Monday, June 19, 2017

Georgeson to host birthday bash for its namesake

The Georgeson Botanical Garden will celebrate the 166th birthday of its namesake with a birthday bash from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25 at the garden.

The Georgeson Botanical Garden in full summer bloom.
Activities will include a craft fair, raffle, educational stations on beekeeping, peonies and herbs, face painting for kids, food for purchase, a birthday cake and, of course, beautiful flowers to view. The Dry Cabin String Band will provide music at 1 p.m. and garden manager Katie DiCristina will announce a “birthday gift” pledge drive at 2 p.m. A garden sculpture of the herb anise hyssop will also be dedicated to longtime volunteer and herb expert Barbara Fay.

Charles C. Georgeson was a plant breeder and agronomist who came to Alaska as the special agent in charge of the U.S. experiment stations in Alaska. He helped establish a series of stations, including the Fairbanks Experiment Farm in 1906, and he stayed to conduct research on livestock, grain and fruit. Georgeson was an enthusiastic supporter of agriculture in Alaska.

This sculpture of the herb anise hyssop will be dedicated
to herb expert Barbara Fay during the birthday bash.
The garden is located at 117 W. Tanana Drive, about a mile west of the main University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The Georgeson Botanical Garden Society and the School of Natural Resources and Extension are sponsoring the event. For more information, contact Mathew Carrick at 907-841-4907 or

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Volunteers improve look of Matanuska Farm

Mat-Su Health Foundation staff and Matanuska Experiment Farm Director
Susanna Pearlstein, standing to the left of the sign, planted flower beds
on United Way's Day of Caring.

Thanks to a group of caring people, the entrance signs at the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center have a new look.
Elizabeth Ripley removes sod during the Day of
 Caring event at the farm.

Susanna Pearlstein, director of the Matanuska Experiment Farm, was looking for volunteers to help out at the farm and contacted United Way. She ended up submitting an application for Day of Caring, a United Way event that provides an opportunity for organizations and volunteers to work together to meet the needs of their community. 

Day of Caring took place on May 17, and the farm was fortunate enough to get an enthusiastic group from the Mat-Su Health Foundation who went right to work. The crew of 10 pulled out sod, laid weed prevention cloth, added soil and planted low-maintenance perennials, such as delphiniums, St. John’s wort, lilies, bleeding heart and poppies.

Mat-Su Health Foundation is no stranger to the farm and has provided grants in the past. Throughout the day, the volunteers and the farm staff shared information about each other while working toward a common goal — to add character to the farm and make it more inviting to the public.

Theresa Isaac waters flowers at the end of planting day
on May 31.
Pearlstein hopes to increase community involvement at the farm and create a permanent volunteer base. A Friends of the Farm group is being formed to assist with volunteer organizing and fundraising in the hopes of holding more events to beautify the farm. One such annual event is the farm’s Planting Day, when Extension’s Community Garden and Demonstration Garden members come plant their beds. The farm provides lunch for this fun event, which took place on May 31 this year.

For Pearlstein, beautifying the entrance is just the beginning. “The flowers are currently small, but just like activities at the farm they will continue to grow!”