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Hybrid Hybrid Event
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2024 Annual Meeting and Conference

Building Community with Native Plants—for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Landscapes

Hybrid Hybrid Event

March 2 @ 8:00 am 3:00 pm

In person registration and breakfast starts at 8:00am. The conference starts at 9am on Zoom and in person.
It will last until about 3:10 (our event software can’t handle ten minute increments).

NPSNJ 40th Anniversary logo

The Native Plant Society of New Jersey annual meeting returns on March 2, both in-person at Ocean County College and on Zoom.

Purchase tickets and download a PDF of the agenda.

Plants, like people, need communities to thrive. Native plants support their communities—their ecosystems—in many ways. They provide food for insects, birds, and other wildlife; serve as host plants for insect offspring; offer shelter; support soil creation; conserve water; and reduce runoff. Thus, a critical way that humans can support ecosystems is by sowing and cultivating native plants. For maximum success in those efforts, there are many factors to consider, from “right place, right plant” to landscaping strategies that communicate intentionality to surrounding human communities. In this conference, expert speakers—Sarah F. Jayne, Mariellé Anzelone, and Toshi Yano—explore those considerations as they apply to urban, suburban, and rural landscapes.

All In-Person tickets include a Zoom link.
All attendees are eligible for 3 CEUs from NJ Urban & Community Forestry
All tickets include early access to the conference videos.
Tickets will not be available any other way.

Register today!
Lunch is included. Vegetarian and Gluten-free options available.
Bagels, muffins, and coffee will be available at registration
In-person members, based on your feedback we have made more time available for you to socialize and visit the tables.

Non-member in-person tickets cost the same as member tickets plus a membership so get a membership or renew and then come back here to purchase your ticket.

Current Members, please log-in to purchase your tickets at the member rate. If you have sent in a check, but have not yet had your membership renewed and/or received your login information, buy a full-price ticket and email . As soon as we process your check, we will refund you the difference. If you need your login information, please email or try to reset your password using the e-mail you use for NPSNJ at the login link.

Carlos Martinez Rivera speaking at our 2023 Annual Meeting

See the entire 2023 conference on Vimeo.

Ocean County College
Gateway Building

1 College Drive
Toms River, New Jersey 08754
United States

Tentative Schedule

8:00 am
Morning coffee, bagels, and muffins

9:00 am

9:10 am
New York City’s Urban Wildflowers and Why They Matter
Mariellé Anzelone, NYC Wildflower Week

10:10 am
Coffee break

10:45 am
Setting the Stage to Support Biodiversity in Your Own Homegrown National Park
Sarah F. Jayne, author, Nature’s Action Guide: A Companion to Doug Tallamy’s Nature’s Best Hope

11:45 am
Lunch & Socializing (lunch is included for all attendees who purchase tickets by February 16)

1:15 pm
Plant of the Year Voting, Year in Review, Elections, & Door Prizes

1:45 pm

2:00 pm
Making Natives Pop: Cues to Care and Best Practices
Toshi Yano, Perfect Earth Project

3:00 pm
Closing remarks

3:10 pm
Event close

Mariellé Anzelone
NYC Wildflower Week

New York City’s Urban Wildflowers and Why They Matter

Most people think of cities as the absence of nature, especially New York. The Big Apple is famous for its bustling sidewalks, skyscrapers, and pigeons, and yet, it is also home to a surprising diversity of wildflowers, including the globally rare Nantucket Juneberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis). Despite its urban facade, the city supports an impressive wild flora: 1,194 taxa with 64% being native species. Join Marielle Anzelone as she shares insights and lessons for home gardeners drawn from over two decades of fieldwork across the forests, marshes, and meadows of the five boroughs. She will also discuss how she cultivated community through public gardens in schools and parks and communicated her passion for urban wildflowers through politics, publications, and radio broadcasts.

Marielle Anzelone is an urban ecologist focusing on people’s connections to nature & how design, education, and government can nurture this relationship.

She is the founder of NYC Wildflower Week – an organization that produces programming to engage urbanites with the wilds of the Big Apple.

Marielle is a regular contributor to The New York Times. She is also advancing local biodiversity policy. A bill that she helped develop, supporting native plants in public landscapes, became law in 2013.

PopUP Forest: Times Square. A slice of real nature in the heart of New York City, this lively green space will support wildlife and delight urbanites – and then disappear. Going global for 2022.

For nearly seven years she was Plant Ecologist with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation – conserving, managing and restoring the native flora of New York City.  Marielle received an M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She has lived among the plants of the New Jersey-New York metro area nearly all of her life. Home is now Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two sons, not far from Prospect Park.

