What’s that smell? ‘Stinkology’ presentation teaches the odors of nature

People can learn about the smells of nature during “Stinkology: Fragrances of Field and Forest” on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby.

Participants will learn how humans have used the fragrant substances of plants for food flavoring and preservation, for manufacture of perfumes, and for medicinal purposes.

Samples of fragrant plants such as sassafras, sweet fern, garlic mustard, wild ginger, tree of heaven, mugwort, and sweet cicely will be available for smelling.

The program will be presented by the Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Kellogg Environmental Center is a state-owned facility.

Sweet fragrances to putrid odors

The stems, leaves, roots, bark and fruit of many plants produce a variety of fragrances ranging from the sweet smells of spice bush and sweet birch to that of bitter chokecherry and putrid skunk cabbage.

These chemical fragrances are used by plants as a defense against insect and animal predators and also to protect against fungal and bacterial attack, according to event organizers.

About the facilitators

The session’s facilitators, Peter and Barbara Rzasa, will focus on the fragrances resulting from chemicals produced by plants.

Peter Rzasa earned his degree in forest chemistry from the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

Barbara Rzasa is a graphic designer who uses her artistic skills to create pastel and watercolor wildflower drawings, currently on display at the Kellogg Environmental Center.

Costs and to get information

A donation of $4 per adult and $2 per student or child is requested by those who attend. Light refreshments will be served after the program.

For information, directions, or to register, call the Kellogg Environmental Center 203-734-2513 or contact Dennis Kocyla 203-734-9325 or dennisk32@yahoo.com.