Douglas Tallamy is a mild-mannered entomology and ecology professor at the University of Delaware. He imparts the wisdom he gains from his insect studies to students and colleagues.

But Tallamy knows insects are losing habitat and in the grand ecological scheme of things, and it affects human well-being. It was something he thought needed to be public knowledge. He wrote the national bestseller “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants” in 2007.

His 2019 book, “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard,” provides the title for his Cheyenne talk.

Tallamy is the keynote speaker for the 7th Annual Cheyenne Habitat Hero Workshop. In previous years, the popular event has attracted gardeners of all skill levels from southeastern Wyoming and northern Colorado for a daylong workshop.

This year it will be a virtual Zoom event held as three noontime talks on consecutive days beginning with Tallamy Jan. 12.

The workshop is free and participants from anywhere can attend because three organizations are chipping in to cover speaker costs: Cheyenne – High Plains Audubon Society, Laramie County Master Gardeners and Community Wildlife Habitat Project-West Edge District. Audubon Rockies is providing technical assistance.

Members of these organizations have provided the backbone for the Cheyenne Habitat Hero Committee, which plans the workshops and helped establish demonstration gardens at the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities office and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.

Habitat Hero is an Audubon Rockies program that encourages people to certify their gardens and become “Habitat Heroes.”

Douglas Tallamy: “Nature’s Best Hope”

Noon | Jan. 12

“Recent headlines about global insect declines, the impending extinction of one million species worldwide and three billion fewer birds in North America since 1970 are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us,” Tallamy said.

“Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable.”

Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can – and must – take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we are nature’s best hope.

Jim Tolstrup: “Successful Gardening with Native Plants of the High Plains”

Noon | Jan. 13

Tolstrup, director of the High Plains Environmental Center in Loveland, Colorado, will talk about Centerra, the 3000-acre mixed-use development where HPEC is located. It has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation as the first Wildlife Habitat Community in Colorado.

Tolstrup will share favorite native plants, information on how to grow them and specific wildlife benefits that the plants provide.

Michelle Bohanan: “Winter Sowing Plant-Along”

Noon | Jan. 14

Bohanan, a Laramie County Master Gardener, will present an explanation and demonstration of the winter sowing technique, a way to start native plants in protected mini greenhouses (like milk jugs) left outdoors in winter. No artificial heat or lights required.

If you’d like to “plant-along,” have on hand: 1 gallon milk or water jug (or other similar translucent or transparent container), potting soil (not garden soil), scissors for cutting plastic, marker for writing on plastic, piece of paper, toothpick and seeds. Seeds that work best are native and near-native perennial flowers, quick-growing annual flowers and cold-hardy vegetables such as kale.

Donations to support Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Hero program and the Cheyenne Habitat Hero Committee’s education and planting projects can be accepted at the workshop registration site. Donors may choose to accept a packet of seed as thanks.

Barb Gorges writes a monthly column about the joys and challenges of gardening on the High Plains. Find her past columns at http://cheyennegardengossip.wordpress.com. Readers are always welcome to contact her with questions and story ideas at bgorges4@msn.com.

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