By Jawad Hossain and Maia Vines
A garden filled with fuzzy scented geraniums and pink and red petunias greeted Leandra Mendez, her two sons, Mateo and Malik, and her mother Joana when they entered the Brookhaven Home and Garden show at the Holtsville Ecology Site last Sunday afternoon.
Leandra is planning on buying a home soon, so she came to the Home and Garden show to check out what the over 25 vendors, who showcased their home and garden products along the length of the green house, had to offer. She found out about the show through an online advertisement.
Mateo and Malik, on the other hand, ran towards the coloring and crafts section for kids where they made beetle buttons and insect-shaped paper hats.
“The Brookhaven Home & Garden Show is designed to assist local businesses, giving them the opportunity to display their services; and to offer community members the opportunity to learn unique and creative ways to enhance their property,” Kristen D’Andrea, Brookhaven Town Highway Department Public Relations Assistant, said.
Educational, eco-friendly workshops on various topics, from composting to native wildlife protection are taught to the public at the show. The show is in its fifth year since its hiatus. All the proceeds from the show go to the Holtsville Animal Preserve, which is located right next door to the show and is open to the public and houses more than 100 injured or non-releasable wild and farm animals that the ecology site has helped rescue.
“We’re an educational facility so with the animals we’re really trying to teach people to leave animals alone in the wild where they belong and also not to buy exotic pets that are illegal,” April Perry, the director of the Holtsville Ecology Site, said. She has worked there for more than 30 years.
The show also taught homeowners that plants have ecological roles in our landscapes and that spending money on lawn care services to remove unwanted plants ultimately lowers biodiversity.
“Protecting biodiversity on Long Island is very important because we are home to a number of globally rare habitats and globally rare species in the area,” Luke Gervase, Education and Outreach Specialist for Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA), said. “The invasive species that come in really harm the other wildlife that depend on the native species.”
LISMA is an organization that partners up with various groups, such as the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, domestic gardener groups, and private nurseries to prevent the introduction and the threat of invasive species within the landscape.
Both businesses and the surrounding community are able to benefit from the annual Home and Garden Show by allowing owners to showcase their businesses and allowing residents to learn more about the ecology site.
“A lot of these places don’t have storefronts so I think it’s nice to represent yourself and get out there and shake hands. I think it’s wonderful, community outreach,” Nicole Agugliaro, an employee at the Bayport Flower House Inc. and vendor at the show, said.