Fall/Winter 2023
Volume 18| Issue #2

Letter from the Arboretum Director

Dear Friends,
I am writing to you from a different perspective this fall. The Bard Arboretum has pivoted recently from an independently-run operation to one that has recently collaborated with another Bard program, namely the Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities. This expansion of sorts will allow the Arboretum to touch a larger audiences and allow for additional projects to be accomplished. I'm thrilled about this new partnership! This is an exciting time for the Arboretum! Additionally, as we transform - we’ve morphed our logo and redesigned our website to include a few new features. We hope you enjoy our new look!

We are finalizing the construction drawings for Blithewood Garden’s Rehabilitation Project with the firms Jan Hird Pokorny Associates (JHPA) and Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. (ICR). Once completed, the Friends of Blithewood Garden will be busy looking for support to implement this once-in-a-century makeover that the garden so desperately needs. Stay tuned for more to come!

Finally, please think about us during Giving Tuesday this year! All gifts are meaningful! If you want to give the gift of green to others this holiday season, please donate HERE.

Happy Holidays!
Amy Parrella ‘99 
Arboretum Director

Letter from CESH Co-Directors

Dear New Friends,
As co-directors of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities (CESH), we are so excited to be teaming up with Amy Parrella and the Bard Arboretum in our mutual goals to promote deeper connections between Bard faculty, staff, students and the beautiful lands and communities we are surrounded and nurtured by. Working with the Arboretum allows us to broaden and deepen our commitment to place-based environmental community sciences through our classes, our research, and our Community Sciences Lab. 

Over the past 8 years, CESH has worked closely with the surrounding community on water, air, and farm-related stewardship, continually learning and gaining inspirations from a wide range of community leaders. We support regular monitoring and management of our local streams, maintenance of healthy riparian zones (thank you Arboretum!), document mold growth in Hudson Valley homes, and provide clean drinking water to community members without access. Our faculty and students learn so much from these interactions, and from understanding that we at Bard are also an important part of the community of the Hudson Valley, not just a siloed academic institution. 

We look forward to sharing our work with you, and more importantly, to working together with you to maintain and celebrate Bard’s Arboretum and its community. Navigating climate change may feel challenging, but building a strong, place-based community can make the journey feel more hopeful and solutions-oriented. We are delighted to join you and look forward to sharing our progress!

Enjoy the holidays!
M. Elias Dueker
CESH Co-Director, Associate Professor, Environmental and Urban Studies and Biology Programs
Beate Liepert
CESH Co-Director, Environmental Studies Concentration Director, Visiting Professor of Physics, Environmental and Urban Studies
Bard Arboretum and CESH join forces!
Left to right: Eli Dueker, Amy Parrella, Brittney James, Beate Liepert
Photo credit: Eli Dueker
Arboretum & CESH in the News
🌿 Check Out Our New Look - Bard Arboretum: A Place to Grow!
In celebration of our pivotal 15th anniversary, we refreshed our logo and website and in doing so turned our focus on how Bard’s Arboretum can help grow Bardians' minds, as well as their environment. With special thanks to Jana Mader, Francie Soosman and Bard’s Web Services department, the Bard Arboretum is happy to add several new website components including: Classes, Audio + Video, and a future Shop page. 

Check us out here at the Bard Arboretum website
🌿 The Bard Arboretum joins the Bard's Center for Environmental Science and Humanities 
As of this fall, the Bard Arboretum is excited to announce that it will now be academically partnered with Bard's Center for Environmental Science and Humanities (CESH). Bard's Arboretum's mission is to preserve and enhance the natural and landscaped resources of the campus and to promote knowledge and appreciation of horticulture and conservation. CESH is dedicated to putting Bard's commitment to the environment, science, and social change into practice to support the fair management of our shared natural resources.
Learning Outdoors: HUM 234 Landscape Studies: The Hudson River Valley class walks to Tivoli Bays to learn about indigenous history and plants from Justin Wexler of Wild Hudson Valley. Photo Credit: Jana Mader

Together, the Arboretum and CESH will look at regional, national and global environmental concerns with a focus on our land, trees, and plants and how they are an important factor in finding a solution to our climate and environmental crisis. Both programs already take advantage of Bard's immediate surroundings, using the campus as a living laboratory for natural science research and interpretation through language and the arts. Bard's sprawling park-like campus offers students an outdoor classroom that includes: an old growth forest, a Hudson River tributary, miles of hiking trails, acres of pollinator meadows, hundreds of historic tree specimens, formal cultivated gardens, New York State tree champions, and biodiverse horticultural palette of vegetation with an awe-inspiring backdrop of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

