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Huntsville Botanical Garden to host 2023 APGA Education Symposium next week

HUNTSVILLE – Horticulture and environmental educators from across the nation will gather at Huntsville Botanical Garden (HBG) Feb. 15-17 for the American Public Gardens Association’s (APGA) 2023 Education Symposium.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Nature Talks: Healing Through Partnerships with the Planet.” Attendees will hear how the educational work of public gardens and arboreta can contribute to a better future for our planet.  

“It’s an honor to host the APGA Education Symposium at the Garden,” said HBG Chief Executive Officer Sue Wagner. “Huntsville is a beautiful city in the middle of one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the South. We’re excited to share with our colleagues from around the country how public gardens fulfill a need for connecting the community to plants and the natural world through programs rooted in STEM education.”

“Our Professional Symposia are opportunities for our members to share new ideas, learn new techniques, and experience new gardens and areas of the country,” said Lauren Garcia Chance, APGA Associate Director of Professional Development. “This is a particularly exciting pairing as our Education Community is one of our most active professional communities, and Huntsville Botanical Gardens is particularly known for their Education programming.”   

The Thursday keynote speaker will be Alex Harkness, Ph.D., from HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Harkness’ laboratory studies the evolution of plant reproduction. His lab uses large-scale genome sequencing across the flowering plant tree of life to build new genomes for species that reproduce in intriguing ways, and to identify the genes that might control that reproductive strategy. 

Abra Lee, founder of Conquer the Soil, will be the keynote speaker on Friday. A graduate of the Auburn University College of Agriculture and an alumna of the Longwood Gardens Society of Fellows, Lee has worked as a municipal arborist and airport landscape manager. Her organization, Conquer the Soil, is a community that explores the history, folklore and art of horticulture. 

Breakout sessions, tours, and a lunch presentation by LaManda Joy, co-founder of the Great Grown Along, will round out the three-day event. The symposium is sponsored by the Great Grow Along.

For more information about the APGA 2023 Education Symposium, visit publicgardens.org/events. For more information about Huntsville Botanical Gardens, visit hsvbg.org. 

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