JC Raulston Arboretum Symposium

Seats Still Available

"Surround Yourself with Shady Characters

  • Friday, September 26, 2008 – 5:30 pm10:00 pm
  • Saturday, September 27, 2008 – 8:00 am5:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 28, 2008 – 10:00 am3:00 pm

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Throughout the seasons, woodlands are remarkable places. Whether ablaze in autumn color, stark and ghostlike in winter, fragile with spring buds, or lush and inviting in summer, trees bring undeniable beauty. Without trees, human habitation would be impossible. They are tied inextricably to our landscape by reducing erosion and retaining soil moisture. They are a renewable resource. They provide the canopy and shade beneath which woodland plants flourish. Trees help us conjure up memories of the woodland of our childhood hikes.

From the founding of the JC Raulston Arboretum as the NCSU Arboretum in 1976, lectures by renowned speakers have be policy from the University of California-Berkeley. He is professor emeritus oen a major part of the Arboretum's focus. And symposia, sponsored from time to time, have been an additional opportunity for in depth study. "Surround Yourself with Shady Characters" takes us back to the basics of the Arboretum's mission with a significant focus on woodlands and trees and the great habitat diversity they provide us. In this two-day symposium, prominent speakers from the United States, Canada, and England will enlighten us with lectures on woodland flora, conifers and broad-leaf evergreens, new tree introductions, plant hunting for new species, and on-going research to provide new and improved selections of well-known trees. An historical account of America's ancient forests from the Ice Age until European discovery of North America will also be presented.

This is a rare opportunity to further the Arboretum's mission and our own personal relationship to trees and woodlands – perhaps the ultimate of secret gardens.


Thomas M. Bonnicksen, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus, Department of Forest Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Tom Bonnicksen earned a B.S. in forestry (with minors in wildlife and range management), an M.S. in forest ecology, and Ph.D. in forestf forest science and a former department head at Texas A&M University and research scholar in residence at California Polytechnic State University. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M University after working as a professor of forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work over more than 35 years emphasizes the history and restoration of North America's forests.

Tom also is a visiting scholar and board member of the Forest Foundation in California and scientific advisor to the Temperate Forest Foundation in Oregon. He is cofounder of the International Society for Ecological Restoration and a former member of its board of directors. He also held posts as president, chair, and vice-chair of several other organizations, including the Bay Area Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Southwest Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of American Foresters. Tom is also a U.S. Navy veteran and former U.S. National Park Service ranger.

Tom has received many awards. The Bush Presidential Library Foundation honored him in 2002 with the Bush Excellence in Public Service Award. He is the first recipient. President George H. W. Bush personally presented him the award. Most recently, the California Forestry Association honored him as Citizen Conservationist of the Year in 2004.

Tom developed science-based strategies in 1994 and 1995 to deal with the wildfire threat in San Bernardino Mountain forests and San Diego County brushlands of California. These strategies, developed with the help of state and federal agencies, and community leaders, would have dramatically reduced the death and destruction caused by the fires of 2003 and 2007 in Southern California.

Most recently, Tom created the Forest Carbon and Emissions Model (FCEM), which is a Rapid Assessment Model (REM) that quickly estimates forest carbon and emissions using a minimum of input data for wildfires, insect infestations, and inventories of existing and sequestered carbon on forestlands and brushlands. FCEM is especially important for dealing with issues associated with global climate change. FCEM provided critical information for Tom 's testimony to the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission, which provided the basis for several Commission recommendations.

Governor Ronald Reagan appointed Tom to serve four years as a member of the California State Park and Recreation Commission. While serving on the commission, he wrote the legislation for State Senator Anthony C. Beilenson (SB 271 & 272) that guides the classification and management of California's state park system. Most recently, he developed the concept and drafted legislation to create a system of national historic forests. Congressman Mike Simpson (2nd District of Idaho) introduced the Act (H.R. 2119) and held Congressional hearings in June 2001. 

