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Wed., July 29; 8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Virtual Summer Short Course: Gardening for Pollinators with Heather Holm

Join Phipps and Penn State Extension virtually for a full day of learning about gardening for pollinators with Heather Holm and guests Emily Erickson and Dr. Ryan Gott.

This year's edition of our popular Summer Short Course will highlight gardening for pollinators featuring special sessions on documenting pollinators in your garden, local and largescale actions for promoting pollinators, how ornamental flowering plants can help benefit insects and how to select pollinator-friendly shrubs and trees for your garden.

About the SpeakerS

Heather Holm

Acclaimed author Heather Holm speaks nationally about the fascinating world of native bees and the native plants that support them. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, was published in 2014, and her latest book, Bees, published in 2017, has won six book awards including the 2018 American Horticultural Society Book Award. Heather’s expertise includes the interactions between native bees and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees occurring in the upper midwest and northeast.

Emily Erickson

Emily Erickson is a Ph.D. candidate at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Entomology. She studies the interactions between ornamental plants and pollinators, and how a history of plant breeding and cultivar development impacts the ecological value of common garden plants. She is interested in the best methods for incorporating pollinator habitats into home gardens and managed landscapes, and in supporting biodiversity and promoting green space development in urban areas.

Dr. Ryan Gott

Dr. Ryan Gott is the associate director of integrated pest management at Phipps Conservatory. He serves as the doctor to the plants of the conservatory and grounds while delivering educational talks and training on sustainable plant health care and eco-friendly landscaping practices.

Course Schedule

8:45 – 9 a.m.


9 – 10 a.m.

Forget Television! The Real Entertainment is Happening Outside in Your Pollinator-Friendly Garden | Heather Holm
Have you ever sat quietly in your garden next to flowering plants just to watch pollinators? This is not a crazy idea — more and more people are becoming pollinator watchers. Heather will showcase many types of insect pollinators, their foraging behavior and the tricks that flowers employ to attract pollinators. You will also learn about how you can use technology to document what you see and ultimately contribute to science. 

10 – 10:10 a.m.


10:10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Hello, Pollineighbor: Local and Largescale Actions for Promoting Pollinators | Dr. Ryan Gott
Actions big and small can conserve and promote our pollinator neighbors and the ecosystems of which they are a part. Dr. Gott will discuss national, Pennsylvania state and local initiatives that are helping pollinators. Learn more about the pollinator-centered endeavors and educational opportunities at Phipps, and the actions we can all take around our own homes to welcome in pollinators.

11 – 11:10 a.m.


11:10 a.m. – noon

Planting for Pollinators: The Role of Ornamental Flowering Plants in Supporting Beneficial Insect Communities | Emily Erickson
Cultivated ornamental plants are ubiquitous in nurseries, garden centers and managed green spaces. Often, they are planted by landscapers and home gardeners with the goal of supporting declining pollinator populations. Due to an extensive history of cultivation and artificial selection, many of these ornamental flowering plants interact in unique ways with the beneficial insects they are intended to support. Emily will discuss the findings of a four-year field study that evaluated the relative utility to pollinators of 50 ornamental annual and perennial cultivars commonly used in the northeastern U.S.

noon – 1 p.m.


1 – 2:15 p.m.

Selecting Native Trees and Shrubs that Support Pollinators | Heather Holm
While most trees are wind-pollinated, the ones that are insect-pollinated provide important forage for pollinators, especially in early spring. Learn about which canopy trees, small trees and shrubs are insect-pollinated and the types of pollinators each plant attracts. Factors influencing pollinator visitation including flower structure, flower resources, flowering phenology and the plant community where the woody plant occurs.

2:15 – 2:45 p.m.

Speaker Roundtable Discussion

2:45 – 3 p.m.

Closing Remarks

This Summer Short Course is presented to you by Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Penn State Extension. Reservations are required in advance, so sign up today online or by phone at 412-437-8308.

Summer Short Course (July 29) registration costs $45 on or before Wed., July 8. Afterward, the cost is $60. This event will be held as a live webinar on Zoom. Log-on details will be sent closer to the event. 

Register for Short Course

Download Program Brochure

Summer Short Course: Gardening for Pollinators with Heather Holm (July 29) will be held as a live webinar on Zoom. This conference counts as a 4.5 hours for Master Gardener Continuing Education credit, and 4.5 elective hours for Phipps certificate programs: Sustainable Horticulture and Landscape and Garden Design. CEU credits for PCH and LA CES are pending; please inquire for more information. In order to recieve a full refund, less a $10 administrative fee, you must cancel by Wed., July 22. After this date, there will be no refunds. 

Questions? Email edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

More Events You’ll Enjoy

  • Virtual Story Time

    Wed., July 8; 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

    Join us for stories, sing-alongs and fun activities you can do from home each Wednesday!
  • Summer of Pollinators

    June – August; see full schedule for details

    Join us for a three-month celebration of pollinators and how they impact our lives during our Summer of Pollinators!
  • Summer Flower Show: Back in Bloom

    Now Open

    Phipps invites you back to our glasshouse and gardens to find joy, refreshment and tranquility with a special new show celebrates the healing power of connecting to nature.