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The Homestead Project

Learning Sustainability from the Historic Landscape

The North Stonington Historical Society's Stephen Main Homestead, with its magnificent stonework, dye house, mill sluiceway, and gardens, in the heart of historic "Milltown" is a wonderful place to learn sustainable maintenance practices appropriate to Connecticut's historic landscape; thus we created The Homestead Project.  Programs cover all things green, from planting techniques to herbal crafts.  At work sessions volunteers learn about native plants and historic maintenance hands on!  

Shan Haley Rice  is an educator, Master Gardener, and historic preservationist, holding degrees from SUNY Cortland (education) and the University of Mary Washington (historic preservation). As a Park Rangerat George Washington's Birthplace National Monument, Shan spearheaded the restoration of the site's colonial kitchen garden and has taught classes on the historical use of plants as medicine, dyes and food. Shan is involved in promoting the use of native plants and making landscapes more sustainable.

Vilma Gregoropoulos is a professional landscape designer, a member of the Connecticut Landscape Design Council, and a Connecticut Master Gardener.Vilma believes that historic prewar landscaping practices offer a way to achieve in equal measure: ease of maintenance, an appealingly relaxed aesthetic, and a sustainable environment.  She encourages volunteers at The Homestead Project  to bring their landscaping questions and learn techniques of pruning and planting that are environmentally sound.  

Laurie Pepin spent 19 years at Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry, Connecticut as the floral designer. Her work can be viewed in many of the publications of Caprilands' founder and mentor Adelma Simmons, "First Lady of Herbs". At the Homestead, Laurie shares her knowledge of historic uses for native plants, leading workshops with members and volunteers. Pepin has studied spinning and wool dyeing with Kate Edgerton of Norwich. She believes in the importance of creating a sustainable future that draws on the past for its inspiration.

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