Contact:    Laurie Nivison, Director of Marketing

 413.775.7127 or

Historic Deerfield Spring Forum to Examine the Botanical Diversity of Western Massachusetts
Deerfield, Mass. (January 30, 2017)--- Historic Deerfield's spring forum, "Plants and Place: Native Flora in Western Massachusetts" will bring together a range of speakers for a lively discussion of the history, use, and preservation of herbaria in western Massachusetts on Saturday, April 1, 2017, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at the Deerfield Community Center, 16 Memorial Street, Deerfield.
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 .

At the end of the day's program participants will have the opportunity to examine restored pages of Stephen West Williams's herbarium.

The cost for the forum is $95 ($80 for members, $110 for new members) and includes lunch. For more information and registration, contact Julie Orvis at or (413) 775-7179. Online registration for this program is available at
About Historic Deerfield, Inc.
Historic Deerfield, Inc., is dedicated to the heritage and preservation of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut River Valley. Its museums and programs provide today's audiences with experiences that create an understanding and appreciation of New England's historic villages and countryside.