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Saturday, September 21, 2013

URI program features two Charlestown businesses

URI Outreach Center to host fall festival, gardening, composting, wellness programs
Worm Ladies of Charlestown - part of URI gardening program

KINGSTON, R.I. – The University of Rhode Island’s Outreach Center invites Rhode Islanders to celebrate the fall season with a variety of events and programs designed for eco-minded folks, gardeners, and lifelong learners. 

Growing Outside the Plot is a workshop series at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence that provides novice and experienced gardeners and food enthusiasts with easy, affordable and rewarding alternatives to conventional backyard growing practices. The remaining sessions feature “Lasagna Gardening and Herb Spirals” on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m.; “Pairing Plants for Productivity” on Oct. 1 at 5 p.m.; and “Earthbound Raised Beds” on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.

Fall Gardening School at the URI Botanical Gardens in Kingston continues on Wednesday nights at 5:30 p.m. with sessions on “Gardening for Pollinators” on Sept. 25, “Composting” on Oct. 2, and a “Botanical Garden Tour” on Oct. 9. 

The cost of each session of Growing Outside the Plot or the Fall Gardening School is $25.

Those interested in becoming a URI Master Composter are encouraged to attend the two-day training program on Oct. 5 and 19. Each full-day session begins at 8 a.m. and features classroom lectures and field trips, including visits to a commercial composting facility and a worm composting operation in Charlestown, the Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, and R.I. Resource Recovery Corporation in Johnston. Participants must attend both sessions and complete 30 hours of volunteer service to earn the URI Master Composter title.

The Master Composter training costs $125 and includes breakfast and lunch both days.

The first annual Fall Festival at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center will take place on Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a scavenger hunt, art activities using natural materials, a storybook corner, and a competition for children to “dress a winter squash.” Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes to celebrate the season. 

Co-sponsored with the City of Providence Parks and Recreation Department and the Botanical Center Conservancy, the event will also include exhibits about urban agriculture and environmental themes. Admission is $5 payable at the door. 

Finally, the URI Outreach Center at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center will host an Autumn Retreat on Nov. 10 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. that focuses on taking time to appreciate nature’s seasonal changes. The program includes an immersion into the study of native plants, the art of birding, and how to transform your backyard into a haven for wildlife. Participants will learn about native roses “from ID to rose hip tea,” go on a bird walk focusing on bird/plant interactions, yoga for birders, and enjoy a botany walk focusing on native plant winter architecture.

For more information or to register for any of these programs, visit or call the URI Outreach Center at 401-874-2900.