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Outdoors Dr. Spira to speak at 14th annual Native Plant Symposium

Timothy P. Spira, author of “Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, & Georgia,” will speak at the Highlands Biological Foundation’s 14th annual Native Plant Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14. This book takes a holistic approach to plant identification that better reflects the natural world, where plants do not live in isolation. This same approach is important for gardeners in the southern Appalachian Mountains and around the world.

Dr. Spira emphasizes that – regardless of whether you are a wildflower enthusiast, naturalist, student, gardener, expert or amateur – plant identification is only the beginning. There is always something new for gardeners to discover. By recognizing the vegetation associated with particular habitats, you can begin to read the landscape around you. Recognizing the vegetation leads to a better understanding of the conditions in the landscape – wet or dry soils, shade or sun, slope and aspect – which, in turn, can enhance your garden, your gardening experience, and the wildlife around you. Interactions between plants and animals are diverse and numerous, especially in the southern Appalachian Mountains, one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America. No other mountain region in North America boasts as many species of plants as the southern Appalachians.

Dr. Spira’s love for nature began in the California mountains, where he studied alpine gentians as a graduate student. Since completing a Ph.D. in botany at the University of California, Berkely, Tim has shared his passion for plants with students and colleagues for nearly 30 years, including 10 years as a faculty member at Georgia Southern University and 18 years at Clemson University, where he currently teaches plant ecology, field botany, and the natural history of wildflowers. He has published more than 30 research papers in scientific journals, and his photographs have appeared in books, scientific journals, and magazines. Tim and his wife Lisa Wagner have transformed their lawns into meadows, shrub borders, and woodlands featuring native plants.

Register now to hear Dr. Tim Spira’s lecture at the Native Plant Symposium. The event will be held Sept. 13 and 14 at the Performing Arts Center.

All proceeds benefit the Highlands Botanical Garden. For more information, or to register, visit www.highlandsbiological.org/nps/ or call (828) 526-2221. The Highlands Biological Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau. The Foundation supports the Highlands Nature Center, Botanical Garden, and Biological Station.


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