Doug Tallamy, PhD, is arguably the foremost proponent of native plants in our country today. He has long been a voice for biodiversity and practices what he preaches on his 10 acre property in Oxford, PA.
Most of his newly acquired property was a hayfield that hadn’t been mowed in three years and was overgrown with invasives. Dr Tallamy and his wife Cindy converted that mess to a thriving area of native plants and trees that is alive with biodiversity.
Who is Dr. Tallamy and why is he so enthralled with native plants and biodiversity?
Dr. Tallamy is a professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology. He began his career at the University in 1982 and teaches courses in Insect Ecology and Conservation, Behavioral Ecology and Advanced Ecology. His research focuses on behavioral ecology of insects, conservation of biodiversity, impact of alien plants on native ecosystems, and plant-insect interactions.
Dr. Tallamy’s educational background includes a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Entomology, University of Iowa, 1980–1981, a Ph.D. in Entomology, University of Maryland, 1980 an M.S. in Entomology, Rutgers University, 1976 and a B.S. in Biology, Allegheny College, 1973.
Dr. Tallamy has authored 104 research publications, written four award-winning books (one of which is the New York Times best seller, Nature’s Best Hope), and has presented countless webinars and workshops to communities all over the country. He is an engaging and fascinating speaker. I was fortunate enough to meet him in person when I attended one of his many sold-out lectures. Here is an opportunity for you to hear one of his presentations. (scroll down to see the video) This webinar was given for the Smithsonian magazine in April 2020.
Dr Tallamy’s latest (and in my opinion greatest) project with co-founder Michelle Alfandari is his Homegrown National Park initiative. It is the largest cooperative conservation project ever attempted. The whole point is to create corridors of biodiversity to benefit our precious wildlife for the purpose of preventing species loss and ecosystem collapse.
Dr. Tallamy’s goal is to achieve 20 million acres of native plantings, which is about half of the lawn area of privately owned properties in the country. He plans to reach his goal by persuading homeowners, property owners, land managers, farmers, and “anyone with some soil to plant in” to plant native plants and remove invasive plants.
“Soil to plant in” includes apartment and city dwellers. Manhattan’s Highline native plant walkway successfully attracts bees and butterflies in the middle of the city, proving it can be done anywhere. Read the Highline’s brochure to learn what native plants it contains.
Time is truly short for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. Our local ecosystems are becoming seriously compromised due to the loss of so many species. Dr Tallamy has awakened us to the fact that our very lives depend on the services these ecosystems provide us. So when we garden for biodiversity, we are gardening for all of humanity.
As you can see, Dr Tallamy is highly qualified to be the guru of biodiversity, which is why when he speaks, I listen. You will have a chance to see him in person when he speaks at the Media Upper Providence Library on May 14, 2022.