JOIN Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden and ecologists Conrad and Claudia Vispo of Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program on Saturday September 15, 2018, for a hands-on exploration of the wild nature present in gardens, a workshop-style event to benefit the ecology program.
We’ll encourage you to feed your curiosity and indulge in snooping for easily overlooked garden plants and animals during a joyful ramble through the “classroom” of Margaret’s garden and the natural areas at its perimeter, with both formally landscaped patches (featuring mostly exotic “collector” plants) and wilder areas managed for natives.
See Margaret’s various experiments with making a mini-meadow, creating “snags” or wildlife trees and “unmowing” some new areas to discover what happens–and we’ll get Conrad and Claudia’s insights on how to fine-tune and enhance them with a more expert eye.
Led by what we observe and the questions you bring up, we’ll touch on themes such as:
- How much wildness do you want in your backyard?
- What is your garden’s place in the ecology of the larger landscape?
- What is native to your garden and is ‘nativeness’ important?
- How can you encourage native plants and help wildlife?
- What references–online, and also field guides and more–can help inform your own explorations?
No one gardener (or biologist!) can see it all, but we’ll give you a general introduction to the cast of characters, meet some of them in person, and share our secrets for finding and identifying many of your garden’s residents.
Come prepared with your questions.
This program will be held in Copake Falls, NY, and ticket-holders will be emailed with directions and other details.
Claudia Knab-Vispo is the field botanist of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program. After working on plant-animal interactions in Borneo and on ethnobotany in Venezuela, she has spent more than a decade documenting and teaching about plants in and around Columbia County. Her research and educational work are guided by questions such as: How has the flora of Columbia County changed since it was first documented in the 1930s? Which are the rare and vulnerable native plants that currently share the landscape with us, where are they found, and how can we protect them? What importance did/do the wild plants have for people? Which resources do they provide to animals? How can we make our farms and backyards more friendly for pollinators and other beneficial insects?
Conrad Vispo is the wildlife ecologist of the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program. Before returning to Columbia County, NY, where he grew up, Conrad conducted ecological research on a variety of organisms, including mammals, birds and fish in a variety of places, including the woods of northern Wisconsin and tropical Venezuela. Conrad’s recent focus is on agroecology — what habitats can farmland provide for native species and, in turn, what can those native species provide to farming? How does the composition and management of the landscape surrounding the farms influence the ecological services that can be provided by beneficial insects. Conrad’s passion is understanding historical and modern patterns of animal (including human) ecology on the land.