Conservation

The Conservation Committee informs and educates Club members on conservation needs and activities of our town, state and nation, and educates individual members on conservation principles and practices.

2016-17 Conservation Chairs: Kim Gregory, Polly Hanson

Choose native plants in your yard or container garden to create a habitat for birds, butterflies and bees. Native plants provide shelter and essential food, and also help improve local watersheds and mitigate climate change.

Planting for Pollinators
Organic Lawns and a Checklist for an Eco-Friendly Property
Re-use leaves for composting and a healthy lawn

Learn more about native plants for birds from CT Audubon or search the Audubon plant database.
Learn more about butterflies and butterfly gardening through the Xerces Society.
List of butterfly nectar and larval food sources from Natureworks Garden Center.
Three easy steps to help bees and butterflies from the Xerces Society.

 

Conservation Committee Annual Report (2016)

On January 28, 2016, The Greenwich Garden Club Conservation Committee launched the first in its series of “pollinator potlucks” at The Audubon Center Greenwich 613 Riversville Road with 80 guests. Dr. Michelle Frankel, Director of Audubon Greenwich and statewide team leader for Audubon Connecticut’s Bird-Friendly Communities program, addressed the audience. Dr. Frankel explained about Audubon’s “Bird-Friendly Communities” program that works with communities in Greenwich and across Connecticut to create healthy habitats in parks, schoolyards and residential yards. Participants learned about the relationship between native plants and native pollinators and other wildlife and simple actions they can take in their own yards to make them healthier places for both wildlife and people. Participants also got a preview of the soon-to-launch campaign by National Audubon Society to create the World’s Largest Bird Sanctuary – and how they can be a part of it.

In February, GGC conservation partnered with Garden Education Center of Greenwich to present Howland Blackiston, author of “Beekeeping for Dummies” and “Building Beehives for Dummies” to another 80 guests, many repeat customers from the previous pollinator potluck. Mr. Blackiston explained why bees are vanishing and what we can do to help reverse this grim situation. The theme of the potluck was honeycomb with cheese platters, honey glazed hams, honey biscuits with honey butter, honey Dijon salads, honey apple crisp, mead wine and tea with honey.

March pollinator potluck was at Innis Arden Cottage, Jeff Cordulack, Executive Director, The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA) addressed non point source pollution (NPS) …the relationships between healthy soil and healthy water. A Connecticut native, Jeff spent a decade with the National Audubon Society in Greenwich. Since taking the helm of CT NOFA in July 2015 Jeff is focused on elevating the importance of ecologically sustainable methods and working to ensure the growth and viability of organic agriculture, organic food, and organic land care. He discussed how farmers and gardeners can increase native pollinator biodiversity and also provided an update on the Connecticut General Assembly’s efforts to pass Senate Bill No. 231 – ‘An Act Concerning Pollinator Health: To implement state and private actions that are aimed at protecting pollinator populations through restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids and the increase and preservation of pollinator habitats.’ This new bill will make a big difference for honeybee and native pollinator protection and will begin to reduce the use of neonicotinoids, a group of pesticides that has been found to harm honeybees and other native species.

IMG_00008159In April Steve Conaway, Conservation and Outreach Director, The Greenwich Land Trust, presents: The Practical Pollinator…principals of habitat improvement to encourage pollinators and other wildlife into your home landscape.

May 25th was Pizza PlotLuck in Greenwich Community Gardens (GCG) @ Armstrong Court with its new pizza oven and fresh vegetables. Patty Sechi, GCG President and Founder, and Katie Blake from the Audubon showcased its Urban Oasis and explained how participants could create their own oasis.

For next year, conservation will not continue with monthly pollinator potlucks. The launch for next year will be on October 27 that Audubon Center with Audubon’s Director of Bird Conservation, Patrick Comins, along with Audubon Greenwich Director Michelle Frankel, sharing information about the national partnership between Garden Clubs of America and National Audubon Society focused on reducing the impacts of climate change on birds through bird-friendly landscaping. They will highlight examples of successful partnerships between local garden clubs and Audubon programs from across the country and explore how we can deepen our partnership here in Greenwich to help birds in a changing climate.

Happiness Is…catering provides food and The Study Fine Wine provides organic wine tasting for all of the pollinator events. Fifty percent of all proceeds from wine ordered at potlucks is donated back to the host organization for Greenwich Garden Club to plant pollinators on its property. Since these pollinator potlucks are free of charge, our partnership with not only the host organization AND Happiness Is…and The Study Fine Wine have both kept our costs low and raised some funds for pollinator projects throughout town.

Other than raising awareness of the importance for healthy environments that contribute to pollination, these potlucks have been a true example of collaboration within our community. In reviewing our mission statement…The purpose of the Greenwich Garden Club is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to promote and participate in the improvement, restoration, and protection of the natural environment…the conservation committee used the funds from pollinator potlucks for pollinator plots at the Audubon and Greenwich Community Gardens plus the purchase of bees for Garden Education Center.

Conservation had several field trips…in the Fall 2015 we had an Audubon “ted talk” and walked the property to learn about pollinator plants then we visited Steve Conaway at the Greenwich Land Trust and walked their property to learn more best practices. We revisited both partners this Spring 2016 and had a pollinator propogation workshop. We are looking forward to another great season of Pollinator Potlucks and would love to have you on our conservation committee if you have interest. It is a fun and inspiring way to engage our community in conservation, to share the great work being done by the different conservation organizations and by garden club members, and to strengthen this powerful network. For more information on GGC Pollinator Potlucks or to sign up for the October 27th Audubon event, please contact Kim Gregory.