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Friday, December 1, 6:45 pm – New England Botanical Club Meeting with Dr. Alden Griffith

The New England Botanical Club will meet Friday, December 1 at 6:45 pm and will host Dr. Alden Griffith, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College. Meetings at Harvard University are held in Haller Lecture Hall (Room 102), Geological Museum, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (door to right of Harvard Museum of Natural History entrance). Free and open to the public.

Dr. Griffith is an ecologist focusing on invasive plant population dynamics and environmental influences. His work is conducted at the Boston Area Climate Experiment (BACE) in Waltham, MA and uses Persicaria lapathifolia as a model species. An important goal is to explicitly link environmental factors to population performance using integral projection models. This work is a collaboration with Vikki Rodgers at Babson College. Also, he studies the capacity for invasion of Bromus tectorum (‘cheatgrass’) in east coast dune systems. There has been much research into the invasion of B. tectorum in the Western U.S., but there is very little known about its potential in the east. This work is being conducted at the Cape Cod National Seashore and focuses on relating population success to factors of both the abiotic environment and the background plant community. Another area of inquiry is the population-level consequences of positive interactions among plants. Interactions among plants are often assumed to be negative (e.g. competition), but there is growing interest in the importance of positive interactions, or plant-plant facilitation, in ecological systems. His research, in collaboration with Ray Callaway at the University of Montana, examines the overall importance of facilitation by neighboring plants for Smelowskia calycina populations at high elevation in Glacier National Park.

For more information visit www.rhodora.org. Image of dock leaved smartweed by David Cameron courtesy of our friends at New England Wildflower Society’s Go Botany!


Monday, December 4 – Thursday, December 7 – Garden Club of the Back Bay Holiday Wreath Making

Pastor Ingo R. Dutzmann and his parish will again host our Club for wreath making on the lower level of The First Lutheran Church of Boston, 299 Berkeley Street (on the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough Streets). We are very, very grateful. Please note that a core group will set up the space on Sunday, December 3  (anyone who can lend a hand is welcome – email info@gardenclubbackbay.org for set up times) and we will be ready to work first thing Monday morning – Monday participation by as many of you as possible is critical to our success. The hours are as follows:

Monday, Dec. 4 – 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating)
Tuesday, Dec. 5 – 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating and delivery)
Wednesday, Dec. 6- 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating, delivery)
Thursday, Dec. 7- 8:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (decorating, delivery, clean up)

Please come to the side door on Berkeley Street. We’ll post a sign. Coffee and baked goods will be available each morning, and catered lunches will be delivered all four days. Dried materials and fresh greens can be delivered to the Church no earlier than Monday, December 4. Please have all decorations “cleaned down” – branches cut down, dead leaves removed – so we can contain the mess we inevitably make. Delicate materials can be laid flat in sweater boxes or gently stacked in cardboard containers. We are going to need as many dried items as we can collect, and we especially want interesting fresh evergreen boughs and holly.

Bring clippers and scissors if you have them, labeled with masking tape for ease of identification. Aprons are also a good idea. Dress comfortably! We need everyone’s help, whether you decorate, deliver, organize, make telephone calls confirming delivery, or sweep. Contact Francine Crawford at 617-859-8865 (info@gardenclubbackbay.org) or Margaret Pokorny at 617-536-2920 (MPok384@gmail.com) if you have specific questions, and contact Catherine Bordon at 617-480-8792 (catherinebordon@comcast.net) if you can take a two hour delivery shift. Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday. If you still plan to order wreaths, send the order forms along as soon as you can, or order online at www.gardenclubbackbay.org. Please try to come for as many hours as possible, on as many days as you can spare – we need you, and you’ll have a great time. Thank you.

 

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Friday, November 17, 6:30 pm – Timeless Beauties

On Friday, November 17, beginning at 6:30 pm at the Community Life Center near the First Baptist Church, 50 Parker Street in East Longmeadow, the Springfield Garden Club presents Timeless Beauties, a floral demonstration of designs through the century. Participating at the event, and designing in view of the audience, will be Heather Sullivan, AIFD, of Durocher’s Florist in West Springfield; Matt Flatow from Flowers, Flowers in Springfield and Bob Whitney, AIFD, long-time employee, now retired, from Springfield Floral Supply in Springfield.

Refreshments will be served. Tickets can be purchased from Springfield Garden Club members or at the door. For more information email suzreed@gmail.com.


Friday, November 3 – Saturday, November 4 – Massachusetts Trails Conference: Building Trails – A Path to Vibrant Communities

The Massachusetts Trails Conference is hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in partnership with the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB) with funding provided by the Recreational Trails Program. Keynote speaker David C. Toland is the first CEO of Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit coalition that works to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas. A seventh-generation Allen Countian, Toland oversees a coalition known regionally, statewide and nationally for its innovative approaches to improving healthcare access, healthy lifestyles and economic development in a small, rural Kansas county.

