With more than 650 participants, including 48 break-out sessions and four keynote speakers there was a wealth of knowledge and experience available to all that attended the triennial 2014 UC Master Gardener Conference.
Welcome & keynotes
Two keynote speakers followed Johnson's inspirational welcome, Doug Tallamy a professor in Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and Alan McHughen a public sector educator, scientist and consumer advocate for UC Riverside. Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home”, presented the importance of biodiversity in our ecosystems.
“Replacing half of the area that is now barren lawns with plants that are best at supporting food webs would create over 20 million acres of connectivity [nationally] and go a long way sustaining biodiversity in the future,” encourages Tallamy.
The opening day's final keynote speaker, Alan McHughen, presented on what every UC Master Gardener should know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His presentation was focused around his research findings, published in “Pandora's Picnic Basket”. McHughen explained the basics of rDNA technology and how it is used in agriculture and horticulture.
A magical night at Tenaya
The silent auction was a huge success with many counties donating beautiful baskets of local goods and handmade items. The total raised from the silent auction was more than $6,400! All of the money raised will go to offset the cost of registration for the 2017 conference.
Of the $6,400 raised, $600 was set aside for need-based scholarships. We're happy to announce the statewide UC Master Gardener Program and UC ANR are matching the $600, bringing the total up to an impressive $1800 to support need-based scholarships in 2017.
Sessions, sessions, and more sessions!
Visit the conference website to download some of this year's most memorable presentations. Many generous speakers have offered to share their presentations for future reference with conference attendees, visit the conference website to view the uploaded presentations.
Following a full day of learning, attendees were invited to join together in the grand ballroom for dinner. Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee's Garden, joined UC Master Gardeners for dinner as the night's keynote speaker. Shepherd discussed her pioneering career in the seed business as well as future trends in the gardening industry. She also explained the differences between heirlooms, hybrids and open pollinated seed varieties during her presentation titled, “A Seedy Business”.
Search for Excellence Winners and Honoring Pam Geisel
Following the winning Search for Excellence presentations was attendees enjoyed a heart-warming celebration of gratitude for Pam Geisel, honoring her years of service to the UC Master Gardener Program. Geisel began her career with Cooperative Extension in 1981 as an environmental horticulture advisor. In 2006, Geisel became the first statewide director of the UC Master Gardener Program, helping to establish the program under the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) and doubling program reach before her retirement in 2013. UC ANR's Associate Vice President, Bill Frost, was at the conference to recognize Geisel for her contributions to the program and awarded her with the 2014 ANR Distinguished Service award for Outstanding Leadership.
The conference's final keynote presenter, Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries, delivered a presentation on “Humor from the Horticultural Trenches” with many outrageous remarks and requests from the perspective of a garden clerk. Before attendees got on the road to travel home, a generous donation of plants from Monrovia were awarded to some lucky attendees.
See you in Southern California in 2017
Many thanks to the numerous volunteer, host counties and conference planning committee members who made the 2014 conference a reality. Without their dedication and support the conference would not have been possible. We look forward to reaping the harvest of our success in growing together at the 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference in Southern California.
Do you have a suggestion for the next conference or feedback for this year's event? Let us know at ucanr.edu/mgfeedback.
Loofa Farm & Mount Bullion Vineyard
The loofa is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Contrary to popular belief, loofas grow on a vine, not in the ocean. Located in the Yosemite foothills, this tour of a working loofa farm is scheduled one week prior to harvest! Handmade crèmes, lotions, soaps and loofahs are available for purchase, and of course, all products are grown and crafted on site.
Following the loofa farm tour you will travel to Mt. Bullion Vineyard, where grapes are grown, fermented, barreled, aged, bottled and cellared. A visit to the winery is by appointment only. Lunch will be provided at the winery. The tour also includes transportation to and from Tenaya Lodge.
Clovis Botanical Garden is the only botanical garden in the San Joaquin Valley. It is a one-acre water-wise demonstration garden that showcases beautiful plants and landscapes appropriate for the hot summers and cool winters of California's Central Valley. While strolling through the garden learn about the “Sensational 70”, plants friendly to Central Valley landscapes which are attractive, water-wise, and non-invasive. Enjoy lunch at the home and garden of one of our own Master Gardeners of Fresno County.
The Forestiere Underground Gardens is a Fresno City and county historical site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Explore the underground maze of rooms, courtyards, and passageways reminiscent of the ancient catacombs. See unique fruit-producing trees, shrubs, and vines growing underground – some over 90 years old. Water, wine and snacks on the return trip to the Tenaya Lodge. Arrive back at the Lodge in time for the Cowboy Dinner, Train Ride, and Campfire.
Campfire & Train Ride
All Aboard! An exciting four mile railroad excursion at Yosemite Park's South gate on Highway 41. Ride into history where powerful locomotives once hauled massive log trains through the Sierra Mountains and where mighty lumberjacks felled the timber and flumes carried the lumber to the distant valley below.
The Sierra National Forest's majestic woods provide the backdrop for this narrow gauge journey back in time. Peer into the past! A New York steak, chicken or vegetarian dinner with all the fixins' is included in the price, and a no host bar is available. Enjoy a campfire under the stars while you listen to a local guide tell stories of times past.
This is just a small sampling of the many exciting tours offered at this year's conference. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to explore this part of California with your fellow Master Gardener friends and family. Click here to learn about all of the conference tours offered!
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
- Contributor: Marcia Rosenberg
Do you have a delicious local delicacy or a favorite gardening tool?
Are you an artist with a unique masterpiece?
Do you have a vacation home a fellow Master Gardener could enjoy?
Are you a crafter that loves to build birdhouses or design fairy gardens?
Get creative, have fun and help support a program you love!
Please consider donating items for the 2014 UC Master Gardener Conference silent auction. The silent auction is a unique opportunity to raise funds that help offset costs and provide scholarships for attendees at future UC Master Gardener conferences.
“Growing Together” is the theme of this year's conference and can be incorporated into a variety of exciting donation ideas, including a county basket.
Donating silent auction items is easy
Work with your coordinator and designate a member in your county responsible for collecting donation(s), forward contact information to Marcia Rosenberg, silent auction coordinator. Once you have determined the items your county will donate (recommended minimum value $50 ) - download the Silent Auction application and return no later than August 1, 2014.
Attn: Marcia Rosenberg
RE: Silent Auction
Visit the conference website to learn more details about the silent auction and how to package silent auction donation baskets. We are grateful to have generous and dedicated University of California, Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners and are looking forward to hearing from you!
As University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners, we are all doing great things. Search for Excellence (SFE) awards is an opportunity to celebrate and share accomplishment by showcasing the tremendous talents of Master Gardeners statewide. Master Gardeners are invited to submit an educational and innovative county project for consideration April 1 – July 1, 2014.
What is the “Search for Excellence”?
Master Gardeners have successfully developed outreach projects in their local communities and have dedicated an huge amount of time and resources to ensure the project's success. The Search for Excellence awards are a small way to recognize and thank Master Gardeners for all that they do.
Search for Excellence is a statewide competition which recognizes county UCCE Master Gardener Programs for outstanding projects that support the mission of the UC Master Gardener Program.
What are SFE Categories?
Projects must fall under one of the following categories:
- Youth programs
- Demonstration gardens
- Workshop or presentation
- Community service
- Innovative projects
- Special needs audiences (senior, disabled or horticultural therapy)
- Research (applied scientific methodology)
What Projects Count for SFE Award Considerations?
Project submissions must fit the following parameters to qualify for SFE awards:
- Projects judged on merit for work completed between 2011 – 2013
- Projects must be completed for a full year to be considered
- Entries must be group, not individual, projects
- Each county may submit multiple SFE applications, only one project per category will be considered
Search for Excellence awards are designed to highlight the statewide conferences and we hope you will consider submitting an application for a project in your county that educates the public in a special, fun and creative way. Additional details including guidelines and an application for the 2014 SFE awards are attached below and also available on the 2014 UC Master Garden Conference website.
If you think one of the projects is a candidate for an award based on its' development, implementation and impact in the community, let your Master Gardener Program Coordinator or leader know about it!
Questions? Contact Kevin Marini, 530-889-7399
Thank you for registering early to ensure the UC Master Gardener Conference will be an extraordinary event. Currently more than 400 attendees have registered for the conference!
The Tenaya Lodge is officially sold out of rooms (don't panic) from Oct. 8 -10, 2014. There are a few ways you can do to help manage the situation as outlined below:
- Attendees are encouraged to check with roommate(s) for duplicate hotel reservations and release unneeded reservations as a courtesy to their fellow Master Gardeners.
- Still need lodging? Continue to check on room availability by contacting the Tenaya Lodge directly, (559)683-6555. There is no waiting list - rooms are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The Statewide Office is looking at alternate accommodations and those options will be published as soon as they become available.
We are reviewing the lodging list from the Tenaya Lodge to ensure accuracy of reservations. Be on the look-out for an email confirmation from UC ANR regarding your lodging plans in the upcoming weeks. We still have plenty of space for UC Master Gardeners who would like to attend the event.
We promise to keep you informed on hotel updates and conference activities in the near future!