When I was a kid in Louisville, Ky, I watched as all the "wild" land around our neighborhood was developed into housing.  I observed the abrupt decline in plant diversity and wondered where all the organisms that lived in those fields and woods would go.   I earned my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biology  at the University of Louisville, where the majority of ecologists focused on aquatic ecology.  Then, to expand my experience with and understanding of terrestrial communities, I earned my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researching the ways that mammalian herbivores (mice, voles, rabbits, and deer) influenced the plant communities in grasslands.

     I moved to Charlotte, NC in 2006 to begin a professorship at Queens University of Charlotte.  In 2017, my professorial career moved from Queens to Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, NC, just a bit northeast of Charlotte.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching my students about biology and the natural world in which they live.  I have taught many different courses over the years, with a few of my favorites being Botany, Animal Behavior, and Reconciliation Ecology.  

     In addition to professoring, I have taught courses, given talks and interviews, and led workshops for the following groups in the greater Charlotte area:

  • Audubon Society
  • Backyard Habitat podcast
  • Central Academy of Technology and Arts
  • Central Carolinas Master Naturalist Program
  • City of Charlotte Landscaping Team
  • Concord Wildlife Alliance
  • Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK) Habitat Stewards 
  • Mecklenburg County Extension Master Gardeners Program
  • Piedmont Airlines Retiree Association
  • Project Scientist Academy
  • Rotary Club
  • Southern Spring Home and Garden Show
  • Shepherd Center of Charlotte
  • UNC-Charlotte, Certificate Program in Native Plant Studies
  • Wing Haven Gardens

     Additionally, I have given technical presentations to professional organizations such as the Ecological Society of America, the American Mammalogical Society, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and the North Carolina Academy of Sciences. 

 

 

      For the Birds and the Bees began in 2016 as the interest in native plants and landscaping for wildlife was beginning to take hold in the Charlotte, NC area.  There seemed to be a need for someone who could talk to people about their property and how to make it more ecologically relevant.  I began visiting clients and discussing with them their current landscaping and how to improve its function in terms of providing for needs of wildlife.  This often includes recognition and removal of invasive plants, as well as increased incorporation of native plants into the landscape plan.  

       The native plant nursery began in 2021 to help supply native plants to people in the area. Customer demand for native plants to use in landscaping is growing by leaps and bounds. But the horticultural industry is not keeping up.  So I thought I'd try my hand at propagating native plants and see if I could contribute to the production side of things.