Both programs will work together to engage with the interdisciplinary nature of environmental questions with the goal of addressing environmental justice, cultivating community engagement, hands-on problem solving, and renewing awareness of Indigenous and other marginalized realities, for a new generation of environmental thinkers, policy-makers and activists. Both programs will work to protect Bard's historical and ecologically-rich landscapes, promote ecological literacy through plant identification and interpretation, record Bard's horticultural assets, offer diverse learning opportunities, publish articles, papers, and guides for professional and community outreach.

For more information, visit the Bard Arboretum website and the CESH website
🌿 Hudson River Foundation Grant Awarded to Bard’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities
The Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities was recently awarded a $69,886 grant by the Hudson River Foundation. The funding will support a two-year project to revamp water quality datasets that will be used to strengthen community advocacy and better address public health, policy, and management questions.
Elias Dueker and Gabriel Perron are the principal investigators for this research project. Bard graduate researcher Carolina de Santana, as well as faculty members Jordan Ayala, Krista Caballero, Beate Liepert, and Josh Bardfield, who helped write the grant, will also be participating in the project’s second year. Overall, this project will work to analyze these datasets and include them in the historical water quality data that has been obtained from both the college and community groups since the mid-70s. Faculty will also work with students to analyze the micro-pollution and map these results along a historical trajectory.
🌿 Bard Gardens Get Local and National Attention
Bard’s Blithewood Garden and Montgomery Place gardens were part of several recent regional and national tour events, namely a Path Through History, Hudson Valley Ramble, The Garden Conservancy’s Digging Deeper and The Cultural Landscape Foundation, What’s Out There? (Blithewood Garden and Montgomery Place). 

Garden Tour: Blithewood Garden tour with gardener, Bridget Maple ‘05
Photo Credit: Amy Parrella '09

Over 100 visitors participated in several different guided garden tours that opened up Bard’s beautiful spaces to the public. Many thanks to the sponsoring organizations and Bard staff and volunteers allowed us to share some of Bard’s best places! 

For more information, click here:

Digging Deeper: Garden and Arboretum Tours were a Success!

On Saturday, September 23, Friends of Blithewood Gardens, Bard Arboretum and The Garden Conservancy hosted guided tours of the Blithewood estate at Bard, providing an immersive experience into the history of the grounds as well as the horticultural and cultural significance of the site.

The sold out tours were part of The Garden Conservancy's Digging Deeper series that invited participants to exclusive and site-specific programs—including informal talks, tours, and demonstrations with experts of every stripe—invites Open Days participants to take a closer look at the garden world. The idea is to dig deep and have fun!

Between the raindrops, participants learned about the historic plantings, architecture, and what is in bloom at the gardens while enjoying the natural splendor of the grand landscape overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

For more information, visit:

🌿 Bard College Receives $93,000 from the Garden Conservancy for Blithewood Garden Rehabilitation
Bard College was gifted $93,000 from the Garden Conservancy to go toward construction drawings that will aid the rehabilitation of Blithewood Garden. The construction documents, which will be completed by award-winning preservation architecture firms Jan Hird Pokorny Associates (JHPA) and Integrated Conservation Resources, Inc. (ICR), will be used as the blueprints for the restoration of Blithewood’s landscape.

"We are delighted that the Garden Conservancy is partnering with Bard to preserve the rich history of Blithewood Garden for future generations," said Debra Pemstein, vice president of development and alumni/ae affairs at Bard College. "This generous contribution will help with ongoing restoration efforts to renew Blithewood's iconic landscape for the Bard community and beyond."

Blithewood Garden is considered a nationally significant Beaux Arts, Italianate garden with significant connections to the evolution of American landscape design and is one of the few intact Hudson River estate gardens that remain from the Gilded Age. Situated on a steeply sloping bluff approximately 130 feet above the Hudson River, Blithewood is a 45-acre section of Bard’s campus that was once part of a historic estate comprising a manor house, outbuildings, drives, gardens, lawns, and meadows. Bard College has partnered with the Garden Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and share America’s gardens, on the restoration of Blithewood Garden. 

