The Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program will be offering its second Butterfly and Native Plant Garden Open House of the summer on Saturday, July 15, from 10am to 4pm, and a concurrent Gardening with Native Plants workshop (10am-noon) and Exploring Columbia County Butterflies workshop (1pm-3pm) at the Creekhouse (1075 Harlemville Road, Ghent). All are free and open to the public.

The Open House will include a Butterfly House stocked for the event with a variety of local butterfly species from surrounding fields, a Native Plant garden showcasing different garden habitats, and a StoryWalk for children along our small Creekhouse trail featuring the story Monarch and Milkweed, following the life of a Monarch butterfly and its special relationship with Milkweed. Visitors are welcome to drop by throughout the Open House, and Farmscape Ecology Program staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer brief tours of the Butterfly House and Native Plant Garden.

The Gardening with Native Plants workshop (10am-noon) will be facilitated by Farmscape Ecology Program botanist Claudia Knab-Vispo and botany technician Josie Laing, and will introduce participants in more depth to the Native Plant Garden, its many native pollinator plants, and how it can serve as an example of a rewilding residential landscape. During the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to get to know easily grown native pollinator plants, see examples of perennial beds of different ages (including a meadow developing from a former lawn, a dry meadow, a wet meadow, a woodland, and a natural “water garden”), learn how to manage these areas, and take home seeds and small potted plants from a pop-up native plant nursery. Participants will also learn about the Farmscape Ecology Program’s experience establishing, monitoring, and maintaining native meadows at a variety of different locations in the Hudson Valley, and are invited to bring questions and discuss different native plant gardening scenarios. Advanced registration is required by email.

The Exploring Columbia County Butterflies workshop (10am-noon) will be led by Farmscape Ecology Program Wildlife Ecologist Conrad Vispo and will provide participants with an opportunity to observe a variety of local butterflies, learn about the rarer butterflies of Columbia County, get an introduction to the tools of butterfly observation, and explore a display of historical butterfly books illustrating the evolution of Northeast butterfly knowledge and its role in public natural history education. Registration is requested by email, but walk-ins are welcome.

This is the second of three summer opportunities (final date will be August 26) to visit the Butterfly House and Native Plant Garden and participate in accompanying events at the Farmscape Ecology Program.

The Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program is a small research and outreach initiative dedicated to helping people explore the ecological, agricultural, and cultural landscape of Columbia County.