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Grounded In Science: 2023 MGAA Fall Symposium

November 25, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Rebecca McMackin, M.Sc. Adventures in Ecological Horticulture.

Who doesn’t love butterflies? Our gardens can be stunningly beautiful while also providing habitat for the wildlife that enriches our lives. Indeed garden design and thoughtful management must consider the many other organisms that also use our land. However,
traditional landscaping practices rarely take biodiversity into consideration. Cultivating habitat is central to landscape management. Join us to learn how to use ecological insight and
experimentation to develop new management strategies and, why careful observation and documentation of the insects, birds and other wildlife in your garden is crucial to their success

Rebecca McMackin is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist and garden designer. She spends her days developing strategies to help people create and care for beautiful gardens that also provide habitat for birds, butterflies and soil microorganisms. She believes passionately in the value of ecological horticulture as a vehicle for environmental justice. Rebecca spent a decade as the Director of Horticulture of Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) where she and her team used organic principles to manage 85 acres of diverse parkland. During her time overseeing the park ecology stick bugs, rare mantids, threatened bees ad extirpated lady bugs all returned to the park. The research conducted at the BBP , in, cultivating urban biodiversity and ethical management strategies has influenced thousands of people and entire urban parks systems to adopt similar approaches.
In her imaginary spare time Rebecca writes, designs public gardens, lectures and teaches on ecological landscape management and pollination ecology. She recently installed an 8000 sq foot native wildflower garden for the entrance to the Brooklyn Museum. Rebecca has just completed a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, studying ecological design and science communication. She loves to tell stories and has been published by and featured in the New York Times and the Landscape Institute as well as appearing on National Public Radio and PBS. In October of this year she did a TED talk.

Rebecca holds Masters degrees from Columbia University and the University of Victoria in landscape design and biology.

Tehreem Chughtai, Calgary AB.  

Every garden has its own unique environment. Using the concepts of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a useful tool for examining a garden's ecosystem by looking at the “bigger picture” of the garden landscape and how to work with nature to manage it appropriately. 

Garden friends and foes, natural pest management solutions and companion planting strategies will all be topics of discussion.

Tehreem Chughtai is a University of Calgary educated biological scientist whose research interests are entomology (the study of insects), ecology and public health. She works with the Calgary Horticultural Society as an instructor for the Master Gardening program and as a consultant. Tehreem was recognized as one of the Alberta Council of Status & Women’s 'Women in STEM' award recipients for her researches' contributions to equality in the field of science. Tehreem is passionate about making scientific knowledge accessible and has shared her research findings on Global News, YouTube web series and published articles with the University of Calgary.


Kerry Ross, BASc, BArch,  Green Roof Professional   Green roofs are a renewed building technique initiated in central Europe and catching on in Alberta. The local green roof market is seeing greater uptake in commercial, institutional and also residential construction, bringing the multi-beneficial nature-based strategy to the roof.

Come learn the basics including defining the various types of green roofs, their design considerations and how they can help solve some of the most pressing ecological and developmental issues facing our communities. Kerry will share cold-climate case studies from nearby and abroad and highlight the new opportunities for gardeners, and discuss suitable plants for rooftops in Alberta.

Kerry Ross began working on one of the first buildings in Alberta to integrate contemporary green roof systems into the building’s design. Bison Courtyard, the project situated in the town of Banff, spurred her passion to learn more about green roof technology as an innovative method to lessen the impacts that buildings have on the natural environment. This experience, along with study and field research led her to become one of the first Green Roof Professionals in Canada. In 2010, she launched Green T Design, a company dedicated to green roof design, installations and maintenance. Kerry continues to champion the integration of green roofs where possible.


Tickets at: Eventbrite   https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mgaa-fall-symposium-grounded-in-science-tickets-737555718007?aff=ebdsoporgprofile

General Public $50., MGAA Members $40., MGAA Students $30.



November 25, 2023
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Master Gardeners Association of Alberta
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via ZOOM