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Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens – Session 3

February 1 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens will educate and inspire homeowners, horticulturists, botanists, naturalists, landscape architects and designers, educators, conservationists and anyone eager to learn about creating pollinator and wildlife habitats using native plants and trees to promote biodiversity, species richness and ecological resilience.

This symposium is organized by Ann Cicarella of the Cleveland Pollinator and Native Plant Symposium, Judy Semroc of NatureSpark and Renee Boronka at Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Series 3: Exploring the Forest Edge Ecology
Wednesday, February 1, 2023

1:00 PM ET
Pollinators in the Woods: Surprising Ways Native Bees Use Woody and Forested Habitats
Kass Urban-Mead Ph.D., Pollinator Conservation Specialist & NRCS Partner Biologist, Xerces Society

Join Kass Urban-Mead for an adventure exploring how wild bees use the woods—from the leafy forest floor to the tippy top of the canopy. Although, we usually think of bees busy in gardens, prairies or meadows, that is not the only place we can find them. In fact, in the northeastern US nearly one-third of our wild bee species may rely on forest habitats for at least part of their life cycle. Some are specialized to only collect pollen from spring ephemerals on the forest floor, while others nest in stumps, logs and leaf litter deep in the woods, and orchard pollinators use forest canopy pollen before the orchards bloom. We will explore the changing nature of the forests on our landscape and how this is likely to affect different groups of bees. Finally, we will highlight ways in which forest management for healthy, diverse, climate-resilient woods is critical for not only birds and other wildlife, but also the wild bees.

2:00 PM ET
Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers and Their Vulnerability to Climate Change
Benjamin R. Lee, Ph.D., National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology

Spring ephemeral wildflowers in the forest rely heavily on early season light availability. They emerge days or weeks ahead of when the tree canopy closes above them. This strategy, which we refer to as phenological escape, allows them to make use of direct sunlight and to assimilate 50-100% of their annual carbon budget, giving them the energy they need to survive, grow and reproduce in the coming year. Learn about the importance of phenological escape for spring-active plant species, the biogeographical context and distribution of this strategy. What will be the results of climate change on this important dynamic?


Kass Urban-Mead, Ph.D.
Kass Urban-Mead’s research at Cornell University explored the intersection of ecological forest management and sustainable crop pollination. Her “tree-climbing for bees” (sampling in canopies) explored forest habitats not only for bee nesting, but also the possibilities of collecting vast amounts of pollen. Her research demonstrated the vertical stratification of spring bee communities and emphasized deciduous forests as an important habitat for wild bee conservation. Kass provides technical assistance on pollinator conservation in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region for Xerces Society. She also works with staff and research partners to develop technical guidelines and provide training on pollinator conservation practices.


Benjamin R. Lee, Ph.D.
Dr. Ben Lee received his doctorate from University of Michigan in Natural Resources and Environment. Ben most recently led an international team of researchers examining spring ephemerals around the world over time to see how these flowers and tree canopy coverage have been affected by climate change. Dr. Lee is currently working with Dr. David Burke, the Vice President for Science and Conservation at Holden Forests and Gardens, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the University of Pittsburgh to see how communities of beneficial root fungi, mycorrhizae, have changed over 120 years and how understory plant performance is affected by mycorrhizal associations and how those associations are affected by climate change.

Register here:


February 1
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm