Irene was a member of RIWPS for more than thirty years starting in 1990. For many of these years she both actively shared her extraordinary knowledge of plants and her professional landscape talents to foster the mission of RIWPS and forged a shared sense of community among volunteers and members alike.
Irene readily assumed the role of plant expert, educating volunteers and responding to the requests of members for advice on how and what to plant. She offered programs on gardening with natives, especially on planting for seasonal interest and with a focus on design. In 1996 she served as one of representatives of RIWPS at a native plant conference cosponsored by RIWPS and fourteen other organizations.
Committed to building the organization, Irene served on the Membership Committee and the Harvest Dinner Committee. She also helped with and made donations to the Silent Auction Fundraisers.
For almost a decade Irene was a key member the Flower Show Committee and the wider team that created award winning educational native plant exhibits at the February Rhode Island Spring and Garden Show in Providence. In 1994, the first year of the exhibit, she served as co-chair. The exhibit, Bridge to Discovery: A Woodland Trail at the Nettie Jones Nature Preserve recreated a miniaturized snapshot of this location at the URI W. Alton Jones Campus, complete with a small replica of a bridge constructed from pieces of discarded wood from a bridge that was being replaced at the preserve. Visitors to the show welcomed RIWPS’ quiet woodland as a change from the formal garden exhibits and it received the Exhibitors’ Choice Award as the best of the twenty-seven demonstration gardens. Irene enjoyed the challenge of creating scenarios, sometimes with over 1,000 native plants representing over 100 native species, in mid winter. She took delight in returning many of these plants to the landscape where she nurtured them to flourish once again.
Above all, Irene is remembered by those who knew her at RIWPS for her, graciousness, kindness and generosity.