Meeting Programs

Evening meetings of the Gila Native Plant Society will resume on October 19, 2018. They will be held throughout the fall, winter and spring on the third Friday of the month  at 7.00 p.m. in Harlan Hall, second floor, Room 219, corner of Alabama and 12th Streets, on the Western New Mexico University campus. Free and open to the public. Refreshments following the program.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The program will feature a talk by George Farmer, “Ollas: Ancient Irrigation – Past, Present and Future”. Olla irrigation has been in existence for thousands of years. Just how old this technology is difficult to determine. Ancient documentation from various cultures spread across several continents proves that clay-pot irrigation has been one of the most successful, long-lasting irrigation methods ever used. Chinese texts well over 2000 years old mention clay pot irrigation. The Romans, too, used clay pots for irrigation. Olla irrigation can be found today in the Middle East, India, and Central and South America. It’s clear that olla irrigation has been used successfully across the planet. This begs the question: How does it work? What is the science behind the function? And how can it be used now, here in the Southwest, to conserve water, restore ecological habitats and successfully grow food?

George Farmer moved to Silver City in 2006 with a deep commitment to practice the land ethic outlined by Aldo Leopold vision. Along with his partner, Linda Zatopek they founded Axle Canyon Ecological Preserve in the Burro Mountains southwest of Silver City, an 83 acre in-holding along Mulberry Canyon. There they have implemented sustainable land restoration practices with rainwater runoff management to repair erosion damage and on-site propagation and reintroduction of native flora.

In 2018 they launched a multi-year cereal grain field trial program to test the feasibility of growing ancient grains for community food sustainability along ephemeral stream banks in Grant County.  This winter test plots of two ancient Triticum (wheat) varieties and a grass native to the Southwest, Zuloagaea bulbosum (Apache Red Grass), will be evaluated for performance and to generate seed stock for the coming year. In the spring of 2019 test plots will be planted with Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum. hook. f. (Tibetan Hull-Less Purple Barley) and Chenopodium quinoa (quinoa) also for performance evaluation and subsequent seed stock.

December 2018

There will be no regular meeting in December. Instead, GNPS will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the members’ Christmas Party from noon to 3 pm at The Commons (also known as the Volunteer Center), 501 E 13th Street, Silver City. Elroy Limmer will provide the customary pork roast – otherwise it’s pot luck. Iced tea will be provided and the hot water heater will be there for tea and coffee. Please bring your own plates, glasses and utensils and a dish to share.