Gardening: Find inspiration at upcoming Cabin Fever symposium

The Spokane County Master Gardener Foundation has just the ticket for your inspiration and imagination. Beginning at 10 a.m. March 2, it will host its 17th annual Cabin Fever virtual gardening symposium.

The symposium’s theme is “Gardening Now and For the Future,” which celebrates and challenges us to adapt our gardening in a changing world. The opening live virtual presentation by Jennifer Jewell, founder of Jewellgarden and Cultivating Place, is followed by 10 prerecorded presentations that will be available for 60 days for viewing. Cost of the symposium is $50 ($54.49 with service fee) through Brown Paper. Tickets are available at For more information on the speakers and topics check out the Foundation’s website at

The symposium is the kickoff of the 50th anniversary celebration of the WSU Spokane County Extension Master Gardener Program. The program was founded in Pierce and King counties in 1973 and in Spokane County in 1974. It is established in all U.S. states, several Canadian provinces and South Korea. The local program has 167 volunteers who in 2023 provided over $650,000 worth of volunteer time to the community.

Keynote speaker Jewell is an author and podcaster who focuses on gardens and gardening that celebrates the role they play in our natural and cultural literacy. She hosts a popular weekly public radio program and podcast “Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden.” Her talk will explore the idea that gardeners are powerful agents and spaces for potentially positive change in our ever-changing world.

Other speakers will include Dianne Stutzman of Desert Jewells Nursery on how to integrate native plants into your garden, including the unique growing requirements of native plants and the challenges people have with establishing a native plant garden.

Guy Gifford, the Washington Department of Natural Resources Statewide Community Resilience manager, will speak on landscaping practices that can make a dramatic difference to a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Gifford oversees the Community Resilience program, including Firewise USA Sites, Community Wildfire Protection Plans, Wildfire Ready Neighbors and Community Wildfire Defense Grants.

Kathy Hutton of Plants of the Wild, a native plant nursery in Tekoa, Washington, will speak on choosing, designing with and establishing tough native lawn alternatives.

Indigenous farmer Michelle Week of x̌ast sq̓it / Good Rain Farm in Oregon will talk about native ancestral ecological knowledge of the Northwest Indigenous people’s reverend land stewardship practices that exemplifies values of food sovereignty, seed kinship and the celebration of cultural and biological diversity.

Other talks will cover resilient gardens for a changing climate, management of invasive species, integrated pest management, gardening practices that protect the Spokane aquifer and river as climate changes, and the value of the human and garden interface and the important connection it will have into the future.

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