Saturday, July 20, 2024

Pollinator Day


Sunday, June 23rd, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Presented by the Stratford Historical Society
Judson House Historical Gardens
967 Academy Hill

The Judson House Historical Gardens, on the grounds of the Stratford Historical Society, will hold its annual Pollinator Day celebration on Sunday, June 23rd, from 10:00 to 3:00.

Speakers from the Pollinator Pathway, Xerces Society, UConn Master Gardeners, workshops, garden-related vendors, plant sales, Rain Barrel giveaway, food trucks, and more are planned for the day. A special garden bench dedication will also be held in honor of a beloved board member who recently passed. This is our main signature fundraising event of the year.

The garden is a pollinator demonstration garden. Planted with primarily native plants that benefit our precious pollinators and give a history lesson, educating visitors on some of the uses of these plants 300+ years ago, as opposed to how we may use them today. Many plants we all grow are for beauty or to support our pollinator population, while our Native Americans and early settlers may have used them for other reasons. It is a garden to inspire and inform. The signage throughout gives information on the growing habits of these plants, which they may benefit from, and a historical fun fact. QR codes are also included to direct inquisitive visitors to more information.

These plants, many of which have been thriving on our land for thousands of years, are a living testament to our deep-rooted history. They were here long before any European settler set foot on American soil, and their presence is a powerful reminder of our commitment to preserving and sharing our heritage. This mission is at the heart of the Stratford Historical Society, and we invite you to join us in celebrating this rich history at our Pollinator Day celebration. It’s not just a garden, but a living history book, waiting to be explored.

There will be live entertainment from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm by Storytime Bob (music and stories).  Storytime Bob Edwards is a singer/songwriter and a cover artist. He blends originals and his take on covers that range from the 1900’s to 2010 with a collection of stories about the songs. He has performed at Porchfest/Black Rock in both 2016, 2017 & 2018. He did Happy Hour every other Friday at The Rough Draft when they first opened. He was also Uncle Bob on the Peter Pinho Show on PPRN Radio ( He has appeared numerous times at Main Street Tavern opening for bands and also on acoustic night shows.


10:30 a.m. Kat Calhoun, Xerces Society, Bring Back the Pollinators.  Why care about pollinators? Journey through Pollinator 101 with insights from the Xerces Society and butterfly enthusiast Kat Calhoun. After retiring from a career in engineering, Kat pursued her passion for education and lifelong learning as a tutor and trainer. A butterfly enthusiast and motivated by the plight of Monarch butterflies, Kat established Mariposas del Mundo, a pollinator garden in New Haven, to support Monarchs and educate the public on the importance of pollinators. 

Kat joined the Xerces Society to further her education and contribute to invertebrate conservation. The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit focused on conserving invertebrates and their habitats through science-based efforts, advocacy, education, and policy work.

Side show “Bring Back the Pollinators” excellent handouts as well and references to show on a table display.  

11:30 a.m.  Nancy Zychek, Master Gardener, Native Woody Shrubs that Feed the Birds, the Bees and Us.  Discover four woody shrubs to grow. Learn how to identify, cultivate, and use these native plants. Amelanchier, Aronia (the most underused native berry bush in America), Vaccinium, and Sambucus. Native shrubs and small trees that benefit birds and insects as well as providing food for people and beauty for the landscape. These are plants that people can use to replace some of the invasive shrubs we have, some of which are still being sold in nurseries and are recommended by some landscapers. With all the interest in removing invasive species and planting native plants.  Handouts people can take with information about each plant.

Nancy is a UConn Master Gardener, organic grower, farmer and lifelong gardener. She presently is involved with the nonprofit Real Food CT and helps operate the farm in Newtown. Nancy has been curious about native plants since childhood and is constantly learning and teaching others about the fascinating plants that grow around us. 

12:30 p.m. Victor DeMasi  “Pollinators in my backyard” .  Join entomologist Victor DeMasi for a presentation on pollinator biology and conservation. Learn about butterfly biology, the challenges facing pollinators, and the role of citizen scientists. Discover how to enhance meadows with native wildflowers, and explore the fascinating life of Monarch butterflies. The presentation includes a display of butterfly and bee specimens. Victor, a curatorial affiliate at the Yale Peabody Museum, has made significant contributions to butterfly research and conservation.

How citizen scientists are helping understand our pollinators.

  • Enhancing meadow quality by and nurturing native wildflowers especially milkweeds are topics. The Monarch butterfly and its fascinating life history are touched on.
  • The dangers of new pesticides are discussed.

Presentation includes display of 2 drawers of museum quality butterfly specimens and wild bee pollinators.

Victor is an extremely active member of The Pollinator Pathway. He was a wetland conservation officer in his hometown of Redding for 20 years and is presently a curatorial affiliate at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. He busies himself with preserving open space in town and preserving butterflies in the museum. His field work with butterflies contributed almost a thousand citations to the recently published Connecticut Butterfly Atlas. He has contributed articles to scientific publications and his mark-recapture studies with Swallowtail butterflies was recently cited in the book Swallowtails of the Americas.

Recent butterfly study trips with his spouse Roanna , a photographer have been several times to Amazon forest in Guyana, Nicaragua, and yearly studies in montane California assessing the impact of climate change on that fauna.. His work in South America was recently featured in The Yale Environmental News.

1:45 p.m. Jackie Alton, Pollinator Pathway, Native Gardening for Pollinators and Songbirds.  Planting with native plants, not using pesticides or insecticides and rethinking your lawn are the three tenets of the Pollinator Pathway. Explore why these are important to our wildlife and to our environment, and how each of us can make a difference to the ecosystem by adopting and implementing these principles. Discover Pollinator Pathway’s new best practices to insects and other animals that assist in pollinating our plants. Their success is our success!

Jackie Algon became an Advanced Master Gardener and former Coordinator of the Master Gardener Program in Bethel after retiring from 40+ years in Corporate America. She is a co-founder and board member of the Pollinator Pathway, and recently completed a 10-year term on the Wilton Conservation Commission with several years as Chair. Jackie is an active member of the Wilton Garden Club’s Conservation Committee and was its co-Chair for six years. She teaches adult classes at Norwalk Community College and enjoys regularly sharing information about the Pollinator Pathway with communities throughout the area.

We’ll also discuss how our New Best Practices – including Leaving the Leaves, Slow-Mow May, Cleaning up in Spring rather than in Fall, No Till gardening and several other different ways of approaching our gardens to support bees, butterflies, moths, and the many other animals that assist in pollinating our plants – can succeed with your support and commitment.  And their success is our success.


Potted – Handmade cement pottery and decor by Kelly Hull

Sol Plants – Cut flower arrangements

Lilly’s Cottage – Creative cards

Marca Leigh Art – Glass creations

Little Red Schoolhouse  Artist Carolyn West.  Painting a flower portrait to give away, offering space for visitors to paint as well.

And food trucks: The Melting Truck (gourmet grilled cheese) and the Drowsy Whaler (gourmet coffee and baked goods).

For further information and to register go to:

Event entry is free, fees applicable for select presentations.

Donations appreciated!

Stratford Historical Society | Pollinator Day


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