The 21st  annual GNPS Plant Symposium will be held this year at Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur Campus in Decatur, GA on Feb 20th, 2016.  The symposium will touch on broad themes of interest, including new and unusual native plants of the southeast, stormwater gardens, and how to engage the public in the importance and joys of native plants.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Larry Mellichamp, recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and former director of the University’s Botanical Gardens.  We will also offer hands-on workshops including digital photography and botanical illustration.

Full scholarships which include registration and meals are available for students and early-career professionals.  For information on scholarships and to receive a scholarship application send email to Register here and get the early bird prices until February 12th!

8am Registration

8:30am Welcome

8:45am PANDRA WILLIAMS is an environmental artist and advocate based in Atlanta, Georgia. From 2000-2007, Williams worked extensively with the Southeastern Climber’s Coalition (SCC) to acquire or purchase acreage of the Boat Rock Ridgeline in Fulton County, GA. to create the Boat Rock Preserve. In 2007 until 2012, Williams founded and directed the non-profit organization EcoAddendum. There, Williams and coworkers created Artscapes and Birds, Butterflies and Bees to teach conservation and environmental science through gardening and art. As of spring 2015, these programs have reached over 3,000 students under the tenure of Trees Atlanta. Currently Williams’ environmental activities include directing a native wildflower farm, Beech Hollow.

10am DIANE MINICK is the owner of Stormwater Landscapes, a business specializing in providing homeowner stormwater assessments, as well as design and installation of infiltration solutions for landscape issues throughout North Georgia. Their motto is “We turn an ugly problem into a beautiful solution.” Stormwater Landscapeswas established in 2001 after Diane retired from a 30-year career as a high school biological/environmental educator. Stormwater Landscapes worked as a consultant for the City of Canton Public Works, and has assisted and assessed stormwater projects for the Nature Conservancy, the City of Holly Springs, Anheuser Busch Cartersville, and many other projects in the Cherokee/Cobb County areas. Diane lives in Canton, GA and enjoys flyfishing, canoeing/kayaking on the Etowah River, and birdwatching.

11:15am DR. LARRY MELLICHAMP is a recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he taught for over 38 years and was also director of their 10-acrebotanical gardens. Larry is an expert on native plants of all kinds and a popular speaker on many botanical topics. He has received several teaching awards and has written many technical and popular articles on plants and gardening, coauthoring five books including The Winter Garden (1997);Bizarre Botanicals with Paula Gross (2010), and most recently(2014), Native Plants of the Southeast…the best species for the garden. He has botanized extensively in the eastern United States (including Tunica Hills), across the continent, and around the world.

*NOTE: The workshops for the last two hours are concurrent and last for two hours with a break in between, so both workshops start at 1:15 and end at 3:45.


DON STEWART is an avid nature photographer and has been an active member of the Georgia Nature Photographers Association (GNPA) for many years. Don was introduced to the out-of-doors as a Boy Scout and carried that forward into a lifelong interest, serving as a Boy Scout leader for 25 years teaching boys about nature and adults how to introduce boys to nature. Don has been a member of the Georgia Native Plant Society for many years and is a member-at-large of our Board of Directors. He has also been a volunteer and docent for the Chattahoochee Nature Center for more than 30 years. Participants should bring a digital camera. Flowers will be provided

PRESTON MONTAGUE is an artist, educator, and landscape designer who developed a passion for the natural world while growing up in the rural foothills of Virginia. Currently, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina working on projects that encourage stronger relationships between people and their environment for the purpose of improving public health.  Preston holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from North Carolina State University as well as bachelor’s degrees in horticulture and fine art. His latest body of work, Codex Carolinum, is a series of didactic botanical illustrations using art and storytelling to foster natural science literacy.

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