Ecology Restoration: Ecological Research to Landscape to Architecture

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Part 1 | Seeing the Trees for the Forest: Conservation of Oak Ecosystems

Dr. Patrick Keyser

Despite their vast extent and impressive appearance, today’s oak forest ecosystems are not healthy. Age classes are not balanced, understories have been severely impacted by white-tailed deer, regeneration of desirable overstory species is almost non-existent, non-native pests are proliferating, and key ecosystem elements are missing. Restoration of ecological health to these systems requires intervention. Against the backdrop of severe western fires, it may be surprising to many that one of the primary tools required for healthy oak forests is fire. The natural role of fire and conservation strategies will be discussed.

Part 2 | Farming for Biodiversity: Case Studies from Virginia

Dr. Amy Johnson

Eastern grasslands are one of our most important ecosystems for supporting human livelihoods, they support our livestock, they grow our food, and they store vast amounts of carbon. They are also home to a surprising number of threatened species that are directly impacted by the way we manage these lands. So, how can we manage grasslands for the benefit of both people and biodiversity? This presentation will share science-based management insights from Smithsonian's "Virginia Working Landscapes" research program and demonstrate how Virginia landowners are integrating biodiversity conservation with agriculture.

Part 3 | Catskills Flora Inspires a New Education Center for Mountain Top Arboretum

Jamie Purinton
Marc Wolf

Mountain Top Arboretum Executive Director Marc Wolf and Landscape Architect Jamie Purinton
lead a tour of the Catskill Mountains native plants that inspired the Arboretum’s first Education
Center. The building is timber frame and features twenty-one species of trees harvested from
the Arboretum’s 160 acre forest. The landscape not only includes a series of six interconnected rain gardens and an alternative lawn, but also addresses functional needs for visitors’ parking and arboretum maintenance. Learn about the native Catskill plants, making rain gardens, and structuring a collaborative design and implementation process.
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Horticulture / Plants
Sustainable Development & Design
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
Explore grassland establishment and management techniques that maximize conservation potential using case studies on working lands.

Learn how eastern oak-dominated forests are at a crisis point in terms of their health and sustainability.

Understand strategies for managing a collaborative design and implementation process.
Pat Keyser, Amy Johnson, Jamie Purinton, Marc Wolf
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Course Codes
New Directions in the American Landscape

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