On October 25 and 26, over 300 conservation practitioners and interested laypeople from across Ontario converged on the Toronto Botanical Garden for the “Restoring Resilience: Big Impacts across Small Spaces” conference. The event, co-organized with the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC), doubled as Carolinian Canada’s annual Ecosystem Recovery Forum and OIPC’s Annual General Meeting. The forum fittingly had dual, but integrally-connected, themes: how to address the rapidly-growing problem of invasive species, and the benefits of restoring habitat with native species, even in small spaces such as private gardens, on a working landscape.
Highlight’s included two keynote talks by renowned entomologist and award-winning author Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware. With solid science, incisive wit and jaw-dropping photos (many of them of caterpillars in his own back yard), Dr. Tallamy demonstrated how essential native plants are to the food webs that support our bird and wildlife populations, and how native plants can be creatively and attractively incorporated into our back, and front, yards.
The event included a public reception, Carolinian Canada Conservation Awards presentations, as well as talks emceed by Toronto native gardening expert and author, Lorraine Johnson. David Miller, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund - Canada (WWF) and Carolinian Canada Chair, Don Pearson, announced a new partnership called “In the Zone” that will empower city-dwellers to significantly enhance biodiversity simply by planting native species in their gardens. The conference also included informative field trips to the Rouge Valley, as well as a broad array of stimulating talks and displays from experts in the fields of ecological restoration and invasive plant management. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, World Wildlife Fund - Canada, Toronto Botanical Garden and the many other generous sponsors are thanked for helping make this event such a great success!
Jarmo Jalava, Director of Ecosystem Recovery
Photo: Ben Porchuck