Impact Conference

Impact Conference: Building Sustainable Landscapes

October 17, 2017

Join ILCA and the Chicago Botanic Garden for the inaugural Impact Conference: Building Sustainable Landscapes on October 17th! Using the building blocks that nature provided…soil, water and plants…nationally known experts will serve up some of the newest ideas in sustainable landscape services and help you talk the talk with members of this emerging marketPlus, the sessions will show you how to create vigorous, low maintenance landscapes that endure over time. Whether developed by contractor, park district or municipality, these sustainable landscapes will be safer for people and the planet, while they save money for you, your business and your community. The day also includes vendor displays featuring the latest in sustainable products and practices and networking opportunities with those new to sustainable practice and old pros who know the ropes.


8:45am – Keynote

Finding Your Niche: Establishing an Ecological Focus for Your Firm
Larry Weaner, Principal and Founder-Larry Weaner Design Associates, Glenside, PA
Session Sponsored By: Davey/The Care of Trees

LarryDemand for ecologically beneficial landscapes is increasing, and businesses with an ecological focus realize an expanded client base and an invigorated creative atmosphere. Offering an ecological approach, however, requires knowledge and skills rarely taught in horticulture and design programs. This presentation guides landscape architects, designers, contractors, and others through what’s needed to establish a respected, visible presence in the fields of ecological landscape design and management. Participants gain a new understanding of local plant communities, learn about design projects modeled on regional ecosystems, acquire practical design, restoration, and management techniques, and discover new ways to grow their skills and businesses.

10:10am – Breakouts Round I

Building Resilient Communities with Green Infrastructure One Code at a Time
Julia Noordyk, Water Quality and Coastal Community Outreach Specialist-Wisconsin Sea Grant, Green Bay, WI
Session Sponsored By: Natural Garden Natives


Green infrastructure is a proven and effective means to reduce storm water pollution and volume (plus it looks great!). Yet, there remain critical barriers to its implementation. Outdated codes and ordinances can have a broad impact on green infrastructure and often will directly or indirectly discourage or prohibit its use. Come learn about a new tool that can help communities overcome barriers in local regulations to support green infrastructure implementation.

The New IPM: Integrated Plant Management
Dan Dinelli, CGCS, Certified Golf Course Superintendent, North Shore Country Club, Glenview, IL
Session Sponsored By: Night Light


Integrated Pest Management is providing benefits to sustainable landscapes that go far beyond controlling pests. As a strategy, IPM has evolved to include growing healthy plants that can avoid and resist common pests. Integrated Plant Management is how landscape professionals should approach traditional IPM. Well managed landscapes can never forget they are being managed for a purpose – aesthetics, habitat, food production, sports and leisure. The healthiest landscapes will marry their purpose with their management practices.

Selling to the Sustainable Landscaping Customer
Pamela Todd, Co-Founder, Chicago Living Corridor, Oak Park, IL
Session Sponsored By: Fiore Nursery and Landscape Supply

Todd_WebA sophisticated customer base you may not know about is seeking sustainable landscaping providers. Are you ready to respond? In this workshop you’ll learn about who and where these customers are and what motivates them to seek sustainable landscaping providers. You’ll be surprised to find out that they think most contractors are ill equipped to help them. Find out how you can understand the needs of these customers and how you can respond with installation and maintenance services they need. If you’re motivated to tap this market, you can learn how to listen, respond and grow your business in new and unexpected ways.

11:20am – Pre-Lunch Plenary Session

A New Garden Ethic
Benjamin Vogt, Owner-Monarch Gardens, Lincoln, NE
Session Sponsored By: Reflections

VogtThis talk explores ecology, science, psychology, philosophy, and landscape design as we ponder how to embrace gardens as places to create change benefiting all species. Through inspiring quotes, new research, evocative photos, and model urban landscapes of all sizes, you’ll be taken on an empowering journey into designing on a deeper level. In Vogt’s view, gardening with native plants is an ethical and even moral imperative in a time of climate change and extinction. Ultimately, we’ll answer how our urban and suburban landscapes can save wildlife, why this is important right now, and what needs to happen from homes to churches to medians and parks.

12:35pm-2:00pm – Lunch and Vendor Fair

2:00pm – Breakouts Round II

Principles of Biological Systems and Implications
Dan Kittredge, Founder & Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association, North Brookfield, MA
Session Sponsored By: Wakefield Biochar


This engaging session covers the dynamics of how plants evolved and the sustainable management practices necessary for them to flourish. Participants will learn strategies for soil aeration, hydration, mineral balancing, inoculation and feeding through the liquid carbon pathway. Implications for soil carbon sequestration, increases in pest and disease resistance, along with food value, flavor, aroma and shelf life will also be covered. What’s sustainable about these methods? They are based on certifiably organic practices and an integrated understanding of biology. But it’s not rocket science. Attendees will gain practical information to assist in their management of soil and the plants that grow in it.

Landscape Gardening:
A Weed Assassin’s Guide to the Profitable Maintenance of Revolutionary Landscapes
Ken Williams, Horticulturist, Ringers Landscaping, Fox River Grove, IL
Session Sponsored By: Ringers Landscaping

Williams_Web1Enthusiasm for native plants in home landscapes is increasing exponentially. A new and very knowledgeable customer base that demands these plants is emerging and creating a new opportunity for the landscape industry. Why? Because native plants require different maintenance techniques and a different delivery method, and both are profitable, less work and more efficient for the contractor as well as the customer. This presentation demonstrates how landscape contractors can combine basic horticultural knowledge with readily available new resources to provide a unique maintenance service for today’s customers, and sustainable landscapes for tomorrow.

3:10pm – Breakouts Round III

Sustainable Water Management Practices
Ed Beaulieu, Vice President of Field Research, Aquascape, St. Charles, IL
Session Sponsored By: Reinders

HeadshotWater presents an endless array of both challenges and opportunities. This presentation shows how green strategies can be used to decrease the impact of storm water and at the same time provide an alternative source for water needed in the landscape. Aquatic ecosystems and wetland filtration techniques will be showcased as they increase the overall water quality while providing valuable habitat for local wildlife.

Habitat Makeover – Improving the Bird and Butterfly Habitat of Your Projects
Andy Stahr, PLA, LEED AP, Principal at ecology + vision, llc – a Pizzo Group Company, Leland, IL
Session Sponsored By: The Pizzo Group

Stahr_WebEvery site we work on is different, presenting unique challenges. As a result, a careful habitat assessment is key to prescribing the best possible solution for each project. This session communicates how bird and butterfly habitats for your clients can be amazingly improved by using rain gardens, bioswales, and shoreline makeover kits. Attendees will learn how to educate their salespeople on habitats and how to communicate those benefits to the customer.

4:30pm-6:00pm – Reception

Registration closes Sunday, October 15th at 11:45pm.


Who Should Attend?
Arborists, Architects, Civil Engineers, Corporate Sustainability Officers, Ecological Restoration Experts, Educators, Public Gardens and Non-Profit Groups, Growers, Nurseries and Garden Centers, Landscape Architects and Designers, Landscape Contractors, Master Gardeners, Municipal Leaders, Park District Leaders, Policy Makers, Product Suppliers and Manufacturers, HOA members, and Students

Hotel Accommodations 

Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel – 933 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062

Call 847-498-6500 and ask for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s discounted rate, or click here to book online.

Want to Learn More?

Contact AnneMarie Drufke ( for further information about Impact Conference: Building Sustainable Landscapes.

Thanks to our Premier Sponsors!

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