Jonathan Parker, South Side Garden Coordinator
I grew up in the woods, in a brook, in the hills of Vermont. I work on computers all over the country and after a few years with satellite imagery, started to have the feeling that maybe we were degrading every natural part of our world. I live and work in Ann Arbor with his family. I have completed the Rain Garden program, the Conservation Stewardship program and I volunteer all year round in Molin Nature Area, under the oversight of Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation, where I am gaining the skills to restore a woodland and experimenting with community organizing. I find that restoration work makes my life sweeter. I have grown about five hundred perennials from seed, sold a few, and am trying to entice the Spicebush and Giant Swallowtail to visit my Prickly Ash. After seeing first hand how invasive species have spread from neighbor’s yards into the park, I am convinced that we should all be supporting our local ecosystem by surrounding our homes with native species.
Dan Stachyra, North Side Garden Coordinator
I grew up in the Chicago area and first started getting interested in native ecosystems by visiting prairie remnants and restorations, later learning more in depth on this subject while studying biology in college. I’ve been growing native plants for about 10 years. I have a small yard on the north side of Ann Arbor that I’m working on converting away from a more traditional lawn and garden style with non-native plants. I’m trying to get as many native species in a small area as I can, while putting each plant in a place that it can thrive, and still work functionally and aesthetically in an urban setting. I enjoy the challenge of growing from seed, despite many failures! I hope that projects like Adapt will inspire people who see these gardens to reconsider what they want to do with the land they have around their homes. Our urban landscape could go a long way towards using fewer resources and toxic chemicals and restore so much ecological function, as well as bringing joy and beauty to those who see it. When not digging in the dirt I play violin at the Detroit Opera House and various other venues in Southeast Michigan.
Shawn Severance, Garden Designer
I am a Naturalist with Washtenaw County Parks and a Park Steward for The Ponds Nature Area in Ann Arbor. Prior to working for Washtenaw County, I taught Biology at Washtenaw Community College and worked as the Campus Planner overseeing greening projects including prairie restorations, wetland mitigations, prescribed burns, trail development, and seed collection. I’ve been involved in the ecological restoration field since 2001. Here at Adapt, I will be doing garden consultations.
William and Nell Kirst, Adapt Founders
We are William and Nell Kirst, a couple of caring, passionate and devoted people who believe that each piece of property, no matter how small, is a share of our planet and will play a role in our common future. At its very best, even a tiny plot can be a space that sustains life by producing food, supporting biodiversity, increasing the abundance of pollinators, sequestering carbon, and building connection and community between people.
William is a gardener and ecologist, and has experience and expertise in ecological restoration, native plant landscaping and perennial food gardening. Nell is a physician who believes that the health of individuals is deeply connected to the health of our communities and our planet.
We believe that each one of us – whether through restoration of our own property, volunteer work or financial contribution – can and must play a vital role in the sustenance and health of our planet, starting with the very ground we stand on.
Thank you for reading and for being a part of our community.