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A Coastal Plain Native Plant Conference will be sponsored Sept. 16-17 by Norfolk Botanical Garden, Old Dominion University and the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society.

Participants will be able to choose from 10 seminars led by scientists, landscape architects, ecologists and master gardeners. In addition, there will be garden tours in Norfolk and field trips to native-plant habitats in the region.

Larry Early, author of the book, "Looking for Longleaf," which is about the longleaf pine, will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 in Room 1005 of Constant Hall. The address is free and open to the public. The seminars, open only to conference participants, will be held at Norfolk Botanical Garden.

The seminars, open only to conference participants, will be held at Norfolk Botanical Garden.

The garden's education director, Perry Mathewes, said the conference is designed to educate laypersons as well as professionals about plants native to the Atlantic coastal plain.

Lytton Musselman, Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and who is coordinating ODU's involvement in the conference, noted that the university's Blackwater Ecologic Preserve is considered by many to be the premier botanical reserve in the Virginia coastal plain. "This conference, which is the first of its kind for ODU, is part of our growing cooperation with the Norfolk Botanical Garden," Musselman said.

Home gardeners and landscapers in the region are showing increasing interest in growing native plants because the plants are adapted to the local climate and diseases, Musselman said.

He is particularly pleased, he added, to have Early deliver the keynote address. "The longleaf pine is the tree that built our Tidewater."

Seminar leaders will include Chris Ludwig, chief biologist, Virginia Natural Heritage Program; Lou Verner, wildlife mapping coordinator, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Gary Smith, landscape architect; Cecil Frost, landscape fire ecologist and former director of North Carolina's endangered plant program; Dennis Whigham, plant ecologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; Andrew Bell, associate director, North Carolina Botanical Garden; Johnny Randall, assistant director for conservation, North Carolina Botanical Garden; Sylvan Kaufman, conservation curator, Adkins Arboretum in Maryland; Libby Norris, scientist with Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Rhana Paris, a naturalist and master gardener from the North Carolina Outer Banks.

The cost of the seminar is $80 per person, $50 for students. The fee includes a reception hosted by ODU President Roseann Runte in Webb Center's Rectors' Room at 6 p.m. on Friday and lunch on Saturday. For more information, call 757-441-5838 or visit http://www.nbgs.org/calendar/2005-09/september_lecture.shtml.

This article was posted on: August 16, 2005

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