This week brought the opportunity to visit a familiar place through a new lens, and a new place through familiar work. On Wednesday, I got a chance to tag along on an oral history with Mona McKindley, the preservation gardener for Fairsted and Longfellow National Historic Sites. While Mona shared a great deal of her expertise with us for the plant records management project last summer, our conversations were primarily centered around the role a database would play at the sites. Getting to walk around the grounds of Fairsted with Mona was a wonderful opportunity to put all the management notes and plant records into a broader perspective. Mona has done an incredible amount of horticultural and historical research that has clearly shaped her philosophy about caring for the Fairsted site, and I think it’s important to consider how that can and should shape plant records management in the future so that philosophy is preserved as well. Luckily, the oral history documentation is a magnificent resource!
The following day, Catrina and I went out to Grape Island to do some vegetation management with Bill Fuchs, Andrew Petit de Mange, and fellow interns Rachel and Elsa. Despite having lived in Boston for almost five years, I’ve never actually been to any of the harbor islands before. After an orientation to the history and vegetation management plan on the island, Catrina and I got a chance to explore for a bit before the hard work began. Our ultimate goal was to hand-pull invasive ‘mile a minute’ from an area along the trail that it’s quickly overtaking, with the big picture goal of encouraging more native species growth. I love doing field work, the mile a minute pulls up easily, the weather was pleasant, and the company was grand – a recipe for a delightful work day.