Visiting Speaker Doug Tallamy to Discuss Importance of Native Plants

Plant expert to lecture, host roundtable discussion on April 14

Gulf Fritillary, c.hart

Photo by Curt Hart

Doug Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants,” will speak on the importance of native plants in healthy ecosystems during a public lecture at 4 p.m. April 14 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Tallamy has found in his own research, and in the research of others, that native plants provide essential food for native insects, which in turn are food for other animals. Thus, native plants provide the foundation for a healthy, diverse ecosystem, which has many benefits for humans.

In his book, Tallamy writes about how mainstream gardeners can help support native plants in their own yards.

“Most of us know that diversity within the workplace and in social settings benefits our lives in many ways,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability. “Biodiversity in nature is also beneficial for all life and supports healthy ecosystems, which all of us need to thrive.  What we don’t commonly think about is that biodiversity can be supported by our yards and landscapes, not just in forests or other ‘natural’ areas.  Our own yards can support the presence of native insects, plants, and animals or they can contribute to species loss and ecosystem failure.”

Tallamy travels the country in a lecture series explaining this idea, providing both information and inspiration.  Before the public lecture, Tallamy will help facilitate roundtable discussions of concrete ways that native plants can be incorporated into community landscapes. Ole Miss students, faculty, staff and others in the Oxford community who would like to participate in these discussions (for which space is limited) are encouraged to contact McCauley.

“Dr. Tallamy will challenge us to re-envision our own personal and campus landscapes and gardens as not just a space for recreation and beautification but as a way to accomplish both of those goals while also enriching the native habitats that are distinct to our own local areas,” McCauley said.

Strawberry Plains Audubon Center will host a dinner with Tallamy following the lecture from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University Club.  Tickets to the dinner event are $25, and reservations are due April 7. Contact Susie at or 662-252-1155 to purchase a ticket or for more information.

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, the UM Biology Department, Residential College South and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. For more information about Tallamy, his book and native plants, click here.