WVNLA’s 2019 Winter Symposium was held Wednesday, January 30 in Charleston. Speakers with backgrounds in ecological planting design, community gardens, landscape architecture education, horticulture, landscape company management, pricing, estimating, and regulatory compliance presented concepts and answered questions. For an idea of future Winter Symposium formats, view the day’s schedule here, or read speaker bios below. Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for non-members. Registration includes lunch. Two sessions will run simultaneously, one with a focus on design elements and the other featuring successful green industry business practices.
Claudia West, a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design, will present “Stunning Plant Communities that Stand the Test of Time.” Claudia is known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She has worked on all sides of the green industry—as a designer, a grower, installer, and land manager—grounding her innovative work in pragmatic solutions that address the realities of our urbanizing world. She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book, Planting in a Post-Wild World (Timber Press, 2015).
Barbara Arnold, senior horticulturist at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, will speak on “Creation and Use of a Public Garden Community Garden Campus.” She will explore the different focuses of community gardens —education, healthy food source, a place of beauty. Community is the element they all have in common. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Scott’s Miracle-Gro Community Garden Campus is all of those and more.
Hear how community members young and old had a voice in the creation of the garden. See how a creepy- quiet part of the park came to life. Gain an understanding how Conservatory departments (horticulture, event sales, development, community outreach and education) worked to create a beautiful and useful garden. Learn how Franklin Park Conservatory’s plot holder program is run and operated.
Barbara has worked in the green industry for more than 30 years with experience in commercial landscaping, public gardens and golf courses. For the past 23 years, she has been a member of the horticulture staff at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Peter Butler, director of the school of design and community development, an associate professor of landscape architecture and extension specialist in landscape architecture at West Virginia University, will speak on “Western European Landscapes.” His presentation will feature the many student tours he has led through these gardens. The travel experience includes the interpretation and sketching of gardens, landscapes and architecture ranging from the medieval to contemporary with horticulture and landscape architecture students.
Peter holds a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his bachelors and masters degrees in landscape architecture from Iowa State University. His research interests include cultural landscape research and planning; community design process; industrial landscape reclamation and interpretation; and design studio pedagogy. Before entering academia, Peter worked as a gardener and landscape construction supervisor in Seattle WA, Driggs ID and Nantucket MA.
Preston Montague, artist and landscape designer, will discuss “Approaches to Designing with Plants.” Making design decisions in the landscape can be a frustrating challenge for both green industry professionals and home gardeners alike. Preston will demonstrate some of his approaches to designing with plants that can help demystify the process of deciding “which plant, where, and how many?” He will discuss strategies design professionals use to create outdoor rooms that are environmentally responsive and that provide for a range of activities.
Preston is a naturalist working to improve public and environmental health through the arts, education, and landscape architecture. He is passionate about inspiring curiosity and encouraging a sense of agency in people to affect positive change in their environment. Preston strives to help people make the connection between the health of the planet and the quality of their lives.
Andrew Bunting, vice president of horticulture and collections at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will present “Designing with Tropical Plants,” especially as used in outdoor seasonal displays.
Andrew was previously with the Chicago Botanical Garden and was the curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania for 25 years. He also owned a landscape design and construction business called Fine Garden Creations, Inc. Originally from Illinois, Bunting received his bachelor of science degree in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Brothers Steve and Jeff Rak will present “The Company Experience and How It Relates to the Success of Your Company.”
Steve Rak is the president of Southwest Landscape Management. Steve is a past president of Ohio Landscape Association and has written for many publications. He currently writes for Turf magazine. Jeff Rak, CLP, is the president of Land Creations Landscaping and is also a past president of Ohio Landscape Association. Jeff is a graduate of Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute with a degree in Landscape Contracting and Construction. Land Creations has won several awards and been recognized in many publication and local TV stations.
James Huston, Certified Professional Landscape Estimator, will present “How to Price Landscape & Irrigation Projects and A Critical Analysis of the MORS Estimating System.”
James Huston has more than 30 years of diverse business management experience and holds an MBA degree in finance. He is also a member of the American Society of Professional Estimators. He is one of only two Certified Professional Landscape Estimators in the world.
As a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he held positions in finance, aviation supply inventory management and procurement. After his tour of duty, he became a senior production control analyst for the Electronics Division of General Dynamics.
Since 1987, he has been a management consultant to the landscape and irrigation industry. He headed the consulting division for Charles Vander Kooi and Associates, Inc., and in 1989 he formed J. R. Huston Consulting.
Prentice Cline, OSHA Charleston area office director, will present “How to Keep Your Business on OSHA’s Good List.” Prentice will cover common and potential citations issued by OSHA to landscape operations and how to avoid them. He’ll discuss best practices for safety and health management plans. Prentice holds bachelors and masters degrees in environmental and occupational health and has 25 years of experience in occupational safety and health field. He has been with OSHA for 19 years and in his current position for 8 years.
The Winter Symposium will be held January 30 at the Embassy Suites, 300 Court Street in Charleston.
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