We are honored to have four renowned expert speakers join us for our 2023 Gardening for Wildlife Gala!
Mark Robinson is the Executive Director of The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, and has served in that capacity and as the “go-to” person for all open space matters on Cape Cod since The Compact’s founding in 1986. The Compact enables its member land trusts to complete up to fifty new land acquisition projects every year in Barnstable County, an achievement that would not be possible without the critical assistance provided by Compact staff.
Passionate about thriving biodiversity and healthy communities, Iris Clearwater brings a background in conservation biology and native plants to integrated garden design. Senior Gardener at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA since 2016, her past work experience includes running a native plant nursery, several years as a field biologist, and Stewardship Coordinator for habitat restoration projects in San Francisco. With love and respect for all living organisms, she will focus this presentation on introducing us to native Cape Cod pollinators, and sharing experience, resources, and garden design tips to help your gardens be stunning and effective refuges to nurture pollinators and renew your spirit.
Zak Mertz is the CEO of the New England Wildlife Centers, which runs two wildlife veterinary hospitals in Weymouth and Barnstable Massachusetts. In this role Zak uses The Center’s platform of wildlife care to teach students of all ages about the natural world and provide professional training experiences to wildlife rehabilitators and veterinary care professionals. In addition to serving on the the Board for the Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, Zak also serves as the co-chair of the Southeast Massachusetts Rabies Task Force and as an advisory board member to the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Massachusetts. He also holds both state and federal rehabilitation permits and regularly works with over 200 species of wildlife in rehab, rescue, and research applications.
Fran Raleigh grew up watching birds and bugs in her backyard. She majored in Biology at Marietta College in Ohio, then earned her Ph.D. in Plant Science (Ecology) from the State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse. After teaching ecology and other college biology courses for more than 30 years, she retired in 2018 and moved to Cape Cod. A member of the Master Gardener class of 2019, she is eager to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for nature and gardening. Her primary focus in gardening is to celebrate native plants and create habitat.