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Frostburg State University to Host Statewide Native Plant Society Conference
07/16/2013

The Maryland Native Plant Society will bring its annual fall conference to Frostburg State University on Saturday, Sept. 21, and Sunday, Sept. 22. This year’s focus is the threatened natural communities and rare plants of Maryland's mountains.

The speakers for this year’s conference will include Edward Thomson and Wes Knapp of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Susan Studlar of West Virginia University and James Lendemer of the New York Botanical Garden.

Thompson is the forest ecologist for the Maryland Natural Heritage Program, part of the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Department of Natural Resources. He has worked in Western Maryland for the Natural Heritage Program since 1983. Most of his work has revolved around the inventory and conservation of rare species and special natural communities.

Knapp is the Eastern Region heritage ecologist/botanist for the Natural Heritage Program. In addition to his field work for the program, he has conducted numerous training sessions for university and government employees in the mid-Atlantic. He has a long list of published papers and reports on his research and has presented his findings at various scientific meetings throughout North America.

Studlar, a visiting associate professor at West Virginia University, focuses on the diversity and ecology of West Virginia bryophytes – non-vascular plants, including mosses, hornworts and liverworts. As curator of the Bryophyte-Lichen Herbarium, she documents the state’s bryophytes and lichens through annotating old collections and adding new ones. She is working with the National Science Foundation-funded TCN project (Thematic Collections Network) wherein all North American bryophyte and lichen collections will be databased and available online. Concerned about the ecological impact of commercial moss harvest, she has documented what species are harvested and co-authored papers on recommended guidelines for sustainable harvest.

Lendemer, a researcher at the New York Botanical Garden, is among the relatively few scientists devoting their research to lichens. Several years ago he discovered a new species of lichen, “Vezdaea schuyleriana,” known to exist on a single boulder in rural central Pennsylvania – and nowhere else in the world. Lendemer previously curated the lichen collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Conference participants will have the option to attend field trips to a variety of Western Maryland’s natural habitats, such as Finzel Swamp, New Germany State Park and High Rock Wildland. The group walks, which range from easy to difficult, allow participants to explore the wildlife they will learn about from the conference and see a number of rare and endangered plant species.

Undergraduates and graduates studying plant taxonomy, plant ecology, landscaping with native plants and restoration ecology are invited to submit poster proposals.

Registration prior to Aug. 1 is $65 for Society members, $75 for non-members and $15 for students and FSU staff. For more information and to register, visit http://mdflora.org/fallconference.html, or contact Sunshine Brosi at 301-687-4213 or slbrosi@frostburg.edu.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu