Grow Native! Professional Conference 2020


8:30-8:35 a.m.

Welcome from Grow Native! Committee Chair Ronda Burnett

8:35-8:45 a.m.

Special welcome and salute to Missouri’s Bicentennial, from Carol Davit, Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation

8:45-9:45 a.m.

Keynote: Dr. Doug Tallamy: The Nature of Oaks

Once we have decided to restore the ecological integrity of our human-dominated landscapes, we need to decide what plants to add to our properties. Oaks are superior landscape trees throughout most of the U.S. because of their many ecological and aesthetic attributes. Using activity on the oaks in his yard each month of the year as examples, Tallamy will compare oak species to other popular shade trees in terms of their ability to support animal diversity, protect watersheds, and sequester carbon dioxide. Learning that oaks provide life support to thousands of species may motivate us to return more of these essential trees to our built landscapes.  

9:45-9:50 a.m.

Legacy Oak Project at the University of Missouri–Columbia campus.
Presenter: Bill Ruppert, Grow Native! Committee Member

9:50-10:00 a.m.

2021 Grow Native! Ambassador Award Recognition

10:00-10:40 a.m.

Grow Native! Program Updates.
The 21-year-old Grow Native! Program has produced many new resources this year, including the Grow Native! Native Gardens of Excellence program, Native Plant Installation Best Management Practices, and much more. Also to be shared is an update on the Grow Native! certification test.

10:40-11:15 a.m.

A Grower’s Predicament: Challenges in Supply vs Demand with Native Plants
Native plant producers are vital engines that power the native plant industry. However, producers face many challenges in supplying growing demand. This talk will discuss some of these challenges—including seed supply, germination predicaments, and greenhouse pests—to help other native plant professionals and consumers understand why some natives are frequently sold out or hard to find.

Presenter: Elliott Duemler, Native Perennial Manager for Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries in Wisconsin.


Community Conservation Panel.
Grow Native! Committee Chair Ronda Burnett will moderate this session that will take a look at two different community conservation projects in the lower Midwest.

12:00-1:00 p.m.

Optional networking and social hour using
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Free for Grow Native! professional members and their staff, and Missouri Prairie Foundation members, $30 for nonmembers.
Not a member yet? Individuals can become members of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and native plant businesses can become Grow Native! professional members.

For native plant professionals wishing to become Grow Native! professional members, your $30 conference registration fee will be deducted from your 2022 membership fee. Please contact for details.

Speaker Bios



Doug Tallamy

Doug Tallamy is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 104 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014; Nature’s Best Hope, a New York Times Best Seller, was released in February 2020, and his latest book The Nature of Oaks was released by Timber press in March 2021. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and the 2019 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. 


Elliott Duemler

Elliott Duemler provides native-plant industry leadership in the Midwest as the Native Perennial Manager for Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries in Wisconsin. His responsibilities include public education, native-plant propagation and maintenance, custom seed collection, oversight of nursery operations and management of outside sales representatives. He focuses on exceeding client expectations in quality and customer service. Elliott has been instrumental in the development and organization of a large nursery-build project for the City of Albany (New York) and the Albany Pine Bush Nature Preserve dedicated to the restoration of the endangered Pine Bush Ecosystem. He received his degree from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he majored in General Resources Management.


Eric Fuselier

Eric Fuselier is an Environmental Scientist at Olsson where he works with civil engineers and landscape architects to minimize the environmental impact from the infrastructure projects they design. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Soil, and Water Science from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana Tech University. Eric also serves on the national board for Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes and is an executive board member of the Society of Wetland Scientists’ South Central Chapter.


Ken Boone

Ken is an industry expert for The Olsson Studio. He has almost 30 years of experience in the planning and development of projects throughout the Midwest and West. He received his Bachelors of Landscape Architecture at Kansas State University. The current focus of his work is on community planning projects in neighborhoods, downtowns, corridors, and cities, focusing on land use and development, engagement, facilitation, and helping communities articulate and realize their visions.


Carrie Lamb

Carrie Lamb is the Water Quality Compliance Officer for the City of Springfield Department of Environmental Services. Since starting her career with the City in 2002, she has been involved in developing and implementing many aspects of the City’s stormwater management program as well as green infrastructure and stream restoration projects. She is a graduate of Missouri State University with a BS in Geography and an MS in Natural and Applied Science.


Ronda Burnett

Ronda is the chair of the Grow Native! committee. She has been a Community Conservation Planner with the Missouri Department of Conservation since 2005. She helps communities connect to nature and enjoy the enhanced quality of life made possible by healthy fish, forest, and wildlife resources. Ronda holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University and a Master of Urban, Environmental, and Land Use Planning from the University of Kansas.


Carol Davit

Carol Davit is the Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, overseeing all operations of this conservation organization and land trust, including its Grow Native! program. Davit has worked for 20 years in the conservation and environmental fields in communications, development, administration, and leadership capacities. She has worked for private, nonprofit conservation groups and at the municipal and state government levels.