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2021 Ohio Botanical Symposium

Presented by the ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves, The Ohio State University, and The Nature Conservancy.

The 16th Ohio Botanical Symposium

The first Ohio Botanical Symposium was held in 2001 with 48 attendees. The Symposium has grown over the years and now is one of the largest botany conferences in the nation. The Symposium is hosted by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, The Ohio State University, and The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. This year, the 16th Ohio Botanical Symposium will be a 3-hour webinar, and it is free!

We are very excited to have another fantastic lineup of guest speakers. Keynote Speaker Jennifer Ceska will discuss rare plant conservation; Jim McCormac will present on caterpillars and their host plants; Meg Hanrahan will talk about world-renown botanist E. Lucy Braun; Kellen Callinger-Yoak will discuss changes in Ohio’s blooming period in relation to climate change; and finally, Andrew Gibson will once again present the popular talk on Ohio’s best rare plant finds.

Thank you for joining us for the 2021 Ohio Botanical Symposium! 

Program Highlights

  • Online Program:
    Friday, March 26th
    9 am - 12 pm EST.
  • 9:15, Keynote Address: Partners for Plant Conservation Actions
  • 10:00, Best Plant Discoveries of 2019-2020
  • 10:30, A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun
  • 11:00, A Century of Climate Warming Results in Growing Season Extension Through Delayed Autumn Leaf Phenology in North Central North America
  • 11:30, Flora and Caterpillars: The Botanical Rubber Meets the Larval Road


Keynote speaker Jennifer Ceska

Jennifer Ceska  Keynote Speaker

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Jennifer Ceska is an accredited Public Service and Outreach Faculty at the University of Georgia and has served for 26 years as Conservation Coordinator in the Science & Conservation Program of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens. Her specialty is fostering project-driven networks of colleagues who work together on the restoration of endangered plant species and communities. Networking is a powerful tool for conservation for getting actions rolling in situ and ex situ and populations moving towards recovery. While serving as project manager for the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, Ceska also coordinates the Georgia Native Plant Initiative for native plant materials development, the Georgia Milkweed Initiative for ethically and locally sourced Asclepias for Monarch recovery, and the Piedmont Prairie Program in Georgia for the restoration of grasslands in rights-of-way, old fields, and pocket prairies towards biodiversity. Jennifer is passionate about connecting people and plants, is an animated teacher and presenter, and sees outreach as her mission and sharing joy over plants her calling. Ceska and colleagues launched the Connect to Protect program for Georgia, an initiative for schools, homes, patios, public landscapes, rights-of-way, and natural areas, getting native plants back on the land, creating beautiful displays that are ecologically relevant to wildlife.

Andrew Lane Gibson

Division of Natural Areas & Preserves

Andrew Lane Gibson is a native Ohioan and overall admirer of the natural world. He currently works as a field botanist for the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Gibson is a graduate of Ohio University in Athens as well as Hocking College with degrees in plant biology and ecology as well as wildlife biology. He’s an ardent photographer and writer with a popular Instagram and nature blog, The Buckeye Botanist, where he features his many botanical adventures and interests. You can often find him leading hikes or giving presentations to numerous naturalist organizations and groups throughout Ohio and the Midwest. Gibson’s deepest botanical interests are in Cyperaceae, Orchidaceae, and ferns and their allies.

Andrew Gibson
Meg Hanrahran

Meg Hanrahan

Writer, producer, and documentary filmmaker

Meg Hanrahan is an award-winning writer, producer and documentary filmmaker and owner of Meg Hanrahan Media. Her work has been shown on PBS, in museums and galleries, and at public screenings across the country.

In 2018, Meg completed A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun, a one-hour, Emmy nominated documentary that was broadcast on PBS stations across the country.

Her producing and writing credits also include two regional Emmy award winners:

  • Sacred Spaces of Greater Cincinnati and
  • Cincinnati Parks: Emeralds in the Crown.

During her 30-year career, Meg has produced countless programs for Procter & Gamble and other corporations and nonprofits, and has credits for museum exhibits in Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland and Ft. Worth, Texas.

In addition, Meg is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College where she teaches in the eMedia Department, and she is Vice President of the nonprofit Voyageur Media Group.

Kellen Calinger-Yoak

The Ohio State University

Kellen Calinger-Yoak is a West Virginia native whose beautiful home state inspired her love of ecology. Kellen received her undergraduate degree in Biology from West Virginia University and then moved to Ohio State University for her PhD in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Diversity. Kellen’s love of the natural world translated into a lecturing position at Ohio State where she gets to chat with fellow nature-enthusiast students for a living. When she’s not working, you can find her hiking and playing with her three kids (who are all three).

Kellen Calinger-Yoak
Jim McCormac

Jim McCormac

Writer, photographer

Jim worked for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for 31 years as a botanist, and later specializing in wildlife diversity projects, especially involving birds. He has authored or coauthored six books, including Birds of Ohio (Lone Pine 2004); and Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage (Kent State University Press 2009). The latter won the 2010 Ohioana Book award. He is a coauthor of the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II book. He’s currently at work on books about dragonflies, and moths. Jim writes a column, Nature, for the Columbus Dispatch, and regularly publishes a natural history blog. He has written numerous articles in a variety of publications, and has delivered hundreds of presentations throughout the eastern United States. He was named 2015 Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Ohio League of Sportsmen. Jim is an avid photographer, shooting a range of natural history subjects. He has had hundreds of photos published in various forums. His photography can be sampled at https://www.jimmccormac.com/