Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Candy DeBerry, Plant Pollination Expert

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know Candy DeBerry, associate professor of biology at Washington and Jefferson College.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

While my presentation is entitled Native Plants for Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden, my alternative title is Plant Sex: How the Birds and the Bees Are Responsible for One-third of the Food You Eat (And What You Can Do To Help Them). I’ll briefly explain what pollination is, why it is important, and which animals pollinate plants, then focus on how design and plant choice can attract and support pollinators in your garden.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

The important ecological roles played by native plants, especially in regard to attracting pollinators (bees, wasps, moths and butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds).

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

I am first and foremost an ecological gardener – I garden primarily to increase biodiversity and attract wildlife. My 1/3 acre suburban property has been certified as Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, a Bird Habitat by Audubon Pennsylvania, and a Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch. I am applying for certification of my property as a Pollinator Friendly Garden by Penn State. My favorite way to learn more about native plants and ecological gardening is by attending the annual Native Plants at the Landscape Conference at Millersville University. I regularly share my knowledge and experience by speaking to community organizations about native plants, environmentally-friendly gardening, and creating habitats for wildlife.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

To learn how to attract and provide for pollinators in their gardens, which will result in increased yields of many crops and help increase biodiversity.

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel?

My partner and I will drive from our home in Washington, PA (south of Pittsburgh, about 90 minutes away) and stay overnight in a local hotel so that we are sure to arrive early. We don’t want to miss a minute!

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

Being around thousands of like-minded persons who care deeply about sustainable living. Meeting others who have a passion for native plants and increasing biodiversity. Learning more about gardening in raised beds and year-round gardening. Attending presentations by Joel Salatin, Ed Begley Jr. and Frances Moore Lappe (again). Browsing the great MOTHER EARTH NEWS bookstore and visiting all of the amazing exhibitors. Sending my partner to the talks on chickens and (hopefully) convincing her that we really do need some hens in our backyard!

What advice do you have for attendees?

Take in every minute: be there when the FAIR opens, stay all day, attend both days, wear sturdy comfortable shoes – and do NOT miss Frances Moore Lappe. Her talk at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR was incredible!

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

A solar-powered Mac laptop computer onto which I’d loaded lots of great reading material, including the CD of the first 40 years of MOTHER EARTH NEWS – that way I’d have plenty of DIY info for creating shelter and a garden. Or my favorite garden spade (but I’d probably go crazy without something to read!).

Thanks, Candy. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

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