Sustainable Landscaping Speaker Series

Is your garden club, neighborhood group or other organization interested in learning more about native plants, pollinators and environmentally sustainable practices? Check out the New Lake-to-Prairie Chapter Sustainable Landscaping  Speaker Series. Contact us to arrange a speaker on any of the following topics. 


Gardening with Natives includes an overview of the basics of using natives in a landscape. It demonstrates the many environmental benefits of using natives while showing how beautiful these landscapes can be. It also shares many resources to assist homeowners in planning and executing a successful project. Speaker: Sandy Washburn


Living Soils  Applying some basic soil science will help you build better soils for your garden, home landscape or natural area.  We will show how compost and other organic material improves soil texture and fertility, and increases biological activity.  Discussion will include soil ecology and the seed bank (dormant seeds in the soil), and how other life in the soil can help or hinder efforts to grow desired plants. Speaker: Jeff Weiss


There’s an App or Online Resource for That (available in September) shares apps and online resources to help the native gardener plan, manage and enjoy their spaces. Included are resources to identify plants, insects, fungi, birds and more. Also included are resources to help make the native space more useful to the ecosystem. Most of these resources are free!    Speaker: Sandy Washburn


Woody Plants in the Home Landscape is a discussion of common exotic ornamental shrubs that often escape and invade natural areas, and native shrubs that are excellent replacements for them.  These native shrubs are adapted to our climate and soils and are a magnet for pollinators and birds.  The talk is hands-on for smaller groups.  Samples are passed around and used to learn plant ID. Speaker: Jeff Weiss



About Our Speakers

Sandy Washburn discovered natives when she retired from a career in education and has been hooked ever since. She has served on the Wild Ones Lake-to-Prairie Chapter board for a number of years and presently serves as chapter president.. Sandy is a Master Gardener, volunteers on a Lake County Forest Preserve restoration team and helps coordinate a garden project in Highland Park that benefits the local food pantry. Her goal: help others avoid some of the mistakes she has made while sharing the many benefits of adding natives to your landscape.


Jeff Weiss is an ecologist who lives in Buffalo Grove and teaches native plant propagation and ecology classes at The Morton Arboretum and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He earned a master’s degree in natural resources and environmental science from UIUC. Jeff founded the Buffalo Grove Environmental Action Team and the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership.  He is a volunteer steward leader of the Buffalo Grove Prairie Guardians and is currently Membership Chair on the Wild Ones Lake-to-Prairie Chapter board.


Questions? Ready to book a speaker? Contact us at: [email protected]