Blithewood Garden is open to the public from dawn to dusk every day. For more information about the garden and tours, visit HERE.

About the Garden Conservancy
The Garden Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, share, and celebrate America's gardens and diverse gardening traditions for the education and inspiration of the public. We work with partners and communities across America to preserve outstanding gardens, and since 1989 we have helped preserve over 100 gardens. Our signature program, Open Days, welcomes visitors to private gardens annually, and since 1995, more than 4,000 private gardens have participated, with 1.4 million visitors in states across the country. Through all of our programs and outreach, we champion the vital role that gardens play in our history, our culture, and our quality of life. For more information, please visit HERE.

Press Release click HERE.
Photo credit (above): Gary Miller
🌿 Updates on Bard’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities Environmental Air and Water Quality Data Collection and Community Groups
A Hudson Valley Homes Air and Water Quality Study is currently being conducted by Bard College’s Community Sciences Lab in partnership with the Hudson Valley Air Quality Coalition. The focus of the study is understanding air and water quality inside and outside of homes in the Hudson Valley. To support community efforts to improve indoor and outdoor air quality, concentrations of indoor and outdoor air and water pollutants found in Hudson Valley homes are being collected and will be used to determine why some homes have higher concentrations than others.

The Saw Kill Monitoring Program was initiated in 2015 to answer Red Hook community members’ calls for action in watershed conservation. The idea was to establish accountability for the health of the watershed by individual stressors and polluters. Bard’s Community Sciences Lab (formerly Bard Water Lab) has maintained the program through the pandemic at various capacities and is currently sampling a pared-down selection of important sites. Additionally, data construction is being done to compile a comprehensive dataset for all the information gathered from the program, as well as a navigable dashboard, both of which will be made available for public use.
🌿 New Novel Released at Book Launch: Montgomery Place is Backdrop
"I can't put it down!" one reader exclaimed referring to Jane Delury's recently released novel, Hedge about a garden historian, Maud Bentley who packs up her daughters to spend a summer at a Hudson Valley estate. She works alongside Gabriel, an archaeologist, who quickly becomes more than a friend, to help her uncover the long lost gardens of Montgomery Place.

On Saturday, June 10, the Montgomery Place campus, Zibby Books and Oblong Books presented an in-person community event with author Jane Delury for the launch of her novel, Hedge. This celebration included an author talk, book signing and sales, story stroll, and mansion tour. Ms. Delury gave an illustrated slide talk about the behind-the-scenes process of writing her novel. Amy Parrella ‘99, Director of Horticulture and Arboretum at Bard, joined Ms. Delury in conversation about how she consulted on the horticultural aspects of the novel since Montgomery Place was the location for many scenes.

In addition to the talks, mansion tour and book signing, excerpts from the book were mounted on signs and displayed around the property as part of a story stroll to learn more about the novel in an interactive exhibit over the summer.

Read more about the event HERE.

Book launch signing and lecture with Jane Delury
Photos Credit: Sameem Nazari
🌿 More Meadows!
Bard’s Arboretum and the Office of Sustainability were awarded over $700 in native plant donations from the National Wildlife Federation, and the Garden for Wildlife Inc., who launched an initiative to support k-12 schools, colleges/universities, churches, etc. in their efforts to expand quality native habitats for people, pollinators, and wildlife. 

The plant donations were planted in Bard’s iconic Robbins meadow, located south of the Richard Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, to enhance and diversify this habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife. Look for these new plantings next time you visit this meadow and the signage noting that the plants were donated by Garden for Wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation. 

For more information, visit Garden for Wildlife
Photo Credit: Amy Parrella
🌿 Bard Bee-Lives: From Cornfield to Wildlife Habitat - 12 Acres Gets a Pollinator Makeover
Bard was awarded a $26,532 grant from the New World Foundation and the Partners for Climate Action Hudson Valley for the project “Bard Bee-Lives: Making Space for At-Risk Pollinators.” Managed by Laurie Husted, Chief Sustainability Officer at Bard, the project was the result of a student proposal by Quincy Ross and Masha Kazanstev and developed in the spring of 2022 in an Open Society University Network (OSUN) social entrepreneurship practicum: Leading Change in Organizations.

