Gardening with Native Plants: Why It Matters
A talk for the Eastham Public Library September 22, 2017
Founder, Grow Native Massachusetts
What can each of us do to make the world a better place, and especially to improve the health of our shared ecosystem? It starts with native plants and how we steward all of our lands—big or small. In this program, Claudia will give us an overview of the essential role of native plants to ecosystem health— starting with the concept of co-evolution between plants and animals, and ending with a tour of her 7,000 square foot garden in Cambridge, MA. She will explain the differences among native, naturalized, and invasive plants; and explore the food web that links plants to insects to birds, wildlife, and humans. Using her garden as a case study, we will learn about the essential principles for designing gardens that are places of both beauty and biodiversity. This includes working with local ecology, thinking about plant communities, and creating habitat for birds, butterflies, and wildlife. By the end of the program, you will "get" why native plants are so important, understand why every garden matters to life all around, and walk away with lots of ideas about how you can make a big difference right at home!
Ms. Thompson is the President of Grow Native Massachusetts, an organization that she founded in 2010 as the culmination of an extensive career in the environmental sector. She began her career in the 1970s as a teacher and environmental educator committed to getting students out into the field, and she helped to develop middle school programs at Thompson Island in Boston Harbor. In recent decades, she served as the Director of Education for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Director of Drumlin Farm for Mass Audubon, and worked for several other environmental organizations. She was a board member for the New England Wild Flower Society from 1996 to 2005. Her motivation for starting Grow Native Massachusetts comes from her conviction that the wise stewardship of our lands begins at home, and that our future rests upon a 21st century attitude toward conservation that embraces our role in this interconnected ecosystem. We must change the paradigm of thinking of the natural world as separate from our human activity. Claudia’s happiest moments are spent in her own gardens, watching a diverse array of hawks, migrating songbirds, and even rare species such as woodcocks— all taking sustenance and utilizing the habitat she and her husband have created on a relatively small parcel in urban Cambridge.
Grow Native ? Massachusetts
Every garden matters ~ Every landscape counts!