Master Class: Gardens, Remnants, Weeds (and Bees)

Explore the roles of urban floral guilds in provisioning urban pollinators.
Master Class: Gardens, Remnants, Weeds (and Bees) - Workshops
Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Length: 2 hours
Language: English

Starting at FREE

Starting at FREE

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When: February 21, 2019, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where: The Penn State Center Philadelphia
675 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
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registration deadline: February 21, 2019
2:00 p.m.

Hosted once a month at the Penn State Center Philadelphia, The Penn State Extension Master Class Series is a free educational series that features the current work of Penn State Extension Educators, Master Gardeners, Researchers and other industry professionals as it relates to urban agriculture in Philadelphia. From more formal presentations to interactive workshops, this dynamic series promises to engage participants with current research, production practices, and techniques grounded in practical, real-world application.

Our February workshop, will be led by Dr. Doug Sponsler, a Philadelphia native and a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State University's Center for Pollinator Research. His research, teaching, and outreach concentrate especially on urban systems, and the direction of his work is toward a holistic urban community ecology set in the broader context of socioeconomics, food systems, and environmental justice. During this program, Doug will be presenting his current research on pollinator ecology:

“In the city, the usual rules of ecology do not apply. Urban land use generates new and unprecedented ecosystems, characterized by human intervention (gardening, landscaping, weed suppression, etc.), unique disturbance regimes (construction, demolition, pedestrian and vehicle traffic), unusual climate and hydrology (urban heat island effect, high runoff due to impervious surface), industrial pollutants, and exotic species. Sometimes the consequences are favorable. Sometimes they are disastrous. In either case, they are often unexpected and mysterious because the ecology of the city is a scientific frontier that we have only just begun to explore.

My research in Philadelphia approaches this frontier from the perspective of plant-pollinator relationships and their connection to human land use and human values. I'm interested in how different forms of urban land use create distinct floral communities--remnant forest/grassland, cultivated greenspace, "weedy" yards--and how these different floral communities relate to pollinator communities. Central to my work is the role of people who participate in the ecology of the city: gardeners, farmers, beekeepers, landscapers, policymakers...all urban residents in one way or another. I want work with them to harness the ecology of the city toward desirable outcomes (productive gardens/farms/apiaries, beautiful greenscapes, affordable and sustainable land management) while also reshaping human interaction with the land to reconcile it to the ecology of the city.“

Who is this for?

General Public, farmers, gardeners, beekeepers

What will you learn?

Learn about Doug’s current research in Philadelphia, explore the roles of urban floral guilds in provisioning urban pollinators, and learn about opportunities to participate in and shape citizen-science research around pollinator ecology.


Doug Sponsler


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