Penn State Master Gardeners present workshop in Hampton on biodiversity, pollinators and design

A Garden and Landscape Symposium hosted by Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County will…

A Garden and Landscape Symposium hosted by Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County will feature topics more far-reaching than the latest trends in horticulture.

The workshop on April 30, held at the Hampton Community Center, features three keynote speakers who will focus on pollinators, biodiversity and bird-friendly habitat.

The Penn State Master Gardener program was founded in 1982 as a volunteer effort to support the outreach mission of Penn State Extension.

They include Bob Mulvihill, ornithologist for the National Aviary, who will deliver the presentation “What is Good for Birds is Good for Your Backyard”; Harland Patch, assistant research professor at the Penn State Department of Entomology, who will talk about pollinator research and garden design; and Chris Riley, a research entomologist.

Riley, a mid-Atlantic technical support specialist with Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, plans to discuss with the audience the indicators of a changing climate and examine ways they might impact urban forests. Riley also will provide some ideas for how to plan moving forward.

“I’d like folks to leave with an understanding of what we can reasonably expect coming down the pipeline and an idea for what they can do, even at the scale of their own property, to prepare,” Riley said. “We are talking about changes that are going to continue to happen over large time scales, but trees are long-lived organisms, so it behooves us all to think about this now.”

The one-day workshop is open to home gardeners and landscape professionals. It will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hampton Community Center, 3101 McCully Road.

Cost is $60, with lunch provided by the Fluted Mushroom. Registration is available at extension.psu.edu/garden-landscape-symposium or by calling 877-345-0691.

Marking its 26th year, the event offers continuing education credits for either the 11:15 a.m. “Pollinator Research and Garden Design” or the 1:30 p.m. session, “Climate Change in Urban Forest Sessions.”

Master Gardeners program assistant Ellen Ahmad said the workshop will be chock full of education, beginning at 10 a.m. when Mulvihill takes the podium.

“By creating a bird-friendly habitat, you reduce the amount of time spent lawn mowing. You reduce or eliminate your use of garden pesticides and herbicide,s and you give yourself a beautiful living landscape that is healthier for you, your children, your pets and wild birds,” Mulvihill said.

Patch and Riley will follow, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

Patch is the director of pollinator programming at Penn State’s Bird and Pollinator Garden and a contributing science adviser to its design. Patch’s talk will lay out ecological design principles and help recommend garden design, with attention paid to the structure of plant-pollinator food webs, nutrition and nesting sites, as well as aesthetics.

During the symposium, the Garden Marketplace will showcase more than 20 vendors with hard-to-find perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, tools and garden-related items like botanical soaps and art.

The Penn State Master Gardeners will also be on hand with their popular plant sale, Ahmad said.

The marketplace is free and open to the public.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .