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Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

Posted by Janet_La z8b Louisiana (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 27, 04 at 22:10

I just got home from the first day of our very first statewide conference. It started at 9:30 this morning, and goes through 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. I wasn't in on any of the planning (I work full time, so my involvement is unfortunately limited), but I've been very impressed so far. We've had great speakers and good food - what more could you ask for, lol? The speakers are mostly from Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. Some sessions are for everyone, and others are smaller groups where we had to sign up for the ones we wanted. A couple of them were geared for the master gardening program rather than individual gardeners (Fundraisng & Grant Writing and So, You've Been Invited to Talk About Gardening?). There was also a panel discussion on Louisiana Master Gardener Projects so ideas could be shared from around the state. The final session will be Chef John Folse speaking on the Plantation Potager - that should be great!

Have any of your states had conferences? If so, what were they like?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

Hi Janet --
I've been a MG for 6 years. Our state MG group has conferences every year in late spring, and I look forward to them! They rotate around the state and are hosted by groups in the area to hold the conference. We also use the conference to get folks to volunteer for growing trials around the state, which allows research on designated varieties.

They almost always have an outside keynote speaker of gardening interest, then workshops and speakers on everything from gardening and design, to leadership, to how to build membership participation. Every year I have learned something new (this year it was native WV grass identification.)

We have a silent auction and live auction on Saturday night. Most of all, we laugh and have great community experiences with other MGs from across the state.

What an amazing experience to be with a couple hundred folks who share your interests and service orientation! This year I am checking out the northeast regional conference as well!

RE: Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

Linda, yours sounds great too! I forgot to mention that last night we had a dinner and a silent auction at LSU's Burden Research Center. It was a great time for those from other parts of the state to wander through our research gardens and mingle with MGs from all over the state. I would definately plan to go to another one.

I think I prefer our late summer date to a late spring date, though. I'm already fighting to find enough time to spend in my garden in the spring - I wouldn't like to give up a weekend! NOBODY wants to spend much time in the garden down here in late August, LOL.

RE: Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

We hosted out state conference last year & it was great. We had a garden tour of local gardeens as well as a tour of Caddo Lake, some of the Rose field & Powell Plant Farm which is an amazing commercial operation.

Dteve Bender, of Southern Living was the banquet speaker, plpus we had Bill Welch, Scott Ogden A guy from David Austin Roses in the UK & a whole host of others.

It was a great experience. Next year the Conference is going to be in Denton - not too far away, so i'm hoping to go

RE: Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

In Georgia we have had Master Gardeners for 25 years and State meetings for most of those. I assumed every state had annual State Master Gardener Conferences. We have had speakers from Tony Avent to Alan Armitage, Michael Dirr, Felder Rushing plus I, myself have spoken twice. The last time I spoke at one of these things I was a vendor also. I hope I never spread myself that thin again, Whew!
Ours is usually a day-long affair but due to the 25th Anniversary of MGs in GA this winter it will be 2 days. If I am not mistaken, we usually have around 400 or more people in attendance.

RE: Our first statewide Master Gardener Conference

When and where are you going to have the first Louisiana State Master Gardener Conference? I would like to see your program when you get it completed.

I attended my first State Master Gardener Conference at Texas A&M in the spring of 1999. And just this past May 2004, we had the State Master Gardener Conference in Corpus Christi and our Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association assisted the Nueces County Master Gardeners with it.

We requested pre-registration so we would have an idea on how many people were going to attend. On Thursday, we had actual registration and attendees were given a program along with a "goodie bag". Also there were some pre-tour tours available on Thursday, and in the evening there was a welcome reception at the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens.

Then on Friday there were various options to choose from, i.e. state executive board meetings, junior master gardener meetings, workshops and premium tours. One of the tours was Rockport. We arranged for a short slide presentation at the library and then toured 5 gardens. At noon a wonderful box luncheon, prepared by a local restaurant, was served on the grounds of the Fulton Mansion. Friday night we had a silent auction and our award banquet dinner where the state awards were presented and we had a featured speaker.

Saturday there were educational programs all day along with a buffet luncheon of Mexican Food. Very good. And we had vendors there with garden related items.

All in all, it turned out very well with approximately 600 in attendance.

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