At the conference, there will be hands-on workshops on Trail Crossings in Wetlands: Bog Bridge at Barrett Park, Chainsaw Safety, Constructing Accessible Trails with Stabilized Stonedust, etc, as well as field trips in and around Leominster and Fitchburg, and a host of concurrent sessions such as Finding Your Way through Storytelling: The Thoreau Trail and Chinatown Trail, and A Tale of Two City Trails: The Springield Urban Bird Trail and Worcester’s East-West Trail. A complete list may be found at http://www.masstrailsconference.com/schedule.html Registration begins at $45 with some workshops priced at an additional fee. Register online at http://www.masstrailsconference.com/register.html Registration includes Friday, November 3 field trips, and Saturday, November 4 keynote address, sessions, breakfast, lunch, and networking social. The event takes place at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Leominster, Massachusetts.


Friday, November 3, 6:45 pm – Green Eggs and A.m (Ambystoma maculatum)

On Friday, November 3, Dr. Louise Lewis, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, will present a lecture at the New England Botanical Club meeting entitled Green Eggs and A.m (Ambystoma maculatum).  Ambystoma maculatum is more widely known as the spotted salamander. Meetings at Harvard University are held in Haller Lecture Hall (Room 102), Geological Museum, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (door to right of Harvard Museum of Natural History entrance) Free and open to the pubic. For more information on the New England Botanical Club, visit http://www.rhodora.org.


Wednesday, November 8, 6:00 pm – The Majestic Moose

Join Wildlife photographer Bill Fournier for this wonderful look at our largest resident mammal the Moose. Bill will include images from both Maine and from our own backyard at Quabbin. This Athol Bird and Nature Club talk is part of the annual meeting, open to the public, on Wednesday, November 8. As usual, the annual dinner meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Liberty Hall at the Athol Town Hall (584 Main St.), with the program at 7 p.m.

Reservations are required for the dinner and must be received by Thursday, November 3rd. To reserve, call Cindy Hartwell at 978-544-5783, or email cindyhartwell56@gmail.com. There will be two dinner options available, stuffed chicken or vegetarian lasagna. Please indicate your preference when making the reservation. She will call or email you back with a confirmation of your reservation. No reservations are necessary for the program. The event will also feature our always popular tin can auctions; participants are encouraged to bring an item to donate.


Wednesday, November 1, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm – Season’s End Summit: The Plant Pollinator Partnership

As native bees as well as European honey bees struggle for survival, their reduced numbers put natural ecosystems and agricultural systems at risk. And bees are not the only pollinators that are suffering. Beetles, butterflies, ants, birds, and bats all help with pollination. In response, landscape professionals and concerned homeowners across the country are learning more about the habitat needs of the creatures that pollinate plants – and using that knowledge to make planting decisions.

In landscapes across the country, a movement is gaining momentum as landscape professionals and gardening enthusiasts learn more about the plants that support pollinators – and make planting decisions accordingly. Join us on Wednesday, November 1 from 8 – 4 for the ELA Season’s End Summit as four experts (Tod Winston, Annie White, Thomas Berger (his sculpture featured below), and Sam Jaffe) help us to learn what we can do to be part of the solution in support of pollinators. Program schedule can be found at http://www.ecolandscaping.org/event/seasons-end-summit-the-plant-pollinator-partnership/ The summit will take place at the Community Harvest Project Barn, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton, and is $85 for ELA members, $110 for nonmembers.


Friday, October 27, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm – Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America Annual Fall Meeting and Luncheon

Dr. David Barnett, Mount Auburn’s President & CEO, will present a brief history of the Cemetery and explain how it is being managed today as both a cultural institution and still an active cemetery. Through pictures he will describe some of the cutting-edge practices used to continue providing a high level of service to families at their time of need, while at the same time working to preserve and enhance the character of this historically significant landscape and to also be a model of environmental stewardship. He will summarize the recently completed strategic plan and resulting vision for sustaining Mount Auburn for the next century and beyond. Dr. Burnett was awarded the Garden Club of America Distinguished Medal of Honor in 2016 for “his tireless stewardship of the horticultural and ecological enhancements at Mount Auburn Cemetery, an inspiration to all who visit and study the exceptional spaces.”

