Greening Greenfield holding retreat on designing native habitats

  • A pollinator at work on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls last summer. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report
Published: 2/18/2020 4:49:20 PM

GREENFIELD — Those involved in Greening Greenfield’s Planting for Pollinators campaign have learned a lot about how to support birds and pollinators, but finding the time and resources to make their visions a reality can be difficult.

To address this challenge, Greening Greenfield has partnered with Woolman Hill, a Quaker retreat center on 110 acres in Deerfield, to offer a full weekend retreat called “How to Design Native Habitats for People, Pollinators and the Planet,” to be held March 6 to March 8. Early registration is required, and is open now.

“Woolman Hill is thrilled to be working with Greening Greenfield on this weekend,” said Margaret Cooley, Woolman Hill Retreat Center director. “We have been looking for opportunities to expand our connection to the local community, as well as to increase programming focused on the natural world, and are delighted to see this taking shape in such a hands-on way.”

According to a Greening Greenfield press release, Desiree Narango, a research scientist whose talk on chickadees last spring inspired this retreat, will kick off the weekend on Friday evening with a talk on her latest research on what makes a yard friendly for pollinators and birds.

Connor Stedman, ecological designer and climate resilience educator at AppleSeed Permaculture, will then work with participants over the weekend on how to bring this vision to reality.

“We are excited to be working with Connor Stedman because he has experience designing landscapes that support wildlife with clear awareness of the challenges brought by our changing climate,” said Dorothea Sotiros, who worked with Greening Greenfield to make this weekend retreat possible.

Saturday morning, after talking about design principles, the group will explore where Woolman Hill plans to plant a hedgerow that will include trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. The group will work collectively on several possible designs.

After lunch and free time, each person can choose to work on a project they have brought with them, or on a community project such as a garden at the Greenfield Energy Park, the release states. In the evening, there will be an optional group activity.

On Sunday, the weekend will wrap up with an early nature walk with Ted Watt, naturalist at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, followed by one-on-one discussion and sharing of the many projects people are working on.

For more information and to register, visit


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