This Week's Podcast: We're All Connected: Kathy Salisbury
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My guest this week is Kathy Salisbury. Throughout her career, the one thing that has guided Kathy’s passion has been helping people connect with growing things. She did that in Newark, NJ, where she oversaw the development of a 1.5-acre-teaching garden and coordinated hundreds of volunteers to help with the installation and maintenance of this site. Then, Kathy became the horticulturist for the Essex County Parks Commission (originally planned by the Olmsted firm). During her time in Essex County, she oversaw significant forest restoration projects (for which she earned a Conservation Commendation from the Garden Club of America).
Kathy is now President of the Board of the NPSNJ, the all-volunteer Native Plant Society of New Jersey, and Team Leader of Education at Duke Farms – the 2,740-acre former estate of the late heiress Doris Duke – now an environmental center.
Some states in the US have very progressive native plant societies and active anti-invasive plant initiatives. It surprised me to hear that New Jersey does not. According to Kathy, no plant has ever been banned from sale in the Garden State. (You can find a guide to New Jersey’s invasive plants here.) Undaunted, the Society has chapters in every corner of the state where people work to protect habitat, threatened and endangered plants like the swamp pink, Helonias bullata (left).
Kathy is also a New Jersey native, having grown up in the bio-diverse Pine Barrens region in the southern part of New Jersey, where the nutrient poor, sandy soil supports hundreds of remarkable plants including the swamp pink, carnivorous species, acid-loving blueberries and cranberries.
The Native Plant Society of New Jersey presents lectures, workshops, classes and symposia throughout the year and intends to spread its influence to as many people as possible – to help them learn that every thing is important and everyone is connected to the natural world.