Innisfree Garden hosts annual blessing of seeds
Donna Coane of the Schaghticoke First Nations delivers an Iroquois Prayer of Thanksgiving on Sunday, May 21, for the Blessing Our Sacred Earth ceremony at Innisfree Garden in Millbrook.  Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

Innisfree Garden hosts annual blessing of seeds

MILLBROOK —  Innisfree Garden was the site of the annual Blessing Our Sacred Earth interfaith celebration on Sunday, May 21.

In his welcome to about 35 participants, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Calkins, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, said that he and the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, who was at St. Peter’s Church in Lithgow, had started the event in 2016. Kate Kerin, curator and director of Innisfree Garden, also greeted the guests.

The event started with a short program high above the lake, and then the celebrants formed a procession and traveled down the path through the garden, making stops along the way for saying devotions from different denominations, such as a reading from Hebrew scripture at one point and a Hindu story at the next, plus reading from the Quran, a reading of the Parable of the Seeds, and an Iroquois Thanksgiving Prayer.

The readings were interspersed with hymns, and there were several chants as well. Following the walk, a picnic lunch was enjoyed by all.

Co-sponsors of the blessing are Grace Church, Innisfree Garden and the Dutchess County Interfaith Council (DIC). Others involved include the Rev. Heather Sisk of  St. Paul’s Church, Pleasant Valley; Donna Coane,  Schaghticoke First Nations; Temple BethEl, Poughkeespsie; the  Hindu Samaj Temple, Wappingers Falls; Plpung Thubten Choling Monastery; and Bader Isman, imam, Masjid al Noor, Anna Mata, Baha’l Cluster.

Music was provided by Heather Holihan Guarneri, the Rev. Cameron Hardy, students from Millbrook School, and Lorraine Hardin-Gelardi and John A McKenna of DIC.

Latest News

Thru hikers linked by life on the Appalachian Trail

Riley Moriarty


Of thousands who attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, only one in four make it.

The AT, completed in 1937, runs over roughly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park of Maine.

Keep ReadingShow less
17th Annual New England Clambake: a community feast for a cause

The clambake returns to SWSA's Satre Hill July 27 to support the Jane Lloyd Fund.


The 17th Annual Traditional New England Clambake, sponsored by NBT Bank and benefiting the Jane Lloyd Fund, is set for Saturday, July 27, transforming the Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s Satre Hill into a cornucopia of mouthwatering food, live music, and community spirit.

The Jane Lloyd Fund, now in its 19th year, is administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and helps families battling cancer with day-to-day living expenses. Tanya Tedder, who serves on the fund’s small advisory board, was instrumental in the forming of the organization. After Jane Lloyd passed away in 2005 after an eight-year battle with cancer, the family asked Tedder to help start the foundation. “I was struggling myself with some loss,” said Tedder. “You know, you get in that spot, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Someone once said to me, ‘Grief is just love with no place to go.’ I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and thrilled to jump into a mission that was so meaningful for the community.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Getting to know our green neighbors

Cover of "The Light Eaters" by Zoe Schlanger.


This installment of The Ungardener was to be about soil health but I will save that topic as I am compelled to tell you about a book I finished exactly three minutes before writing this sentence. It is called “The Light Eaters.” Written by Zoe Schlanger, a journalist by background, the book relays both the cutting edge of plant science and the outdated norms that surround this science. I promise that, in reading this book, you will be fascinated by what scientists are discovering about plants which extends far beyond the notions of plant communication and commerce — the wood wide web — that soaked into our consciousnesses several years ago. You might even find, as I did, some evidence for the empathetic, heart-expanding sentiment one feels in nature.

A staff writer for the Atlantic who left her full-time job to write this book, Schlanger has travelled around the world to bring us stories from scientists and researchers that evidence sophisticated plant behavior. These findings suggest a kind of plant ‘agency’ and perhaps even a consciousness; controversial notions that some in the scientific community have not been willing or able to distill into the prevailing human-centric conceptions of intelligence.

Keep ReadingShow less