First Friday: Planting Ideas - Artists and scientists on the fascinating essence of five common plants

Mill Valley, Calif.— In this modern age, art and science are often considered to be at the opposite ends of a spectrum. The thought goes that art is ruled by passion and emotion; science, by data and reason. Yet as it turns out, art and science have more in common than not. On Friday, April 4th, as part of the Mill Valley Public Library’s after-hours First Friday series, the Library will present “Planting Ideas,” a convergence between art and science, as guest speakers from four different disciplines meet to discuss the intriguing nature of five common plants.

The Library’s guests will include poet Amy Glynn (author, A Modern Herbal), ethnobotanist Jolie Lonner Egert (Go Wild Consulting), watershed consultant Apryl Uncapher (co-author, Creating Rain Gardens), and seed company co-founder and ecological interior designer N. Astrid Hoffman (The Living Seed Company).

The focus of the evening will be on a handful of plant species--including grape, heartsease (violas), chamise (a California shrub), maple, and sunflower--as seen through the lenses of Glynn, Egert, Uncapher and Hoffman. In discussing these rich and varied species, each guest will bring her unique background and perspective to the conversation, together painting a lively and multifaceted portrait of seemingly quotidian plants. For the poet, for example, heartsease brings up connotations of A Midsummer Night's Dream and love potions, while for the ethnobotanist, one of heartsease's most interesting facets is its elaborate reproductive habits. From literary references and medicinal uses, to seed dispersal and cultivation strategies, fire ecology, water use, misuse, and more, a variety of topics will be touched upon, providing a fascinating look into five common, yet curious, plants.

Part of the Mill Valley Public Library’s ongoing series of First Friday events, Planting Ideas will take place April 4th at 7 pm in the Library’s Main Reading Room. A wine reception for pre-registered guests will begin at 6:30 pm. This event is free, but registration is recommended. First Friday events are open to adults and high school students only. To register, call 415-389-4292, ext. 3 or sign up online at www.millvalleylibrary.org.

As an added bonus, attendees of First Friday: Planting Ideas will have the first chance to check out seeds from SeedSmart, the Mill Valley Library’s new seed lending library. Through SeedSmart, the Library encourages those in the community to "borrow, grow, and share." Users will "borrow" seeds of their choosing from the seed library, "grow" the seeds and their knowledge about gardening, and then "share" by returning some of the next-generation seeds and telling us about their seed-growing experiences. SeedSmart will open to the wider public on Monday, April 7th. For more information about SeedSmart, visit www.millvalleylibrary.org/seedsmart.

About our Presenters:
Amy Glynn is a poet whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 2010 and 2012. She has been a recipient of a James Merrill House fellowship, the Mona van Duyn Scholarship at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Poetry Northwest's Carolyn Kizer award. Her poetry collection A Modern Herbal was released by Measure Press in November 2013. She lives in Lafayette, California. 

Apryl Uncapher is an ecological designer dedicated to rainwater harvesting modeled on nature's examples. Co-author of the San Francisco Rainwater Harvesting Guide and Creating Rain Gardens, Apryl has consulted on a variety of integrative stormwater management and water recycling projects for more than a decade. With a degree in innovative design engineering from Purdue University and accredited as a LEED professional, Apryl continually sources opportunities to participate in water projects that inspire a sustainable water consciousness.

Jolie Egert is the owner of Go Wild Consulting, a company that fosters healthy ecosystems and our connections to them. She received her master's degree in Natural Resources/Forestry from Humboldt State University, where she studied sustainable forestry practices. Jolie is Adjunct Faculty at the College of Marin and she regularly teaches at diverse venues in the Bay Area. She has served as the President of the Marin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is a Certified Forester and Permaculture Designer. You can learn more about her work at www.gowildconsulting.com.

N. Astrid Hoffman is a native of Colombia and was raised in Miami Beach. After being formally trained as an interior designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Astrid moved to California to forge a deeper connection with the land.  She incorporated her studies as a designer with her environmental sensibilities, beginning her career as an ecological interior designer. She expanded her knowledge and acquired a Certificate in Green Building and Permaculture, as well as becoming LEED accredited. While working in the design field she saw the need for more sustainable practices, and launched her firm Astrid Design Studio. Astrid is also the co-founder of The Living Seed Company.

About the Mill Valley Public Library's First Friday Series: Debuting in January 2011 in celebration of the Mill Valley Public Library's centennial year, the ongoing First Fridays series features thought-provoking narratives, ideas, performances, and presentations. All events in the series take place after-hours in the Library's beautiful Main Reading Room.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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