Ernst Seeds to Present Native Plant Lecture Series at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

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Meadville, PA – Ernst Conservation Seeds has announced its sponsorship of a premier native plant lecture series this spring at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pa., featuring three renowned experts in the native plant movement: Ann Raver, Bill Cullina and Mark Fiely.

Presentations are free for Hawk Mountain members and $5 for non-members. Registration is available at 610-756-6961. Ernst Conservation Seeds and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are both POWA Supporting Members.

“Hawk Mountain is thrilled to partner with Ernst Conservation Seeds, and it’s a natural fit as we work to expand and improve the Native Plant Garden at the Sanctuary, to educate visitors to the importance of natives and to get more people outside and experiencing nature,” says Jerry Regan, president of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

“The annual series continues to grow and we thank Ernst Seeds for helping us connect visitors with experts in the field… people who cater to a gardening and conservation audience,” he adds.

The first lecture begins Saturday, May 2 at 5 p.m. and will feature author and New York Times garden columnist Anne Raver who will present “My Life in Gardens: Stories from Around the Globe,” in the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Visitor Center Gallery, followed by a chance to have Raver sign copies of her book, Deep in the Green: An Exploration of Country Pleasures. Raver has been published in Country Gardens and Landscape Architecture magazines in addition to her column in the New York Times. During her talk, she will take participants on a photographic journey across the country and beyond, sharing her favorite gardens and public spaces from the Amazon River to the Arctic Circle and from North Carolina woodlands to the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

On Saturday, May 16, William Cullina, author and director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, will present “Why You Can’t Buy a Forest in a Can,” at 1 p.m. in the Hawk Mountain Education Building. Cullina is an award-winning gardener, acclaimed lecturer and author of several books. During his talk, he will explain how the forests of eastern North America are remarkable considering their 400 years of logging, plowing, pollution and invasive pests, but that as human populations grow, so too, does continued pressure. Cullina lobbies strongly for individuals, communities and nations to take action to curb this degradation and will share ways in which participants can use their own backyards and communities to restore the diversity of our woodlands.

Later that day, Cullina will present the third lecture in the series, “Sugar, Sex, and Poison: Shocking Plant Secrets Caught on Camera,” at 5 p.m. in the Visitor Center gallery. During this lecture, Cullina will outline the amazing array of adaptations that plants use to discourage some animals from eating while they attract and nourish other, helpful animals that pollinate, disperse seeds or otherwise benefit the plant. He will explain how understanding this world of pollen, pigments, pheromones, sugars and sex translates to sound organic practices from which everyone can benefit.

Mark Fiely, horticulturist with Ernst Conservation Seeds, will present, “Establishment and Maintenance of Wildlife Friendly Meadows” on Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m. in the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Education Building. Fiely will cover natural grasslands in Pennsylvania with a focus on a large area of little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, at Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. The lecture will explore meadows with tall- and short-statured grasses and diversity.  Fiely explains, “Diversity of flora begets diversity of fauna. Grass height can affect the type of diversity that will occur in the landscape.” Fiely has been the horticulturist at Ernst Conservation Seeds since 1995 and has focused on diversifying the natural ecotypes available at the company. He also works to fulfill the company’s mission by educating customers on the value of using native species.

Ernst Conservation Seeds grows, processes and sells more than 400 species of native and naturalized seeds and live plant materials for restoration, beautification, reclamation and conservation. Natives are critical in the restoration of North American ecological health, and are the best choice for use in almost every scenario. Ernst Seeds identifies, collects and propagates new species and ecotypes that meet its clients’ needs, from eastern Canada to the southeastern United States. The company’s native seeds are produced from species considered the most significant foundation of an effective native restoration or reclamation project.

“We’re excited that Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is actively educating the public on the benefits of native plants,” states Calvin Ernst, founder and president of Ernst Conservation Seeds.

“The caliber of speakers this series has drawn in the past, and the slate of presenters scheduled for this spring are first-class. We’re proud to partner with Hawk Mountain in this exceptional program,” he continues.

All Ernst Conservation Seeds Native Plant Lecture Series sessions are free to Hawk Mountain volunteers and members. The cost is $5 for non-members.

About Ernst Conservation Seeds
Founded in 1964, Ernst Conservation Seeds specializes in native and naturalized seeds and plant material of eastern North American ecotypes, cleaned and tested to USDA standards. Ernst supplies the highest quality seeds, mixes and bioengineering products for restoration, reclamation and conservation applications. Visit or call 814-336-2404 for more information.

About Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Founded in 1934, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. The 2,600-acre mountaintop preserve offers incredible scenic overlooks, eight miles of trail, a Visitor Center, native plant garden and the Acopian Center for Conservational Learning.