Workshops & Events
Saturday Speaker Series
Year after year, expert speakers in our popular Saturday Series draw an audience from far and near. Participants leave with knowledge they can use in their own gardens, yards, and homes. Many events include demonstrations. The Hamilton College campus is an accredited arboretum; please consider time to explore if you attend one of our events.
All events in this series begin at 10 a.m. and are free and open to the public.
We encourage membership in the Arboretum as it helps support the programs offered throughout the year. Membership forms are available at the event sign-in or online.
NOTE: Individuals must be vaccinated and wear a mask to attend indoor events on campus at this time. Due to changing COVID concerns, the decision about whether an event speaker will be on-campus or only via Zoom will be made close to the event date. On-campus speakers will also be available on Zoom. https://hamilton.zoom.us/j/92317875511.
Please check the website prior to each event for its on-campus status.
November 20, 2021
Neil Pederson presents "How Might Our Forests Change in Response to Climate Change? One Clue is Their History"
Dr. Neil Pederson, a researcher at Harvard and an ecologist with the Harvard Forest, will describe how scientists access the memories of trees using tree-ring analysis or dendrochronology. He studies how tree rings have provided centuries’ worth of precise, annual, and seasonal details of climate, ecology, and competition. He will discuss how we can determine when wood was cut for a building, how we can re-imagine the development of the oldest forests in our eastern North American landscape, and how trees could be flexible enough to withstand some of the extreme weather events we can expect in the future.
January 29, 2022
Kerry Ann Mendez presents "Power Up Garden Beauty, Power Down Garden Maintenance"
Get more bang for your buck, and less backbreaking maintenance, with some amazing perennials, flowering shrubs, and annuals that provide much more color than commonly planted varieties. Plus, learn about underused beauties (many of which are native) which are pollinator-friendly and often require less water. Enjoy more time relaxing with family and friends as they admire your handiwork! Kerry Ann Mendez is an award-winning garden designer, author, and owner of Perennially Yours. She has given lectures, workshops, and classes to more than 40,000 gardeners in 21 states and Canada.
February 19, 2022
James Chamberlain presents "Sustainable Management of Forest Products"
With a PhD in forest management from Virginia Tech, Jim will discuss his research interest in using non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and the sustainable management of forest resources. Forests are more than trees! To manage biodiversity, we must consider the understory vegetation that is harvested for subsistence and commercial gain. The people who harvest these products are often underserved and live on the margins of the economy. Jim argues that the value of the forest products industry will not be completely understood until the segments of the industry that include food, medicine, floral, and decorative products are included.
This presentation by John Rogers includes the life history of the Eastern Bluebird and other birds that nest in bluebird boxes, nest box management, and more. While the focus is on bluebirds, John also shares his love for the natural world in hopes the audience will take away some broader and deeper messages about nature. The program has variety and is sprinkled throughout with a few wildflowers, butterflies, other birds, and quotes by some of the great naturalists of the past. John Rogers has maintained a trail of bluebird nest boxes in central NY north of Syracuse for over four decades. He has presented bluebird programs and workshops for hundreds of organizations in 12 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
April 23, 2022
Adrianne Weremchuk presents "Establishing and Preserving Your Tree"
Adrianne Weremchuk is a landscape architect with the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation. She will talk about general tree conditions in urban and natural settings and the best landscape architecture practices for the preservation of existing trees and the establishment of new trees in landscape design. She will show project examples, such as a playground in a softscape with natural sod, an urban, paved site that calls for shade, and establishing trees in a hardscape with structural soil.
May 8, 2021
Jan Johnson presents "The Spirit of Stone"
Jan Johnsen is a professional landscape designer and a principal of the established design/build firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, in Westchester County, NY. Jan is trained in landscape architecture and professional horticulture and has taught at Columbia University and the New York Botanical Garden. Her firm’s work has been featured in Garden Design Magazine, Landscape Architecture, East Coast Home and Design, This Old House, and others. In her presentation, Jan shares creative and practical ways to use natural stone in the garden, from rock gardens to dry streams, and as benches, art, paths, and more.
April 24, 2021
Scott Hart presents "Why We Need Bees"
A passionate beekeeper for almost a decade, Scott Hart can answer just about any question from aspiring or experienced beekeepers. For the past eight years, he has worked to maintain hives with no treatment. Scott also makes his own queens and strives for genetics to help drive the bees past the huge issue of varroa mites. A recent sampling of his hives proved he was on the right track: his hives had some of the lowest numbers of mites out of all the hives that were tested in NY state. Join us and ask any questions you have about bees! Check out Scott's Adopt A Hive Program.
March 20, 2021
Rebecca Murtaugh presents "Foraging for Vibrant Color"
Hamilton College Professor of Art Rebecca Murtaugh will talk about foraging botanical color from campus flowers and trees, our kitchens, and our compost piles to make natural dyes for sustainable artmaking. She’ll show images and discuss artworks by renowned artists who use plant-based palettes and feature sculptures by Hamilton students in her new Art & the Environment course.
February 20, 2021
Andrea Townsend presents "Where Did All of These Crows Come From? The Migration and Behavior of Utica’s Crows"
Hamilton College Professor of Biology Andrea Townsend will discuss her research which is focused on understanding how land-use changes affect the behavior, health, and populations of wild birds. In recent work, Townsend examined how urbanization promotes the transmission of West Nile virus and foodborne pathogens in crows.
January 16, 2021
Steve Bick presents "Forest of Hamilton College: An Iconography of Thunder-Beings"
Steve Bick is a father and a forester and sometimes a writer and researcher. He has a BS and MS from SUNY-ESF and a PhD in forest management and economics from Virginia Tech. He and his family make their home in the southwestern Adirondack Mountains. Steve is a self-employed forestry consultant and works on a wide range of projects, including stewardship planning, conservation easements, valuations, income tax work, and wood energy research. He is the author of eight books on forestry and conservation topics, as well as many technical articles. He is also the director of the Vermont Forest Business School. Steve has been working in Hamilton College’s forests since 2016.
April 11, 2020
Amy Ziffer, Owner of A Shady Lady Garden Designs
Amy Ziffer, owner of A Shady Lady Garden Design, has been helping clients in Connecticut with their gardening needs, as well as sharing her extensive gardening experience through lectures and demonstrations, since 1998. Amy is a former editor at Fine Gardening magazine and a Master Gardener. Her garden writing and photography can be seen in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Yankee magazines, in Reader's Digest books, and in other publications. Amy’s specialty is cold climate ornamental gardening in the Northeast United States.
February 15, 2020
Chris Luley presents “Wood Decay Fungi or is Your Tree in Trouble?”*
Chris Luley is president/pathologist of Urban Forest Diagnostics in Naples, N.Y. Luley has been providing urban forestry consulting services throughout his 35-plus year career in urban forestry and arboriculture. He specializes in urban forest management, tree diagnostics, and decay assessment, and has the advanced diagnostic equipment to test trees for internal decay. This presentation will explore the many aspects of wood decay fungi, from the ones that mean a tree is in serious trouble, to those that can be used in medicinal preps or eaten for dinner. *Note: This lecture qualifies for ISA CEU credit.
January 18, 2020
Christine Froehlich presents “Gardening With What You Have”
Christine Froehlich has had a long career in horticulture. She’ll share her expertise, first as a gardener, then, after training at the New York Botanical Garden, as the owner of a garden design and maintenance company, which she operated for 25 years in Connecticut. She has published articles in Fine Gardening, American Gardener, Country Gardens, American Nurseryman, The Upstate Gardeners Journal, 585 Magazine, and Rochester Magazine. After moving to upstate New York, she taught classes at the Rochester Civic Garden Center, and later served as their executive director. She continues to work as a garden designer, consultant, and lecturer.
November 16, 2019
John Forti presents “Edible Landscapes – For Health, Habitat, Families and the Future”
John Forti is a garden historian, ethnobotanist, and garden writer. He will explore how to eat locally and enjoy the fruits of your own labor. This talk delves into planting edible gardens and landscapes that offer healthy alternatives to our lawns and hedges.
October 19, 2019
Teri Chace presents “Seeing Seeds: A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit”
Teri Chace is a writer and editor with more than 35 titles in publications. She has written and blogged for four major consumer gardening/outdoor-living publications: Horticulture, North American Gardener, Backyard Living, and Birds and Blooms. Teri will discuss her book Seeing Seeds: A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit.