Missive From the Director’s Desk

by Heather Zimmerman, Executive Director

creek with stone footbridge

Dear Community,

Last year, in the wake of a series of racially-charged events that swept our nation and the murder of George Floyd, Board Member Kate Flynn stepped forward and asked to establish a new Board committee at Awbury: the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Once established, the committee hired Jennifer Shropshire of Swenson & Associates to lead us on a journey of inquiry and discovery. To date, we have conducted staff and Board assessments, and a number of community leaders have been interviewed. The next step in this quest is to ask you to join us by taking the survey below.

Please share your views on the Arboretum to help the Board of Directors and staff better understand perceptions of Awbury in the community, particularly from a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion perspective. This ten-minute survey will inform ongoing conversations and actions. Please feel free to forward the survey to others so that we can receive as much input as possible.

Thank you in advance for your insights and reflections. Your responses will remain anonymous. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at hzimmerman@awbury.org

Click here for SURVEY LINK

Most Sincerely,
Heather Zimmerman

Awbury al Fresco: Celebrating the Year of Water

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

This Sunday, Awbury will be holding our Awbury al Fresco spring fundraising event in celebration of Awbury’s Year of Water and the final phase of our pond and watercourse restoration, and in support of the Gay Gilpin Johnson Archives and Education Fund. This bi-annual event is a way to raise money for the many educational programs Awbury offers, often free of charge to the public, and to support our archival preservation work. This year’s honoree is Julie Slavet, Executive Director of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed (TTFW) Partnership.

creek with stone footbridge

The TTFW Partnership, started by the Water Department as a non-profit in 2005, is dedicated to preserving the 30 square miles of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed and educating the nearby communities about the creeks running through their neighborhoods. Through hands-on education, stewardship, restoration, and advocacy, they empower their constituents to take care of and improve the impaired waterways across those 30 square miles.

Located in southeast Pennsylvania, TTFW is one of Philadelphia’s five main watersheds, all of which flow into the Delaware River. The creek that gives its name to the organization changes its name three times before it reaches the Delaware: the Tookany Creek section contains the creek’s headwaters and lies within the Montgomery County municipalities of Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield; after the creek leaves Montgomery County and enters Philadelphia, it becomes the Tacony Creek, flowing from Cheltenham Avenue to the Juniata Golf Course, passing through the Philadelphia neighborhoods of Bridesburg, Cedarbrook, East Oak Lane, East Mt. Airy, Feltonville, Fern Rock, Fox Chase Frankford, Germantown, Harrowgate, Hunting Park, and Juniata Park; finally, it becomes the Frankford Creek when it joins the historic Wingohocking Creek (whose headwaters emerge near Washington Lane, near The Farm at Awbury) by the Juniata Golf course, passing through the neighborhoods of Lawncrest, Logan, Nicetown Northwood, Ogontz, Olney, Oxford Circle, Port Richmond, and West Oak Lane, flowing into the Delaware River just south of the Betsy Ross Bridge.

creek with stone footbridge

Slavet has worked at city and state levels of government and for a range of non-profit organizations. She earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Smith College and an M.S. in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts. After serving as the as the senior district staff member for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, she was contacted in 2011 by City Commissioner Howard Neukrug to become the Director of TTFW. This organization was unique in that it worked across municipal lines: “We’re different in that we’re really a partnership of all the municipalities, lands trusts, and Friends groups…. They pay us dues and provide a base of funding.” She remarked with pride, “Philadelphia is leading the country in green stormwater infrastructure.”

Slavet’s hope for TTFW is “to create a watershed community. People don’t even know what a healthy creek looks like…. The other [goal] is to make a very strong organization and improvements for Tacony Creek Park. We’re at the beginning of a master plan for the park.”

Slavet will receive the 2021 Award during the sold-out al Fresco event at the Cope House. Peachtree Catering will be providing boxed lunches to the guests, and there will be tours of the newly restored watercourse and ponds. Donations to the Gay Gilpin Johnson Archives & Education Fund are welcome and may be made by clicking here.

Landscape News: Welcoming Grant Folin

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

There’s a new Gardener in town! That is to say, our new Landscape Manager, Grant Folin, has been hard at work readying the Arboretum for spring and summer after the winter lull. Though barely here three months, he’s already been hard at work mowing the meadows, dispatching a new crop of poison ivy, felling dead trees, weeding the Cope House gardens, wrestling with our recalcitrant farm machinery, and generally making sure the Arboretum looks its best.

Folin comes to us from the Brandywine Conservancy where he served as Manager of the Laurels Preserve there for the past five years. Growing up in West Philadelphia, he attended Central High School and originally spent eight years as a high school Spanish teacher in the Philadelphia public school system before turning to horticulture.

Folin explained his devotion to the new field thus: “The reason I got into the horticulture business was [because] I wanted to help create a healthy habitat for all the wild creatures we share the planet with.” He gestured with his hand, taking in the landscape. “It’s a whole system, right? If you like birds, you have to feed the birds and the birds eat insects. Many insects are particular about the plants they eat, particularly caterpillars. So we have to protect the plants to protect the insects to protect the birds.”

As Awbury’s Head Gardener and Landscape Manager, he uses strategic planting as a way to control habitat. “So, through gardening and the use of plants in a landscape, whether that’s a natural wild landscape or a human-created landscape like this one, I think it’s important to enhance the habitat that the wild creatures use.” He emphasizes that “healthy plants, particularly healthy native plants in an urban environment… do what they do best—feed the animals.”

His job, as he sees it, is to balance beauty with conservation. “In a public arboretum setting, it’s important to have the eye candy for the visitors; there’s a balance between the aesthetic considerations and the health of a natural habitat.” When he was hired, he was asked to reimagine the gardens around the Cope House, to “bump those up a notch, visually speaking.” While he has no definite plan in mind yet, his goal is to use “different colors, textures, and forms with long-blooming cycles to … make the garden around the House more appealing.”

The thing he is most looking forward to is planting around the newly restored ponds and creek: “The watercourse planting is going to be an exciting project and a great opportunity to reinvigorate that landscape.” Folin is looking forward “to see what’s possible.”

When asked what he saw as the biggest challenge of his job, he cited the abundance of non-native invasive plants: “At the moment, much of the understory [of the trees in the Arboretum] is overrun with wild invasives. As far as birds are concerned, they’re food deserts.” Native insects won’t feed on foreign invasives, so birds have nothing to eat. Here he is with a handful of invasive burdock.

As for what he enjoys about his job, Folin is expansive: “I like that so many people come here to visit, from people walking their dogs to birders to first-time visitors. I like the people who work here. I like that [Awbury] is public and in the City.”

The Farm Report

by Grace Wicks, Director of Community Engagement at The Farm

There has been a lot of activity at The Farm this season, and more coming up soon. Some features that are new this season:

Updated Map is coming soon! It will be posted on the kiosk by the Ardleigh Street entrance to The Farm as well as online.

Philly Forests CSA and Tree Nursery: They have already sold out of CSA shares for the season but will be selling produce at the Germantown Farmers Market. Jasmine Thompson (pictured here holding one of her brussels sprouts) will be leading workshops and tours on farming and the importance of urban tree canopy at our Sunday Fun Day Events beginning on June 20th.

Many Hands Apothecary are the raised beds of herbs maintained by the sold-out Herbal Aid Ed course.

Other News:

The Pollinator Garden has expanded to include a seeded meadow area. The native plant hedgerows planted last year are serving as undisturbed year-round habitat for our pollinator friends. They are accepting Master Gardener volunteers.

The Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers have planted their Dye Garden for the season with the following plants and resulting dye colors in mind: goldenrod (yellow); cornflower (blue); black hollyhocks (lavender, blue); orange cosmos (orange, red); safflower (red, pink); African marigold (yellow, green).

Weavers Way Food Co-op is busy planting. They are reopening their farmers market at Henry’s Got Crops and produce from Awbury will be sold there.

The Community Garden is in full swing, with all plots taken and 10 people on the waiting list. They have an upcoming interview with Channel 12 News and are already thinking about PHS’s 2021 Community Garden Contest.

The Philly Goat Project (PGP) is continuing their All Abilities RAMbles, monthly inclusive and sensory-friendly spaces for folx with disabilities and their friends and families! Limited reservations may be made by emailing: director@phillygoatproject.org. The goats will also be leading community walks at our Sunday Fun Days twice a month.

