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Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens – Virtual Symposium – Session 1

January 11, 2023 @ 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.

Session 1: Creating Resilient, Functional and Beautiful Biodiverse Landscapes
Wednesday, January 11, 2023

1:00 PM ET
Planting the New Paradigm
Jeff Lorenz, Founder, Refugia Design

Refugia Design, based in the suburban Philadelphia area, embraces the ethos of designing landscapes that support native ecosystems in traditional suburbs and dense urban areas. Jeff and his very talented team specialize in transforming lawns into sophisticated and dynamic plant communities. Jeff will present a variety of inspiring projects that set a new bar for ecological functional planting, embracing natural processes and established plant community science, firmly believing these gardens become the stepping stones within larger ecological corridors.

2:00 PM ET
Building a Truly Biodiverse Pollinator Garden Through Science and Design
Claudia West, ASLA, Phyto Studio

Claudia will take you behind the scenes of the planning and construction of a 3-acre Pollinator and Bird Garden at The Arboretum at Penn State. Years of collaborative research with a large team of Penn State-based and outside experts, including scientists in Penn State’s Center for Pollinator Research and community members of the Arboretum’s Avian Education Advisory Committee, contributed science based research to develop a garden that would attract every pollinator and bird indigenous to the region. Didier Design Studio in Ft. Collins, Colorado designed the innovative garden layout, a beautiful tapestry of hills, ponds, structures and gardens. Claudia worked closely with Dr. Harland Patch, Penn State’s entomologist, in creating the planting design with the overarching goal of selecting and weaving together plants that would provide the best nutritional resources and habitat for pollinators and birds based on the Penn State scientific research.

Speaker Biographies:

Jeff Lorenz
Mr. Lorenz is the founder of Refugia Design, based in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Refugia is a leader in shifting landscaping norms, committed to sustainable landscape design, conservation and stewardship for residential and commercial green spaces throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area and Jersey Shore. Refugia’s ground-breaking initiatives include mapping the ecological impact of the 165+ suburban native habitats via their Ecological Greenway Network. The network promotes wildlife connectivity and the restoration of ecosystem function to neighborhoods. Refugia has won four 2022 APLD International Landscape Design Award, Perennial Plant Association Residential and Show Awards, The American Horticultural Society Environmental Award, a PA-DE ASLA Residential Award plus numerous other awards and recognitions.

Claudia West
Ms. West is a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design. Known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought-out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She is the coauthor with Thomas Rainer of the critically acclaimed book, Planting in a Post-Wild World. Claudia holds a Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Before co-founding Phyto Studio, she was an ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA. Her work focused on bridging the gap between growers, designers, and land managers, as well as introducing more functional and ecological plants into the nursery trade.

Advanced registration is required, a link for the virtual program will be sent upon registration.

Register here:


January 11, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm