• Home
  • 2014 Keynote Presentations

    Columbus, Ohio July 17-19, 2014

    2014 Keynote Presentations

    Find Inspiration

    Keynote Presentations


    Hope Taft, Thursday July 17 at 12:00 p.m.
    The Power of Plants to Connect People, Place, and the Environment

    Using the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor's Residence as an example, former First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft, will tell how native plants gave the residence a sense of place, how a garden has helped people connect with the state's history, and why it is important to enhance your environment with native plants. Started in 2000 to help visitors realize the beauty and diversity of plant life in Ohio, it has grown to become the state's official botanical garden of native plants. The Heritage Garden mimics the five major physiographic regions of the state and at least five other eco-regions in landscape and plant communities. Hope Taft will take you on a quick tour around the state.

    About Hope Taft

    As First Lady of Ohio from 1999-2007, Hope focused on promoting positive youth development, prevention programs for drug and alcohol abuse, and community volunteerism. She transformed the Governor’s Residence into a Living Museum to preserve the property’s rich heritage and created a showcase of artistic, industrial, political, geological, and horticultural histories of Ohio for educational purposes. This project includes the Ohio Heritage Garden, Ohio’s botanical garden of native plants designed to replicate the major ecosystems of the state. Hope still oversees the garden’s development as chair of the Heritage Garden Committee of the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden, a non-partisan, non-profit organization.

    Hope facilitated the formation of the Little Miami River Keepers to preserve and protect the Little Miami River, serves on the Aullwood Audubon Center’s Board of Directors, and is a certified prevention specialist with involvement in prevention activities at the local, state and national levels since 1986. She is also president of The Tandana Foundation, started by her daughter Anna in 2006. The foundation weaves friendships and empowers communities in Ecuador and Mali through scholarships and volunteer vacations. 

    Hope graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1966 and married Bob Taft in 1967. They now live in the Dayton, Ohio area. The Tafts have one daughter, Anna.


    Amanda Maria Edmonds, Friday July 18 at 12:15 p.m.
    Growing Hope: Cultivating a Healthy Community, One Garden Square at a Time

    About Amanda Maria Edmonds

    With a background in environmental justice, environmental education, and social activism, Amanda Edmonds wears many hats as community organizer, educator, mentor, and leader. She is the founder and executive director of Growing Hope. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she has lived in Michigan since the mid 1990s, and is an active member of the Ypsilanti community. A twice alum of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, she brings a grounding in social and environmental issues to her professional world which intersects most commonly with public health, food justice, and community-based social change. 

    She currently serves as Chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority, is an appointee to the Michigan Food Policy Council, where she chairs the Healthy Food Access Task Force, and is a vice-chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council. She also served for six years on the Ypsilanti Parks and Recreation Commission, six years on the board of directors of the American Community Gardening Association, was a founding leadership team member of Slow Food Huron Valley, and was formerly chair of the MSU-Extension Advisory Council in Washtenaw County. She speaks and trains nationally in the areas of community change through gardens, farmers markets, food access, and many other topics.


    Robin Moore, Saturday July 19 at 12:50 p.m.
    Designing Nature into Children’s Play and Learning Places: Childcare, School, Park, and Beyond

    About Robin Moore

    Robin Moore is Professor of Landscape Architecture at NC State University in Raleigh, and holds degrees in architecture (London University) and urban planning (MIT). For most of his career he has worked in the field of landscape architecture as educator, researcher, and consultant. Moore is an international authority on the design of children's play and learning environments, user needs research, and participatory design. His designs for children's spaces in the USA include the Environmental Yard, Berkeley, California; and the Edible Schoolyard, Greensboro Children’s Museum, North Carolina. He was part of the design team for the innovative Hamill Family Play Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Illinois. In Ohio, he was part of the design teams for the Nature PlayScape at the Arlitt Center, UC Campus, and at the Cincinnati Nature Center.

    Since co-founding the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI – an action-research and design assistance unit at NC State University) in 2000, Robin Moore has been involved in the renovation of more than 60 childcare center outdoor learning environments in North Carolina, and in a variety of school outdoor spaces and parks nation-wide, including Teardrop Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC, and most recently in the design of nature play and learning areas. In 2001, he was recognized by AHS with a Great American Gardeners Landscape Design Award.

    Moore has lectured around the world on issues of childhood, environment, and landscape design. His publications include Childhood's Domain: Play and Place in Child Development, Plants for Play, the Play for All Guidelines, and Natural Learning, as well as numerous research articles/chapters outdoor environments, their use by children, youth and families, and their involvement in the planning and design process. He was a member of the international Growing Up in Cities action research project sponsored by UNESCO. He is a past president of the International Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA), and was the founding editor of the IPA magazine, PlayRights.