Workshops

We are excited to offer the following workshops in the Summer/Fall of 2017.


Bird Behavior in Our Gardens and the Power of Citizen Science 

Instructor: Jean Deo

August 10, 2017 (Thursday)
6:00 – 8:30pm
Location: UMass Field Station, 240 Beaver Street, Waltham, MA
This workshop includes both classroom and field components. Enrollment limited.

Member  $28  /  Non-member  $38   /   Sponsor  $100  ——  Register Here

Did you know that the brilliant red color of a Northern Cardinal comes from the fruits that the cardinal eats? Birds depend heavily on native plants for food, shelter, and even the color of their feathers. Avian populations are greatly impacted by changes in local plant communities, and because of this response, scientists use birds as an important indicator of biodiversity and habitat quality. When creating native plant gardens, we not only promote bird diversity, but we have a unique opportunity to make important contributions to conservation science by observing the birds in our local landscape. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of bird identification, explore habits of avian behavior, and then teach you how to collect and submit data to national citizen science databases. After time in the classroom, we will head outside to our Demonstration Garden to observe birds present in the garden, and then practice uploading this data set into an online database.  This program kicks off future monthly bird-monitoring sessions led by our volunteers, so that we can document changes to biodiversity at our Garden over many years. We invite you to join us for this exciting program launch!

Jean Deo is an experienced ornithologist and field biologist who has worked on a variety of research projects from birds to bats to bacteria. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University, where she studied the distribution of nesting songbirds in forests.  

Getting to Know Your Neighbors: A Field Walk through Native Plant Communities in Waltham

Instructor: Meredith Gallogly

September 9, 2017 (Saturday)
10:00 am — 12:15 pm
Location: Waltham, MA conservation or parkland TBD  (Details mailed to registrants.)
This workshop is entirely in the field. Enrollment limited.

Member  $28  /  Non-member  $38   /   Sponsor  $100   ——   Register Here

CEUs Available: MCH (0.5 credits); APLD (pending); NOFA-AOLCP (pending) 

Have you ever opened a nursery catalogue and been overwhelmed by the vast selection species? Or been frustrated that ‘part-sun, well-drained’ explains so little about where a plant might like to grow? One of the many advantages to working with a native plant palette is that we are surrounded by opportunities to get to know these plants in context, where they grow in “remnant” ecosystems all around us. In Waltham, these remnants are largely secondary growth woodlands and wetlands— habitat that grew back after extensive clearing for agriculture in the 19th century and that was preserved as part of large estates or institutional properties. These landscapes offer a wealth of botanical knowledge to be gleaned by the keen observer. Meredith will lead us on a walk through remnant ecosystems in Waltham, and identify the local flora (both native and non-native) that we encounter. She will also highlight the growth habits and preferred conditions of certain species, and discuss how these plants might be used in a garden setting. We will finish with a review of available resources and great tips for botanical identification, to empower you to expand your botanical knowledge.

Meredith Gallogly is the Program Coordinator at Grow Native Massachusetts. Her plant identification skills have inspired the monikers of “staff botanist” and “native plant geek.” Much of this knowledge comes from her explorations of metro-Boston area parks and reservations. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Smith College.

The Foundation of Our Landscapes: Understanding Site Analysis and Soil

Instructor: John Swallow

September 21, 2017 (Thursday)
1:00 — 4:30 pm
Location: Great Hall Lodge at Cedar Hill, 265 Beaver Street, Waltham, MA
This workshop starts in the classroom and ends in the field.

Member  $38  /  Non-member  $48   /   Sponsor  $100   ——   Register Here

CEUs Available: MCH (0.5 credits); APLD (pending); NOFA-AOLCP (pending) 

Soil is the vital but often overlooked foundation of any landscape. It dictates the drainage in the area, affects which plants will grow well there, and can even impact a site’s susceptibility to certain invasive species. Soil scientist John Swallow will guide us through the background a designer needs to know to make a landscape plan that is well suited to their site, and to develop a system of sustainable soil maintenance practices. He will describe how soils are formed and show us how geologic history can be seen in soil profiles, focusing in on the unique conditions present at our site in Waltham. He will also outline the different types of organic matter that are present in soils, explain why different soils hold varying levels of moisture, and examine the impact of microbes on soil. This workshop will also include a review of proper techniques for collecting soil samples, instruction on how to interpret standard soil analyses, and an examination of the hidden history revealed by the profile of a soil pit dug at our garden.

John Swallow is a Principal and co-founder of Pine & Swallow Environmental, a renowned landscape-engineering firm that has created soils for Lusitania Field at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the High Line in NYC, and many other projects around the world. He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Plant Communities of Eastern Massachusetts: Vital Context for Landscape Design

Instructor: Patricia Swain Rice

October 4, 2017 (Wednesday)
1:00 — 4:00 pm
Location: Great Hall Lodge at Cedar Hill, 265 Beaver Street, Waltham, MA
This is a classroom workshop with an optional short field walk at the end.

Member  $38  /  Non-member  $48   /   Sponsor  $100   ——   Register Here

CEUs Available: MCH (0.5 credits); APLD (pending); NOFA-AOLCP (pending) 

The central purpose for this workshop is summed up by the landscape designer Darrel Morrison, who wrote, “The naturally evolved associations of native plants within a particular range can provide both information and inspiration for the design of gardens and landscapes that are ecologically sound and aesthetically satisfying.” Quite simply, a solid understanding of plant communities is indispensable for any designer of native landscapes. There is no one better to teach us about the natural plant communities of Massachusetts than Pat Swain, an ecologist who led the effort to update the official classification of these communities for the MA Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program, using data collected from extensive field inventories. She will discuss how a plant community is defined, and give an overview of the climatic, geologic, and disturbance conditions that influence the species assembled in these communities. Come learn about communities that are common in eastern Massachusetts, with a focus on the plant species present and structure of successional types that may be models to reproduce or mimic in landscape design. The lecture portion of this workshop will be followed by an optional 45-minute field walk through adjacent woodlands.

Pat Swain Rice recently retired from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program, where she worked as an ecologist for nearly 30 years. She now teaches a wide range of classes on plant communities, botanical identification, and survey techniques. She holds a PhD in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.