2019 Program and Speakers2019-09-17T02:43:01+00:00

2019 Program

We are posting speaker bios as we receive them–for a complete list of speakers, please see the schedule overview, below.

Adam Baker

Adam M. Baker is a PhD Candidate in the Entomology Department at the University of Kentucky where he studies conservation of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators under the direction of Dr. Daniel A. Potter. He has been investigating the iconic monarch butterfly for the past four years and pays close attention backyard and small garden conservation in urban and suburban areas. Adam hails from Southwest Michigan and studied environmental journalism and agricultural sciences as an undergraduate.

Kris Braman

Dr. Kris Braman joined the University of Georgia Entomology faculty in 1989 after earning degrees from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Forestry and the University of Kentucky.   She served as Director of the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture from 2011 to 2016. She has developed management plans for insects that affect turf and ornamentals; taught General Entomology, Biological Control and Plants and Pollinators for undergraduate and graduate students; and provided training for Green Industry Professionals.  She has served as President of both the Georgia Entomological Society and the South Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (SEB-ESA). Dr. Braman has been recognized as a Distinguished Alum of the Entomology Department at the University of Kentucky, as a recipient of SEB-ESA’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology and as a recipient of the GGIA Environmental Friend of the Year Award. Her journal articles and book chapters reflect her research focus on insect-plant interactions, Integrated Pest Management, and environmental conservation issues. Her studies blend basic and applied components to improve the sustainability and profitability urban plant production and landscape pest management.  Research emphasizes integrating pollinator protection, natural enemies and alternative control technologies into IPM through enhanced understanding of tritrophic interactions in urban plant systems. Dr. Braman currently serves as Professor & Head of Entomology.

Robert Geneve

Dr. Robert Geneve has been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky, Department of Horticulture for over 30 years doing teaching and research in ornamental plant production and propagation. He is an author of several books including co-authoring the textbook “Hartmann and Kester’s Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices.”  Dr. Geneve has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences and the International Plant Propagator’s Society – Eastern region. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on subjects ranging from plant propagation, seed biology and plant morphology.

Kevin McCluney

Dr. Kevin McCluney is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Bowling Green State University in NW Ohio. He received his PhD at Arizona State University, where he became interested in how animal water balance influences food webs. During his PhD, he worked on a collaborative project with Stan Faeth, studying how water balance influenced ants, aphids, and lady beetles on urban landscaping plants. Post-PhD, McCluney worked with Steve Frank at NC State examining how urbanization influences animal water balance in multiple cities and in food webs in Raleigh, NC. Most recently, McCluney has worked with his former PhD student Justin Burdine (now faculty at, Cornerstone University in MI), investigating effects of urbanization on bee physiology and ecology.

Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips provides strategic and operational oversight of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ movement, which has grown to involve 5-7 million people creating habitat where they live, work, play, learn and worship. Garden for Wildlife is the nation’s oldest and largest Backyard Habitat program spanning four and half decades. Today there are close to 235,000 NWF Certified Wildlife Habitats® across North America and U.S. Embassies worldwide. Since joining National Wildlife Federation in 2014, under Mary’s leadership, individual and partner participation has quadrupled to millions planting for the monarch butterfly, pollinators and birds across Garden for Wildlife programs and campaigns. Simultaneously, Mary facilitates organization wide conservation strategies for pollinators, monarchs and other indicator species. She also coordinates all aspects of the national program’s strategic planning, management, partnership development, program performance and evaluation.

James Quinn

James Quinn is a Field Specialist in Horticulture for University of Missouri Extension (15 years). A ‘farm boy’ from Iowa, he started at Iowa State University but completed his BS at UC Davis in Plant Science (83) and his MS in horticulture at Purdue University (87). He was a greenhouse grower for nine years in Michigan. Since moving to Missouri, he’s been involved in a range of agriculture projects. He’s led MU’s effort developing this pollinator program, conducted several trainings and is co-author on most of its publication series.

David Smitley

Dr. Dave Smitley works closely with the turf grass, nursery and floriculture industries on identifying insect pest problems, and researching best management practices to address them. Basic and applied research is followed with extension recommendations for growers. Some of Dr. Smitley’s industry contributions include the introduction of Entomophaga maimaiga, a natural fungal pathogen of gypsy moth, with decreased state and forest defoliation due to gypsy moth to less than 1/10th of what is was in the early ‘90s. Development of new strategies for emerald ash borer including product that homeowners can purchase, and the most widely used professional product for landscape trees, as well as the introduction of Ovavesicula popilliae, a natural pathogen of Japanese Beetle, into Michigan in 1999. In the past four years, Dr. Smitley’s lab has worked with the greenhouse and nursery industries to develop best management strategies for growing annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs that will be safe for pollinators. This led to organizing the National Protecting Pollinators Conference.

Kimberly Stoner

Kimberly A. Stoner joined the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in 1987, after receiving her PhD in entomology from Cornell University, and spending a year on a fellowship with the Africa Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Her PhD and early professional work at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station was in vegetable entomology. In her 30 years at CAES, she has moved from studying plant resistance to insects, to other alternatives to insecticides for managing vegetable insects, to holistic case studies of organic farms, to focusing on bees, including both wild bees and honey bees. She is currently studying bee diversity in Connecticut, pollination of pumpkins and squash, and how bees are exposed to pesticides. She also works with people across Connecticut, including farmers, beekeepers, and community groups, in creating habitat for pollinators.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp

Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, has a broad interest in pollinator health.  The focus of his current work involves the application of epidemiological approaches to understanding and (importantly) improving honey bee health. Dennis is the founding president of the Bee Informed Partnership (BeeInformed.org) which attempts to provide a platform to collect “big data” on the state of managed honey bee colony health. Analysis of these data is providing important insights into the role management practices and environmental factors (such as landscape, pesticides, and climate) have on colony health. His lab helps run several honey bee health monitoring programs including US national honey bee disease survey.  His work has been featured in numerous documentaries, print and electronic media (including a story in the New Yorker, and Time magazine), and he has given a TED talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/dennis_vanengelsdorp_a_plea_for_bees).

James Wolfin

James Wolfin is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he received his MSc in Entomology under the advisement of Drs. Marla Spivak and Eric Watkins.  His project, commonly referred to as the bee lawn project, aimed to enhance turf lawn monocultures with low-growing flowers to promote forage availability for native bees and honey bees.  James’ project examined how to most effectively establish a bee lawn and evaluate the bee communities that utilized them.  Originally from Queens, New York, James’ interest in bees and flowering plants arose as an undergraduate student at The University of Delaware, where he studied the foraging behavior of honey bees.  James currently works as the manager of sustainable landscape design at Metro Blooms, a non-profit organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Catherine Zimmerman

Catherine Zimmerman, an award-winning director of photography, celebrates her 43rd year as a documentary filmmaker, working primarily on education and environmental issues.  Catherine is also a certified horticulturist and landscape designer based in the Yellow Springs, Ohio.  She is accredited in organic land care through the Northeast Organic Farmers Association and has designed and taught a course in organic landscaping for the USDA Graduate School Horticulture program. In writing the book and filming the film, Urban & Suburban Meadows, Catherine created a stunning and enticing introduction to meadowscaping that will encourage her readers do away with pesticides, reduce lawn and return their land to a beautiful, natural habitat for native plants and wildlife.  Catherine’s latest film release, Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, is a collaboration with Dr. Douglas Tallamy.  The documentary explores how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local eco-systems. Included are inspiring stories of habitat heroes across the countries, who are working to bring back nature in their hometowns. Catherine hopes that these projects will help fire up the movement toward making natural landscapes the new landscaping norm.

Monday, Oct. 7
7 - 7:15 PMWelcome - Steve Foltz, Cincinnati Zoo
7:15 - 8:15 PMOpening keynote: Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland
On average 39% of all managed honey bee colonies die in the US each year. Why?
8:15 - 10 PMReception
Tuesday, Oct. 8
9 - 10:35 AMSession 1: Pollinators in the urban environment: coping with a complex landscape
Keynote: Katherine Baldock, University of Bristol
Kevin McCluney, Bowling Green State University
Karmi Oxman, Pennsylvania State University
10:50 AM - 12:50 PMSession 2: Urban pollinator gardens: Navigating plant choice and design
Keynote: Robert Geneve, University of Kentucky
Floral adaptations – the magical interactions between flowers and their pollinators
Adam Baker, University of Kentucky
Building a better monarch conservation garden
Anne Spafford, North Carolina State University
David Smitley, Michigan State University
Planting annual flowers to give pollinators a boost in yards and gardens
12:50 - 2:15 PMLunch
2:15 - 4:35 PMSession 3: Scaling up from gardens: Connecting habitats across urban landscapes
Keynote: Kris Braman, University of Georgia
Where the wild things grow: connecting people and projects to advance urban pollinator protection in Georgia
James Cane, Bee Lab, Logan, Utah
Mary Phillips, National Wildlife Federation
Mobilizing a Million Pollinator Gardens: Increasing plant & pollinator abundance, maintaining momentum of the National Pollinator Garden Network
James Wolfin, University of Minnesota
If you build it, who will come? Evaluating bee diversity in flowering lawns
4:35 - 6 PMBreak, optional horticultural tour of the Zoo, poster setup
6 - 7 PMDinner at the Zoo
7 - 9:30 PMPoster session
Wednesday, Oct. 9
9 - 10:50 AM Session 4: Integrating pest and pollinator management
Keynote: Kimberly Stoner, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Whatever happened to integrated pest management?
Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Contaminated soils, contaminated plants: Are we luring bees into pretty but dangerous habitats?
David Held, Auburn University
Elizabeth Long, Purdue University
11:05 AM - 1 PMSession 5: Beyond pollinators: The human and wildlife dimensions of pollinator habitat
Keynote Catherine Zimmerman, The Meadow Project
Habitat Heroes, making natural landscaping the new landscaping norm
Patrick Fitzgerald, National Wildlife Federation
Damon Hall, University of Missouri
James Quinn, University of Missouri
Missouri's Master Pollinator Steward Program
1 - 5 PMOptional tour - Spring Grove Cemetery and other points of interest, details here.

Posters titles and presenters will be uploaded soon! The deadline to submit a poster is September 15, 2019.

The Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference 2019 is planned jointly by Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.