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Newsletter Posts

Highlights from the 2019 National Affairs and Legislation Conference

Cynthia Druckenbrod


Excellent, thought-provoking presentations were again the highlights of the 2019 NAL conference in Washington DC. Several speakers presented irrefutable evidence that climate change is real and that we are the cause of it. But the talks were not all doom and gloom! The speakers offered innovative and sometimes simplistic ways to effect change and make a difference. Those ideas include:

  • Talking about climate change. This was the main point of Katharine Hayhoe’s keynote speech. Her TED talk can be found here: and search for her name. It’s a 15 min talk and is very much worth your time! 

  • Be a champion for birds because they make climate change local and personal. This idea is from David Yarnold, President and CEO of the Audubon Society. He recommends dramatically increasing native plantings for birds. Their website, has a comprehensive database of native plants listed by zip code. It’s a wonderful resource!

  • Changing our diet by eating less meat. Mark Bittman, well known cookbook author and columnist for the New York Times, espoused “What is good for you is good for our planet.” He feels that food will be THE most important issue facing us. He also has a TED talk that is extremely popular. See and search his name. It may just change how you shop at the grocery store. 

Finally, Leah Whidden and I had a successful day on Capitol Hill lobbying Congressman Dave Joyce and Senators Brown and Portman. All of them and their staffs were receptive to the GCA’s legislative priorities, specifically the Botany Bill, Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and support for Scenic Byways and the Restore Our Parks Act. We even celebrated a ‘Win’ while in DC- the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved and permanently authorized the LWCF! We should all be proud not only for the GCA’s commitment to fighting for these important legislative issues but also to Shaker Lakes Garden Club for supporting our involvement in the NAL conference. 

Thank you! 

Cynthia Druckenbrod and Leah Whidden