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2019 Ohio Botanical Symposium

PLEASE NOTE: The Ohio Botanical Symposium is sold out. We are placing people on a waiting list until March 26. Please email Rick Gardner at to place your name on the waiting list. Thank you.


The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The Nature Conservancy — Ohio Chapter
Ohio State University Herbarium

Grasslands of the eastern United States, Huffman Prairie, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, bogs and fens, endangered species conservation, rushes, and best plant discoveries will be highlighted at the 2019 Ohio Botanical Symposium on Friday, March 29. The event also features a media show and displays from a number private and public conservation organizations, as well as vendors offering conservation-related items for purchase. More than 400 botanical enthusiasts attend this every-other year event. Registration will open in January. We hope to see you in March!


March 29, 2019,
Villa Milano Banquet and Conference Center
8 a.m.-4 p.m.


Registration Begins 8:00 a.m.
Welcome 9:15 a.m.
Keynote Address: Forgotten Grasslands of the Unglaciated East: Origin and Maintenance
Reed Noss, Ph.D., Southeastern Grasslands Initiative
9:30 a.m.
Network, visit exhibitor and vendor tables
10:30 a.m.
Best Plant Discoveries of 2017-18
Andrew Gibson, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
11:00 a.m.
Alternative Conservation Biotechnologies for Ohio species and Beyond
Valerie Pence, Ph.D., Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
11:30 a.m.
Lunch 12:00 p.m.
Special Address: Discovery and Renewal of Huffman Prairie
Dave Nolin, Five Rivers MetroParks (Retired)
1:15 p.m.
Break 2:00 p.m.
Don't Rush past the Juncaceae
Wesley Knapp, North Carolina Natural Heritage Program
2:20 p.m.
On Shaky Ground: Bogs and Fens of Ohio and the Great Lakes Region
Brad Slaughter, Orbis Environmental Consulting, Inc.
2:50 p.m.
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative: All You Can – Where You Can
Marci Lininger, Ohio Department of Transportation
3:20 p.m.
Wrap up 3:50 p.m.

Featured Speakers

Reed Noss PH.D.

Reed Noss Ph.D. is a free-lance writer, photographer, lecturer, and consultant in natural history, ecology, and conservation and serves as Chief Science Advisor with the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative. He was formerly Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor of Biology at the University of Central Florida. He received a B.S. degree in education from the University of Dayton, an M.S. degree in ecology from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida.

He has served as Editor-in-Chief of Conservation Biology, Science Editor for Wild Earth magazine, and President of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His recent research topics include disturbance ecology; road ecology; ecosystem conservation and restoration; and vulnerability of species and ecosystems to sea-level rise.

Dr. Noss has more than 300 publications, including eight books. His most recently published books are Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (Island Press, 2013) and Fire Ecology of Florida and the Southeastern Coastal Plain (University Press of Florida, 2018). He is currently working on a book and multimedia project on the endangered ecosystems of North America and how we might save them.

Keynote Address: Forgotten Grasslands of the Unglaciated East: Origin and Maintenance

Andrew Gibson

Andrew Gibson was born the son of an avid outdoorsman on the glaciated till plains of west-central Ohio, where he came to admire nature from a very young age. Gibson is a graduate of Hocking College where he studied wildlife management and biology before continuing his education in plant biology and ecology at Ohio University.

He is currently a field botanist for the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, where he monitors and surveys state listed plants and rare habitats. Wild orchids are his most passionate botanical interest and area of research. He has seen over 70 of eastern North America’s species and 46 of Ohio’s 47 indigenous taxa. Gibson is an ardent photographer and writer and publishes a popular nature blog, The Buckeye Botanist featuring his many botanical forays and travels. You can also frequently find him leading hikes or giving presentations to numerous naturalist groups and organizations throughout the state. Gibson’s hope is to be a catalyst for more people to appreciate and love our infinitely fascinating natural world.

Best Plant Discoveries of 2017-18

Valerie Pence

Dr. Valerie Pence is Director of Plant Research at the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. She received her B.S. from Mount Holyoke College and Ph.D. from Northwestern University in plant physiological development.

The work of the Plant Research Division of CREW focuses on the conservation of “endangered exceptional plants.” Exceptional plants are those for which seed banking or traditional propagation will not be adequate for long-term ex situ conservation. Alternative conservation technologies are required for such species, including in vitro propagation methods and cryobiotechnology. Research is directed at understanding a species’ requirements for growth in vitro and survival through storage in liquid nitrogen and how these relate to its natural adaptations. A wide variety of species is under study, including species of oak (Quercus), which cannot be conserved through traditional seed banking.

