February 12, 2013

Symposium will highlight region’s native plants

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A three-day event co-sponsored by the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Plant Biology will enable area residents to become more aware of native plants, their use and impact on the environment.

The inaugural Illinois Indigenous Plants Symposium is March 15-17 at the John A. Logan College for Business and Industry.  Registration for the March 16 symposium is $20 per person and includes lunch.  Space is limited and on-site registration is not available.

The event also features free, guided excursions of Giant City State Park on March 15, and Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge on March 17.  Registration is required for all events.

Gregory Mueller, a two-degree SIU Carbondale graduate and an internationally recognized mycologist with the Chicago Botanic Garden is the keynote speaker.  Mueller is now vice president for science and academic programs for the Chicago Botanic Garden.  In March 2012, Mueller was on campus for a presentation on collecting edible mushrooms in Southern Illinois.

The symposium will also feature other environmental experts from Southern Illinois.  Stephen Ebbs, associate professor and interim chair of SIU’s Department of Plant Biology, said a goal is to make the public more aware of “the richness that surrounds them and the need to conserve that richness, most especially the more unique, rare, or even endangered plants in our region.”

“We are trying to make the general public as well as plant enthusiasts aware of the tremendous diversity of plants in the Southern Illinois area,” he said.

Other event sponsors include the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and the Illinois Native Plant Society at the John A. Logan College Center for Business and Industry.  Additional registration information is available at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fjprw/

or by calling 618/687-1727.