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Interlochen Center for the Arts to offer free public gardening, ecology seminars

From June to October, Sustainability staff will lead monthly programs in composting, seed saving, native flora and fauna, and more.

Interlochen gardeners show off handfuls of cherry tomatoes

Interlochen Center for the Arts will offer a series of gardening workshops this summer and fall.

From June to October, Interlochen’s sustainability staff invite the local community to join them for five 90-minute sessions on gardening and local ecology. Hosted in the R.B. Annis Botanical Laboratory, the programs will introduce participants to topics such as native flora and fauna, composting, and herb gardening. All sessions are free and open to the public.

“Interlochen has made a commitment to embrace sustainability,” said Emily Umbarger, Sustainability Manager and Instructor of Agricultural Sciences at Interlochen Center for the Arts. “We hope to bring our community together in a meaningful way to explore various topics of sustainability that can be used at home or on campus. We are also excited to partner with Oryana this year to bring our attendees local, healthy, organic snacks! All are invited to attend!”

In May, Interlochen Arts Academy was recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. The award recognizes schools, districts, and Institutions of Higher Education that reduce environmental impact and cost, improve the health and wellness of their students and staff, and provide effective environmental and sustainability education. The Academy was the only institution in the state of Michigan to receive the designation this year.

You can learn more about the R. B. Annis Botanical Lab and Community Garden and other Interlochen Center for the Arts sustainability efforts at Registration for these programs is not required. A schedule and course descriptions can be found below.

June 26 - Gardening 101
Are you interested in learning how to garden? Have you ever wondered which would be the very best vegetables to try to grow successfully in northern Michigan? Join us as we explore the basics of gardening. Participants will learn about soil preparation, sun conditions, plant needs, and walk away with a host of resources to help start your very own successful garden.

July 24 - Aquatic Native Communities at Green Lake & Duck Lake
Are you familiar with the native aquatic flora and fauna surrounding Green and Duck Lakes? Are you able to identify which species are invasive? Are you curious about how we can help support and preserve the local aquatic communities of our area? Join our aquatic biologist as we take a hike and explore the aquatic native communities of Green and Duck Lakes.

Aug. 14 - Composting Successfully at Home
Do you really want to compost at home, but you’re not quite sure where to start? Have you thought about reducing your waste but aren’t familiar with how to compost? Let us help you! We will discuss the basic science behind backyard composting and give you all the tips and tricks you need in order to walk away with the knowledge necessary to be a backyard composting expert!

Sept. 18 - Seed Saving
Have you ever wanted to save seeds from your garden to plant next year? Got a favorite tomato variety that's been passed down to you? Whatever your skill level, you are welcome to come and learn more about the amazing world of plant genetics, and how to use that information to grow flowers and vegetables in your home garden. We'll discuss how and why gardeners save seeds, as well as share our favorite plant varieties. Please bring seeds to share!

Oct. 16 - Herb Gardening for Winter
Do you love the smell of fresh herbs in your favorite dishes? Are you interested in learning about container gardening? Want to keep your green thumb alive while the snow is flying outside? We’ve got just the class for you! Come learn about potted herbs and indoor seasonal growing as we prepare for the cooler season ahead. Participants will leave with several plant starts, too!