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The Impact Conference

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October 12, 2021

ILCA and the Chicago Botanic Garden have come together to present 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!



Program Emcee
Jennifer Jewell, Cultivating Place
Jennifer Jewell is the host of the national award-winning weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden. She is the author of The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants (Timber Press, 2020), and Under Western Skies, Visionary Gardens from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast (Timber Press 2021). Her greatest passion is elevating the way we think and talk about gardening, the empowerment of gardeners, and the possibility inherent in the intersection between places, environments, cultures, individuals and the gardens that bring them together beautifully – for the better of all the lives on this generous planet.


7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Registration / Check – in


8:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Brandon Losey, ILT Vignocchi, Committee Chair
Scott Grams, ILCA Executive Director


8:45 – 10:00 a.m.
Nature’s Best Hope
Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware 
Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. To create landscapes that enhance local ecosystems rather than degrade them, we must add the native plant communities that sustain food webs, sequester carbon, maintain diverse native bee communities, and manage our watersheds. If you do this in half of the area now in lawn, you can help create Homegrown National Park, a 20 million acre network of viable habitats that will provide vital corridors connecting the few natural areas that remain. This approach to conservation empowers you to play a significant role in the future of the natural world.


10:00 – 10:10 a.m. BREAK


10:10 – 11:10 a.m.

Marketing Organic Land Care
Alec McClennan, Good Nature Organic Lawn Care
Everyone wants to be organic until they have a dandelion. Alec McClennan, Founder of Good Nature Organic Lawn Care has been providing organic lawn and land care services to clients since 1999. He’ll share his story and lessons learned about how to help clients become and stay organic.



Why Wouldn’t You?
Jeff Lorenz, Refugia Ltd.
Refugia Design/Build embodies Doug Tallamy’s call-to-action of ‘bringing nature home’ with their tangible, practical approach to neighborhood restoration. Since 2015, founder Jeff Lorenz has been cultivating an ever-growing constellation of native habitat throughout PA & NJ via Refugia’s Ecological Greenway Network; residential gardens that reduce lawn and restore ecosystem function to our towns and suburbs. In the last 6 years, Refugia has established over 100 native habitats in the Greater Philadelphia Area, creating a web of stepping stone gardens within larger ecological corridors, and cultivating neighborhood conversation on the importance of planting native. Instead of working on individual residential projects that silo and fragment an ecosystem, why not make an impact with a larger green space – weaving your projects into a large network and amplifying your effect? Join Jeff to hear more about Refugia’s approach and to discuss simple ways in which you can educate, facilitate and bring these ideas to life.


11:10 – 11:20 a.m. BREAK


11:20 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.

Foodscaping with Natives
Brie Arthur, Brie Grows 
Thoughtful design and management of landscapes is more important than ever as concerns of climate, water quality and invasive plants increase. Brie will discuss how to create a foodscape using native plants mixed with favorite seasonal food crops. The best organic products are featured and easy, earth friendly maintenance strategies are highlighted. Learn about native edible plants and the pollinators they attract that aid in ecological restoration. Get inspired to see the potential every landscape offers by transforming them into purposeful spaces that embrace solutions to modern day landscape practices.


Invasives That We Know and Love
Monica Buckley, Red Stem Native Landscapes; Sarah Michehl, McHenry County Land Conservancy; Lydia Scott, The Morton Arboretum; Ken Williams, Horticulturist
Join three field experts for a conversation about invasive plants the nursery industry still produces and that homeowners and professionals continue to plant. Learn about preparing invaded sites for long term success, and which native alternatives to use in place of plants that cause gardening nightmares and damage to natural areas.


12:35 – 2:00 p.m. LUNCH / VENDOR HALL


2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Natural Pools & Swimming Ponds: Recreational Watershapes for the Sustainable Landscape
Alan Weene, Reflections Water Gardens
Natural pools, swimming ponds, and recreational ponds are eco-friendly man made water features designed for human swimming and bathing. These biologically purified watershapes promote biodiversity and help to restore native wildlife habitats while providing relaxation and enjoyment for families who value and appreciate an environmentally sustainable outdoor lifestyle. With organic and chemical-free landscape practices receiving greater attention and demand than ever before, natural pools offer a holistic approach to aquatic recreation in the residential landscape.


New Naturalism: Lessons from Wild Plant Communities
Kelly Norris, Author and Plantsman 
An in-depth lecture that applies elements of plant ecology and real-world examples from wild plant communities to the built landscape; highly recommended for conferences and venues geared towards landscape designers and managers. Kelly’s love for native plants and his experiences with wild plant communities have shaped his career in profound ways. As a so-called hort-ecologist, Kelly strives to interpret native ecosystems into beautiful, functional landscapes in the urban context. Too often, professional horticulturists appropriate plants as if they were inanimate objects, instead of truly understanding how plants interact and function within the landscape environment. Join Kelly in an exploration of wild plant communities and their constituents from across North America that will inspire and inform your professional practice whether as a grower, retailer or designer.


3:00 – 3:10 p.m. BREAK


3:10 – 4:10 p.m.
Interview with Refugia Ltd
Jeff Lorenz, Refugia Ltd.; Jennifer Jewell, Cultivating Place; Brandon Losey, ILT Vignocchi 
Join Jennifer Jewell, Jeff Lorenz and Brandon Losey as they discuss best practices learned from the day’s session including that habitat is not just for the birds, bees and beauty, but also for the best business models!


4:30 – 6:00 p.m. RECEPTION[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”19475″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_separator type=”transparent” up=”12″ down=”0″][vc_single_image image=”18349″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_separator type=”transparent” up=”12″ down=”0″][button size=”big_large_full_width” target=”_blank” hover_type=”default” font_weight=”700″ text_align=”center” text=”REGISTRATION CLOSED”][vc_separator type=”transparent” up=”12″ down=”0″][vc_column_text]

Registration closed on Friday, October 8th at 12pm.

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Want to Learn More?

Contact AnneMarie Drufke ([email protected]) for further information about Impact Conference: Building Sustainable Landscapes.


Thanks to our Premier Sponsor!


Thanks to our Breakfast Sponsor!


Thanks to our Session Sponsors!


Thanks to our Tabletop Sponsors!