Bringing Nature Home to Your Jersey-Friendly Yard

Doug Tallamy

Thank you to everyone who attended the conference and to the sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, plant vendors, and volunteers who made it all possible!

The first Jersey-Friendly Yards conference was held on Saturday, October 14, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Ocean County College, Gateway Building, Toms River, New Jersey.

Attendees learned from the experts how to create wildlife habitat, improve soil health, and conserve water in their own yards.

The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and author of “Bringing Nature Home”and “The Living Landscape,” books that have sparked a national conversation about sustaining healthy ecosystems by planting native species at home.

View the conference PowerPoint presentations via the links on the Event Agenda below.

The event included a native plant sale and exhibitors with plenty of information about landscaping for a healthier environment.

Questions?  Email Karen Walzer, Barnegat Bay Partnership Public Outreach Coordinator, at or call her at 732-255-0472 x 2.

Event Agenda

8:30 – 9:00       Sign-in & Light Refreshments

9:00 – 9:30      Welcome & Introduction to Jersey-Friendly Yards

9:30 – 10:15    “Creating Habitats in Your Yard”
Speaker:  Ben Wurst (Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ)

10:15 – 10:45  Break & visit exhibits/native plant sale

10:45 – 11:30  “Don’t Treat Your Soil Like Dirt!” & “Steps to a Jersey-Friendly Yard”
Speakers: Eileen Miller (Healthy Landscapes Consulting) & Becky Laboy (Education & Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District)

11:30 – 12:15  “Using Water Wisely”
Speaker: Steven Yergeau (Environmental & Resource Management Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County)

12:15 – 1:15    Lunch & visit exhibits/native plant sale

1:15 – 2:30      Keynote: “Bringing Nature Home”
Speaker: Doug Tallamy (Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware)

2:30 – 2:45      Event Wrap-up
Speaker:  John Black (President, Native Plant Society of NJ)

2:45 – 3:00      Last chance for native plant sale and exhibits! 

Event Sponsors

We especially want to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of this event: Native Plant Society of New Jersey, Pinelands Direct, and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

About Our Speakers

Ben Wurst works to monitor and manage ospreys, peregrine falcons and other rare species as Habitat Program Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. He also has done work on public land to enhance habitat for migratory songbirds in the coastal region of the state. At his home in Bass River Twp., he has created beneficial habitat for wildlife by creating early successional, grassland, scrub-shrub, and wildflower meadows.

Becky Beer Laboy graduated from United States International University with a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. She is co-author of a children’s book, “A Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature”, and co-leader for the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. As Education Outreach Specialist with Ocean County Soil Conservation District, Becky educates community members about the importance of healthy soil and best landscape management practices, emphasizing the use of planting natives for the benefit of wildlife and to create a healthier planet, one yard at a time.

 Steve Yergeau is a County Agent in Ocean and Atlantic Counties for Rutgers Cooperative Extension. He works with municipalities, farms, schools, residents, researchers, and non-profits developing programs and solutions to environmental issues affecting these coastal counties. Steve focuses on creating sustainable landscapes that help to improve soil health, conserve water, and reduce pollution from entering the Barnegat Bay. He received a B.S. in Biology from University of Massachusetts, M.S. in Biology from Southern Connecticut State University, and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University.