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Botanist to share knowledge on issue at Redbud Project meeting
Conservation botanist Linda Chafin fights invasive wisteria in the field. She will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 the meeting of the Redbud Project Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society - photo by For Get Out

As the grass turns brown for the winter, many gardeners close their eyes and picture the lush green color and soft feel of grass in the spring and summer. However, soil erosion and stormwater runoff seems to be stomping on those dreams.

Luckily, Botanist Linda Chafin has the solution, which she plans to share with area gardeners at the meeting of the Redbud Project Chapter of Georgia Native Plant Society. A gathering will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at First Presbyterian Church, 800 S. Enota Drive, in Gainesville. The program is free to attend and open to the public.

Chafin said the way to solve the problem of soil erosion and stormwater runoff is by planting native grasses.

“Even the most dedicated plant lover tends to ignore grasses because they are so hard to identify and often seem weedy,” Chafin said. “But grasses are the backbone of any ecological restoration project in the Southeast and they make beautiful garden plants too.”

And Chafin knows of what she speaks. As the State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s conservation botanist, Chafin uses her knowledge of Piedmont grasslands to restore and enhance the Piedmont prairie at the Athens botanical garden. This project, which is converting a Georgia Power right-of-way to a Piedmont Prairie, demonstrates the importance of municipal and private development sites and utility right-of-ways to regional conservation efforts.

Through the SBG Plant Conservation Program and the Certificate in Native Plants program, Chafin teaches botany and conducts plant and natural community inventories. She also is the well-known author of “The Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Georgia.”

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