Sept. 24 – 25
Stormwater Management Series

Join Phipps and our partners for a presentation and workshop on the state of stormwater management and how to effectively manage rainfall in a community, on a client’s property, or in your own yard.

With the right plants in the right place, any garden setting can be a host for free, natural stormwater management, but understanding what works and which challenges you'll face is essential, including:

  • understanding the reasons for aesthetic and functional challenges surrounding native planting,
  • discovering the principles behind inherently beautiful archetypal landscapes,
  • knowing how to apply principles of stunning wild landscapes to smaller garden spaces and spark strong emotional responses,
  • exploring countless inspiring design solutions to make stormwater management both beautiful and functional,
  • and much more. 

In this two day series, there is something for everyone. Professional landscape designers and architects, engineers and landcare professionals will enjoy a full day hands-on design workshop with a pair of stormwater management experts, while homeowners can benefit from an evening talk with Claudia West, co-author of Planting in a Post-Wild World (Timber Press, 2015).

The Stormwater Management Series is presented to you by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Three Rivers Wet Weather and The Penn State Center. Reservations are required in advance, so sign up today online or by phone at 412/441-4442, ext. 3925.


DAY 1

An Evening with Claudia West — Wild and Neat: The Solution to Succesful Stormwater Management Planting

Tues., Sept. 24; 6 – 8 p.m.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Special Events Hall
$10 admission includes refreshments
recommended for homeowners, master gardeners, students, and landcare and stormwater management professionals

Register for Day 1

Our planet is rapidly losing its foundation of life — the very plants that sustain us and most other creatures on earth. We know that planting more native plants in our gardens is an important part of the solution. However, many native plant gardens that focus on ecological benefits (such as stormwater management) often suffer for aesthetic challenges and fail to inspire the public. Great planting design is an essential part of the solution. Join us as we analyze archetypal landscapes and translate their principles into smaller garden spaces to help you create the native plant oasis of your dreams that will blow you away with stunning beauty while capturing stormwater! 

Claudia West is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book, Planting in a Post-Wild World (Timber Press, 2015).  Books will be available for purchase and time given after the presentation for book signing by Claudia. Refreshments will be provided.


DAY 2

Workshop — Designing Ecological Plant Communities for Stormwater Management

Wed., Sept. 25; 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Special Events Hall
$125 admission ($150 after Aug. 25) includes lunch and refreshments
recommended for landcare and stormwater management professionals, landscape architects and engineers

DAY 2 SOLD OUT

Session 1: Hydrology of the Pittsburgh Plateau  |  Barton Kirk

During hard Pittsburgh rains, hundreds of millions of gallons of stormwater flow into our sewer system, causing prolonged flooding and sewage backups and overflows. Hard rains also overwhelm our stormwater systems and waterways. In order to mitigate this issue we must work with water and understand its movement. A thorough site analysis of soils, terrain and hydrology is imperative and will influence our design choices and solutions. See several case studies of built projects and get firsthand knowledge of how to approach site design, construction and maintenance.

Session 2: Creating Hyper-Functional Plant Communities for Successful Stormwater Management  |  Claudia West

Functional and ecological plantings, such as rain gardens and meadows, are gaining in popularity but also face severe challenges. They often fail to wow the public, offer a low level of ecological functions, and limited budgets for maintenance challenge plant survival and the effective management of stormwater. We won’t solve these issues if we continue to compare planting design to painting on canvas and perceive plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a new approach — a plant-community-based method which has evolved in the world of ecological science. Join us as we translate ecological principles of wild plant communities into planting design tools that will help you create better planting for high performing functional landscapes for stormwater management. This interactive workshop will introduce you to the science behind stable and lasting plant combination. You will learn the skill of creating plant communities in hands-on design exercises and practice this technique in a hypothetical planting project at the end of the workshop.


About the Speakers

Claudia West is a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design. Known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought-out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She has worked on all sides of the green industry — as a designer, a grower, installer and land manager — grounding her innovative work in pragmatic solutions that address the realities of our urbanizing world. She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book Planting in a Post-Wild World (Timber Press, 2015). Having grown up on a family-owned nursery, florist business and design/build firm in eastern Germany, Claudia was propagating plants before she could walk. Her love of American native plants brought her to the U.S., where she worked at Blue Mount Nurseries in Maryland and immersed herself in the study of American flora and mid-Atlantic ecosystems. Claudia holds a Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Her intense studies of plant habitats and the science of plant community-based design strategies at the renowned school for horticulture in Weihenstephan, Germany built a solid foundation for her current work. Before co-founding Phyto Studio, Claudia was ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries, a wholesale perennial grower in Landenberg, PA. Her work was focused on bridging the gap between growers, designers and land managers as well as introducing more functional and beautiful ecological plants into the nursery trade.

Barton Kirk is an ecological engineer whose core expertise lies at the nexus of energy, water, climate and community. For the past decade he has helped communities develop durable decisions about their built and natural infrastructure utilizing research, analysis and design. Through applied ecological economics and life-cycle systems analysis, Barton’s work offers holistic insight into the long-term economic and environmental costs and benefits of site-level infrastructure, institutional operations, and regional community patterns. Barton is also an instructor at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School of Warren, VT and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY.

More Events You’ll Enjoy

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    Free with admission Saturdays and Sundays; 1:30 p.m. except where noted

    Join us each Saturday and Sunday in the Tropical Forest Conservatory for interactive demonstrations, activities and speakers that will deepen your connections to the beauty and wonders of nature, all free with admission! No advance reservations are needed.
  • October Public Programs

    Free with admission Saturdays and Sundays; 1:30 p.m. except where noted

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