Smaller American Lawns Today 

Our annual SALT Conference will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022. 
This year's conference will be all-day and in-person and the theme is Indgenous Plants: Connecting People and Place.

Further details will be forthcoming. Once ready, a link for conference registration will appear on this page. 

Meanwhile, please save the date.

Last year's conference:

Awaken a new perspective on the watershed
Wednesdays, November 3, 10 and 17 at 12 p.m. 

Our annual SALT Conference is going virtual this year with a lunchtime lecture series. We have invited three guests to awaken our perspectives of gardening for the watershed. 

Register for the series:
$30 / $20 Members (Arboretum and Wild Ones)
Register for individual lecture:
$15 / $10 Members (Arboretum and Wild Ones)
Registration closes 48 hours before webinar start time. Zoom link will be emailed 24 hours before webinar.

Please use our secure online payment system to register.

Wednesday, November 3
The Role of Riparian Buffers in Watersheds and in Your Local Landscape
Juliana Barrett, Connecticut Sea Grant Program, Coastal Habitats Extension Educator
In this presentation we will explore what riparian buffers are and why they are a critical component of both our coastal and inland communities. Riparian buffers play a critical role in water resources and in watershed protection, provide habitat for a wide array of wildlife, and assist with climate change adaptation. We will explore what William A. Niering, the esteemed former Connecticut College visionary, might have thought about the role of riparian buffers in our landscape.

Wednesday, November 10 
Managing Critical Habitats at the Niering Natural Area Preserve, Waterford CT
Jane Seymour, DEEP Wildlife Biologist
In 1995, William A. Niering surveyed the plants at what is now the Niering Natural Area Preserve at Harkness State Park. Niering saw the value of this dynamic cove at the edge of Long Island Sound and worked to protect it. This presentation will discuss the ongoing maintenance to conserve the flora and fauna that are found here and provide inspiration for your own garden.

Wednesday, November 17
Beyond Pollinator-Friendly: Designing Landscapes and Corridors to Support Regional Biodiversity
Evan Abramson, Principal of Landscape Interactions
Gardeners have a vital role to play in strengthening, expanding and enhancing regional biodiversity, ecological health and climate resilience. Functionally diverse native pollinator habitat can serve as a building block for linking intact natural areas across a fragmented landscape. A series of case studies from project sites across the region will be presented that address what to plant, where to focus on first, when to seed or mow and how to measure the results.

Smaller American Lawns Today, SALT, is a movement introduced in June of 1997 by Dr. William A. Niering, professor of botany at Connecticut College. The SALT mission is to decrease the size of lawns in America by restoring home grounds to more harmonious, productive, ecologically sound and naturalistic landscapes. SALT offers an alternative vision of the monocultured lawn. As Dr. Niering wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with dandelions, there’s something wrong with people.”

Natural beauty can abound in one's own yard. In our annual SALT Conference, participants learn how to cut back on the size of their lawns and also to have beautiful, sustainable, and friendly home grounds as well. Once established, you will never want to go back to a boring, monocultural lawn!


Past SALT Conferences:

2021 - Awaken a new perspective on the watershed

2020 - no conference

2019 - Creating Edible Gardens for People and Pollinators

2018 - Grow Native: Gardening for the Environment

2017 - A Down to Earth Look at Soils

2016 - Deconstructing the American Landscape

2015 - Kill Your Lawn

2014 - Enhancing Wildlife Habitat: Landscaping for Seasonal Food and Cover with Native Plants with Peter Picone Wildlife Biologist at Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

2013 - The Joy of Creating a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden Homeowners often think in terms of planting an ornamental garden and a vegetable garden as two separate endeavors. It is possible, however, to have a garden that is both beautiful and bountiful.

2012 - Gardening in a Changing Environment Experts shared what they are doing now to maintain the sustainability of their land and what they have done when disaster has struck. 

2011 - The ABCs of Creating Your Own "Garden of Eden" provided an opportunity for homeowners to learn tips from topnotch speakers in the field of naturalistic landscaping.

2010 - Designing Your Home Grounds for Beauty and Sustainability A seminar on naturalistic landscaping.

2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity.

2008 - Naturally Beautiful

2007 - Bounty and Beauty in Your Yard

2006 - Inspired by Nature

2005 - User-Friendly Home Landscapes

2004 - Beauty in Biodiversity

2003 - In Harmony with Nature

2002 - Let's Go Natural: A SALT Backyard Landscaping Seminar for Homeowners


SALT meets Wild Ones This article by Kathy T. Dame appeared in the "Wild Ones" Journal, September/October 2008.