Tom testified before U. S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate committees 13 times, as well as seven Congressional and Secretarial briefings. He also served on several Congressional fact-finding missions, including the Yellowstone fires of 1988 and the Southern California wildfires of 2003. In addition, he served on many Congressional and state advisory committees, and mostly recently, as a member of the U.S. Senate 's California Forest EIS Review Committee and the U. S. House of Representatives ' Forest Health Science Panel.

Tom published over 120 scientific and technical papers, articles, book chapters, and other publications, nine computer programs, and four multimedia CDs. He also published a book with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Copyright 2000, 594 pages), titled America's Ancient Forests: from the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery. The book documents the 18,000-year history of North America 's native forests. It includes the role of Native Americans in the development of these forests and descriptions by explorers who saw them first. In addition, Tom is widely quoted in the media and he published numerous editorials for national, regional, and local newspapers throughout the United States.

Tom delivered over 100 presentations and keynote addresses worldwide, including the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, the Commonwealth Club and the Bohemian Club in California, the Western Governors Conference, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board, and others. He also helped produce and appeared in a one-hour PBS television special titled Forest Wars as well as educational videos. In addition, Tom appeared on Fox, NPR, CSPAN, PBS, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, and other regional and national television and radio programs.

William Cullina – Curator, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine

William Cullina (kul-EYE-nuh) holds degrees in plant science and psychology and has been working in plant propagation and nursery production for over twenty years. In 1995 he became nursery manager and propagator (now director of horticultural research) at the New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in the Woods and Nasami Farm – now the largest retail native plant nursery in New England with locations in Framingham and Whately, Massachussetts. A nationally recognized speaker, writer, and expert on native plants, Bill lectures extensively to garden and professional groups and writes frequently for popular and technical journals. His first book, The New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2000. A follow up volume: Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines - a guide to using, growing and propagating North American woody plants was published in June, 2002. Understanding Orchids was published in November, 2004, and work a third volume in the natives series on grasses, ferns, and mosses will be published in February 2008. Understanding Perennials – a book about everything you ever wanted to know about perennials but were afraid to ask – is in progress now. He and his wife, Melissa live with their five year old son Liam and infant twins Ronan and Maeve on six wooded and wonderful acres in Woodstock, Connecticut.

Dave Demers – Horticulturist, Plant Explorer, and Owner of CYAN Horticulture, Vancouver, British Columbia

Dave Demers is a young but experienced horticulturist born, raised, and trained in Québec, Canada. Since fond memories include tending his mom's hollyhocks and picking berries on his grandparents' farm, there is no doubting that gardening is Dave's second nature. Following a few highly formative years of work home and overseas as well as serious travelling on the back roads across many continents, Dave settled in Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada. His passion is said to be contagious and his energy, inexhaustible! In addition to owning and operating CYAN Horticulture, a landscape design and consultation firm in Vancouver, Canada, Dave is a photographer, garden writer, and lecturer.

John Grimshaw, D.Phil. – Garden Manager, Colesbourne Gardens, Sycamore Cottage, Colesbourne, England

John Grimshaw has been interested in plants all his life, as both gardener and botanist. He holds a first class degree in botany and doctorate in African forest ecology from Oxford University. African plants remain his principal botanical interest. He is, however, fascinated by all plants and will attempt to grow anything in the garden. The origins of garden plants are a particular fascination and he has travelled widely to see plants growing in habitat. His first book was The Gardener' Atlas (1998), recounting the journeys plants have made from their source to our gardens.

Having worked in the Netherlands for the seed company K. Sahin, Zaden. B.V., where he was responsible for developing perennials for the seed trade, he is currently gardens manager at Colesbourne Park, Gloucestershire. There, he is responsible for maintaining and developing the historic Elwes family garden, especially the snowdrop collection. He is co-author of the monograph Snowdrops (2002) by Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, and John Grimshaw, published by his own publishing company, Griffin Press. Since 2004, he has been working on a major book on trees introduced in the past 35 years, entitled New Trees, sponsored by the International Dendrology Society, which will be published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 2009. He is a research associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and an honorary elder of the Masai community of Lerang 'wa, Tanzania.

Sean B. Hogan – Co-owner, Cistus Nursery, Suavie Island, Oregon

Sean B. Hogan started in the nursery industry at the age of three, rooting boxwood cuttings and succulents in the sandbox of his boyhood home in Portland Oregon. His family later moved to Sacramento where he pursued his education at American River College and Sacramento State in the areas of horticulture and botany. Early work included mapping rare and endangered plants, mostly Cactaceae and Portulacaceae, for the State of California as well as landscape and design work often revolving around his love of western natives.

From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, Sean served as curator of the South African, New Zealand, Australian, New Work Desert, and the California Native Cultivar Gardens of the University of California, Berkeley, Botanic Garden.

In 1995, he and his partner, University of California Davis Arboretum botanist Parker Sanders, returned to Sean's native Portland, starting a design and consultation firm specializing in regionally appropriate plants for the Pacific Northwest. This work eventually evolved into the opening of Cistus Design and Nursery, located outside Portland on Sauvie Island in the Columbia River and widely held to be among the best of the West Coast retail micro-nurseries.

Sean has lectured extensively in North America and Europe, often about his explorations in South America, South Africa, and the western regions of the United States and northern Mexico. His writing and photographs can be found in a wide range of horticultural and botanical literature and magazines. He edited the 20,000 plus entry Flora, published by Timber Press in October 2003, and has just completed work on his book, Trees for All Seasons: Broadleaved Evergreens for Temperate Climates, to be available from Timber Press in the autumn of 2008.

Richard T. Olsen, Ph.D. – Research Geneticist, The United States National Arboretum, Washington, D. C.

Richard Olsen, Ph.D., is a research geneticist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in the Floral and Nursery Plant Research Unit at the U.S. National Arboretum. Richard leads the urban tree breeding program whose past introductions include Dutch elm disease-tolerant American and hybrid elms, as well as improved cultivars of red maple, London plane, and magnolias. Research continues to focus on genetics, breeding, and selection of superior landscape trees with improved resistance to major pests and pathogens, and abiotic stresses, particularly trees for planting in restricted spaces in urban environments. Emphasis placed on underutilized genera, exploring interspecific and intergeneric crossing barriers, developing non-invasive cultivars, and limiting introgression of genes from non-native to native species. Current genera of interest include: Acer, Catalpa, Celtis, Halesia, Nyssa, Tsuga, and Ulmus. Richard has a bachelor degree in landscape design (B.S., NC State University, 1998), a master degree in horticulture (M.S., University of Georgia, 2001) and a doctorate in horticultural science (Ph.D. NC State University, 2006).

Larry Stanley – President, Stanley and Sons Nursery, Boring, Oregon

Larry Stanley is the owner and president of Stanley and Sons Nursery, Inc. At present, the nursery is located on 10 acres in Boring, Oregon and was started in 1976. Currently, the nursery ships all over the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. We also import plants from New Zealand and Europe. The nursery specializes in 425 varieties of Japanese maples, and 3,000 varieties of conifers. At the nursery, 90,000 plants are grafted a year and 350,000 plants are done by cuttings. Larry is a past president of the American Conifer Society, also past president of the Western Region of the ACS for two terms and is one of the ten people that planed, donated material, and built the conifer garden in The Oregon Garden. He also helped with material for the Chinese garden in Portland. Larry attended Mt. Hood Community College in horticulture. He has worked in the nursery business for over 30 years as an avid plant collector and has visited Europe and New Zealand on plant missions. Larry's nursery includes a one acre display garden with 3,000 plants. According to Larry, his favorite plant is the one he has not seen yet.

Open House

Tony Avent is helping us kick off the symposium on Friday with an open house at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery. Stroll through the gardens and take some time to shop the nursery. Juniper Level Botanic Gardens is a six-acre display garden with over 17,000 taxa in its collections and Plant Delights Nursery grows unusual and hard-to-find garden perennials. Enjoy a light breakfast in the morning.


