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Conservation District’s Native Plant Expo & Marketplace 2023 Educational Speakers Series

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Dru Mark-Wilson for the information in this story.)

To promote the fourth Native Plant Expo & Marketplace, the Washtenaw County Conservation District (WCCD) is offering three free educational events in the Winter of 2023 to inform and inspire residents to restore native plants in our communities.

Please register for each event at or by calling the WCCD office at 734-302-8715.

The presenters in the series are as follows:

#1 “Restoring Nature with Prescribed Fire: Why We Burn, and How We Do It Safely”

Speaker: Dave Borneman

Location and Time: Zoom Webinar, Jan. 26 from 12-1:30 pm

For thousands of years, intentional burning of the landscape has been a part of what is now southern Michigan.

Borneman will discuss the Native American history of fire here, and why burning can be a valuable tool for those interested in restoring native Michigan landscapes. He recently retired after 28 years as the Natural Area Preservation Manager for the City of Ann Arbor Parks.  Now he can devote more time to his private business, David Borneman, LLC, conducting prescribed burns and doing ecological consulting with a wide range of clients across the Midwest. When he is not burning, Dave is likely either tending to the family cabin in northeast Michigan or traveling with his wife.

#2 “Supporting Native Pollinators in Backyards to Barnyards”

Speaker: Connie Crancer

Location and Time: Zoom Webinar, Feb. 23 from 12-1:30 pm

Connie Crancer is the Michigan NRCS Pollinator Liaison & Project Wingspan State Coordinator for the Pollinator Partnership, the largest non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems.

She will address how to enhance and create habitat in our backyards and farms using native plants that not only support native pollinators and other beneficial insects and the ecosystem services they provide, but also support ecological resiliency, healthy soils and water ways. She will include national and state educational, technical and financial resources and opportunities. Crancer attended MSU (BS Horticulture) and UM (MS Terrestrial Ecology) where she had a 26-year career at the UM Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. She lives and works on an active farm that focuses on sustainable, conservation-minded farming practices for pollinators, beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife.

#3 “A Year in Blooms – Through a Pollinator’s Eyes”

Speaker: Vince Ste. Marie

Location and Time: In-Person at Dexter Township Hall (6880 Dexter-Pinckney Road) from 6-7:30 pm

Vince Ste. Marie of Windy Rock Farm and Nursery will present an “idea” talk for those desiring to plant for pollinators, but not knowing where to begin or how to select plants that best meet pollinators’ needs throughout the year.

Questions explored in this talk will include – How do seasonal bloom patterns provide just what pollinators need at critical stages throughout the year? Where do bees get the protein necessary to ensure successful early spring brood growth? What role do fall blooming wildflowers play in aiding Monarch migration and pollinator over-wintering success? Are all flowering plants the same or what advantages do native species provide for the pollinator gardener?

Ste. Marie and his family practice environmentally responsible farming at their home, Windy Rock Farm and Nursery in Manchester and were chemical-free beekeepers for ten years. In 2016 they opened an on-farm retail specialty nursery offering primarily Michigan native flowering trees, shrubs, and perennial wildflowers of benefit to pollinators.

If these presentations pique your interest in native plants, make sure to attend the 2023 Native Plant Expo & Marketplace (NPEM) which offers residents one convenient location to shop for native plants from Michigan nurseries, learn how to establish and maintain native landscapes, and connect with companies and organizations specializing in planning or protecting native landscapes.

The NPEM be held Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds (5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road). Online pre-sales of plants are available until March 20  (or until inventory runs out).  Pre-sale plants will be picked-up and additional plants will be available for purchase at the event.  If a paper order form is preferred, they are available online for self-printing or at the WCCD office (705 N Zeeb Road).

Please visit to learn more about the NPEM, pre-order plants online, or download the order form.

The WCCD is a unit of local government, managed by an elected 5-member board of directors, with the mission to assist residents with the conservation, management, and wise-use of natural resources in Washtenaw County. Founded in 1948, the WCCD is celebrating 75 years of serving residents through resource distributions, education, and technical assistance. Over 7.5 million trees and shrubs have been planted as a result of WCCD’s distributions, contributing to conservation practices such as reforestation, soil erosion reduction, water quality improvement, habitat restoration, and naturalization projects.

To learn more about the WCCD programs, please visit the district website at Contact the WCCD office with any questions at (734) 302-8715 or [email protected].

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