What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Firefly Sessions

What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Firefly Sessions
By Melanie Priesnitz, Conservation Horticulturist

I can remember clearly the evening last summer when I stood in an empty field and watched, transfixed, as the night sky opened up around me with a myriad of tiny fireflies. Watching these amazing creatures always brings a child-like joy into my heart and reminds me of the wondrous capabilities of the other entities that we share this planet with.

Many of us wouldn’t recognize a firefly if we bumped into one during the day, as they are somewhat nondescript looking beetles. We notice them only for the brief time that they shine brightly and illuminate the night. There’s much symbolism and many lessons to be taken from fireflies. Some of my favorites include: You can’t judge a book by its cover, things are not always as they seem, we all have lights shining inside of us, and our physical appearance does not define us.

This summer at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, we are tapping into some of that firefly inspiration, and focusing our education and outreach programming on wellness and wonder. The lesson from fireflies that resonates with me the most is that things are not always as they seem. This is so often the case with people who are struggling to find wellness, as many physical and mental challenges are invisible and difficult to recognize. So, we invite you to join us this spring and summer around the bonfire at our ‘After Dark Firefly Sessions’ and ‘Lunchtime Firefly Sessions’ to explore the path to wellness together. The format will be simple for both: get outside, meet around the bonfire, and connect with others and the natural world.

The After Dark sessions, beginning May 16, will use music as a wellness tool. The series will run once a month on Thursdays from 7-9pm. After dark is a magical time within the garden gates. We’ll start off making music to the sound of the spring peepers and conclude with the crickets as the summer progresses. Students and community members of all ages are invited to participate in these open jam sessions around the fire. Whether you play, sing, dance, like to sit back and listen, or are an avid performer, join us for a chance to reconnect with your inner sense of wonder and well-being. You are welcome to bring a thermos of hot tea or coffee, but please leave alcoholic beverages at home. Sessions will run May 16, June 13, July 18, and Aug 29, so mark your calendar for summer nights of music and laughter under the stars.

Our Lunchtime Firefly Sessions begin May 30 at 12pm. The season will kick off with a Qigong workshop hosted by Jack Risk. Qigong is the ancient art of developing a healthy flow in the body’s bioenergy. It works to create harmony within the body and spirit and is good for general health and well-being. The gentle movements are easy to learn and easy to practice. During the session, participants will learn a few movements to promote healing, ongoing health, emotional calmness, and a clear consciousness. Our lunchtime series runs from 12-1pm May 30, June 27, July 25 and August 22. Please feel welcome to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it around the bonfire after the session.

We hope that you will join us for one or all of our Firefly Sessions. Participating in this series is a step towards supporting yourself and your community on the path towards physical and mental wellness. Life is short and so precious, so make time to get outside and play and invite a little wonder into your life! These events are free and open to all. For more information visit our website (botanicalgardens.acadiau.ca) or Facebook page.