We've scheduled two exciting tours for those attending the symposium. Mark Weathington will lead a limited number of symposium guests on an Arboretum tour highlighting some of his favorite and the Arboretum's favorite trees. Then, on Sunday morning, we'll visit Keith Arboretum in Chapel Hill. Charlie Keith, M.D., the arboretum's cofounder, will lead guests on a private tour of the 22-acre collection. Approximately 5,000 different taxa comprise his collection of trees and shrubs from around the world. The arboretum, founded in the early 1980s, along with his surrounding property, has been conserved for future generations to enjoy. Each tour is limited to 30 people and transportation is provided to Keith Arboretum from the JCRA.


September 26, 2008 (Friday)*

8:00 AM – Open house at Juniper Level Botanic Garden and Plant Delights Nursery (please call (919) 772-4794 and tell them that you are planning on attending – ends at 4:00 PM)
9:00 AM – Light breakfast served at JLBG/PDN (ends at 10:00 AM)
5:30 PM – Registration and cash bar and reception
6:30 PM – Dinner
8:00 PM – Keynote – William Cullina – "Woodland Wonders"
9:00 PM – Live auction (with Tony Avent)
*Friday morning and afternoon's activities are being held at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery. Friday evening's activities (5:30 PM and after) are being held at the NC State University Club.

September 27, 2008 (Saturday)*

7:30 AM – Registration, continental breakfast, and silent auction begins
8:30 AM – Thomas Bonnicksen, Ph.D. – "Adapting to Climate Change: Using the Past to Guide the Future"
9:30 AM – John Grimshaw, D.Phil. – "New Trees – Recent Introductions to Cultivation"
10:30 AM – Break
11:00 AM – Larry Stanley – "The Miniature World of Conifers"
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:30 PM – Richard T. Olsen, Ph.D. – "Planting the 21st Century Urban Forest"
2:30 PM – Dave Demers – "Verdant Hills and Thunder Dragon – Exploring the Eastern Himalayas"
3:30 PM – Break
3:50 PM – Silent auction closes
4:00 PM – Sean Hogan – "Broadleaved Evergreens for Temperate Climates"
5:00 PM – Auction checkout and pickup
5:30 PM – Tree tour with Mark Weathington
*Saturday's activities are being held at the JC Raulston Arboretum

September 28, 2009 (Sunday)*

9:00 AM – Meet at the JCRA
9:15 AM – Depart the JCRA (transportation provided)
10:00 AM – Keith Arboretum tour with Charlie Keith
12:00 PM – Return to the JCRA
12:45 PM – Arrive at the JCRA
*Sunday's activities are being held at the Keith Arboretum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Registration Form

Registration is now open. Please use the registration form available in the downloadable brochure (removed from site) or call (919) 513-7005 to register.


The Ramada on Blue Ridge Road has rooms available. The Ramada is the closest hotel to the Arboretum and the University Club. Please call (919) 832-4100 to make your reservation.

Full – A limited number of rooms have been reserved for the symposium at the Holiday Inn – Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina, for $79.00 (single and double rates). For more information, please read our symposium accommodations Web page (removed from site).

$175.00 for members, $215.00 for nonmembers ($40.00 membership is included). The tree tour with Mark Weathington is $15.00 and the tour of Keith Arboretum is $35.00.
Please call (919) 513-7005 or use the downloadable registration form to register. The JC Raulston Arboretum cannot offer online registration for any event. Symposium registration is limited to 150 people and the tours are open to 30 people each. Registration must be received by September 23, 2008 (Tuesday).
Symposium cancellations can be made through August 29, 2008 (Friday). No refunds will be made after August 29, 2008.
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens (Friday), NC State University Club (Friday), the JC Raulston Arboretum (Saturday), and Keith Arboretum (Sunday). Attire: Casual. Friday evening is more formal than Saturday and includes a sit-down dinner, but formal dress is not required.
The JC Raulston Arboretum is located at 4415 Beryl Road, NC State University Club is located at 4200 Hillsborough Street, and Juniper Level Botanic Gardens is located at 9241 Sauls Road, all in Raleigh and the Keith Arboretum is located 2131 Marions Ford Road in Chapel Hill. An interactive Google map has been created with all symposium locations preloaded on the map. Detailed directions to the JC Raulston Arboretum are provided on the Arboretum's Web site. Transportation is provided to Keith Arboretum.
Free parking is available at each of the sites.
For information, please call Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005.