Sunday Fun Days will be every week from June 6th-October 31st

Activities will include community walks with the goats from PGP, wellness classes like karate and yoga, farming and gardening workshops, and presentations and tours led by our community partners. Stay tuned for weekly updates on featured activities through the season!

Family Field Studies

by Nancy Pasquier, Field Studies Director

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, our school-based Field Studies programming at Awbury came to a screeching halt. After years of welcoming 2,500-3,000 students annually, we miss seeing those crowds of enthusiastic and curious children exploring nature and their exclamations of delight upon finding a worm or a nest or seeing a red-tailed hawk soaring above the meadow. What could we do? Well, like many other organizations in a similar quandary, we tried to think outside the box.

Thanks to the flexibility and generosity of our grant funders, we were able to refocus our efforts last fall to weekend family programming and to create a full schedule of free and varied offerings, encompassing water cycles, moths and butterflies, decomposers, birds, and animals at Awbury. Now, this spring through October, Awbury in partnership with Let’s Go Outdoors will host monthly Story Time in AdventureWoods, and Wetlands programming for families twice a month by the pond. Among other family programming, we will also offer art classes, the City Nature Challenge, and Monarch tagging. You can learn more about Family Field Studies programming at Awbury on our website.

Wellness Team News

by Megan Do Nascimento, Wellness Coordinator

Spring has sprung at Awbury Arboretum and with it have come new friendships, new trails and new classes. The occasional wellness walks that started in January with four people now are twice weekly events with ten or more devoted strollers. In our one-hour loop of the grounds, the city gives way to nature’s cathedral, a comforting space of towering trees, sweeping meadows, and singing birds.

Awbury is now partnering with We Walk PHL, a non-profit that promotes walking groups throughout the city. Awbury Wellness regulars Cat Robinson and Barbara Philmon lead We Walk PHL rambles at the Arboretum for folks who are often new to our beautiful space.

Philmon commented, “The Awbury Wellness walks are a great way for me to improve and maintain my overall good health. Additionally, I walk for healing, happiness, and hope and walking with others turns this exercise into an enjoyable social experience. I recommend wellness walks for anyone who is interested in reducing stress, increasing their heart rate, and improving their overall health.”

Afro-House instructor Antoinette-Coward Gilmore is pleased with the turnout for her Thursday midday class: “The class loves the movement, workout camaraderie and dancing with nature,” she says. “Come one, come all & enjoy the groove!”

Margaret Kinnevy teaches Natural Flow Qigong. “Getting so much love at Awbury lately,” she says, “hanging with plants and people in the kind of wild outdoors. Dancing, playing qigong, touching, tasting and talking ‘bout plants while feeling the soft breeze and radiant shine of the sun. Feeling all the creativity, productivity, and at the same time, an unhurried calm that nature provides so perfectly.”

Yoga instructor Sarah Charlesworth-Attie teaches two Vinyasa Flow classes on Mondays and soon will be teaching family yoga on Sunday Fun Days at The Farm next month. “I am so thrilled to be teaching at Awbury again this year,” she says. “I love teaching here because I get to reconnect in person safely with longtime students and meet new people, too!

“My yoga teaching style emphasizes connection to the elements and the cycles of the natural world, so having all our senses immersed in nature while practicing enhances my students’ experience. Each week there is a different quality to the birdsong and a new plant blooming and we take time to slow down and notice this in class. My students often comment at the end of class, ‘I needed that so much!’, as they leave with a lighter step.

“Moving into summer,” Charlesworth-Attie continued, “I’m really excited about leading more family yoga sessions over at The Farm, which families enjoy exploring before and after class. Working with pregnant and postpartum people is another one of my specialties, so I’m thrilled to be adding prenatal yoga classes to the Awbury Wellness offerings this summer!”

Tia Mathisen, a resident of Mt. Airy, teaches Cardio Dance on Thursday mornings at the Cope House patio. She has a degree in theater and dance, is a certified yoga teacher, and is also the managing director of The Philadelphia Citizen. She loves to dance while building community.

