Free, Lecture

Plant with Purpose, a talk by Steve Windhager, Ph.D. for Santa Barbara County Horticultural Society

Trinity Lutheran Church Auditorium - 909 N. La Cumbre Road
October 4, 2023

Visit the Santa Barbara County Horticultural Society on Wednesday, October 4, for a talk by the Garden’s Executive Director, Steve Windhager, Ph.D.

Steve will talk about a new initiative at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to use residential and commercial landscapes to reduce the impacts of climate change and development on biodiversity through the use of native plants.  Our goal is to have every landscape in the region feature at least 30% native plant species to ensure habitat for a range of wildlife species.

About Steve Windhager:

The passion Steve Windhager, Ph.D., has for wild things began as a child exploring the outdoors. Years in the Boy Scouts sharpened this focus, and later, working at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, made it a way of life. He has studied the practice of restoring damaged ecosystems from both a philosophical as well as an applied angle and has come to celebrate the regional vernacular of gardening with the plants native to wherever he lives. Steve ran the research program at the Wildflower Center from 1999 to 2010, and then he came to California to be executive director at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, the nation’s oldest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to native plants.  

A national leader in sustainable development and ecological restoration, Steve helped develop and was the first director of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), a joint project of the Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden, and the American Society of Landscape Architects. SITES provides sustainable design guidelines and ratings for assessing the sustainability of landscapes and has been integrated with the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system.   

Steve began his career from a theoretical bent, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Texas A&M University. He then proceeded to the University of North Texas, completing his master’s degree focused on environmental ethics. Steve’s master’s thesis encompassed the philosophical aspects of the practice of ecological restoration. In the process of completing this work, he became so interested in restoration that he not only wanted to study it, he chose to do it, and completed his doctorate at University of North Texas in environmental science focusing on restoration ecology of prairie systems. 

More about Santa Barbara Horticultural Society:

To learn more about Santa Barbara Horticultural Society, visit their website here.

Related Events
Green Thumbs Can Save Us All

Learn all about native plants and explore the Garden. Sign up for our newsletter.