2018 Native Plant Symposium: The Role of Pollinators in the Landscape

April 20, 2018

Southern Highlands Reserve will host its 2018 Native Plant Symposium on Saturday, May 19. This year’s topic is “The Role of Pollinators in the Landscape.”


Dr. Larry Mellichamp will return to the Reserve as the keynote speaker, lecturing on the tantalizing topic of floral sex. Dr. Larry Mellichamp is recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture and was director of the Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Larry is a world traveler and expert on plants of all kinds, especially carnivorous plants. He has written several books, including Bizarre Botanicals (2010 with Paula Gross) and the recent Native Plants of the Southeast…the best species for the garden (Timber Press, 2014). He has received several teaching and horticulture awards, and was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Tom Dodd, Jr. Plantsman Award of Excellence from the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. He lives with his family in Charlotte, NC where he gardens, typically killing more plants than not. His motto, not always appreciated by young students: you learn the most when you make mistakes.

Tom TribbleTom Tribble will share his tips on bird-friendly gardening. Tom Tribble is President of Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society, the local Audubon chapter that covers Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and several adjacent counties.  Tom has been an Audubon member and avid birder for more than 40 years.  Tom worked for 30 years at the NC Center for Geographic Information & Analysis, the State’s Geographic Information System, retiring in 2013.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s degree from Duke University.


Our surprise presenter, wildlife educator Steve Hughes, will finish out the day by introducing us to his spectacular group of birds of prey, including a Gyrfalcon and Screech Owl. Steve Hughes is a native Charlottean who has spent his life in the outdoors. The experience and knowledge he has gained over the years as a naturalist and wildlife artist has provided him with countless opportunities to educate others as to the importance of wildlife in our world. Steve’s knowledge and experience started at a young age. As a teen he was the staff artist and animal care giver for the Charlotte Nature Museum. His interest in falconry led him to be one of North Carolina’s first Master Falconers in 1983. He helped start what is today’s North Carolina Falconry Guild. Carolina Raptor and Rehabilitation Center used him as their first consultant in 1985. His interest in wildlife connected him with Jim Fowler of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. He assisted Jim with wildlife lectures. His wildlife art has been commissioned by Ducks Unlimited, Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited, The Charlotte Nature Museum, Discovery Place as well as many private individuals. One of his paintings was used for the cover of “State” magazine in 1998.

The 2018 Native Plant Symposium is presented by


The symposium is also made possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors:

Thank you also to our in-kind sponsors: