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2022-23 Saturday Speaker Series

April 15, 2023 
Changing Seasons: What Happens to Plants in a Less Predictable World?with Peter Guiden

Changing temperatures, varied rain, snowfall, and shifting seasons seem to suggest that plants will be more stressed and less productive in the future. But there are still many unknowns. Peter Guiden, assistant professor of biology at Hamilton College, will talk about his research on invasive plants, changing autumn conditions, and winter climate change affecting plants. Pete is a community ecologist, studying the interaction of living things. An important component of his research is understanding how humans alter these interactions through climate change, habitat loss, and the introduction of invasive species. He received a Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He enjoys bringing his research into the classroom, especially the chance to involve students in the effort to conserve and restore biodiversity on campus.

March 25, 2023    
“A Farm-to-Table Eatery Takes a Leap of Faith…How We Came to Support NYS Wines” with Tim Hardiman

The Tailor and the Cook restaurant has been one of the brightest spots in Utica’s rich culinary nightlife for the past decade. When it was conceived, owner and executive chef Tim Hardiman envisioned offering provocative cuisine and top-notch service in a comfortable atmosphere. They endeavored to do this in a location and neighborhood rich with local history. Obtaining local products is of the utmost importance to The Tailor and the Cook. Sourcing ingredients from New York State farms allows them to cook with the seasons and serve the freshest and most creative dishes. In turn, this business model enhances the environmental and economic health of the community. Tim will talk about how they came to recognize and promote the unique quality of New York State wines. You will learn about cool climate viticulture, the wine varietals of NYS, and much more about the wine industry of New York and how it became a passion project for Hardiman and a core tenet of the mission of his business. 

February 25, 2023 
“Tree Planting Today” with Scott Brinitzer ’85

Scott Brinitzer '85, one of Hamilton Arboretum's advisory committee members, will share his 34 years of experience as a landscape architect as he discusses the importance of trees, and how culture, public policy, and the environment are directing tree selection and planting. His landscape architecture and garden design firm based in Arlington, Virginia, Scott Brinitzer Design Associates, has worked with individual homeowners, neighborhoods, and county officials to plant hundreds of trees. Scott's designs and projects have won awards such as the APLD International Gold, Monrovia International Landscape Design, and Arlington Excellence in Design. His work has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens and This Old House.

February 11, 2023
“Modern Orchard Sustainability” with Jason Townsend

Jason Townsend will talk about modern orchard sustainability, with a focus on apples, including grafting techniques and New York’s burgeoning group of small farm hard cider crafters. Jason is a farmer with a passion for producing high-quality, sustainable, local food. He will also tell us about the apple tree varieties and cultural techniques that have his 500+ tree organic orchard thriving at Kingfisher Farm, the certified organic vegetable and fruit farm his family owns in Oneida County. Jason is also a conservation biologist and Professor of Instruction in biology at Hamilton. He has done fieldwork in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, California, Hawai'i, New Hampshire, and New York. He is particularly interested in the wildlife benefits of organic and sustainable farming techniques. His farming work focuses on agroecology and sustainability at the local level, and he has managed farms in the Hudson Valley, Finger Lakes, and California’s Central Valley. Many current and former Hamilton students have worked on Kingfisher Farm to experience a sustainable farming operation first-hand.

November 19, 2022
“A Survey of Mushroom Use by Humans: From Neolithic and Chinese Medicine to Current Psychotherapy” with Thomas Horton

Did you know…? A mushroom is the fleshy, fruiting body of a fungus, and a toadstool generally denotes one poisonous to humans. Some researchers view historical mushroom use primarily as a facilitator for shamanic or spiritual experiences, positing that the ingestion of psilocybin (a compound produced by more than 200 species of fungi) was perhaps primary in the formation of language and culture and identifying psychedelic mushrooms as the original “Tree of Knowledge.”

Thomas Horton is a professor of mycorrhizal ecology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. His research interests include the development and use of techniques to identify fungi and symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants. Horton is the recipient of the 2014 William A. Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Mycological Society of America.

October 8, 2022
Galanthophilia, A Good Kind of Love” with Ernest Cavallo 

Ernest Cavallo has spent the last decade studying Galanthus, or snowdrop, including experimenting with cultivars, identifying best practices to encourage blooming and multiplication, and propagating and selling rare specimens. Through his own research and information from the generous Galanthus community in the UK, he has learned much which he is eager to share. Born and raised in New Jersey by non-gardening parents, Ernie discovered the soil as a young man in his twenties and has never had clean hands since. The month before he retired from a position in the NY State Court System in 2008, he read an article in The Garden about Colesbourne Park in the UK. He decided to treat himself to a trip and fell in love with Galanthus. He has 40 years of gardening experience, is a New York Botanical Garden volunteer, and is a member of the NYBG Horticulture Committee.

September 10, 2022 
Imperfectly Perfect: How to Garden In Impossible Placeswith Christine Froehlich

Every landscape comes with its own set of challenges. Success comes about when you figure out how to make it work in spite of them. At first glance, some sites can seem impossible, but damp boggy areas, dry shade, root-ridden soil, deer, and other planting nightmares don’t have to stop you from having a beautiful garden. Matching the plants to the site is the key to ensuring an attractive, sustainable landscape. Garden designer Christine Froehlich has done her fair share of banging her shovel against rocks, roots, and clumpy clay soil and trying to figure out what plants have a chance of surviving. Close observation of plants in their natural habitat and willingness to experiment have played an important role in her work. She’ll take you through the process of identifying the limitations of a site, working with it, and choosing the appropriate plants. Her slide lecture shows the transformation of a variety of seemingly impossible spots into beautiful and sustainable landscapes.

2021-22 Saturday Speaker Series

April 23, 2022 
The War of the Weeds” with Teri Dunn Chace

In an intriguing, empowering presentation based on her best-selling Timber Press titled How to Eradicate Invasive Plants, Teri discusses weeds and invasive plants in the minds of gardeners, landscapers, park managers, and more. Geared towards the layman, Teri defines “weed,” and discusses the scope of the problem and what gardeners can realistically expect to achieve in their battle. She reviews a variety of low- and non-toxic ways to fight back, saving herbicides for last. The presentation wraps up with short profiles and a discussion of 10-12 common problem plants in the region. Teri has over 35 books in publication, and her latest title, Landscaping for Dummies, was released in the Spring of 2022. Raised in Santa Barbara, California, and educated at Bard College in New York, she resides in a small village in the heart of central New York’s farm country.

March 23, 2022
Bluebirds -- And More! with John Rogers

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.

February 19, 2022
Sustainable Management of Forest Productswith James Chamberlain

Jim Chamberlain, of the U.S. Forest Service, will discuss his research into the non-timber forest products industry, including food, medicine, floral, and decorative products. To manage biodiversity, we must consider the understory vegetation that is harvested for subsistence and commercial gain. People who harvest these products often represent a part of society that lives on the margins of the economy. They rely on plants for income to make it through rough times, and for many families, the consumption of these products helps to ensure food security. Sustainable management of forest resources ensures that they remain available to members of society in perpetuity. 

January 29, 2022
Power Up Garden Beauty, Power Down Garden Maintenance” with Kerry Ann Mendez

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.

November 20, 2021
How Might Our Forests Change in Response to Climate Change? One Clue is Their History” with Neil Pederson

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.

2020-21 Saturday Speaker Series

May 8, 2021
“The Spirit of Stone” with Jan Johnson

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 MagazineLandscape ArchitectureEast 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
“Why We Need Bees” with Scott Hart

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
“Foraging for Vibrant Color” with Rebecca Murtaugh

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
“Where Did All of These Crows Come From? The Migration and Behavior of Utica’s Crows” with Andrea Townsend

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 the West Nile virus and foodborne pathogens in crows. 

January 16, 2021
“Forests of Hamilton College: An Iconography of Thunder-Beings” with Steve Bick

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. 

2019-20 Saturday Speaker Series

April 11, 2020
“Ornamental Gardening” with Amy Ziffer

Amy Ziffer, the 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 GardeningHorticulture, and Yankee magazines, Reader’s Digest books, and other publications. Amy’s specialty is cold-climate ornamental gardening in the Northeast United States.

February 15, 2020
“Wood Decay Fungi or is Your Tree in Trouble?”* with Chris Luley

Chris Luley is the president/pathologist of Urban Forest Diagnostics in Naples, New York. 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
“Gardening With What You Have” with Christine Froehlich

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 GardeningAmerican GardenerCountry GardensAmerican NurserymanThe Upstate Gardeners Journal585 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
“Edible Landscapes – For Health, Habitat, Families and the Future” with John Forti

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
“Seeing Seeds:  A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit” with Teri Dunn Chace

Teri Dunn 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: HorticultureNorth American GardenerBackyard Living, and Birds & Blooms. Teri will discuss her book Seeing Seeds:  A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit.

2018-19 Saturday Speaker Series

May 4, 2019
“Ikenobo” with Darryl King

Darryl has been a member of the Ikenobo school of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) for over 35 years. In his 32 years in Japan, he studied Ikenobo with a teacher at her home in Kyoto, where he acquired his teaching license. While in Japan, he also participated in international workshops in Japan, Canada, and the USA, attended lectures and demonstrations by the Headmaster and highly-ranked professors, and was chosen to exhibit his arrangements at the Ikenobo headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. He will give a presentation introducing himself and the Ikenobo school in addition to explaining some of his interesting experiences. Ikenobo is the oldest school of Japanese flower arranging, so old and new styles of arrangements will be discussed.

April 6, 2019
“Jazzing Up the Garden with Color, Contrast, and Movement” with Karen Bussolini

Karen Bussolini’s presentation gives gardeners simple, intuitive ways of thinking about combining plants that anyone can use easily – without angst or a color wheel. Starting with simple combinations, and an explanation of how the gardener uses color or texture, gesture, light-reflecting qualities, repetition, color echoes, and other qualities, the talk progresses to more complex schemes.

