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Posy Symposium

By Noreen Damude

Spend a day celebrating the botanical history of Texas from the Pleistocene to the present at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Landowners, land managers, wildscapers and nature lovers won’t want to miss the chance to learn about the history of ecological changes in Texas’ native vegetation this spring. Two of the state’s most eloquent advocates for Texas plants, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Native Plant Society of Texas, are bringing the state’s top experts together on March 1, 2003, for the Native Plant Spring Symposium 2003: Historic Flora of Texas to explain why the key to land restoration in Texas lies in understanding native landscapes of the past.

These experts will take us back into the Texas past, explaining what Texas looked like botanically at the end of the Pleistocene. Plants tell the story, botanists are fond of saying. As vegetation changes, so does wildlife. One of the critical questions is whether the changes we have made to the landscape are irreparable. When springs dry up, do they ever come back? The historical questions will be complemented with practical workshops on such topics as butterfly gardening, and how to raise the temperamental and beautiful madrone trees.

The one-day symposium will be held Saturday, March 1 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in southwest Austin, 4801 La Crosse Avenue. The center’s spring wildflower landscapes are ethereally beautiful at this time of year.

The speakers on historical issues include:

  1. Billie Turner, Ph.D., director emeritus of the Plant Resource Center at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas, will introduce the "Historic Flora of Texas."
  2. Vaughn M. Bryant, Ph.D., director of the Center for Ecological Archaeology at Texas A&M University and editor of Through the Looking Glass: Readings in Anthropology, will talk on "Fossil Pollen Prints of the Texas Past."
  3. David Schmidly, Ph.D., president of Oklahoma State University, former President of Texas Tech University and author of Texas Natural History: A Century of Change, will discuss changes since 1850.
  4. Joe Sirotnak, botanist/ecologist, Big Bend National Park, will talk on "Historic and Current Ecological Conditions in Big Bend National Park."

Workshops:

  1. "Butterfly Gardening" with Judy Walther, Environmental Survey Consulting.
  2. "Beyond Picture Book Botany: Plant ID Using Dichotomous Keys" with Bill Carr, The Nature Conservancy.
  3. "Landscape Design-Texas Style" with Eleanor McKinney, ASLA.
  4. "Seed Harvesting and Selection" with David Mahler, Environmental Survey Consulting.
  5. "Butterfly Behavior and Caterpillar Conduct" with Mike Quinn, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  6. "Propagating Madrones" with Betty Winningham, Natives of Texas.

All symposium participants will receive an indexed CD containing newsletters of the Native Plant Society of Texas from 1983 to the present – an invaluable compendium of native plant lore, at last easily retrievable on disk and for many native plant lovers, a single compelling reason to attend.

For more information, visit the following Web site: <www.wildflower.org/?nd=56>. You also may call (512) 292-4200 or send an e-mail to: ogren@wildflower.org.

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