Dr. Barnett is the featured speaker for this year’s Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America’s Annual Fall Meeting, followed by lunch, at The Country Club, 191 Clyde Street, Brookline. Coffee and registration begins at 10 am, business meeting at 10:30 am, and lecture at 11:00 am. Garden Club of the Back Bay members should email info@gardenclubbackbay.org if interested in car pools. For more information visit http://www.bostoncommitteegca.org/index.html


Saturday, October 28, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm – Fall Parks Forum: Innovation & Inclusivity

Boston Park Advocates, a citywide network of people who champion urban greenspace, will host the Fall Parks Forum: Innovation & Inclusivity, with support from the Solomon Foundation, on Saturday, October 28 from 8 – 12:30 at The Great Hall of the Codman Square Health Center, 6 Norfolk Street in Dorchester. Breakfast will be provided, and teens and adults are encouraged to attend this free event. You will hear from park officials and learn from peers across the city. Please register by October 15 at www.bostonparkadvocates.org.


Tuesday, November 14, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm – The Evolving Role of Urban Landscapes

Increasing urban growth continues to raise concerns about biodiversity, ecosystem function, and ultimately, sustainability. Ecological designers are making some progress in developing semi-wild areas, landscape connectivity, and resilience. A variety of initiatives are creating green space in urban areas including canopy tree projects, preserving natural areas, encouraging rooftop planting, designing new green spaces, and promoting wild, successional vegetation taking root in unused lots. These green spaces, especially large tree projects and meadows, can cover large urban areas.

Join The Ecological Landscape Alliance on Tuesday, November 14 at Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware for a day to reflect on urban landscapes with author James Hitchmough from the University of Sheffield. Hitchmough will share insights from three decades of research including his work on planting design and horticultural consulting on the Olympic Park Gardens in London. Since the mid 1980’s Hitchmough’s main research interests have centered on the ecology, design, and management of herbaceous vegetation. While he has a strong interest in native, semi-natural herbaceous vegetation, increasingly he has re-interpreted ecologically based herbaceous vegetation in the cultural context of the public greenspace of towns and cities. This has resulted in a large volume of research on the creation of various native and non-native meadow, steppe and prairie vegetation from sowing seed in situ. This vegetation is designed to be much more sustainable than the traditional herbaceous plantings, however the main goal of the work is to produce ecologically informed herbaceous plant communities that are highly attractive to the public.

And a local expert, Amy Highland from Mt. Cuba, will share a preview of their new tool to assess risks and benefits of native plant selection for landscape design projects.

Creating Perennial Herbaceous Plant Meadows by Sowing Seed In Situ

Sowing is potentially an attractive approach to establishing herbaceous meadows and similar vegetation in landscapes at relatively low cost, and has been the focus of much practice in restoration ecology, often in semi-rural locations. This approach is more problematic in urban places where people expect more instant results, and more control over species composition and performance than many conventional restoration ecology approaches can deliver. This presentation focuses on the creation of sown vegetation in these more cultural landscape settings and the techniques that we have developed to minimize the risk of failure in contractual situations, and to maximize the visual drama and long term sustainability of the resulting “meadows”.

When does local matter? A new tool to assess risks and benefits when selecting native plant materials

Loss of habitat and decline in many species (such as pollinators) has led to a growing interest in planting native plants and native plant restoration. Botanic gardens, local governments, ecological organizations, and even neighborhood gardeners are seeking the best plants for their projects. Selecting from available plant materials is not always easy and there is an ever-growing need for evidence-backed guidelines on sourcing native plant materials. To address this need, we convened a small gathering of experts from around the United States specializing in plant restoration, conservation, ecology, genetics, germplasm selection and environmental decision making. During the 2017 workshop hosted by Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware US, we developed a tool to assess options of plant provenance based on the goals and context of a given project. Plant traits change with their provenance, and determining the best choice in terms of genetic diversity, local adaptation, and ecosystem function is a complicated topic. Strict, hyper-local guidelines for sources of plant materials can lead to severe constraints on restoration practices, while long-distance or genetically selected sources can compromise restoration success. Given what we know about plant availability for small-scale practitioners and local citizens, we aim to guide decision-makers through currently-available selection AND help guide future development/availability of plant materials. Botanic gardens can provide leadership on this complicated topic by synthesizing current ecological theory and supporting the native plant enthusiasm seen in our audiences thus resulting in less confusion and more successful restoration of biodiverse systems.

The Design Of Novel Planted Communities For Specific Roles In Urban Landscape

Urban landscapes require vegetation to be able to look good and also provide specific functions at the same time, for example the provision of resources for native invertebrates or being able to deal with directed stormwater run-off. In some cases there are advantages to be gained in providing these “services” by adopting a more pragmatic approach in which useful attributes from a variety of different plant communities are “borrowed” and then re-assembled. These processes lead to the creation of new, novel communities that may have no direct equivalent in the natural world. This presentation will deal with the underlying philosophical and practical issues in doing this and how such vegetation can be conceived, designed, and managed in the longer term. The presentation will draw heavily on Hitchmough’s research and practice work over the past 15 years.

Early registration: ELA members $119, nonmembers $139. Register online at http://www.ecolandscaping.org/event/conference-evolving-role-urban-landscapes/