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Doug Tallamy to Speak at Gardening for Life Event

Doug Tallamy
Doug Tallamy. Photo by Rob Cardillo.

The bestselling author who started a nationwide movement to landscape our yards and communities in ways that provide much-needed habitat for wildlife will be speaking in Columbus, NC, on March 4. Doug Tallamy will deliver a hopeful and actionable keynote address as the centerpiece of the Gardening for Life Celebration.  

This celebration will also feature educational exhibits and a book signing by the author. In addition, community activities before and after this event will help build a local movement that changes how we approach gardening, landscaping, and conservation.  

The Gardening for Life Celebration will take place at Polk County High School on the afternoon of March 4, with the presentation by Doug Tallamy starting at 2:00 p.m. The event is free to the public, although tickets are required to ensure that everyone has a seat for the presentation. Tickets are available through Conserving Carolina’s online event calendar 

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Monarch butterfly on Joe Pye weed. Photo by Rich Stevenson

Doug Tallamy’s books include the groundbreaking Bringing Nature Home; the lushly illustrated The Living Landscape (coauthored with Rick Darke); the New York Times bestseller Nature’s Best Hope; and The Nature of Oaks, which won the American Horticultural Society’s 2022 book award.  

Tallamy’s advocacy is rooted in his expertise as an entomologist and his research on how insects interact with plants. His writing greatly increased popular understanding of the necessity of native plants to support insect populations—the basis of the food web that supports all other animals. Tallamy introduced the concept of a “Homegrown National Park” in which habitat-friendly yards and gardens provide the expansive natural habitat needed to help avoid the mounting extinction crisis. In 2021, he went on to cofound the Homegrown National Park grassroots initiative, which engages people to regenerate biodiversity.  

Much of Tallamy’s message is summed up in this quote:

“In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.” 

honeybee on butterfly weed
Honeybee on butterfly weed. Photo by Kim Bailey.

In Polk County, Tallamy’s message inspired a group of gardening and wildlife enthusiasts to start the Gardening for Life Project. Lead partners in the celebration include Conserving Carolina, The Congregational Church of Tryon, Weiler Woods for Wildlife, Lanier Library, and New View Realty. 

Corrie Woods, who serves on the project’s leadership team, says, “The Gardening for Life Celebration, with Doug Tallamy presenting his message of hope to our community, is the cornerstone of the project. However, our vision goes beyond that. Our mission is to fuel a more robust, regionwide conversation about the need for creating, preserving and protecting healthy habits. We also want to shine a light on the successes of existing organizations, businesses and initiatives whose advocacy is resulting in positive change.”   

Redtail hawk
Redtail hawk. Photo by Corrie Woods.

In addition to the celebration on Mar. 4, the Gardening for Life Project is planning community events that will include movie nights, school programs, and a resource directory.   

Karen Bird, another member of the leadership team, says, “My goal for the Gardening for Life Project is that it will be a great catalyst for change in how our community thinks of ‘their’ land and how they care for it.”  

Leadership team member Vard Henry says, “Instead of feeling despair over the loss of natural habitat, Doug Tallamy’s message gives me hope that we can make a life affirming change. My hope is that this event will inspire more people to join the fight.”  

Pam Torlina, with Conserving Carolina, says, “An entomologist, ecologist, and conservationist, Doug Tallamy has spent years making careful observations of the natural world. While he acknowledges the destruction of life-supporting habitat, he offers hope and a simple, affordable, and enriching guide for habitat restoration that everyone can follow. His message is so important, and directly in line with Conserving Carolina’s mission to protect, restore, and inspire appreciation of the natural world. I hope everyone will make the effort to come listen and learn about ways to take action and make positive change for life on our planet.” 

Salamander. Photo by Corrie Woods.


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