National, Award-Winning Author Speaks to Packed House at N.O. Nelson Campus During Grow Native! Workshop

Article by: Louise Jett,

GODFREY – The Grow Native! Southwestern Illinois Event Committee hosted nationally renowned award-winning author Doug Tallamy last week during a workshop at the N.O. Nelson Campus of Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville.

Tallamy spoke to a sold-out audience of 300 about the importance of native plants for attracting pollinators and supporting the food web in our landscapes.

“We were pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the reception,” said L&C Director of Sustainability Nate Keener. “We all know native plants are a fascinating and important subject, but we never anticipated Dr. Tallamy’s rock-star status in the region! It was great to see so many people taking an active interest in making their landscapes more sustainable.”

Tallamy’s humorous and informational presentation focused on the life and struggles of the chickadee. Chickadees and other birds require caterpillars and other invertebrates to feed their young, and these insects are almost exclusively found on native trees and plants. If there are no native trees or plants, these birds struggle to survive.

The workshop also featured remarks from Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton and Lewis and Clark President Dale Chapman, a panel of native plant practitioners moderated by Jean Ponzi, and a fast-paced series of presentations on successful native plant projects around the region.

“The Grow Native! program serves the lower Midwest with native plant marketing and educational programming,” said Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, which houses the program. “We are thrilled with the energy in Southern Illinois to improve the livability of local communities with native plants.”

Keynote speaker Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 84 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology and other courses for 34 years.

Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence. To view the presentation delivered by Tallamy on Feb. 26, visit

For more information about the 16-year-old Grow Native! program, visit

For more information about the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit

Lewis and Clark Community College is a two-year higher education institution with multiple campuses, a river research center, Community Education Centers and training centers located throughout the college district, which reaches into seven counties. L&C is dedicated to “greening” its campuses, reducing the college's carbon footprint and providing technical assistance in sustainable practices and education. Learn more at