Awbury resident and yin yoga instructor Brittney Indigo has been offering classes on Wednesday evenings: : “It has truly been a pleasure and an honor to guide yin classes at the Awbury Arboretum. Megan welcomed me with open arms, as I was in the thick of my yoga training and eager to gain some real hands-on experience teaching yoga during the pandemic. I have grown so much since I first started teaching last fall. I enjoyed bringing my mat, walking through the cul-de-sac where I live to reach Cope House, merely steps away from my house, and transporting myself and others on Wednesday nights. The Arboretum proved to be such a lovely backdrop for my classes, providing that extra grounding and relaxation with all of the ambient sounds from the wind in the leaves to the songs of the birds.”

Sundays are full of motion with our friends from Action Karate. Rochelle Brenner and Tariq James Arthur hold Family and Adult Karate classes at The Farm.

Chair yoga has been a popular class as well and new Wellness friends appreciate the quiet escape from their normal routines. “I feel like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon,” said one chair yoga participant. “I have been cooped up for so long in the house from the pandemic. It feels liberating to be at Awbury.”

Botanical Musings

by Grant Folin, Landscape Manager

If you’re like me, every year in February you begin to anticipate the arrival of spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) in the woodlands of the southeastern Pennsylvania region. I begin this anticipation in February because, at that time of the winter, it seems as if spring ought to be arriving any day now. Leaves of these amazing little plants can begin to emerge as early as January. When the spring beauties’ flowers do appear, any time between mid-March and mid-April in the Philadelphia region, their delicate beauty brings peace of mind and the assurance that, indeed, spring is around the corner.

Spring beauties are in a category of wildflowers native to the eastern US commonly referred to as spring ephemerals. Other plants in this category include: bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), and trout lily or dogtooth violet (Erythronium americanum), all of which may be seen at Awbury Arboretum. In addition to providing us winter-weary humans with hope for freedom from shivering and longer periods spent outdoors (very important in the era of working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic) these plants have a highly complex relationship with the other organisms and the soils in which they live.

Pictured to the right:  Spring beauties – Claytonia virginica – photo © Grant Folin

The flowers of spring ephemerals provide very early season pollen and nectar for early emerging bees, wasps, moths, and butterflies. Their seeds, produced by the pollination of flowers by insects, have a thin coating know as an elaiosome. This seed coating is highly nutritious, loaded with fats and proteins, and is highly prized by ants, which carry the seeds away to feed on the coating and discard the seed itself in trash piles created by the ant colony for waste disposal. These seeds then germinate to grow new plants at an ant journey’s distance from the mother plant. Ants are spring ephemeral wildflower gardeners!

The leaves of these plants then disappear entirely by the time of the arrival of hot summer temperatures. As is the case with many plant species that are sensitive to changes in their habitat, these plants are experiencing reduced populations due to habitat loss because of rapid changes in land use—agriculture, urbanization, transportation, energy development, and all of the other reasons human societies alter the landscape to suit their needs.

If you plan to use spring ephemerals in your home garden or landscape, it would be wise to obtain them from a reputable nursery; it’s never a good idea to dig these plants up from wild landscapes. Hopefully, if there are ants in your landscape (which is pretty likely) your garden will someday be sprouting these beautiful plants along the routes where the ants make their homes.
Pictured on left: Trout lilies – Erythronium americanum – photo © Grant Folin

OWLS Teens Learn Job Skills

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

A group of teens has been gathering at the Cope House every Wednesday after school to practice their outdoor skills and to build job competence in the outdoor recreational field. In addition to learning how to forage for edible plants, lead games, build campfires, and put up shelters, they are also learning delegation strategies, active listening, conflict resolution, and techniques for good communication and discipline. And, oh, yes, they just became fully certified in adult and pediatric first aid, CPR, and AED. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t having a lot of fun in the process.

Who are these teens and why are they doing these things? They’re students between the ages of 14 and 18 in Awbury’s Outdoor & Wilderness Leadership Skills (OWLS) training program, and most of them are hoping for a shot as a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) at Awbury’s popular Summer Adventures Day Camp. This summer’s sold-out camps will require a minimum of 6 energetic, outgoing CITs to lead games and activities, to help the counselors with set-up and clean-up, and to assist in activities that require more personalized help. Since most of these camps feature some form of wilderness survival, the teens are brushing up on these skills, so that they will be prepared to aid the campers who are doing them for the first time. The students in this photo are looking at muddy water that they have filtered using a liter soda bottle, sand, gravel, a coffee filter, and activated charcoal.

