Dr. Lara Souza
University of Oklahoma
Director of the Oklahoma Biological Survey and Associate Professor in Microbiology and Plant Biology at the University of Oklahoma, Lara Souza has been studying grasslands ecology for more than 20 years. She seeks insight into how global changes such as drought will impact plant biodiversity and associated ecosystem service. A native of Brazil, she earned her doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and she has worked extensively across temperate prairies, tropical savannahs, and montane meadows in order to tackle her research questions.
Director of Horticulture
Myriad Botanical Gardens
As the Director of Horticulture for Myriad Botanical Gardens, Nate Tschaenn has overseen the design and installation of multiple new gardens on the grounds and created many horticultural and interpretive exhibits. He is also currently overseeing the replanting of the Crystal Bridge Conservatory. He came to Myriad in 2013 after receiving his master’s degree in public horticulture from the Longwood Graduate Program in Delaware.
Director of Horticulture, Gathering Place
Tulsa’s Riverfront Park
Stacie Martin gained her love of plants through home gardening in Cincinnati, Ohio where she earned her Associate’s Degree in Landscape Horticulture from Cincinnati State Community College. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Wilmington College, and is working on a Master’s of Natural Resources through Utah State University. She came to Gathering Place from Missouri Botanical Garden in 2017, and is the founder and chair of Gathering Place’s Sustainability Committee.
Director of Horticulture and Grounds, Scissortail Park
Swearengin has a passion for the native flora of Oklahoma and enthusiasm for progressive trends in public gardening. He earned a bachelor’s degree in public garden management and a master’s degree in horticulture science, both from Oklahoma State University.
8am Breakfast and check-in
9am “Prairie Ecosystems as a Model for Plant Biodiversity in the Home Garden”
Speaker: Lara Souza, Norman, Oklahoma
Learn about prairie diversity, plant traits, and their role in promoting system function as Dr. Lara Souza shares research she has conducted across Oklahoma’s native prairie ecosystems. Plant biodiversity supports pollinators, prevents soil erosion, and is one of the largest contributors to ecosystem function in both our prairies and our gardens. Because much of our world’s carbon is captured from our grasslands, its loss in biodiversity is a driving force in the future of our climate. By modeling these ecosystems in our home gardens, we can grow sustainable and beautiful pockets of life.
9:50-10am Break. Visit exhibitors.
10:05-11am “The Practically Eco-friendly Gardener”
Speaker: Nate Tschaenn, Oklahoma City
Creating and maintaining a garden can be an overwhelming prospect for many even without considering all the possible environmental impacts. But small steps in the right direction can have a positive and meaningful impact. Nate Tschaenn will share simple, practical tips from his experience designing for Myriad Botanical Gardens and in his own modest home garden. As the horticultural lead for the Crystal Bridge Conservatory renovation, Tschaenn will also share a preview of the the new design for that project.
12:35-1:30pm “Sustainable Gardens at Gathering Place”
Speaker: Stacie Martin, Tulsa
Gathering Place unites Tulsans through play, events, education, and beauty, while providing ecological benefits in an urban area. Learn about Gathering Place’s sustainable gardening techniques and landscapes are designed to provide connectivity to the Arkansas River, habitat for migratory birds, and biodiversity needed for pollinators.
1:35-1:45pm – Break. Visit exhibitors.
1:40-2:35pm “Wildscape Gardening: Returning your Landscape to its Prairie Roots”
Speaker: Lance Swearengin
Successful gardening in Oklahoma is all about choosing the right native plants that will thrive in this climate. By returning your landscape to its prairie roots, you can say farewell to plant disasters. Learn about specific requirements for the plants you choose that will bring lasting success in your residential landscape and help you to be more ecologically conscious.
2:35-3pm Q&A and Raffle