Keynote/Public Speakers?

bonsai_audgeJanuary 25, 2007

Hello everyone!

As you may or may not know, there's an annual student-oriented Landscape Architecture event called LABash which takes place all over North America. This year, it's being held at Louisiana (website here), but in 2008 (or, more precisely, the winter of 2007) it is taking place in its home town: Guelph! I've offered to help in the planning/execution of this event, and was wondering if you know of any figures in the LA realm who are/could be keynote/public speakers for the event. It is not restricted to practicing LAs either; environmentalists/specialists or other public figures are potential candidates as well. I was just wondering if there's any speaker you've heard who made you walk away inspired and enthused. I have some more details if you have any ideas/questions, so please don't hesitate to contribute any suggestions. Thank you!


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I just heard Rick Darke speak in Minneapolis and was very impressed. He did a great job balancing conceptual and practical ideas within his talks. He's interested in sustainable plant communities and landscapes. He has a book out about woodlands and a new one coming out about grasses.

I go to a few seminars a year and he stands out as the best I 've seen recently


    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 2:23PM
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Hello Ted!

Thank you for your suggestion. I shall look more into him.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 3:19PM
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One very fine horticulturist in the area is Gail Barton, a long term stalwart in South Mississippi. She is a mighty fine lady, great teacher; and can be reached at the link below. Look her up.

Here is a link that might be useful: gail barton

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 11:37PM
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I have no idea if he even does this sort of thing, but I might suggest Hendrikus Schraven. He is the principal of an award wining design/build company that works to encourage and promote sustainable landscape practices, using plant selection, soil conditions and wholly organic gardening principles to create incredible landscapes. An amazing focus on water and stonework.

He is a bit of a character, also. From obviously European decent and relatively recently, he used to be in the rock band circuit and still presents a bit of a rock star/hippy image. A fascinating and extremely talented designer, his focus on sustainable design is to be commended and brought to a much larger audience.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hendrikus Schraven

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 7:29AM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

Tony Avent from Plant Delights Nursery is an excellent, exciting speaker, but expensive (I hear). He's in NC. It might be a little late to book the top speakers, if you contact Avent or big seed companies they could probably help you with names, also try Landscaping Associations and Perennial Associations.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 11:03AM
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LisaNH(z4 NH)

Kathy Renwald?

Here is a link that might be useful: Kathy Renwald

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 3:44AM
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Try and book those who practise (well)the opposite of what your professors recommend. As students, you are already getting the official viewpoint - now look for the unofficial as a good counterbalance.
Also, try and hire Canadian. There is a wealth of horticultural talent in this country. Start by looking for some unusual design-build projects in your area of southwestern Ontario. Talk to the designers and decide whether they'd be suitable. Include at least one plant person.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 4:27PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Too bad they aren't all "plant persons."

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 5:27PM
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Get Tony. He's Canadian (or at least lives and works there) and is very interesting and is not afraid to speak his mind. He is Inkognito, so he may want to be behind one of those screens like the guy on "Deal or No Deal". All in good fun, Tony.

Actually, You should select your speaker much like you would do design work. Figure out a Goal and Objectives and then the criteria to meet those. End by selecting a speaker that fits your needs rather than starting with a speaker and building your program around him/her. Then it will all be right. Maybe, in the end, Tony will be the right person.

I think adding your regional influences is a great thing to share with the rest of the North American students in LA as NinaMarie said. I'd even agree with her on the other point of considering the "other side" of the profession. That would most likely be "design/build" which seemed to be looked down on by my professors, but makes up a great part of the profession.

In the end, you all need jobs and not many people are out hiring ecowarriors. Development is what gets landscape architects employed. Developers needs are what creates the many forms in which you can work. That would be good stuff, but maybe no one will realize it yet and not pay too much attention. Its a hard call.

Whatever you do, have beer and pizza and it will sell out.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 8:26PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! I will be sure to forward this onto the person organizing the speakers.

As for a little more info on the show, there's going to be roughly 50 speakers over 3 days. There's plenty of room for variety in speakers; in fact, non-professionals and those of a different profession were brought up as a point at the last meeting. (They were discussing things they liked and did not like from this year's LABash). It was something that people found interesting and different, since we hear from LA professionals all the time (our profs, speakers they bring in regularly, etc).

Interestingly enough, the head organizers aren't stressing the direct relation of speakers to LA as they are their public speaking abilities. As one of them said, if a speaker could get you excited and enthusiastic, riveted to one's seat throughout the presentation and talking about it for hours afterwards, it could be about cake for all they cared. (Well, probably not, but it was just an example).

And Andrew, you need not worry about your last point. Maybe not as much the pizza, but the gratuitous "beverages" are a staple. It may not be the most flattering time to mention that LABash has steadily been gaining momentum over the years. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but LABash '06 had roughly 500, '07 around 800, and for '08 they're expecting over 1000 participants. In fact, the difficult decision was made to hold the 2008 LABash in Toronto, in conjunction with the University of Toronto, since Guelph simply does NOT have the facilities to accomodate the projected numbers for various activities (especially a formal sit-down dinner at the end of the three days). It's going to be marketed more as a national, Canadian LABash as opposed to simply that of Guelph, so there is an emphasis on Canadian speakers as well as integrating other MLA programs from across the country.

That being said, the development/implementation aspect may be an interesting perspective to explore.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 10:55PM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

What kind of information do you think they might need added to their training that the usual channels of education are not covering?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 7:52PM
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I can highly recommend Thomas Hobbs from Vancouver. He's spoken to our group twice in the last few years, the 2nd time this week. He has 2 outstanding books out (Shocking Beauty and The Jewel Box Garden). You can reach him through his nursery, Southlands Nursery, in Vancouver.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Diego Horticultural Society

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 9:30PM
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Try to read interesting women speakers

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:55AM
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