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Longwood Gardens Joins with Local Libraries and Conservation Organizations to Launch Second Annual Community Read

January 9, 2015

KENNETT SQUARE, PA – Longwood Gardens and a host of community partners today launched its second annual Community Read, which is designed to encourage the region to join together in reading the same book to spur discussion around an idea or topic. This year’s title, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Kimmerer, explores the human relationship to the natural world. New this year is the addition of a children’s title, The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry, which gives young readers an inspired look at what the Kapok Tree means to the creatures that live in it—and what rainforests mean to the world’s ecology.

Area libraries and community organizations are joining in the Community Read by hosting programs and events now through April. Community Read partners include: Awbury Arboretum, Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Library System, Delaware County Community College, Delaware County Library System, Delaware Nature Society, Mt. Cuba Center, Natural Lands Trust, Nemours Foundation, New Castle County Library System, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Quarryville Library, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, Tyler Arboretum and the Wyck Historic House, Garden and Farm. A complete list of community partners and programs can be found at

“We chose Braiding Sweetgrass because Robin Kimmerer introduces readers to a language of flora and fauna that is easy to understand and urges them to recognize a holistic relationship between humans and nature. This holistic approach is integral to Longwood Gardens, and is an important message to share and explore with our community,” said Paul B. Redman, Executive Director of Longwood Gardens.

To inspire the next generation to value and respect nature, the Community Read is expanding to include the awardwinning children’s book, The Great Kapok Tree. This book by environmentalist Lynne Cherry teaches children the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another.” 

Longwood Gardens Community Read Events
Family Community Read Day will take place at Longwood Gardens on Saturday, March 7 from 10am -1:30pm. This event will allow children and their families to meet the author of the Great Kapok Tree, Lynne Cherry, and discuss how they too can connect to nature in their own lives. Children will embark on a Conservatory scavenger hunt, see a real Kapok Tree, and be inspired to share their conservation ideas. Family Community Read Day is free with Gardens Admission.

Longwood is offering Book Chats on Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12, from 10-11:30am featuring the author of Braiding Sweetgrass Robin Kimmerer. The $29 registration fee includes a copy of the book. 

On April 12, from 2-4 pm Longwood will hold a Community Conversation where readers will get an opportunity to learn more about Kimmerer’s writing and be among fellow peers to celebrate and discuss the book. There will be a book signing and opportunity to continue the conversation in an informal social setting. Registration is required and is free for members.

Readers can join the conversation on social media throughout the Community Read by following Longwood Gardens on Twitter and using the hashtag #LongwoodRead.

Get Your Copy
Braiding Sweetgrass and The Great Kapok Tree are available for purchase at the Longwood Gardens GardenShop and at major book retailers. It is available as an eBook with Kindle, Nook, and iBook and is also available to borrow at many public libraries in Chester County, Delaware County and New Castle County.

About Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is on US Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA, 30 miles west of Philadelphia. The Gardens Shop is open daily. The Terrace Restaurant Café is open daily. Admission is $20 for adults; $17 for seniors (age 62+); $10 for students (ages 5–18 or with valid student ID) and free ages 4 and under. Group rates available. Details at

About Robin Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York and the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and building resilience for climate change. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. 

She holds a PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land.

About Lynne Cherry
Lynne Cherry is the author and/or illustrator of over thirty award-winning books for children. Her best-selling books The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild teach children to respect the earth. Lynne is the founder and director of the non-profit Young Voices for the Planet , an organization dedicated to helping the voices of environmentally-concerned young people be heard. Lynne is also a movie producer. Her Young Voices for the Planet short films feature youth success stories. 

Lynne earned her B.A. at Tyler School of Art and her M.A. in History at Yale University. She has been artist-inresidence at the Smithsonian, the Geosciences department at both the University of Massachusetts and CornellUniversity, at the Marine Biological Lab, and at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and at the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University.