use as a habitat. It’s pretty simple and intuitive, and that’s what I like about it.”

Larson discovered Tallamy during a nature center conference a couple of years ago.

“He was the keynote speaker, and I was super inspired by his message,” she said. “I wanted to bring him in because, like the other presenters we host, he just didn’t talk about the problems regarding the environment. He offered solutions. And I think that will resonate with our patrons and community.”

Following the presentation, Larson and Hunter Klingensmith, Swaner EcoCenter visitor experience coordinator, will moderate a Q-and-A session with Tallamy.

“I know all the people we at the EcoCenter talk to want to make a difference,” Larson said. “They all want to do the right thing so we can see a brighter future for planet Earth, and I think when they hear his speech, they will find some steps they can take right away.”


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