(above) Bard Horticulture staff Ryan Moore and undergraduate student Breshia Flett plant the rocky hillside
Photo Credit: Adam T. Deen for Partners for Climate Action

The project has transformed a twelve-acre cornfield, located along Route 9G, into a pollinator habitat on Bard’s Montgomery Place Campus, and will support pollinator health, cultivate biodiversity, support sourcing and propagating native seeds, build soil health, and manage invasive species. It is a critical early step in the “Pollinate Now” initiative, a bioregional strategy for habitat restoration in the Hudson River Estuary Watershed, developed by Partners for Climate Action Hudson Valley together with Landscape Interactions.

Read the Bard news piece HERE
Education at the Arboretum & CESH
🌿 CESH Researchers present at Citizen Science 2023
This past May, CESH researchers Andrew Patterson, Eli Dueker, and community scientist Karen Schneller-McDonald presented at the Citizen Science conference hosted in Arizona.
Andrew Patterson presented on working with environmental justice & human rights groups to bring resources to a marginalized community living in Department of Social Services subsidized emergency housing. This work utilizes air quality sensors in order to collect data to push for long term change. More information about the project can be found on this poster here, or on the CESH website under “The Filters Project”.

Karen Schneller-McDonald presented on her experiences as a leader of the Saw Kill Watershed Community, which is an advocacy group for stewardship of the Saw Kill watershed in the Hudson Valley. She spoke about the importance of protecting the Saw Kill watershed and its ecological, recreational and historic resources through hands-on science, education, and advocacy. View the poster here.

Eli Dueker presented about the Community Sciences Lab and working with local communities to bring science as a resource to people who need it in real-time. View poster here. This conference gave CESH researchers the opportunity to connect with other researchers, institutions and scientists to think about how local advocacy plays an integral role in national and international organizing around environmental justice and education.
🌿 Get Outside! Wildflower Seed Collecting Workshop Hosted at Bard’s Robbins Meadow
On Sunday, September 24, plant ecologist Clara Holmes led a hands-on workshop to examine and identify native plants, discuss the significance of genetic diversity and learn essential techniques for collecting seeds, as part of a Partners for Climate Action ‘Get Outside!’ series.

 Photo Credit: Amy Parrella

Sponsored by Bard College, Dirty Gaia and Hudsonia Ltd, the workshop began indoors with a presentation explaining the importance of native plants in wildlife and pollinator habitat and in the overall health and resilience of our ecosystems. Key steps to making a genetically diverse seed collection and the role of genetic diversity in ensuring the long-term survival of plant species was also discussed.
🌿 Montgomery Place Garden Volunteer Appreciation Field Trip to Clermont Historic Site Restored Gardens
As our annual tradition dictates, on Wednesday, September 28, our devoted crew of long-time garden volunteers at Montgomery Place gardens enjoyed a guided tour and fresh look at the restored gardens of the Clermont State Historic Site in Clermont. Thanks to recent New York State funding, the previously overgrown gardens were reclaimed and a new Visitor Center was renovated. Next is renewing the visitor parking lot. After the tour, the gang enjoyed a boxed picnic lunch on site and soaked in some of the final few rays of sunshine between so many rainy days! Thank you so much to all the volunteers and staff for all you do to make Bard beautiful! We are so grateful for all you do! 

Field Trip to Clermont Historic Site with Montgomery Place garden volunteers
Photo Credit: Amy Parrella
🌿 Andrew Patterson and Eli Dueker Present at American Society for Microbiology: Microbe 2023 Conference
CESH researchers Eli Dueker and Andrew Patterson presented their research on air quality at the annual ASM conference hosted in Houston. Dueker presented on the topic of disaster microbiology, exploring the connections between severe weather events and human health. Patterson shared findings on the use of the lab’s water quality equipment to provide rapid detection of microbial indoor air quality. 

Photo Credit: Andrew Patterson

The primary research questions addressed were: Can we quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively address indoor microbial air quality? How do our methods compare to results from other research methods? And finally, to what effect does outdoor air quality impact indoor air quality? Each of these questions were outlined and addressed, including a full overview of the research methods and tools utilized. View the poster here
Past Events
🌿 Children’s and Adult Story Strolls at Montgomery Place 
True or false: There is only one bird that can fly backward. Learn the answer by reading Book of Flight: 10 Record-Breaking Animals with Wings by Gabrielle Balkan on Montgomery Place’s inaugural Story Stroll! In this introduction to flying anatomy, readers are introduced to 10 record-breaking animals with wings through a guessing game with clues. Examine the animal’s blueprint and read a series of boastful hints to guess the mystery flier. 

