Environmental activism: one garden at a time

To promote garden ethics, author Benjamin Vogt will present at the Speakers and Issues lecture on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art.

“His aim is to bring the land back to the way it would be naturally even in these high structured man-made environments, like a typical suburban neighborhood,” John Schulze, assistant English professor and member of the Speakers and Issues Lecture Series committee, said.

Vogt is an author, garden designer, environmental activist, husband and father. He owns Monarch Gardens LLC, a prairie garden design company in Nebraska. He speaks on garden and landscape ethics at forums nationwide. Furthermore, with a doctorate in creative writing, he has also published two books, two collections of poems and numerous articles.

“If you get a PhD, you generally become a professor of some sort,” said Schulze, who attended graduate school with Vogt. “He didn’t go the traditional route, and what he was able to do was take the skills that he learned in the Ph.D. program and mold them into this new career.” 

His company website says Vogt is a former board member of the Wachiska Audubon Society, prairie conservation, and a wildlife organization in southeast Nebraska. He also runs the Facebook page “Milk the Weed” where 10,000 folks discuss the purpose of milkweed, native plants, pollinators and ways to curb climate change.

“Ben’s efforts are ‘reprairification’ if you will,” said Schulze. “To allow the prairie-indigenous plants to reclaim the land.”

The Speakers and Issues committee, in collaboration with the Home and Garden Club, is funding the lecture. The honorarium (speaker’s fee) is approximately $1,500, not including food, transportation or accommodation. 

Schulze said to facilitate a proper lecture series on an annual budget of $5,000, the committee cuts expenses down via collaboration. He said average attendance of the lectures is about 50-60 persons, counting both students and community members.

Kinesiology junior Guiherme Martinus said he has never heard of the Speakers and Lecture Series however he wouldn’t mind attending the lecture out of curiosity.

Mason Hippie, psychology freshman, said he would definitely be interested in attending Vogt’s lecture. He also said that the topic is relevant to students.

“It’s absolutely important,” Hippie said. “How can we protect the environment if we don’t teach people how to take care of it?”

Vogt is the second out of nine speakers scheduled for the Speakers and Lecture series this semester.