More gardening & nature activities you can do during the pandemic

four gardening images
Photo collage by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

First: Our Events page is back!

For awhile, the page was overwhelmed by cancelled events. There was no reason to check it out.

But organizers have been creating interesting new events that keep participants safe during the pandemic. I am delighted to be post them on my Events page.

On the Events page, you’ll find activities that are being held at a particular time and on a certain date. Most of them are online talks and discussions.

Second: Check out this article for resources that you access anytime. I am also listing some events that have what I call a fluid time frame. There’s no set date.

Get your gardening questions answered

Is this a plant or a weed? What is this bug? What should I do about a problem I’m having in my garden?

Don’t ask me. I’m not a gardening expert and probably won’t know the answers.

But there are wonderful people who can help you: the Master Gardeners in your area. Those are the folks I turn to when I want to make sure I have good gardening information. See their contact information here.

In addition, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County hosts Garden Fence Chats from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday via Zoom.

They open each day with a 10-to-15-minute presentation covering a timely topic or frequently asked question. After that, you can ask your gardening questions. You don’t have to live in Erie County to join the chat.

Video series from Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua

4-H youth educators Molly R. Brown and Kate Ewer from Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County are creating a series of videos on topics including chickens, compost and hydroponics. See the videos on the Facebook page for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County.

All about vegetable gardening

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “JUST  PLANT IT, NY!” campaign is offering free resources for new vegetable gardeners.

See great information, including videos, here. There are also recommendations for families and educators.

The resources come from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program and Cornell Garden-Based Learning program.


Free kit for Mother’s Day

Kids can make a patio pot for Mother’s Day. Pick up the free kit at Bengert Greenhouses, 230 French Rd., West Seneca. The kit includes a nine-inch pot, soil and three plants. Call 823-6114 to make a reservation to pick up your plants. Watch the video here to see how to plant the flowers.

Virtual, free NYS 4-H forestry course for ages 10+

The 2020 New York State 4-H Forestry Weekend has been reborn as a virtual learning experience. Starting May 9, there will be five Saturday evening Zoom events that will include videos from various Cooperative Extension/4-H systems or related companies, as well as some made by 4-Hers.

Youth 10 and over will learn how to identify trees, how to measure diameter and log productions in trees, basic map & compass skills, as well forest ecology and tree pests and diseases. See the schedule and details here.

Learn with resources from Botanical Gardens

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens offers activities for kids to do at home. See more here.

Plant sales

The Great Plant Sale, previously scheduled by the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens for May 14-16, will now take place online. Plants will be available for purchase soon. Check back for details here. The sale is proudly sponsored by

Hawk Creek Wildlife Center is holding a plant sale as a fundraiser. Due to Covid-19, the sale will be modified to ensure a safe, social distanced experience. This year you will pre-order your plants and then enjoy curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, May 21 to 23 at Hawk Creek, 1963 Mill Rd., West Falls.

Also check out our Gardening Directory for more information on buying plants.

Bees & fireflies

A special exhibit called “Bees! Diversity, Evolution, Conservation” opened in September 2019 at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca. The museum is closed right now because of the pandemic, but you can see an online version of the exhibit here.

Xerces Society, focused on the conservation of invertebrates, has scheduled a number of webinars in May, including talks on fireflies, bumble bees and ground-nesting bees.

Self-led activities at Pfeiffer Nature Center

Do self-led activities at the Pfeiffer Nature Center’s Lillibridge Property, 1974 Lillibridge Rd., Portville. The activities are “Touring the Towering Trees” and “What’s Bugging You?” See details here.

4 Comments on “More gardening & nature activities you can do during the pandemic

  1. Connie,
    So glad you got our information regarding the LGW. Thanks for helping us pass the word about our decision to cancel this event. We will look forward to you and the photos of gardens that you might visit. Love your posts. Stay safe and keep up your great work to promote gardening in WNY.

  2. Rich, I am sorry to hear that. You folks always do a great job in organizing the Lancaster Garden Walk, and the gardens are wonderful! I will post it as canceled on my Events page. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Connie I wanted to pass along information regarding the Lancaster Garden Walk 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and to protect public safety and health the LGW has been cancelled for 2020. We are already working on making the 2021 garden Walk a bigger, better and safer event.

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