Montgomery Place’s Story Stroll was an outdoor reading experience that consists of a page-by-page look at a unique children's book. It combines literacy, exercise, nature, and family time. We hope you enjoyed reading the posted pages as you stroll along the South Woods Trail. We’d love to hear your nominations for animal record-breakers and books to include in our next Story Strolls.

Montgomery Place hosted a unique adult story stroll, allowing visitors to navigate their way through story excerpts and the Montgomery Place gardens and grounds to learn more about…Hedge by Jane Delury.

About the Book
One troubled marriage. Two daughters. A summer away. And the love interest that threatens to ruin it all. On sale starting June 6, Maud is a talented garden historian and devoted mother to daughters Ella and Louise. Motivated to reinvigorate her career and escape her troubled marriage, she accepts a summer job restoring the garden of a lush, nineteenth-century Hudson Valley estate. While waiting for her daughters to join her at the end of their school year, Maud meets a coworker, archeologist Gabriel Crews, whose passion for landscape history matches her own. When their immediate and intense friendship ignites, it sets in motion a seismic shock that will profoundly change Maud's life, as well as the lives of everyone she cares about. Hedge is a deeply moving portrait of a woman’s longing to be a good mother while still answering the call of her soul and mind.

Follow Jane on Instagram @jane.delury and at www.janedelury.com.
🌿 Vision & View: Creating a Classical Landscape on the Hudson 
The Friends of Blithewood Garden were pleased to offer a unique program to help celebrate and support Bard’s beautiful cultivated space called Blithewood Garden on April 23. Guests were invited to take a step back in time with us for an afternoon at Blithewood’s historic mansion and garden. They were the first to see the public debut of the documentary film about the garden’s rich preservation story, featuring Bard alumna and actress Blythe Danner ‘65. They also explored the grounds with light refreshments, accompanied by live piano music inspired by Blithewood’s landscape, compliments of Sophia Cornicello ‘27, Bard undergraduate student. 

A panel discussion looked at the history of Blithewood Garden, the Vanderbilt mansion and gardens, and other Gilded Age estates in the Hudson River Valley and their significance in the context of local and national history, including the challenges of preserving these spaces.  Speakers included historic preservation expert Kurt Hirschberg, Associate Partner of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, Harvey Flad, Professor Emeritus of Vassar College, Dimitri Stratis of the National Park Service for the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, and Amy Parrella ‘99, Director of Horticulture & Arboretum at Bard College and Horatio Joyce, Director of Public Programs and Education with The Garden Conservancy, and Pamela Governale, Director of Preservation with The Garden Conservancy, moderated the discussion.
🌿 Arboretum Celebrates its 16th Anniversary 
Friday, April 28th marked the 151st anniversary of Arbor Day, a day that reflects the appreciation of all trees, founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, and the 16th anniversary of the founding of Bard’s campus-wide arboretum.

Photo Credit: Amy Parrella
One of the main goals of the annual tree planting holiday is to educate the public about the benefits of trees, from the shade and cooler air temperatures to improved air quality, noise moderation, filtration of run-off into streams and rivers, reduction of energy consumption, and the creation of habitats and food for wildlife. Bard celebrated Arbor Day with the children and teachers from the Bard Nursery School by planting a Dutch elm disease-tolerant American elm tree (Ulmus americana ‘New Harmony’) at Kline Commons, along the historic elm allee road that connects Stone Row to the Chapel.
🌿 Bird Walks at Montgomery Place in April 
In April, Susan Rogers led guided bird walks at Montgomery Place for Bard students, staff, and faculty. The dates were scheduled so that participants could attend during their lunch break. All three walks were well attended, with an average of over 30 people. We hope to continue them in the future. These walks, the Monday Meditation Walks, and the upcoming Landscape Walks are part of the college’s efforts to familiarize Bardians with the Montgomery Place grounds, a beautiful resource on campus.

Photo credit: Kathy McManus
Don't forget Giving Tuesday!

Thank you for your interest and for your continued
support for the Bard Arboretum and its beautiful gardens, as well as the Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!