All are invited to celebrate spring with the return of the URI Master Gardener Program Symposium “Connecting in the Garden, Growing Together Again” on Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the URI Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI.  The cost of this event is $50.00. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for those interested in attending the scholarship – apply by clicking here. Refunds minus a $10 cancellation fee are permitted until February 23. Register online by February 23.

Participants are encouraged to submit gardening questions during registration for the speakers and panelists. Light refreshments will be offered throughout the day and participants are asked to bring their own bag lunch. A shuttle will be available to transport participants from the parking lot to the event.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers, a knowledgeable panel composed of URI staff and practitioners, and a vendor marketplace with gardening-inspired crafts and exhibits with gardening information. Speakers and panelists who will share information about taking ecological information and translating it into action in the landscape include:

Keynote speaker Karen Bussolini, artist, Garden Writers Association Award winner in photography, and eco-friendly garden designer and coach

Learn to garden more sustainably, informed by recent ecological research.  Karen’s mission as an eco-friendly garden coach and speaker is to translate translational ecology into action, one yard at a time. Thinking brought down to earth in small ways, right at home, can have a big effect on water quality, carbon sequestration, wildlife diversity and ecosystem health. Any yard can provide ecosystem services rather than consuming resources. It is time to learn new techniques to become true stewards of the land in our care.

Keynote speaker Charlie Nardozzi, an Emmy Award winning garden writer, speaker, and radio and television personality

In this talk, Charlie will discuss ways to build the soil without harming soil creatures. I will also discuss cover cropping and companion planting as ways to grow plants with less work. Whether you are a beginning veggie and flower gardener or an experienced one, there will be something for everyone in this presentation. In this talk you will learn about:

  • How to build soil health without turning or tilling
  • Ways to increase soil fertility with cover crops
  • New scientific-based research on companion planting
  • Ways to lure and establish beneficial insects in your garden
  • Examples of companion planting techniques for pest control, disease and weed controls.

Perspectives on Environmentally-Friendly Gardening panel including Dr. Rebecca Brown and Dr. John Taylor, URI Plant Sciences and Entomology professors and experts in vegetable gardening and agroecology, respectively, Dr. David Weisberger, URI Cooperative Extension agriculture agent, and Cassidy Need, URI alum and native gardening company owner.

Rebecca Brown

Dr. Rebecca Brown, URI Professor of Plant Sciences and Entomology

Dr. John Taylor, URI Associate Professor of Agroecology

Cassidy Need, owner, creator and designer of Native Edible Designs

Dr. David Weisberger, URI Research Associate (picture coming soon!)