Last week, a team of instructors came from the American Red Cross to finish the in-person portion of a hybrid class on first aid, CPR, and AED. Because of the pandemic, each student had their own adult torso and infant dummy to practice on. The instructors were impressed with the questions the students asked and said afterwards that the group had been more competent and attentive than some of the adult classes they had taught. Nearly all the students walked out of that session fully certified.

In addition to learning these skills, over the course of the past seven weeks the students have been learning to construct a resumé and collect job references. Next week, for their final class, they will have mock job interviews as a practice for the real thing. Even for those students who don’t get a coveted CIT position at Awbury for this summer, the experience has given them the confidence to advocate for themselves, and the ability to promote themselves and their skills and competence to a prospective employer.

Bluebird Nest Monitoring

by Nancy Pasquier, Field Studies Director

creek with stone footbridge

This spring Awbury installed five bluebird boxes on the property in the hopes of attracting these signs of spring and, in many cultures, happiness, to the Arboretum. One might think that this would be an easy process—a build-a-bluebird-box-and- they-will-come kind of thing—but unfortunately it isn’t that simple. Bluebird boxes are attractive homes to many other birds that are often willing to take aggressive means to win the box. The most persistent of these competing birds is the house wren, which likes to build multiple nests in many boxes to give prospective mates a choice of homes. Other birds that will make nests in bluebird boxes include chickadees, swallows, and house sparrows.

Awbury has a small group of volunteers who monitor and record the observations for reporting to the Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania (BSP). The organization has been instrumental in supporting our effort, donating all five boxes as well as providing guidance and expertise. Awbury’s Bluebird Trail is the first trail in Philadelphia connected with the BSP and the hope is that additional trails will be created in the city to help the Eastern bluebirds become regular visitors.

We have not seen any bluebirds at Awbury yet this year, but as they have two and sometimes three broods each year, we are still hopeful. The monitoring group has removed numerous house wren nests (these birds are certainly persistent), but was thrilled to discover that a pair of chickadees had created a nest in one of the boxes. Although the ultimate goal is that the boxes will be homes to bluebirds, chickadee and swallow nests are not disturbed if found in a box.

It was exciting to discover eight chickadee eggs a few weeks ago and even more exciting to see the eggs had hatched during a recent monitoring. If you would like more information about Awbury’s Bluebird Trail, please contact Nancy Pasquier at npasquier@awbury.org

If you have stopped by the Cope House galleries in recent weeks, you will have seen the vibrant, bold, abstract paintings of Jonathan Eckel. This collection, spanning the past six years, is entitled “Blackberry Winter”; as Eckel remarks in his artist’s statement: “Coming out of a long, long winter, this exhibition celebrates spring in the arboretum, where wild berries bloom.”

A native of Glenside, PA, Eckel earned a BFA from Tyler School of Art in 2003. He has traveled widely in North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has been an artist in residence in Vermont and in County Mayo, Ireland. His works are included in the permanent collection of the Woodmere Art Museum, the U.S. State Dept. Art Bank Program, and the Ballinglen Contemporary Museum of Art in County Mayo, Ireland. He currently lives and works at the Greene Street Artists Cooperative in Germantown.

The paintings in this exhibit, Eckel remarks, “reflect themes of ritual, ceremony, metamorphosis, and a personal mythology.” He recalled, “In the past… I was making paintings that dealt with heavier themes in a strictly figurative/narrative style.” Now, he lets the work determine its own direction. As an example, he cited his central painting in the show, “Metamorphosis/Daphne’s Song,” which he completed in 2019-20. There is an abstract woman’s legs running or dancing on the left, with the torso and head replaced by a sinuous branch, recalling Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the story of Daphne, who was turned into a laurel tree so she could escape the embrace of the god Apollo. In this case, however, the painting came first and the concept came afterwards: “Looking at [Daphne’s leg] now, the imagery makes sense, but back then [when I started painting it] it was just a random line or an undefined shape. If you let yourself listen to the painting it will tell you what it needs.”

