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Rooted in Place Ecological Gardening Symposium

November 14 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Mountain Meadow in Williamstown glows at sunset on a fall day.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Berkshire Botanica Garden will hold their sixth annual Rooted in Place Ecological Gardening Symposium, Growing resilience: the climate crisis, our gardens and communities, at the Mahaiwe Performing Art Center.

How A Place-Based Garden Culture of Care Strengthens Places and Their People
Presented by Jennifer Jewell, this program will explore the philosophy of the Cultivating Place podcast that gardens/gardeners are powerful spaces and agents for potentially positive change in our world, helping to address challenges as wide ranging as climate change, resource use, habitat and biodiversity loss, cultural polarization/marginalization, and individual and communal health and being, as exemplified by the important guests on Jennifer Jewell’s podcasts and the innovative place-based gardens that celebrate specifically western landscapes in the book Under Western Skies.

Jennifer Jewell is the host of the national, award-winning weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden. She is the author of award-winning The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants (Timber Press in 2020), and Under Western Skies, Visionary Gardens from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast (due out from Timber Press in April 2021). Her greatest passion is elevating the way we think and talk about gardening, the empowerment of gardeners, and the possibility inherent in the intersections between our places, our cultures, and our gardens.

Envisioning a Future Forest
Presented by Pete Grima, a Service Forester with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation covering northern Berkshire County, this presentation will describe the process of envisioning a future forest to be planted in an old field, with a mind towards carbon storage and climate resilience. Using a recent landowner interaction from his Service Forestry work as a case study, Pete helps landowners make informed decisions about their forests. He is also an avid botanist responsible for many new and novel botanical discoveries in the Berkshires, and he is a co-author of the recently published Vascular Flora of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

Knockout Native Species and Cultivars

A presentation by Sam Hoadley, the Horticultural Research Manager at Mt. Cuba Center, provides an overview of his work evaluating native plant species, old and new cultivars, as well as hybrids in Mount Cuba’s Trial Garden. Using data collected and analyzed over a three-year period, a research report was published outlining top-performing plants for the Mid-Atlantic region.

This information is designed to inform consumers and home gardeners as well as professionals in the horticultural and nursery industries about the ecological benefits and attributes of the native plants in our trials. His presentation will focus on knockout native species and cultivars researched at the Mt Cuba Center. Sam received a degree in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture from the University of Vermont.

Lessons in Built Ecology

Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85 acre, organic park in the middle of New York City, was created with ecology in mind. The park’s award-winning piers include top-notch recreation and entertainment — from opera to outdoor films, all of it beautifully designed. But the piers also contain native woodlands, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and numerous meadows. These areas echo native ecosystems and are managed with an emphasis on wildlife habitat.

This talk, presented by Rebecca McMackin, will encompass the many ecological strategies employed by the park’s designers, as well as the management techniques park staff have developed to cultivate biodiversity. Topics will include pragmatic strategies for encouraging ecologically beneficial landscapes. Rebecca McMackin is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist. She is Director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park where she oversees 85 acres of diverse parkland.

These meadows, forests, salt marshes and freshwater wetlands are managed with the dual purposes of cultivating, beautifying and encouraging biodiversity, all within the largest city in the country. In her imaginary free time, Rebecca lectures, writes, and designs the occasional garden. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, the Landscape Institute, and the Ecological Landscape Alliance.

Register here »

This in-person program may be moved online if necessary for the health of our community. If it is deemed safest to hold this program online, registrants will be notified via email by November 8 and will be provided with a link to attend Rooted in Place via Zoom, along with updated details about the day’s schedule.

“In like-mindedness with many regional and national colleagues, the Mahaiwe has adopted additional precautions to protect its audiences, performers, and personnel from the spread of COVID-19. Audience members will be asked to present proof of vaccination — acceptable forms include physical card, digital copy (including an image of one’s card on a mobile device), and Excelsior Pass — along with a photo ID upon admission to the theater.

“If vaccination is not an option, proof of negative COVID-19 test (no greater than 72 hours old for PCR test or 24 hours old for antigen test) is acceptable. These requirements apply to all ages, including children under 12. This practice is in accordance with professional health guidelines and reflects current conditions in Berkshire County. Masks will be worn at all times in the theater.”

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Event Details


November 14
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Event Location

14 Castle Street
Great Barrington, MA

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