CSNPC Speakers


2013 Central South Native Plant Conference
Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2

[Bios appear in alphabetical order]

Robert Boyd has been a faculty member at Auburn University since 1988. He has taught courses at all University levels (freshman to graduate) and with his students and collaborators has published more than 100 scientific articles (dealing primarily with rare plants as well as plants that hyperaccumulate heavy metals). Since 2008 he has served as Coordinator for the Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance, a statewide consortium of individuals, agencies and institutions involved in plant conservation.

Chuck Byrd, Land steward for The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, graduated from Auburn University in 1998 with his B.S. in Forestry and has worked all over the southeast in forest restoration/conservation. He currently manages The Nature Conservancy preserves in north and central Alabama; he also works with private landowners with rare plants including the Alabama canebrake pitcher plant and the green pitcher plants and with state and federal partners to do prescribed burns in Longleaf pine habitat in Alabama, SW Georgia, and NW Florida.

Dr. R. Scot Duncan is an Associate Professor of Biology and Urban Environmental Studies at Birmingham-Southern College. Though he has worked in Uganda, Antarctica and Latin America, he and his students are currently studying endangered species and ecosystems in Alabama, including the Ketona dolomite glades, montane Longleaf Pine woodlands, and the Watercress Darter. Scot is the author of Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Amazing Biodiversity (University of Alabama Press) which will be available November 2013. Written for the layperson, the book interweaves the disciplines of ecology, evolution, and geology into an explanation of why Alabama is home to more species than any other state east of the Mississippi River.

John Gwaltney is president and CEO of Forestry Suppliers, Inc. in Jackson, MS. He has a BS and MS in wildlife management from Auburn University and is the creator of Southeasternflora.com.

Greg Harber is employed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he works as a research assistant in the Department of Microbiology. His passion, however, is watching birds and photographing nature and sharing that passion with others. Greg is a resident of Birmingham and a past-president of the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc. and the Birmingham Audubon Society.

David Haskell’s work integrates scientific and contemplative studies of the natural world. In addition to numerous scientific articles on ecology and evolution, he has published essays, op-eds and poems about science and nature. His book, The Forest Unseen, was a finalist for the 2103 Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction, winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award and the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and was the runner-up for 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee, an award given to college professors of who have achieved national distinction and whose work shows “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.” He has served on the boards of land conservation groups. Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford and from Cornell University. He is Professor of Biology at the University of the South and lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife Sarah Vance who runs Cudzoo Farm (www.cudzoofarm.com), a homestead farm that produces hand-made goat milk soaps.

Daniel D. Jones: Professor Emeritus of Biology at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He has taught a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, including botany, plant taxonomy,
and plant physiology, authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, and enjoys
sharing his interest in plants via instruction of Master Gardener classes. As a member of the
Birmingham Fern Society and as a liaison to the Hardy Fern Foundation he evaluates the gardenworthiness of uncommon ferns and new introductions for the Birmingham climate. A variety of
both native and non-native ferns are blended with numerous perennial and woody plants in the
landscape of his home garden.

Dr. Jim Lacefield is retired adjunct professor of biology and Earth science at the University of North Alabama. He is the author of Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks: A Guide to the State's Ancient Life and Landscapes, the expanded second edition of which has just been released by the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Sallie Lee was born in Waynesboro, Virginia (< 20 miles from Blue Ridge Mountains) and grew up on farm outside city, where she raised vegetables, chickens, pigs, dairy and beef cattle (small scale). She graduated from Longwood College (a teacher’s college) in Farmville, Virginia with a Master's of Science in Environmental Management from Samford University. She now works for Alabama Cooperative Extension System as Urban Agent in area of Horticulture with a focus on gardens.

John Manion, though born in Georgia, spent his youth growing up in rural upstate New York. He has lived in many places in the United States and abroad and after working in several careers (the longest as an emergency/trauma nurse) he realized his true passion was for plants. After earning an undergraduate degree in plant science at SUNY Cobleskill, he was awarded a fellowship to earn a Master's Degree in Public Garden Leadership at Cornell University. He has interned and worked at several local botanical gardens and arboreta, including the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. After working as Historic Gardens Curator at the Atlanta History Center, he assumed his present position as Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Hunter McBrayer graduated from The University of Alabama with a B.S. in Biology with a focus on ecological sciences. Hunter was the 2012 Rotary Club of Shades Valley Internship Recipient at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens where he focused on Native and Rare Plant Conservation. He now works for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in the Plant Diagnostic Laboratory.

Drew Monthie has been gardening, growing and studying plants for four decades. He is a graduate of SUNY Cobleskill with an A.A.S. in Plant Science/Horticulture and a graduate of SUNY Empire State College with a B.S. in Ecology and a M.A. in Ethnobotany. He operates a consulting business in Queensbury, N.Y. specializing in native plant design and education and is an adjunct professor for SUNY Empire State College teaching Ecology and Ethnobotany. His free time is often spent observing and photographing plant communities, working in his garden and growing orchids.

Michelle Reynolds is an artist, writer, gardener, native plant enthusiast and environmental educator. A contributing writer for State-by-State Gardening publications (Alabama Gardener magazine, regional newsletter and website), and for the DIYNetwork (Made + Remade), she strives to weave together lessons in sustainability and appreciation for the natural world.

Arnie Rutkis studied at the University of New Orleans for an MFA in sculpture but ended up becoming a landscape artist. He currently works on garden projects in and around Birmingham Alabama that he views as sculptural interactions with the land utilizing mainly native plants, stonework and organic garden methods.