Indigenous Plants: Connecting People and Place

Saturday November 5, 2022
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Our annual SALT (Smaller American Lawns Today) Conference returns with in person presentations, lunch and a walk in the Arboretum.  

Connecticut College
Blaustein Humanities Center
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London CT 06320

Co-Sponsored by Wild Ones Mountain Laurel Chapter

General registration (by Wednesday, October 26):
$45 / $25 Members (Arboretum or Wild Ones)

Final week registration (thru Thursday, November 3):
$55 / $35 Members (Arboretum and Wild Ones)
Registration closes Thursday, November 3 at 12 noon.

Limited seating available. Please email to register.
If you would like to become a member, please visit the membership page of our website and click on the support button. 


Ohkehteauag: Plants
A Narragansett Perspective
Lorén Spears, Narragansett, and Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, will share the historical and contemporary uses of Indigenous plants including edible, medicinal, spiritual and technological. She will share her and her community’s relationship with plants and express the teachings of her elders regarding respect, reciprocity, and traditional ways of knowing.

Creation of the Mary Momoho Garden 
Mitchel Ray, Eastern Pequot Tribal Chairman, will discuss the resilience of the Eastern Pequot Tribe from first contact through the centuries until today by way of Agriculture and other ways the land was able to provide. He will show how the tribe is using their history to revitalize food sovereignty and economic development by practicing what earlier generations before him did.

Finding Opportunities in the Garden
Meg Griscom, Landscape Architect and Design Studio Professor at Connecticut College, will present unique opportunities for how to design your own garden. Whether engaging in careful editing of a woodland edge, gradual implementation over time around existing conditions, working with extreme topography and water, or adapting a profoundly disturbed site after a natural disaster, each site has its own remarkable story to tell, and in time, occasion to connect people thru larger natural systems and ecologies.

Walk through the Native Plant Collection
Following the presentations, everyone is invited to step outside for a guided walk in the Connecticut College Arboretum's Native Plant Collection to explore the late fall highlights. Please remember to wear appropriate shoes and dress in layers for the weather.

The Wild Ones Mountain Laurel Chapter will have locally collected native seeds for sale during the lunch break. These seeds were collected by Wild Ones members and are ideal for winter planting. Instructions will be included. Please bring cash if you might like to purchase.


Smaller American Lawns Today, SALT, is a movement introduced in June of 1997 by Dr. William A. Niering, professor of botany at Connecticut College. The SALT mission is to decrease the size of lawns in America by restoring home grounds to more harmonious, productive, ecologically sound and naturalistic landscapes. SALT offers an alternative vision of the monocultured lawn. As Dr. Niering wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with dandelions, there’s something wrong with people.”

Natural beauty can abound in one's own yard. In our annual SALT Conference, participants learn how to cut back on the size of their lawns and also to have beautiful, sustainable, and friendly home grounds as well. Once established, you will never want to go back to a boring, monocultural lawn!


Past SALT Conferences:

2021 - Awaken a new perspective on the watershed

2020 - no conference

2019 - Creating Edible Gardens for People and Pollinators

2018 - Grow Native: Gardening for the Environment

2017 - A Down to Earth Look at Soils

2016 - Deconstructing the American Landscape

2015 - Kill Your Lawn

2014 - Enhancing Wildlife Habitat: Landscaping for Seasonal Food and Cover with Native Plants with Peter Picone Wildlife Biologist at Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

2013 - The Joy of Creating a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden Homeowners often think in terms of planting an ornamental garden and a vegetable garden as two separate endeavors. It is possible, however, to have a garden that is both beautiful and bountiful.

2012 - Gardening in a Changing Environment Experts shared what they are doing now to maintain the sustainability of their land and what they have done when disaster has struck. 

2011 - The ABCs of Creating Your Own "Garden of Eden" provided an opportunity for homeowners to learn tips from topnotch speakers in the field of naturalistic landscaping.

2010 - Designing Your Home Grounds for Beauty and Sustainability A seminar on naturalistic landscaping.

2009 - Going Native in New England with featured speaker Douglas W. Tallamy was most informative on the subject of using native plants to promote backyard biodiversity.

2008 - Naturally Beautiful

2007 - Bounty and Beauty in Your Yard

2006 - Inspired by Nature

2005 - User-Friendly Home Landscapes

2004 - Beauty in Biodiversity

2003 - In Harmony with Nature

2002 - Let's Go Natural: A SALT Backyard Landscaping Seminar for Homeowners


SALT meets Wild Ones This article by Kathy T. Dame appeared in the "Wild Ones" Journal, September/October 2008.