With his work constantly evolving as he paints, about a decade ago Eckel made the decision to switch from oil paints to acrylic. Because it dries so much faster than oils, “There is a speed to acrylic that really changed my style. The speed is why I’m able to make such drastic changes. The results are immediate. There’s no waiting.”

Eckel commented, “I’m very interested in the subconscious. It’s that idea of getting things going, going by your gut…. You don’t have a plan. Then things start to develop.” He enjoys not knowing how a painting will turn out, or even what it will turn out to be: “I really like not to know! I personally have no interest in recreating the same painting over and over again. For me, it’s very important to change and surprise myself, being willing to make a bold mistake, willing to sacrifice the painting in order to find its true nature.”

Because of this method, sometimes it’s difficult for him to figure out when the painting is finished. “The older I get,” he remarked, “the harder it’s becoming. Sometimes it’s just having a deadline.” As he paints, “The painting just tells me what it needs, and this dialogue continues for weeks, months or even years.” Then, “at some point… it’s run its course, you’re unattached; it’s finished.”

Jonathan Eckel’s paintings will be on display in the Cope House Galleries until June 28. There will be an opening and artist’s reception on June 6, from 5-7pm. Admission is free, but registration is required for timed tickets to the gallery. Click here to register online.

Welcome New Staff: Grace Wicks

Our new Director of Community Engagement at The Farm, Grace Wicks, is a native Philadelphian; in fact, the only time she ever lived outside the City of Brotherly Love was the time she went away to Prescott College in Arizona, an environmental liberal arts college. Wicks has a long history of environmental and social activism. She claims it all started in high school: she was kicked out of Germantown Friends School at age 15 and transferred to a public school, where she underwent a quick hard lesson on privilege. Shortly thereafter, in 1995, she cofounded the Philadelphia Student Union (still going strong 26 years later!), an organization run by students for students to improve the quality of education in Philadelphia public schools.

This formed “an incredible branching in my life’s journey.” Her mother, Judy Wicks, had started the White Dog Café in their house when Grace was 5: “I literally grew up in the restaurant,” she laughed. After college, she began working at her mother’s restaurant, working as a prep cook, line cook, taking reservations, then moving on to hosting community service projects, leading community tours, and running a mentoring program there.

By the time she was 23, she was burned out as an activist, and had come to realize that her one true love was gardening: “I just want to garden all day!” So her plan was to figure out how to get paid to do what she loved. She started with an entry-level job working on private estates in Chestnut Hill.

Making gardens look pretty for wealthy families wasn’t enough for her, however. She began working for one of her mother’s suppliers, Green Meadow Farm in Lancaster, PA, as a farmhand, and also sharecropped for one season. This, too, began to pall: “I really do love growing food, but I love the city—I want to be around people. And I love design.”

So she returned to gardening in Philadelphia in 2008 and set up an urban gardening business, Graceful Gardens. “Ornamental and Edible Landscapes was my tagline,” she said, “and my service radius was as far as I was willing to bike” with her specialized cargo bike. “I poured everything I had into that company,” she recalls, “but I did not take very good care of myself in terms of sleeping, nutrition, or any kind of downtime.”

Twelve years after she founded her company, it had become the top gardening company in the city of Philadelphia, but the time had come to close. Wicks finished clearing out the company headquarters in March of 2020, just before the pandemic shut everything down.

Wicks decided to take a year-long break from work to focus on her health. But, of course, that didn’t mean sitting around doing nothing. She volunteered with the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP), which until last year had its nursery at Awbury, and was here so often that she grew to love the Arboretum. She paused, thoughtfully. “I really want to serve the public; I want my work to benefit society, not just the folks who can afford a private gardener. I want to address climate change, social justice, and explore regenerative agriculture.” Regenerative agriculture, she explained, is “philosophically, looking at how to create fertility and abundance.” We were sitting at a picnic table at The Farm as she was speaking, where we could hear both the chickens softly clucking and a car revving its engine on Washington Lane. “In an urban environment,” she mused, “the social component is so important. How do you share? What are the power dynamics in that system?” She took a breath and looked around her at the chicken coop nearby, the pollinator garden beyond, and children playing in front of the Education Center. “I think that Awbury is a great place to work these things out.”