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RCMG Book Club: Nature's Best Hope

Think of a lawn as an area rug instead of to wall-to-wall carpeting – Douglas Tallamy

September Book Group Discussion


A dozen volunteers from RCMG joined the Book Club discussion to talk about the September title, Nature's Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy. Readers covered a range of themes inspired by the book. Among those themes were:

  1. Distinction between invasive and introduced plants (in contrast to native plants)

  2. Hyper productive plants/keystone plants in general and for our area specifically

  3. The value of connecting fragmented habitat (and how to get started on that)

  4. How crucial it is to focus on what we CAN do as individuals and gardeners. Some of us liked the idea of thinking of a lawn as an area rug as opposed to wall-to-wall carpeting. We thought this might be a good way to have conversations with people about shrinking their lawns.

  5. The issue of how to share this information effectively (with whom, what formats)

  6. How the pandemic may be increasing people’s appreciation of nature (food gardening, seeds selling out early, more bird watching)

Readers commented on the author’s tone, which seemed a bit prescriptive or directive. For Master Gardener volunteers interacting with the public to share research-based information, this is something we all have to be careful about when talking to our audiences. We talked about using more casual handouts at events to guide a resident towards information for improvement, while respecting where they are at the moment. For example, we could use a paper version of the Flowers for Pollinators Landscape Audit to spur discussions when we are doing information booths.

As discussion unfolded, participants identified resources and floated possibilities:

November Book Club

November Book of the Month: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The Discussion is scheduled for 11/30/2021 at 7pm.

About the RCMG Book Club

This is a continuing education activity for RCMG volunteers. Participants are asked to find a copy of the recommended book and finish reading before the Book Club Discussion. Discussions are scheduled for the 4th Tuesdays of every other month at 7:00 p.m.

Volunteers earn 1-hour of Continuing Education per 100-pages in the recommended book. For example:

  • 1-100 pages = 1 hour of Continuing Education

  • 101-200 pages = 2 hours of Continuing Education

  • 201-300 pages = 3 hours of Continuing Education

Before the Discussion, book-related questions will be sent to participating volunteer to guide your reading and suggest directions the discussion might take. These are intended to make the reading and discussion relevant to Ramsey County Master Gardeners but are not to be considered exhaustive or limiting to the discussion. Participants are encouraged to bring their own questions and observations to the discussions.


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