Program Presenters: Ken Parker, introduced by Cholena Smith Ken Parker, Seneca Native, is the Native Plant Consultant and Project Director of the Haundenosaunee Community’s FOOD IS OUR MEDICINE Project, a collaboration of the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Seneca Diabetes Foundation. He is a NYS Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. Ken lives in the Buffalo/Niagara, New York area. Cholena Smith, Shinnecock Native, is a graduate of Stony Brook University with a double major in sociology and anthropology. Cholena plans to become the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Shinnecock Tribe. She has worked at the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum, and with Shinnecock’s Cultural Enrichment Department. She, along with Lillian Ball, an artist and environmental activist, are working to implement a Native Plant Raingarden on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton.
“It is my goal to restore the wisdom from our Elders about the many uses of each plant and their relationship to the environment. The revival of this knowledge is as important as the cultivation and harvest of plants.” –Ken Parker
Ken is making a special appearance at the South Fork Natural History Museum for this presentation. A passionate, indigenous horticulturalist with strong ties to Mother Earth and Native cultures, Ken has spent decades devoted to growing, installing, teaching, and promoting indigenous plants of North America to thousands of Natives and non- Natives. He has proactively participated in environmental conservation, restoration, landscaping, and education projects throughout the United States and Canada. His vast knowledge of Native plants has led to the development of numerous Native American horticultural programs, workshops, and lecture series, including those of the Mohawks of St. Regis, NY, and the Iroquois of the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in Ontario, Canada. In recent years he has presented for the Seminoles of Florida, the Pueblos of New Mexico, the Intertribal Native Nursery Council, and the US Forestry Department.
Ken’s vision is to have all Native communities learn and experience the gift of health by growing their own gardens, participating in ongoing community horticultural events, learning sacred traditions directly from the Elders, and fostering the cultural education of the children. He is also intent on sharing his insight, knowledge, and Native sacred traditions about living with Mother Earth with us all.
Ken’s presentation will include an introduction to the culinary, medicinal, and spiritual uses of North American flora and North American perennials, grasses, trees, and shrubs for clay, sandy soil, wet sites, and shady gardens, plus ecologically sound solutions for garden enthusiasts. We are pleased to have Ken at SoFo, especially on this Earth Day
Weekend, to give what will be an engaging, thought-provoking, and informative presentation to members of our East End Community.
Advanced reservations are required for all events. For more information, reservations, and directions to meeting places, please call: (631) 537-9735.
Photo Credit: Robert Kirkham / Buffalo News