ASHEBORO - The North Carolina Zoo and the N.C. Cooperative Extension invite nursery growers and plant enthusiasts to hear Dr. Todd Lasseigne, executive director of the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville, speak on new and unique plants on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the zoo's Steadman Education Center.

Lasseigne's talk is entitled "Don't Drink the Kool-Aid: Growing Plants That Will Distinguish Your Nursery From the Competition.

A self-described "plant geek," Lasseigne holds an M.S. from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. Before becoming executive director of the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, he was assistant director of the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. He has participated in plant-scouting trips in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Participants should call Mary Helen Ferguson at 336-318-6000 or contact her at by March 10 to pre-register for the event.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.