Mark posts with this category that are designated as news.

RIWPS Botanizing Walks – A most enjoyable way to learn about native plants!

RIWPS Botanizing Walk at Neutaconkanut Hill Park. On Thursday, October 4, about 16 enthusiastic RIWPS members and friends joined Joe Jamroz, advisory board member for the Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy, to enjoy spectacular views of Providence at Neutaconkanut Hill Park. Neutaconkanut by the way, means home of squirrels.

Rising nearly 300 feet above Narragansett Bay, this naturally forested park is situated in

Looking for rare species, time well spent

Doug McGrady, veteran RIWPS member and leader of numerous botanical walks and forays cited for his recent discovery of a population of chaff-seed (Schwalbea americana) in his work as a Plant Conservation Volunteer with the New England Wild Flower Society.

RIWPS Fall Plant Sale — And another 600 more native plants in the landscape!

Saturday August 25th was a great day for our public sale at Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market in Cranston giving more people opportunity to add native plants to their gardens as cooler weather approaches. And they did come! Not only our members and Cranston area shoppers but also from CT and MA.

Thank you to the volunteers who came to help customers choose plants, set up tables & tents and transported plants and particularly to the Seed Starters East for this sale and outside propagators who are critical to all our sales. The 600 plants sold help to support activities and speakers for RIWPS. Our members look forward to our yearly sales and the wide spring to fall variety of native wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees at affordable prices.

We depend heavily on generous volunteers throughout the year to organize these events and invite you to become one of them.Some tasks can be done at home – researching, designing our sale flyers or only require brief time commitment. Other tasks involve working with others year round.

We can use your help whatever your skills or level of knowledge of native plants. In fact volunteering provides opportunities to learn more about the plants and meet other RIWPS members. There are many tasks and we need more people to share the load. Please email plantsales@riwps.org and join an active group of volunteers who work hard to organize these sales. We have already started work on next year’s sale events so contact us to become part of the plant sales group.

2018 is a great year for RIWPS Spring native plant sales!

Our Early Sale in May was held at a new location – Casey Farm in Saunderstown. We were welcomed by the Coastal Growers Farmer’s Market and it was a good collaboration. Seed Starters West sold 90% of the plants they had brought to the sale and earned gross sales of nearly $10,000 – far exceeding last year’s gross sales! Our June sale was held at East Farm in Kingston. Great weather, many volunteers and so many plants! Again we surpassed last year’s gross sales! 

Together the May and June sales sent over 4,500 plants into Rhode Island and surrounging communities. People are looking to be good stewards of the landscape by adding more native plants and our sales are the best place to find a great selection of native flowers, shrubs, trees, ferns, and grasses and at reasonable prices. Our goal is to put as many native plants into the area for our native wildlife. Biodiverse, sustainable landscapes sustain life across the natural web. We include plants for all growing conditions so customers can find a plants suitable for their specific location.

 We offered over 200 different species this year. A few were new to the sale this year – Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry), Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed), Rubus odoratus (flowering raspberry), Cirsium discolor (field thistle). As all were well received we will continue to offer them next year. Our Seeds Starters are also working on cultivating additional species for next year.

We are now planning an additional plant sale to be held at the Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market in Cranston on Saturday, August 25. We will be highlighting a nice selection of fall bloomers – asters, goldenrods, hibiscus, milkweeds and some shrubs. Great plants to help out our native pollinators as other species are ending their bloom time.

 The foundation of our success is our great volunteers. The members of Seed Starters East work year round in Portsmouth, members of Seed Starters West work several months during late winter and through spring in Exeter and our many member propagators (Dick & Marty Fisher, Carolyn Curtis, John Wilson) – all raising plants to donate to our sales. ‘Thank You’ doesn’t seem enough for all you do. We also have many volunteers who help out at the sales or help transport plants or donate plants which they dig from their yards. Our volunteers are dedicated and generous giving of their time and talents. Their efforts have so far earned nearly $44,000 in gross sales. Proceeds underwrite the work of our Seed Starters as they learn the art and science of cultivating native plants, as well support our botanizing walks, lectures and other educational programs, our outreach through our website, monthy e-news and print publication, WildforaRI, and our annual grants.

 But we always need more volunteers – more people who will help share the many tasks involved in preparing for the sales. You have talent that can support our sales – computer skills, artistic talent, organizational and research interests – all play a part in putting together our great plant sales. Email plantsales@riwps.org to become part of an amazing group of people.

Native Plants Attract Birds, Bees and Curious Neighbors

Anne Raver, RIWPS Board Member with over 30 years of experience writing about landscapes and the environment, describes her experiences with her now three-year-old native garden.

RIWPS Annual Grant to support 3 different projects

Thanks to membership dues and other donations the RIWPS Annual Grant Committee was able to award $4,000 in grants this year.  The money will support a project to collect and document plants in Rhode Island and two public school projects to encourage budding young naturalists and botanists through onsite native plant gardens.

2018 – RIWPS grant awarded

  1. Tim Whitfeld – Brown University Herbarium – $2,000
    • Project to begin systematic, town by town herbarium collecting effort across Rhode Island.
  1. Fran Topping – Charlestown Elementary School – $1,500
    • The main portion would be obtaining native plants from RIWPS and local nurseries & through donations; preparing educational materials for teacher use in curriculum involving native plants, and signage to inform parents, teachers and children about the plants used. Improving the soil is also needed even though hardy natives are planned for, it is a very sandy area.
  1. Jane O’Connell – Gilbert Stuart Middle School – $500
    • Project to to plant Rhody native pollinator perennials in our outdoor classroom on our campus.

 

RIWPS Annual Volunteer Awards Go To ……..

With great pleasure, RIWPS announced the recipients of the Annual Volunteer Awards at the March 25 Annual Meeting which took place in the Pharmacy Building at the University of Rhode Island.