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Create prairie poems and paintings on the Hempstead Plains

Violet

Image by Marko_K via Flickr

Prairie poetry writing and painting on Long Island? Absolutely. That will be happening on the Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College, Garden City, 9:30 AM-1:30 PM, Sat., May 7. Fee is $10, payable to the Friends of Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College. To register and for information call 516-572-7570 or email info at friendsofhp dot org

Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr., first Poet Laureate of Nassau County, is conducting the poetry writing. Artist Harriet Carotenuto is conducting the art session with special attention to the birdfoot violet, the official flower of Nassau County. Carotenuto illustrated the book published by the Friends of Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College, “Island Prairie, Plants and Animals of the Hempstead Plains, Long Island, N.Y.” The Conservation Project Manager will be leading a nature walk.

Being aware that the 19 acres of Hempstead Plains are the remnant of 60,000 acres of Long Island prairie just like those in the West makes this habitat a resource for poetry and for one’s philosophic and spiritual expression. It’s something about the area having been vast open space that inspires such feelings. The 150 species of flowers and shrubs provide material for cataloging, allusion and other poetic techniques for self expression–particularly the birdfoot violet. Once the plains in May were “a celestial hue due to thousands of bouquets of pale blue birdfoot violets,” wrote George Peters, late Nassau County Commissioner of Public Works.

Jerry Ahern, popular Paumanok folksinger, guitarist and composer, will be performing the songs he has written about the environment and Long Island, including its prairie.

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