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Dr. Iara Lacher is a landscape ecologist with expertise in plant ecology, ecosystem function, land use, and native plant propagation. She is the owner of Seven Bends Nursery, a native plant nursery located in the northern Shenandoah Valley, as well as Conservation Futures LLC, where she currently serves as an expert consultant on native plant restoration for the AgriSolar Clearinghouse, a program of the National Clearinghouse of Appropriate Technology. She focuses on projects that involve local communities, serving through education and outreach as well as through her roles on the board of directors of two local non-profits: The Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.

Iara has spoken for a multitude of events and organizations such as, but not limited to, the Smithsonian Earth Optimism, Shenandoah National Park Conservation Summit, Mountain Maryland Native Plant Festival, and regional garden clubs.  With extensive practice speaking to diverse crowds and having a Ph.D. in ecology, Iara knows how to bring an interesting perspective that is based on science and molded by her love for plants. Iara looks forward to making community connections by educating on the topic of native plants through her various talks listed below.  If you are looking for a talk more specified for your event Iara can create one that better fits the topic you have in mind. To get more information about Iara speaking for an event or organization please contact us by emailing or calling.

Phone: 540-416-2662

Potential Topics

In Consideration of Native Plants for Our Landscapes

An overview on why native plant gardens matter for the health of our ecosystems and ourselves

How to Read a Forest

What are the signs of a healthy ecosystem? A how to guide for the lay person on how to identify a healthy ecosystem when one sees it. This talk will broadly cover Forests, Grasslands, and Freshwater systems of Virginia, with examples and photos.

Invasive Plants and Alternative Natives

The typical neighborhood garden store stocks non-native invasive plants that customers unknowingly buy. This talk provides native alternatives for some of the most popular and disruptive non-native plants.

Beyond "Native": Why Source Location Matters for Ecological Gardening

What does the term "Native" mean when gardening for local ecosystems? How can we select appropriate species and ethically source the best plant material? This is a talk about Ecoregions and Ecotypes and why they matter.

Impacts of Climate Change on Native Plants

A scientific overview of how climate change may impact native plants and the ecosystems they support.

Planting for a Future Forest 

A scientific review on how our forests are changing and options for the management of healthy forests in the long term.

How to Propagate Native Plants

Iara will deliver an overview of some tips and tricks on how to propagate native plants in your own backyard.


Designing Landscapes with Native Plants

An overview of some of the considerations when planning out your own native plant garden, and when to ask for expert help.

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