February 16, 2019
“The Forests of Hamilton College” with Steve Bick

Steve Bick is a father and a forester and sometimes a researcher and a writer. His work as a forestry consultant involves stewardship, education, and applied research. In 2017, he completed a forest carbon inventory and stewardship plan for Hamilton College’s woodlands.

January 26, 2019
“Plant Health Care: The Most Recent in Pruning, Planting, and Mulching” with Fred Breglia

Fred joins our series again! Fred is a certified, award-winning arborist with over 26 years of experience in the green industry. He is a recognized speaker on both campuses and radio shows. His most frequented radio show, WAMC’s VOX Pop Radio Show, even nicknamed him “Tree Man,” affirming his legacy within the Capital District. His presentation focuses on developing and maintaining healthy plants so they become less susceptible to problems.

November 17, 2018
“Gardening Simplified: Exceptional Plants and Design Solutions for Busy and Maturing Gardeners” with Kerry Ann Mendez

Kerry is dedicated to teaching the art of low-maintenance flower gardening and landscaping, featuring time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants, and sustainable practices. Her gardens have been featured in many gardening magazines, including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate, and Better Homes and Gardens.

October 20, 2018
“Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener’s Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit” with Matthew Benson

Matthew Benson’s new book Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener’s Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit highlights that with the paradigm shift toward local and homegrown food, gardeners and foodies have come to relish beautiful vegetable gardens and beautiful meals. He writes that beauty inspires behavior, and he believes that we can and will eat better, be healthier, and live more sustainably when we grow food that is visually enticing.

2017-18 Saturday Speaker Series

April 28, 2018
“The World of Laura Ingalls” with Marta McDowell

Marta McDowell lives, writes, and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Woman's Day, Fine Gardening, and the New York Times. Scholars and specialists have read her essays on American authors and their horticultural interests in the journals Hortus and Arnoldia. Marta will discuss, among other things, her new book on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

March 17, 2018
“The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh” with Kathryn Aalto

Kathryn Aalto is a landscape designer, historian, lecturer, and nonfiction writer. She has written two books, including the New York Times bestselling The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (Timber Press). Her presentation will be focused on the natural world of Winnie-the-Pooh. For the past 25 years, her focus has been on places where nature and culture intersect: teaching literature about nature and place, designing gardens, and writing about the natural world.

February 17, 2018
“All About Roses” with Leon Ginenthal

Leon Ginenthal has been growing roses for 30 years, and 12 years ago he built Der Rosenmeister Nursery on what was once a hilly hayfield. Leon grows many varieties of roses, both new and old, and starts them all in a specialty blend of GreenTree soil. The rose-selling season lasts from May to July 4th. In addition to working for the Ithaca City School District, Leon also grows bonsai trees and raises white pigeons for release at local events. It is evident from the terraces of Der Rosenmeister Nursery that he also has a passion for re-purposing old treasures.

January 27, 2018
“Building Soils for Better Results in all Locations” with Fred Breglia

Fred Breglia is the executive director of the Landis Arboretum and a certified arborist with more than 26 years of experience in the green industry. He is a nationally known, award-winning arborist, frequent speaker, and educator. Capital District residents know him well as the “Tree Man,” a regular guest on WAMC’s Vox Pop Radio Show. Breglia has been employed for more than 15 years at Landis Arboretum. 

November 11, 2017
“The Herbaceous Peonies and Woody Peonies of Dr. A.P. Saunders” with Harvey Buchite

Harvey Buchite has been growing peonies for over 40 years. He and his wife operate Hidden Springs Flower Farm in Spring Grover, Minnesota, where they grow over 600 varieties of peonies, including many rare Saunders peonies. As a published author of many articles on peonies, his research helps to bring you a wealth of new peony information in a practical, easy-to-understand, and colorful format. Enjoy an unprecedented presentation of 72 of Dr. Saunders’ landmark and historic herbaceous peony creations developed while he was a professor at Hamilton College. Harvey also developed a presentation that features a wide range of woody peonies created by Dr. Saunders that form the basis of many modern lutea tree peony hybrids we enjoy today.

October 21, 2017
“Seeing Flowers” with Teri Dunn Chace

Teri Dunn Chace is a writer and editor with over 35 titles in publication. She has also written, edited, and blogged extensively for four major consumer gardening/outdoor-living publications (Horticulture, North American Gardener, Backyard Living, and Birds and Blooms). She is the award-winning “Bottom Line Personal” newsletter’s gardening expert and contributes regularly. Raised in California and educated at Bard College in New York, she resides in a small upstate New York village with glorious summers and snowy winters. “Seeing Flowers” is an engrossing, narrated hour-long talk based on her best-selling Timber Press title of the same name. Learn why flowers look and behave the way they do, why certain plants are placed in certain families, and how pollination works, plus some amazing and entertaining stories from the era of plant hunters. View gorgeous photographs by Robert Llewellyn (she will explain his “image-stacking” technique).

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