2017 Saturday Symposium – “Designing for Nature”


Saturday, March 18, 2017, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
University Center Auditorium, UT Chattanooga
642 E. 5th Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee

The 6th Annual Native Plant Symposium was created with both casual and experienced gardeners and landscapers in mind. You will leave with practical tips on natural landscaping and plant selection. After this symposium, you will know how to put what you’ve learned into practice.

The Symposium will be held at the UTC University Center, a spacious, uncrowded, accessible venue with free and ample close-by parking. Claudia West’s Planting in a Post-Wild World will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Nurseries will have native plants and artists will have artworks for sale. (Note: Some vendors only take cash or check.) You can browse the various Symposium topics-related exhibits by local organizations. Ample time is provided at midday and at the end of the day to visit exhibits and vendors. We hope that you will be inspired to create your own natural landscape and get to take home a door prize.


Saturday, March, 18, 2017

8:30-8:45 am                        Opening remarks

8:45-9:45 am                        Planting in a Post-Wild World with Claudia West

We live in a global city and few wild places remain in today’s world. Planting designers have the opportunity and responsibility to bring wildness and ecological value back into our landscape. This challenge requires a new form of planting design that works with natural principles and marries horticulture with ecology. Join us as we explore how native plants will fit into our future landscape and how plant community based design strategies can help you meet aesthetic and ecological goals during your next planting project.

Claudia West is the ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA. Claudia holds a Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. In her current role, Claudia works closely with ecological design & restoration professionals, offering consultation services from initial project planning stages to adaptive management strategies after project completion. Her work is centered on the development of stable, layered planting designs and the desire to bring American native plants back into our landscape by making them widely acceptable. Claudia is a sought-after speaker on topics such as plant community based design and the application of natural color theories to planting design. Together with co-author Thomas Rainer she published a new approach to ecological planting design in her first book “Planting in a Post-Wild World” (Timber Press, 2015).

9:45-10:00 am                   Break and Exhibits

10:00-11:00 am                 Challenges to Using Native Plants in Commercial
                                                and Residential Design: 
A Landscape Architect’s Perspective
                                                  with Steve Sanchez, LA

Drawing from his thirty years of experience, Steve Sanchez will offer insight into the challenges that face landscape architects and designers who wish to promote the increased use of native plants in their projects. Though change has been slow, real progress has been made and more native plants have found their way into the design world. Steve will explore how government regulations, market forces and changes in public perspective continue to influence the makeup of our landscape palette. Finally, Steve will provide tools that designers can use to further advance the use of native plants in commercial or residential designs.

Steve Sanchez is a principal at HGOR Planners & Landscape Architects and has been with the company since its inception in 1992. He has served on the Board of Trees Atlanta and oversaw the landscape design for the development of the corporate headquarters for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee on Cameron Hill in Chattanooga. Steve’s focus on planting, design and native materials for sustainable landscapes goes beyond a vocation to a full-time commitment and passion. In his free time, Steve seeks out underutilized native plants with potential aesthetic value to find improved cultivars that might get designers more interested in using more native species.


11:00-11:30 am                     Landscape Awards

11:30 am – 12:45 pm           Book Signing, Exhibits and Lunch

12:45-1:15 pm                       “Plants of Promise” and Door Prizes

1:15-2:15 pm                          Practical Considerations in Native Plant Landscapes 
.                                                     with Mike Berkley

Mike has installed native plants from Nashville rooftops to Stones River National Battlefield in his 20 years of landscaping. He will share some of his knowledge of what it takes to have a successful installation.

Mike Berkley, co-owner of GroWild, Inc., is a promoter of native plants for their functional use as well as aesthetics and encourages the use of native plants for green roofs and rain gardens. GroWild, Inc. a native plant nursery in Fairview, Tennessee is known as one of the largest native plant nurseries in the South, growing close to one thousand native species and varieties. GroWild was started with the belief that a wholesale nursery specializing in top quality native plants could be a successful business as well as a powerful platform for advancing the use of native plants in modern landscapes.


2:30-3:30 pm                     Native Plants and Sustainable Landscapes with Rick Huffman, BLA

Rick Huffman will share the principles of sustainability and how native plants play a critical role in the biodiversity of our landscapes. With insightful design, plant-community-based landscapes can repair site issues and create ecological landscapes that provide seasonal beauty and wildlife habitat. By creating landscapes with less lawn, less water, less fertilizer, fewer chemicals, and more native plants, we gain sustainability in each backyard, park, or campus.

Rick Huffman is principal and founder of Earth Design, a landscape architecture firm in Pickens, SC. Rick has over 36 years of experience in nursery management, landscape design and restoration, horticulture, and ecology. He has particular expertise in utilizing native plants in creating sustainable ecosystem-based designs. Rick received the 2003 Environmental Educator of the Year Award from the Environmental Educators Association of SC. In 2007, he received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Awareness, and in 2010 Rick was awarded Upstate Forever’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Rick led the efforts leading to founding the South Carolina Native Plant Society in 1996.


3:30-4:30 pm                     Exhibits, Plant Sales and Student Poster Sessions


Click HERE for information about the Friday, March 17 
Designing Plant Communities Workshop

Plant Natives 2017! is sponsored by

Plant Natives 2017! is presented by the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones, in partnership with