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Wild Seed Project: Returning native plants to the Maine landscape

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Members-Only Tour: Garden in the Woods

Heather McCargo was inspired to start Wild Seed Project while working as the lead plant propagator at Native Plant Trust’s Garden in the Woods in the 1990s. Members are invited to join Heather on an intimate walking tour of Garden in the Woods to hear the Wild Seed Project origin story in the place where it all started.

Please note: attendees are responsible for their own transportation and meals.

In Person: Wild Edibles Walk with Russ Cohen

Fort Williams Park 1000 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth

Southern Maine is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join Russ Cohen, wild edibles enthusiast and author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, on a three-hour ramble through Fort Williams, to learn about over two dozen species of edible wild plants. Russ has documented over 40 wild and tasty species at Fort Williams: native species like Staghorn Sumac, Black Elderberry and Wild Bergamot; non-native weeds, like Chicory, Day Lily and Ox-eye Daisy; and invasive species, like Japanese Knotweed. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging.

Register here.

About Russ Cohen:
Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation, which is connecting to nature via his taste buds, and assisting others in doing the same. Russ is now playing the role of “Johnny Appleseed” for edible native species. He has set up a small nursery (in Weston., MA) where he grows/keeps over 1,000 plants that he propagates from seed (some of which he collected himself), as well as obtains from other sources, such as the Native Plant Trust. He is then partnering with land trusts, cities and towns, schools and colleges, state and federal agencies, organic farms, tribal groups and others to plant plants from his nursery in appropriate places on their properties. Russ has initiated over two dozen such projects in the past six years.

In Person: Wild Edibles Walk with Russ Cohen

Viles Arboretum Augusta

Central Maine is home to over 80 species of edible wild plants, many of which are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join Russ Cohen, wild edibles enthusiast and author of Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten, on a three-hour ramble through the Viles Arboretum, to learn about over two dozen species of edible wild plants. Russ has documented over 50 wild and tasty species in the Arboretum: native species like Wild Strawberry, Nannyberry and Hazelnut; non-native weeds, like Salsify, Chicory, Burdock; and invasive species, like Autumn Olive. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging.

Learn more and register with Viles Arboretum.

About Russ Cohen

Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation, which is connecting to nature via his taste buds, and assisting others in doing the same. Russ is now playing the role of “Johnny Appleseed” for edible native species. He has set up a small nursery (in Weston., MA) where he grows/keeps over 1,000 plants that he propagates from seed (some of which he collected himself), as well as obtains from other sources, such as the Native Plant Trust. He is then partnering with land trusts, cities and towns, schools and colleges, state and federal agencies, organic farms, tribal groups and others to plant plants from his nursery in appropriate places on their properties. Russ has initiated over two dozen such projects in the past six years.

Just for Members: Private Tour of Avena Botanicals

Avena Botanicals Herb Farm 219 Mill St, Rockport

Join WSP Founder Heather McCargo and Deb Soule, founder of Avena Botanical’s herbal apothecary in Rockport ME, for a private tour of the Avena gardens. In the late 1990’s Heather worked closely with Deb on a masterplan design for the new property Avena had purchased for the expanded herb farm on an old Maine farm surrounded by woodlands and conservation land. Deb Soule is a gifted organic grower and teacher on herbal uses of plants, many of them native species. This enchanting garden is the headquarters of Avena’s FDA-approved medicinal processing facility as well as where the location where the bulk of the herbs are lovingly grown.

Please note: attendees are responsible for their own transportation. Wild Seed Project members will receive a registration invitation for this event in late June. Not a member? Join today!

Interested in hosting a Wild Seed Project event? Read about what we offer for walks, talks, and workshops here, then contact us to set something up.

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