November Audubon Program

According to recent studies, residential yards are one of the most undervalued and overlooked ecosystems. This is ironic as privately owned residential landscapes account for as much as half of the green space in urban areas. With the right knowledge, homeowners can make a real difference in response to the challenges of habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. Urban and suburban gardens greatly impact both the richness and abundance of pollinators and birds in our neighborhoods. Much of that impact is related to the specific plant species provided in our gardens. The question addressed in this program will be how can a homeowner manage their residential landscape in a way that best supports the birds and other wildlife we enjoy? Mark and Nan Plunkett will share their own experience of managing their residential landscape in a way that best supports the all the winged creatures that are drawn to it.

After working in a clinical laboratory for many years, raising three children and then watching them each pursue their dreams, Nan decided to pursue some of her own. She invited husband Mark to join her to train to become a Master Gardener Volunteer through the OSU Extension program. Both became enthusiastic gardeners and soon realized that they not only enjoyed the plants and gardens they were creating but loved how these stationary, rooted plants actually moved through the wings of the insects and birds they attracted. Over the past ten years, Nan and Mark have transformed their half-acre suburban lawn into a (mostly) native garden that is both an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat and Monarch Waystation. In addition, they are horticulture volunteers at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden as well as members of local Audubon and Wild Ones Chapters. Most recently the Plunkett’s have both completed master’s degrees in Biology from Miami University.

Audubon programs are held on the third Monday of the month (not including January, July, August or December). We meet at 7:00 p.m. for light refreshments, with the program beginning at 7:30. We meet at the Winton Woods visitor center, located at 10245 Winton Road. To reach the visitor center from I-275, take the Winton Road exit, and go south. Just before the lake, turn right into the park. From the Ronald Reagan Highway, take the Winton Road North exit, and turn right into the park just after the lake. Note that a Park District auto sticker is required – $5.00 daily or $10.00 annual for Hamilton County residents, or $8.00 daily or $16.00 annual for non-residents.

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