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Gardening for Life Celebration features best-selling author

The bestselling author who started a nationwide movement to landscape yards and communities in ways that provide vital habitat for wildlife will be speaking in Columbus on March 4.

Doug Tallamy will deliver a hopeful and actionable keynote address as the centerpiece of Conserving Carolina's Gardening for Life Celebration.

This celebration will also feature educational exhibits and a book signing by the author. In addition, community activities before and after this event will help build a local movement that changes how we approach gardening, landscaping, and conservation.

The Gardening for Life Celebration will take place at Polk County High School on the afternoon of March 4, with Tallamy speaking at 2 p.m. The event is free to the public, although tickets are required to ensure that everyone has a seat for the presentation. Tickets are available through Conserving Carolina’s online event calendar.

Doug Tallamy’s books include the groundbreaking Bringing Nature Home; the lushly illustrated The Living Landscape (coauthored with Rick Darke); the New York Times bestseller Nature’s Best Hope; and The Nature of Oaks, which won the American Horticultural Society’s 2022 book award.

Tallamy’s advocacy is rooted in his expertise as an entomologist and his research on how insects interact with plants. His writing greatly increased popular understanding of the necessity of native plants to support insect populations—the basis of the food web that supports all other animals. Tallamy introduced the concept of a “Homegrown National Park” in which habitat-friendly yards and gardens provide the expansive natural habitat needed to help avoid the mounting extinction crisis. In 2021, he went on to cofound the Homegrown National Park grassroots initiative, which engages people to regenerate biodiversity.

Much of Tallamy’s message is summed up in this quote: “In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.” 

In Polk County, Tallamy’s message inspired a group of gardening and wildlife enthusiasts to start the Gardening for Life Project. Lead partners in the celebration include Conserving Carolina, The Congregational Church of Tryon, Weiler Woods for Wildlife, Lanier Library, and New View Realty.

In addition to the celebration on Mar. 4, the Gardening for Life Project is planning community events that will include movie nights, school programs and a resource directory. 

“My goal for the Gardening for Life Project is that it will be a great catalyst for change in how our community thinks of ‘their’ land and how they care for it,” said Karen Bird, another member of the leadership team.