Eco-tour: Exploring the Demonstration Meadows at Helia Native Nursery
Fri, September 9, 2022 @ 10:00 am EDT - 12:00 pm EDT
Explore three beautiful meadows at Helia Native Nursery. Learn about the importance of a meadow ecosystem, different methods for meadow building and how to maintain existing meadows to maximize wildlife benefits. Helia Native Nursery is situated on Sky Meadow Farm, a beautiful 109-acre farm in Alford, Massachusetts. Our mission is to preserve native genotypes through creating seed banks on the farm and propagating native plants in our nursery.
Helia’s land stewardship on the farm focuses on restoring wildflower meadows for pollinators. Planted 4 and 5 years ago, this tour will feature three mature meadows that demonstrate a variety of planting techniques, seeding and planting, and different maintenance strategies. There will be discussion of invasive species control, meadow mowing regimens, and meadow disturbance opportunities.
All of the meadows display rich color palettes, showing what can be achieved using native plants. The meadows are all designed with four season interest – a feature that invites frequent visits to experience the changing views.
An important feature of well-designed meadows is the opportunity for habitat restoration. Plant selections consider the various stages of pollinator life cycles and provide appropriate plants for each. Join tour guide, Bridghe McCracken to learn more.
Bridghe McCracken is the founder of Helia Land Design and has over 20 years experience in land stewardship, as well as designing landscapes, gardens and beautiful food systems. Bridghe has a BA in Biology from Colorado College, is a certified Organic Landcare Professional from the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, a certified Horticulturist from MCLA, is a Massachusetts Master Gardener and is a graduate and advanced practitioner of the Four Winds Society.
In 2006 she began a partnership with Project Native, as their Chief Landscape Designer, which allowed her to stay abreast of the latest available native plants. Bridghe has also lectured and taught throughout the Northeast. Bridghe also spent time as a Peace Corps volunteer working with under-served communities toward their goal of food security and greater health, which continues to inform her work today.
After the closing of Project Native in 2015, Bridghe launched Helia Native Nursery, continuing her mission of bringing native plants into the public domain. That same year, the nursery found its permanent home, Sky Meadow Farm -a 109 acre farm in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Here, Bridghe has founded her own workshop series, educating landscape professionals, homeowners and land managers around sustainable land stewardship, native plant design and propagation
- Penny Lewis