EcoFest Speakers

We thank each of the speakers for sharing with us!
• All talks will be inside the Old School House of Arivaca, located in the Arivaca townsite, a stone’s throw behind the Mercantile on Main St. Please see map, which you will recieve at EcoFest entry.
Times of talks indicated below. Talks will be 30-45 minutes long, leaving you plenty of time to take in other festival offerings.


johnslatterypicJohn Slattery • 10:30 am

Un ‘Pueblo Mágico’ de los Belloteros: Emory Oak and its Acorns
The acorns of the Emory oak (Quercus emoryi), or bellota, are the most revered and prized within the Sonoran desert bioregion. Indigenous and European descendants have cherished these oak forests for centuries coming together for annual festive gathering camps. Unique and delicious, the acorns of Emory oak are still consumed and sold today throughout the region. The Emory oak is unique in so many ways, and like oaks across the globe, it holds a special place in the hearts of those who live nearby. Join John for a discussion of this “pueblo mágico” and all that is special about our Emory oak.

John is a bioregional herbalist and forager helping people develop relationship with wild plants. Seeking out traditional plant knowledge and fostering relationships with traditional healers and foragers, John works towards keeping traditional knowledge alive through his writings and experiential education while imbuing it with new perspective gleaned through research and his own deep relationship with plants and place. Currently, John is passionate about bringing the abundant and delicious acorn back into our modern diets, and promoting the “heritage” value of many of our wild plant foods.

He founded Desert Tortoise Botanicals, a bioregional herbal products company, in Tucson, AZ in 2005 in order to bring his wildharvested plant medicine creations to the people of the Southwest. He enjoys traveling to new bioregions, learning new plants, collaborating on educational foraging events, and encouraging people to become bioregional in their approach. John’s offerings can be found at John’s first book, Southwest Foraging, is now available from Timber Press.

lincoln-perinoLincoln Perino • 11:30 am

Rainwater Harvesting for Your Home and Yard
An introduction to the basic principles and practices of rainwater harvesting.  We will be looking at how to manage rainwater both in the landscape and from roof surfaces for optimal use in landscape plantings and gardens. Topics range from rooftop runoff calculations to best management practices for contouring the soil, to cistern design. Sources of more in-depth educational opportunities will be provided.

Lincoln Perino is a native to Southern Arizona with a passion for environmental water issues. Lincoln got his start in rainwater harvesting in 2007 while attending the University of Arizona where he earned a BS in Environmental Sciences. and has been designing and installing rainwater and greywater harvesting systems professionally ever since. Recently, Lincoln merged his own business with the non-profit Watershed Management Group in an effort to focus on the educational aspects of the industry.  In addition to being Water Harvesting Project Manager and Designer at WMG, Lincoln also teaches through the U of A Cooperative Extension and Tucson Clean & Beautiful. He dreams of seeing Tucson become a more verdant community while embracing the wonderful diversity of the Sonoran Desert. He was instrumental in the new water catchment system at the Arivaca Community Center.

e-bishton-headshot9-09Emily Bishton • 1:00 pm

Wildlife-friendly Garden Design
The beauty of songbirds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and other wildlife is ample reason to create a wildlife-friendly garden, but there is so much more to the picture! By adding wildlife-attracting features to your garden, you will link it to the “green corridors” in your surrounding neighborhood and nearby natural areas that provide habitat to resident and migratory birds, beneficial insects, and more. Once you’re on their “bus route”, they will in turn provide natural pest and weed control for your garden, increasing its health and sustainability while decreasing maintenance!

Emily Bishton is an environmental educator and landscape designer who has gardened organically for 35 years. Since 1997, she has specialized in creating wildlife-friendly and child-friendly gardens, and edible landscapes, and taught sustainable gardening classes for cities throughout the Puget Sound region. Emily is also the director and lead educator for Magnuson Nature Programs, leading camps, classes, field trips, and guided nature walks for children and families. 20 years of birding and hiking trips to southern Arizona has given her familiarity and great love of the local flora and fauna.


nss-logo-webNative Seeds/SEARCH • 2:00 pm

Join in on the ancient practice of seed saving. Native Seeds/SEARCH will teach beginning seed savers how they can save seeds from common garden vegetables and why you should. The presentation will include slides with pictures to explain seed saving concepts as well as hands-on materials to explore and understand more about seeds.

Native Seeds/SEARCH protects and preserves arid adapted crop seeds to nourish a changing world. The mission of Native Seeds/SEARCH (Southwestern Endangered Aridland Resources Clearing House) is to conserve, distribute, and document the adapted and diverse varieties of agricultural seeds, their wild relatives, and the roles these seeds play in the cultures of the American Southwest and Northwest Mexico. We envision the Greater Southwest as a place where farms and gardens, kitchens and tables, stores and restaurants are brimming with the full diversity of aridlands-adapted heirloom crops; people are keeping the unique seeds and agricultural heritage alive; and the crops, in turn, are nourishing humankind.



Borderlands Restoration • 3:00 pm  David Seibert

Connecting People to the Land and Each Other
This talk will explore the formation of Borderlands Restoration and its intriguing evolution. The mission of Borderlands Restoration is to reconnect wildlife, land and people in the Arizona/Sonora Borderland region by involving people in restoring the ecosystem on which we depend. Initially formed to restore plant and pollinator communities, waterways and eroding land, Borderlands Restoration is evolving to include community-based engagement in an array of innovative projects addressing economic, social and border-related issues. The Borderlands Restoration Leadership Institute’s new initiative is an ecological restoration training program, and a learning and leadership center focused on community-based restoration projects and activities which build local knowledge, help restore the land, create jobs, and grow the restoration economy.
David Seibert currently serves as Executive Director of Borderlands Restoration.