Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM EDT
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Flynt Center for Early New Life 
37D Old Main St.
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA 01342

Driving Directions 


Julie Orvis 
Historic Deerfield 

Plants and Place: Native Flora in Western Massachusetts 


From their arrival in the 17th century, European colonists began noting changes in New England's ecology and landscape.  Their recorded impressions largely consisted of observations in the form of letters, diaries, pamphlets, and reports of discoveries.  Less common are plant specimens and paintings or drawings of plants that document the region's flora.  This program will consider the botanical diversity of western Massachusetts as revealed in herbaria - collections of plant specimens.

In the 19th century, the practice of gathering and preserving specimens became widespread among amateur botanists  interested in studying nature, in cataloguing the natural riches of the country, and in the medicinal and culinary uses of plants. Enthusiastic American "botanizers" included well-known figures such as Meriwether Lewis and Emily Dickinson, and numerous others relegated to obscurity. The herbarium of Deerfield physician Stephen West Williams (1790-1855) demonstrates the diversity and distribution of plants in the second decade of the 19th century, and provides a baseline for the presence of invasive species and endangered or extinct flora.

This one-day forum brings together a range of speakers for a lively discussion of the history, use, and preservation of herbaria in western Massachusetts.  At the end of the program participants  will have the opportunity to examine  restored pages of Stephen West Williams’s herbarium.

For a complete schedule of the day's events, visit: www.historic-deerfield.org.  Click on the link below to register online.