photo: Brigid Armbrust. 2017 at Thetford Elementary School, Thetford VT.
Presented on April 18, 2015 at 'Bees: To Be, Or Not' at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT. Event hosted by the Upper Valley Sierra Club. Contact Cat to schedule a presentation for your group.
This single page chart VT Plants that Attract Beneficial Insects, by Bloom Time is a sample of Vermont native plants that are a high value to pollinators and beneficial insects, arranged by bloom time. The list is by no means complete. It is intended as a helpful tool in choosing common native plants that can provide a full season of blooms attractive to beneficial insects.
This presentation covers the impact of agriculture on our environment and the solutions underfoot. Learn the fundamentals of where food comes from and how your daily food choices are directly connected to soil health, the soil food web, water cycles, the human micro biome, ocean dead zones and climate change. We end with a series of accessible positive solutions. Engaging powerpoint with Q&A.
This presentation was designed for elementary school students to describe the basics of nutrient cycling and nutrient management.
This presentation features some of Cat's edible landscaping at schools and in community gardens, and highlights the Upper Valley Apple Corps who plant fruit and nut trees in public spaces throughout the Upper Valley, all free-for-the pickin.
Learn to reduce your trash size and smell, improve the health of your lawn and garden, and save money! Cat’s enthusiastic and simple approach will surely activate your interest and demystify the processes of composting. She’ll cover the spectrum of practical compost ingredients, bins and styles, the conflicting lists of compost do’s and don’ts, and the role of compost in managing soil health.
Making the Most of Composting at School
Composting at school is often the least expensive and most educationally rich option for managing food waste, enriching garden and schoolyard soil, and even managing flooding and drought! Composting is easy to do but it does require planning to ensure that everyone's comfort zone is considered. This presentation includes a basic overview of hot composting with a focus on the best practices for planning for your compost site, bin design, and recipe development, sprinkled with a variety of curriculum connections. Bring your concerns, questions, fears, and skepticism. Cat's enthusiasm and knowledge will leave you feeling confident and inspired.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Changing the Waste Culture at School
It typically takes two years to get a handle on the systems needed to improve waste management and to affect behavior changes in both staff and students at school. This two-part presentation identifies best practices for gaining compliance with Act 148: Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, reviews available options, and covers the recommended timeline, steps, systems, and support that are necessary to have in place before you begin composting at school.
With Cat's plan, the first year is typically dedicated to building the systems and support needed to shift the waste culture in your school. This presentation includes detailed steps for on-the-ground implementation of source separation of recycling and organics with an ultimate goal of waste reduction and positive behavior change.
Composting on site at school is often the least expensive and most educationally rich option. It's easy to do but it does require planning to ensure that everyone's comfort zone is considered. To avoid common mistakes, Cat recommends taking it slow and steady, and to plan for composting in year two. This presentation includes a basic overview of composting with a focus on the best practices for planning for your compost site, bin design, and recipe development.
Lists the steps involved in organizing a school waste source separation program.
Building the Soil Carbon Sponge
We'll talk about enhancing photosynthesis, capturing water, alternatives to tilling soil, and other systems for enabling the soil microbiome to flourish and vastly improve nutrient uptake in plants. Learn simple techniques for building the soil carbon sponge in your lawn, the vegetable and flower beds, and in the orchard. We’ll discuss the basics of techniques like composting, incorporating cover crops and green manures, hugelkultur, mulching, and using plant guilds to support ecosystem services and bank nutrients.
This Rots! Demystifying Compost
Reduce your trash size and smell, feed the soil and save money by composting. Learn to integrate a compost system in to your home kitchen and garden without a lot of fuss. Learn about the spectrum of possible and practical compost pile ingredients and compost bins, the role of compost in soil management, and the conflicting lists of compost do’s and don’ts. This class will cover the different management styles and recipes needed for backyard and community gardens. Can take place at any site with a compost bin. Cat's enthusiastic and simple approach to composting will surely activate your interest and demystify the process.
Starting Up A Garden
Learn the basics of what to plan for when starting your garden. Class is suitable for beginning gardeners. Topics include: Design logic, planning for succession crops, preparing soil, crop rotation, frost and sun protection, hardening plants, seeding tips, timing and temperature, thinning, irrigation and using mulch.
Sow! Seeding and Transplanting
The class will suit those who have a garden space mostly set and are ready to plant, but are unsure how to proceed, are looking for new ideas, or are looking for a boost of confidence or inspiration. You’ll learn the basic steps to coax seeds and seedlings into becoming healthy productive plants and some tools and tricks to help nurture them through our often dicey New England growing conditions. Topics include: Seeding and transplanting tips, thinning, succession plantings, frost and sun protection, crop rotation, companion planting, foliar feeding and top dressing.
With a focus on edible and medicinal perennials this class will help you to plan for maximum diversity, high production, low maintenance, and year-round ecosystem services that also provide a beautiful garden landscape full of height, texture, and color, where there is always something in bloom. We’ll learn about soil health, mulching, polycultures, and community building above and below the ground. Can take place in your garden with a pre-event site visit.
Up! Staking and Pruning
Learn the timing and pruning techniques that will help you to produce stronger plants, tastier fruit, extended bloom times, and an attractive garden plot. We’ll help you feel more comfortable about when and where to slice, cut, or trim. I’ll cover several crops and will share secrets for growing amazing tomatoes. Can take place in your garden with a pre-event site visit.
Topics include: crops to grow up, creative trellising, basic staking and training, pruning tender plants and hardy trees, thinning seedlings and fruits, continuous blooms.
Key Gardening Moments
This talk and walk through your garden space will suit beginning to intermediate gardeners who are looking to expand their knowledge, get a boost of confidence, or be inspired to try some new tricks in the garden to maximize production. We'll identify key seasonal moments and share some tools and tricks to keep your garden thriving through our often dicey New England growing conditions. Topics to include: Amending soil, compost teas, spotting and managing pests, seeding and transplanting tips, thinning and pruning, succession planting, season extension.
Extend! Cover Crops, Fall Crops, and Season Extension
The garden can get pretty wild looking in mid July, but if properly managed it will provide new, tender crops well in to autumn. We’ll show you how to fill the empty spaces with fall crops, re-energize existing growth, determine if a cover crop is right for you, and show you some tricks and tools for extending the season and curing your veggies for winter storage.
Topics include: Timing the last planting, late pruning, prepare for garlic, cold hearty crops, fall cover crops, fall season extension, curing.
Contact Cat to schedule a presentation for your school or community group.