Plants for Food & Healing, Nov. 2

Plants for Food & Healing

Native Americans used plants every day for food, medicine, arts and crafts, and dyeing. They used boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) to break fevers by heavy sweating, and elder (Sambucus canadensis) to treat colds. They harvested, cooked, and ate the taproots of burdock (Arctium) and the leaves of dandelions (Taraxacum officinale).

Lesley Wooler, an experienced herbalist, will explain the many ways these and other native plants were used. Ms. Wooler, who owns The Herb Wyfe (now at Belmont Market in Wakefield), earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from URI and served on the Northeast Herbal Association Council for ten years. She has taught herbal, aromatherapy, and gardening classes throughout New England for more than twenty years.

Revolutionary Spies Lecture, Oct. 23

Revolutionary Spies

Rhode Island was a hotbed of espionage during the Revolutionary War. Many ordinary Rhode Islanders— some with Tory sympathies, and some Patriots— became spies, in some cases risking their lives repeatedly to serve the cause they believed in.

Historian Christian M. McBurney will talk about some of the many spies who operated in Rhode Island in the Revolutionary era. Mr. McBurney, a native of Kingston who works in Washington, D.C., is the author of Spies in Revolutionary Rhode Island. The book contains the first detailed description of the espionage activities surrounding the British and French occupations of Newport, then a major American port.


Blackstone Canal Lecture, Oct. 19

Blackstone Canal

As textile mills spread across the Blackstone Valley in the early 1800s, mill owners realized they had a very basic problem. They needed a better way to get raw materials to their mills and their finished goods to market. Their solution was to build a canal that would run from Providence to Worcester.

Although the canal operated for only twenty years, it changed life in the Blackstone River Valley in many fundamental ways.

Kevin Klyberg, a National Park Service Ranger at the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, will talk about why the Blackstone Canal was built, how it changed the Blackstone Valley landscape, and whether any of it remains today.