Gary Watson is currently Lead Scientist in Arboriculture at the Morton Arboretum. His primary research interest is in understanding how to maintain a healthy balance between the crown and the root system of trees on difficult urban landscape sites. Gary has received the Award for Arboricultural Research and Richard W. Harris Author's Citation Award from the International Society of Arboriculture. He is a Past President of the International Society of Arboriculture, the Arboricultural Research and Education Academy and the Illinois Arborist Association. Gary is also the organizer of The Landscape Below Ground Conferences and author of The Practical Science of Planting Trees.
Don Engebretson is a Minnesota-based landscape designer and nationally known garden writer. His design-build company, Renegade Gardener Landscaping, became known across the Twin Cities for creative, unique plantings and high-end custom stonework. Don has presented his humorous and insightful views on landscape design at nursery trade, university extension and consumer gardening events across the US and Canada since 1999.
Jourdan Cole is a digital media manager and content creator for Garden Media Group, a women-owned and run public relations firm specializing in the home and garden industry. She is a millennial plant parent and volunteers as a Penn State Master Gardener in her free time. Her goal is to convince people that brown thumbs can, in fact, be turned green.
James Cassidy has been an Instructor of Soil Science at Oregon State University for over 14 years. The introductory class now has over 200 students each term and is very popular. James is also the faculty advisor for the wildly popular OSU Organic Growers Club - OSU's student farm. Coming from a non-traditional background (music industry for over 35 years) he is passionate about soil and is popular with students because of his dynamic speaking style. The student farm project has over 300 student volunteers on it's list-serve and continues to grow. The farm cultivates over 50 different fruit and vegetable crops and is just beginning it's 20th season.