In addition to preserving seeds, embryos, spores, pollen, and in vitro-propagated tissues in the Frozen Garden of CREW’s CryoBioBank, several species have been or are being propagated for restoration projects across the country, including Ohio’s Northern wild monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense).

Alternative Conservation Biotechnologies for Ohio species and Beyond

Dave Nolin

Dave Nolin grew up in Fairborn, Greene County. He attended Wright State University and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, and a few years later with a Master’s Degree from Wright State. After graduation, Dave was employed at the Five River MetroParks where he worked for over 30 years, responsible for habitat management and land acquisition. During that time, he negotiated and closed on over 7,000 acres of new natural areas and conservation easements.

He retired in 2015 and is now volunteering for several conservation entities including: Greene County Park District, Centerville-Washington Park District, Beaver Creek Wetlands Association, BW Greenway Community Land Trusts, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Fiver Rivers MetroParks and Upper river Fund of the Dayton Foundation. He has been married to Catherin Queener since 1981 and has a son, Jacob, who is an English teacher in China. In 2018, Mr. Nolin published Discovery and Renewal on Huffman Prairie: Where Aviation Took Wing.

Special Address: Discovery and Renewal of Huffman Prairie

Wesley Knapp

Wesley Knapp was born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire. He has a B.S. from Catawba College in Environmental Sciences and a M.S. in Plant Science, with a focus in Plant Systematics from Delaware State University. He was with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service for 15 years, until 2016 when he took the Mountains Ecologist/Botanist position with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

He explores and inventories some of the best remaining natural areas in North Carolina and the eastern United States. His research helps identify conservation targets and prioritize sites for acquisition, conservation, and management. Knapp is an expert on various vascular plant groups and has written major treatments for the Rush Family (Juncaceae) in North America.

Mr. Knapp is a regional reviewer for the Flora of North America Project, has described new plant species and natural communities, is lead author of the Checklist of the Maryland Flora, and founding member of the Digital Atlas of the Maryland Flora ( He has a long list of scientific publications and has presented his research internationally. He has given plant identification workshops for governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Central and Eastern United States. Current research interests include endemism, extinction, and undescribed species.

Don't Rush Past the Juncaceae

Brad Slaughter

Brad Slaughter conducts floristic inventories, wetland evaluations and delineations, vegetation monitoring, and plant identification workshops for Orbis Environmental Consulting. Prior to his work with Orbis, Brad was an ecologist and botanist with Michigan Natural Features Inventory for 12 years.

He is co-author of Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan and has authored several papers and dozens of technical reports on floristics, rare plants, natural communities, and related topics. He received a B.A. in Biology from Albion College and a M.S. in Botany from Miami University.

On Shaky Ground: Bogs and Fens of Ohio and the Great Lakes Region

Marci Lininger

Marci Lininger is a native Ohioan. Since she was a child, she has had a fond love of the outdoors spending time camping, fishing, gardening and hiking. Marci earned her Master’s Degree in Environmental and Natural Resources from the Ohio State University in 2014. Prior to her graduation, she spent time with the National Audubon Society educating youths and adults about the importance of habitat conservation/restoration, important bird areas, and the overall importance of being connected with nature. As an ecological intern with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Marci worked on multiple projects ranging from road and bridge repair projects to ecological research for wildlife crossings and wildlife habitat mitigation strategies.

After graduation, Marci worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ohio serving as one of the state transportation liaisons. In this position, Marci worked with ODOT on various projects across the state to minimize impacts to federal and/or state listed species and habitat that may be impacted as a result of constructing the project. Marci also worked with federal, state, and local partners to develop and establish conservation goals for the monarch butterfly. Through those efforts she, along with various partners, created the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) where she served as the first coordinator for the state.

In her current position as the District Environmental Coordinator of ODOT District 6, Marci oversees all projects within District 6’s eight county jurisdiction that may have environmental impacts or require NEPA documentation and coordination. In her spare time, Marci serves on the board for the Ohio Wildlife Management Association, participates as a technical expert for transportation research projects, teaches college level environmental science and ecology, continues to serve OPHI as the strategic project’s coordinator, and coordinates the state milkweed pod collection program.

The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative: All You Can – Where You Can



2017 Ohio Botanical Symposium

2015 Ohio Botanical Symposium