Native Plant Trust

Find a Speaker

Engage Our Experts to Speak at Your Event

We give talks about conservation, horticulture, botanical education, and more

Native Plant Trust has compelling speakers available for presentations, seminars, panels, symposia, and other events. Speaker fees are used exclusively to support our programs. 

Please request speakers by completing this request form. We will reply within two weeks if we are able to accommodate your request. 

Meet Our Directors

Director speaking engagements cost $500 for a one-hour presentation. We require an audience of 50 people. If you do not anticipate meeting the minimum number of attendees, consider partnering with another organization to make a joint request.


Michael Piantedosi, Director of Conservation

Michael began his career in botany as a researcher in cyanobacteria and freshwater plant communities at the Univ. of New Hampshire, where he received a degree in plant biology. His botanical background includes occupation in regional herbaria, as a horticulturist, and as plant biology research technician. In 2014, he joined the Conservation Department of Native Plant Trust as manager of the New England Plant Conservation Program, Seeds of Success-East, and Native Plant Trust’s regional seed bank of rare and endangered plant germplasm. Michael has served as Director of Conservation at Native Plant Trust since 2019.

Speaking topics:

  • Botany
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Habitat restoration
  • Endangered and rare plant species
  • Seed ecology

Uli Lorimer, Director of Horticulture

Uli oversees daily operations at both Garden in the Woods, Native Plant Trust’s botanic garden in Framingham, MA, and Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts, a nursery focused on propagation of and research about New England native plants. Uli, a native of Delaware, grew up with an interest in all things green and held positions at the US National Arboretum and Wave Hill before becoming curator of the Native Flora Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden between 2005 and spring 2019. During his tenure at BBG, Uli worked closely with botanists throughout the region to collect seed from the wild, propagated new plants for the collection, and documented and studied the region’s biodiversity. Uli is a tireless advocate for the use of native plants in the designed landscape, advancing this narrative through public speaking, teaching, radio, podcast, social media, and print media. He has contributed as an author and photographer to several publications, including Tough Natives for Tough Places and A Native Plant Reader. He holds degrees from the University of Delaware in Landscape Horticulture and Foreign Languages and Literature.

Speaking topics: Wide-ranging horticultural and gardening topics

Courtney Allen, Director of Public Programs

Courtney Allen is a landscape historian and museum professional who brings experience from such institutions as The Huntington, Fallingwater, the U.S. Forest Service, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her areas of expertise include landscape theory and history, interpretation, informal learning strategies and approaches for museums, historic landscape preservation and management, programming portfolios, training design, and partnership- and community-building. She has presented at numerous national conferences and has been published in several national publications, including those produced by the American Alliance of Museums and the American Public Gardens Association. Courtney holds an MS in Historic Landscape Preservation from University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in Medieval Studies and Landscape Studies from Smith College. Listen to a public radio interview with Courtney here, and read her full resume here.

Speaking topics:

  • Landscape theory and history
  • Interpretation
  • Informal learning strategies and approaches for museums
  • Historic landscape preservation and management
  • Programming portfolios
  • Training design
  • Partnership and community building

Meet Our Staff Experts

Staff speaking engagements cost $300 for a one-hour presentation and require an audience of 30 people. 

Arthur Haines, Senior Research Botanist

Arthur is a plant biologist specializing in the taxonomy and identification of New England tracheophytes. He is the author of Flora Novae Angliae (2011), published by New England Wild Flower Society and Yale University Press, and several other books, including Flora of Maine, A New Path, and two books on foraging/medicinal plants.  In addition to his work studying advancement in plant systematics, Arthur is an administrator for the Go Botany and Plant Share websites and a Flora of North America regional reviewer.

Speaking topics:

  • Flora of New England
  • Plants of conservation concern
  • Ethnobotany (foraging, botanical medicine, place-based skills)

Micah Jasny, Botanical Coordinator

Micah Jasny received his master’s degree from the Duke Nicholas School for the Environment, where he studied Ecosystem Science and Conservation with a specialization in geospatial analysis. Since his graduation, he has focused his efforts on engaging passionate community members in important conservation work at the Esplanade Association and now Native Plant Trust. As the Botanical Coordinator, Micah oversees the Plant Conservation Volunteer Program, a community science program which engages professional and amateur botanists to assist State Natural Heritage programs to monitor rare plant populations throughout New England. This program engages hundreds of volunteers who monitor close to 1,000 rare plant populations each year. Micah manages all of the data collected by the program which is used to inform listing decisions and conservation actions.

Speaking topics:

  • Community Science
  • Plant Conservation Volunteer Program
  • Species Distribution Modeling
  • Edible Invasive plants
  • Phenology

Frederick (Bud) Sechler, Ecological Programs Coordinator 

Prior to joining Native Plant Trust, Bud worked with Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program as an ecological information specialist and county inventory ecologist, and with New York Natural Heritage Program as an ecologist specializing in natural community ecology, avian habitat ecology, and vegetation mapping. He has more than 10 years’ experience working for a Natural Heritage Program and NatureServe as an ecologist and has also worked with Manomet and The Trustees of Reservations on Martha's Vineyard. He holds a master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Antioch New England University, where he studied habitat modeling of Louisiana Waterthrush in southern New Hampshire, and a pre-medicine degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His professional interests include avian, natural community and conservation ecology, rare plant ecology, conservation and management, habitat assessment, and invasive plant ecology and management. 

Speaking topics:

  • Avian ecology
  • Natural community ecology
  • Conservation ecology
  • Rare plant ecology
  • Conservation and management
  • Habitat assessment
  • Invasive plant ecology and management

Alexis Doshas, Nasami Farm Nursery Manager

The staff at Nasami Farm grows thousands of native seedlings from known wild ecotype seed. Alexis holds a master’s degree in conservation biology from Antioch University New England and teaches many classes on propagation and native plant ecology for Native Plant Trust. She also runs her own small-scale medicinal herb farm, Forest Garden Farm, which specializes in native plants. 

Speaking topics

  • Native plant seedling propagation
  • Native seed collection and propagation
  • Native lawn alternatives
  • Soil ecology
  • Slow gardening 

Melanie Kenney, Plant Records Coordinator 

Melanie holds a master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado, where she studied aquatic and microbial ecology and sediment transport. Since returning to the East Coast, she has refocused on terrestrial systems, joining the staff at Garden in the Woods in 2017. In her current role managing plant records for the Department of Horticulture, Melanie registers and tracks the living collections at Garden in the Woods to better support future goals for ex-situ conservation and horticultural research. She manages the IrisBG plant records database, maps the grounds, maintains and creates plant identification signage for use throughout the garden, joins her fellow horticulturists in daily maintenance and management of the botanic garden, and propagates several species of spring ephemeral plants for use internally and for sale to the public.

Speaking topics:

  • Landscape ecology
  • Plant records
  • Establishing pollinator gardens
  • Wetland revegetation
  • Sediment transport in freshwater systems