October 20, 2023

The Impact Conference

NIU Naperville



Make a Sustainable IMPACT in Your Environment!

This event includes invigorating sessions on sustainable and ecological landscape practices. The day will also include vendor displays featuring the latest in sustainable products & practices and networking opportunities with those new to sustainable practice and old pros who know the ropes. CEU’s will be available for Landscape Architects!

Schedule of Events

7:15 AM: Attendee Badge Pick Up

8:00 AM – 8:15 AM
Brandon Losey, Alluvium Landscapes, ILCA Sustainable Committee Chair

Start the day with a warm welcome from the Sustainable & Ecological Landscaping Committee Chair!

8:15 AM – 9:15 AM
Wildscaping: Explorations in Naturalistic Planting Design (Keynote)
Tony Spencer, The New Perennialist

Wildscaping is about using plant-driven landscape design to create and sustain dynamic garden spaces, filled with beauty and wildlife, to rekindle our relationship to the natural world. Join writer and planting designer Tony Spencer for an encounter with some of the international designers, innovations, issues, and landscapes leading the way – along with a look at his own experimental design projects – to inspire garden-making with a sense of purpose on the wild side.

9:15 AM – 10:05 AM – Breakout Sessions

“Our Future With Water” the Why, What and How of Storm Water Management
Trevor Smith, Weston Nurseries 

Water simultaneously manages to be the stuff of mystery and our daily routine. We use it to cook with, wash our dishes, and brush our teeth but very few can stand on the beach and not lose themselves watching the breakers roll in. In the face of climate change, water is becoming much more of an issue, we either have too much too little and never when we really need it. Water bans, flooding and erosion are common now and it feels as if this lifegiving resource has turned against us. Get reacquainted with water and learn simple methods to capture and reuse storm water or slow stormwater runoff.

We will discuss…
• Rain harvesting
• Permeable pavements
• Green roofs
• Bioswales and rain gardens
• Tree Planting

Trevor shares his nearly two decades of practical experience working with and installing stormwater management systems.

How and Why to Utilize Native Plants in the Landscape
John Mariani RLA, LandServe LLC
Room 111

John will begin with some personal background history, followed-up with science facts that have led us to where we are today with massive wildlife species decline-mostly due to plant habitat loss-and the critical need for native plant restoration. From there, he’ll explain how the landscape industry has the greatest opportunity over any other to make the most positive impact towards correcting this problem and saving our native wildlife heritage simply by substituting native plants in their landscape projects. Next, he will show examples of native plants and locally-sourced materials utilized in all manner of landscape design styles-other than the typical “weed-patch” effect that, unfortunately, has so many turned-off to this concept! He will also explain what he personally believes to be the definition of “true Sustainability”. At the end, he’ll summarize his experiences since 1970 and make a plea to the Designers, Growers and Contractors…Reminding them that they can leave a legacy, and be heroes-That they have the power to make this change and save our planet for our children and future generations.

10:05 AM – 10:20 AM: Break and Visit with Exhibitors

10:20 AM – 11:05 AM – Small Group Discussions

Balancing Act Between Client Ideals and Their Expectations
Loriena Harrington, Beautiful Blooms LLC
Room 101A

Learn how to strike a balance between the ideals that clients may have about how their property is managed and the realities or demands of their expectations. In this session, you will listen to the history of how with the support from its clients, Beautiful Blooms transitioned from conventional management techniques to fully embracing an organic approach to lawn care…to then strike a balance somewhere in between. Loriena will then facilitate an open discussion with the audience to share best experiences. Loriena Harrington, owner of Beautiful Blooms Landscape is an accredited organic land care professional, horticulturist, and turf grass expert with over 33 years of experience in the management of golf courses and high-end residential properties.

Let’s Talk: Enhancing Collaboration Among Professionals in Natural Area Development & Improvements
Elly Flemming, Eric Sebert, Bluestem Ecological Services
Room 101B

Natural areas and native plantings in modern landscapes are on the rise and that means individuals who are involved with these projects are growing as well.
Join us for a practical discussion on how native plant contractors can collaborate effectively with landscape architects, park districts, traditional landscapers, municipalities, and others. Bluestem brings insights from our experiences and encourages you to share your own challenges in achieving better partnerships within the industry. Let’s cultivate a more harmonious and eco-conscious landscape community together. Join us for an engaging discussion on how native plant contractors can forge beneficial relationships with other key players in the field.

11:05 AM – 12:05 PM: Lunch

12:05 PM – 12:55 PM

Planting It Forward – Fostering Naturalistic Plantings from Design through maintenance to maturity
Austin Eischeid, Austin Eischeid Garden Design; Kasey Eaves, Vivant Gardens

A thoughtful planting design is important to the success of a garden. But without a plant for garden stewardship after installation there is no garden.

Austin Eischeid of Austin Eischeid Garden Design and Kasey Eaves of Vivant Gardening Services will share their collaboration of the new North Gardens at Millennium Park. Through teamwork and open communication, they keep these naturalistic gardens healthy and evolving for the millions of visitors. Come listen to their discussion about their collaboration on these four season gardens and hear the successes and challenges that they’ve learned through their experiences.

12:55 PM -1:45 PM – Small Group Discussions

Austin Eischeid, Austin Eischeid Garden Design
Room 101A

Lessons from the Field: Native Landscaping in a Conventional World
Dave Neu, NatureSpace
Room 101B

Join the conversation about the challenges of creating a business model in an emerging field, how to leverage partnerships, and identify hurdles to success. Discuss and help pinpoint the gaps between traditional landscape practices and what is needed to design, install, and maintain landscapes that include natives. Consider solutions to help fill those gaps to bring more native plants to residential clients.

Creating a Team of Natural Garden Stewards
Kasey Eaves, Vivant Gardens
Room 101C

In naturalistic and native landscapes the expectations and demands on your team can feel limitless. How do we foster curiosity and compassion when you are stuck (literally) in the weeds? In this small group discussion, Kasey will share what she’s learned hiring and guiding her team of new and experienced garden stewards.

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Last chance to visit our sponsors

2:00 – 2:50 PM

Balancing Ecology and Business
Trevor Smith, Weston Nurseries; John Mariani, LandServe LLC; Loriena Harrington, Beautiful Blooms LLC; Kasey Eaves, Vivant Gardens
Moderated by: Angela Bowman, Bowman Gardens

Is good ecology good for business? We know there’s a growing market for native plants and ecologically-driven landscaping. How can we channel that demand into a successful business model? Four professionals talk about the opportunities and challenges of providing ecologically beneficial services to clients.

2:50 – 3:50 PM

Sustainable Landscapes – Changing Your Perspective (Closing Keynote)
Jack Pizzo, The Pizzo Group

It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Where you take that step, the direction, small or large… are all relevant questions. Over thinking that leads to inaction and high expectations with less than stellar results often derail your journey. Competition with know-it-alls and bloviators devalue your expertise. The solution is education. You need to educate yourself. You take that education forward to your clients. This is a hybrid presentation half PowerPoint and half Q&A so bring your questions!

Organizer: AnneMarie Drufke

Click here to contact [email protected] for further information about this event.

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