Sarah F. Jayne
Author, Nature’s Action Guide

Setting the Stage to Support Biodiversity in Your Own Homegrown National Park

Individually, as we fill our balconies, yards, and fields with native plants, we are creating small parks rich in local biodiversity. Together, we are building an interconnected park that extends across our continent. Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of Nature’s Best Hope, envisions this community effort as the Homegrown National Park, a conservation initiative that aims to restore 20 million acres of native plantings in North America. Our individual Homegrown National Park, the place we call home, is our shelter—our sanctuary. Like oaks and goldenrods, native plant enthusiasts are keystone members of the movement to restore biodiversity. How can we maximize our beneficial impact in this role? The native plants we cultivate attract insects, birds, and other animals. Our sanctuary becomes their sanctuary—their place of refuge and safety. How can we ensure that we truly are providing sanctuary for the wildlife our native plants attract? How do we increase our landscape’s ability to provide ecological services that wildlife (and people!) need for survival? How do we welcome others beyond our community to join us in this critical movement toward restoring biodiversity? Let’s explore solutions to these pressing issues together, as park rangers for Homegrown National Park!

Sarah F. Jayne is the author of the upcoming book Nature’s Action Guide, a companion to Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope. She earned a degree in agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has worked intensively with plants and wildlife for over four decades.

Inspired by Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home and recognizing the pivotal role that each person can play in addressing the biodiversity crisis, Sarah experiments with methods that enable people regardless of their resources or gardening skills to support biodiversity where they live.

In Nature’s Action Guide she explains in detail how to implement the ideas in Nature’s Best Hope and join Homegrown National Park. This initiative aims to restore 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S., which represents approximately half of the green lawns of privately-owned properties. This project is considered the largest cooperative conservation project ever conceived or attempted. Sarah lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

Making Natives Pop: Cues to Care and Best Practices

The value of native plants is clear to so many of us who garden and manage land, but there’s a lingering stereotype about native landscapes—that they’re messy, unkempt, disorganized spaces that look more derelict than desirable. While the wild native garden aesthetic may take time to catch on, in the meantime there are simple things native gardeners can do to make natives appealing to their friends, neighbors, and communities. Drawing from his experience as an estate gardener and public horticulture leader, Toshi Yano will share the practices that helped him create exuberant plantings and “legible” spaces while still maintaining the kind of tidy presentation that homeowner associations expect when they use terms like “curb appeal.”

Toshi Yano is the Director of Perfect Earth Project, a non profit organization dedicated to educating, engaging, & inspiring individuals to adopt the toxic-free, nature-based, and climate-responsible land care practices necessary for a healthier, more sustainable—and more beautiful—environment for all. 

He was previously Director of Horticulture at Wethersfield Estate & Garden which, during his tenure, received the New York State Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation and The Garden Conservancy’s Jean and John Greene Prize for Excellence in the Field of American Gardening. He serves as a Director At Large at the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), where he chairs the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee, and is a co-founder of BIPOC Hort.

Toshi enjoys spending his spare time searching the woods for the smallest, most secret plants, and is the proud father of a sharp-eyed girl who helps him find the especially small, especially secret plants that elude his aging eyes. 

Hilton Garden Inn


1885 Route 70 West, Lakewood, NJ 08701

$199 plus tax

Online: On the Hilton Garden Inn webpage (https://www.hilton.com/en/locations/hilton-garden-inn/), find the Lakewood hotel. Choose your date, click “Special Rates” above the section where you select your room and enter the code NPS under promotions.

By phone: Mention the “Native Plant Society Group Block” when you call Hilton Reservations at 1-800-HILTONS, or the hotel directly at 732-262-5232 (choose 0 for the front desk).

Days Hotel by Windham

290 Highway 37 E, Toms River, New Jersey 08753

$160 plus tax

Online: Use the code “030124NAT” at this link:


By phone: Call the hotel at 732-244-4000 and use the code 030124NAT or mention the Native Plant Society Group Block.

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All in-person tickets include breakfast, coffee, and lunch as well as Zoom links in case you can’t make it.


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Zoom tickets will be available until 10:00AM Saturday
Zoom links will be sent to ticket holders, but there will be a delay between purchase and receiving the link, especially after midnight Friday March 1.

Make sure to log in! The members’ login to purchase tickets is here. To become a member or renew click here.
To purchase a ticket, first hit the plus sign to the right of any of the Zeros above and the number will increment by one. Increment it as many times as you want tickets.

We will be sending out Zoom links prior to the conference.