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32nd Annual


October 1-3, 2012

Clearwater Beach Hilton
Clearwater Beach, Florida

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Dear Master Gardeners!

I am excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2012 Master Gardener Continued Training Conference. The conference this year is being held in Clearwater at the Clearwater Beach Hilton beginning Oct. 1st and runs through Oct. 3rd. This location is right on the beach and there are all the shopping and unique restaurants within walking distance that anyone could want. I think the planning committee has done a great job creating a diverse schedule providing something for everyone.

We are again starting things off with optional pre-conference tours. These tours will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 30th and require pre-registration by September 4th. We have three great choices. One will expose you to six landscapes designed by renowned landscape architect Phil Graham Jr. The second trip visits the beautiful Florida Botanical Gardens and also makes a stop at the historic Sunken Gardens. The final trip involves a horticulture tour of Busch Gardens and the Bette Walker Discovery Garden. All the trips will provide you with a great deal of information and a fun experience.

The conference formally kicks off on Monday, Oct. 1st with two great general session presentations. Ed Gilman will share his insights on trees and Laurie Trenholm and Bryan Unruh will help you learn how to manage turf for low maintenance. The afternoon is filled with your choice of a wide range of concurrent presentations. The afternoon sessions end with Russ Mizell teaching you on what plants you should add to your gardens to attract beneficial insects. The evening wraps up with a beachside welcome reception where you can meet new friends and catch up with previous acquaintances. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy the many area attractions.

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd begins with a general session dealing with climate change and information on how to get involved with plant phenology monitoring. We then proceed with two concurrent session groups for you to continue a morning of learning. Following lunch, we are holding the 4-H Plant ID and Judging Competition. Make sure your county fields a team or compete on your own to test your knowledge. If you are not competing in the contest, there will be an opportunity for you to interact with other MGs and learn from their experiences. Following the competition, the education continues with one more round of concurrent sessions all before the always-entertaining horticulture auction. The proceeds of the auction go to recognize volunteers for their service and innovative programming. The evening is free to spend with your new Master Gardener friends.

Wednesday, Oct. 3rd begins with the Awards breakfast. This is followed by the awards program to recognize the Awards of Excellence winners and to recognize Master Gardeners for their years of service. Following the awards, the always popular Rick Schoellhorn will share his insight on Hot New Plants.

The conference is filled with lots of opportunities to learn and to share information with other volunteers. Come to hear the latest information, meet new Master Gardener friends from around the state and to enjoy all that Southwest Florida has to offer.

I hope to see you in Clearwater!

Tom Wichman
State Master Gardener Coordinator

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