Stuart Gauthier, Turley, Robert M., Schultz, Bruce | 10/25/2007 10:59:51 PM
LAFAYETTE -- More than 350 people attended the recent (Oct. 10-12) Louisiana Master Gardener State Conference.
“It’s the second time we’ve had the conference in Lafayette,” said Stuart Gauthier, LSU AgCenter horticulture agent in Lafayette and Vermilion parishes. “We are quite pleased with the attendance.”
It’s the third consecutive Master Gardener convention.
Susan Duhon, a Master Gardener from Sabine Parish, said she has been impressed with the event.
“We’ve learned a tremendous amount about horticulture,” she said. “We’ve been exposed to new and different types of plants and new techniques.”
She said the Sabine Parish Master Gardeners recently helped landscape a battered women’s shelter.
“The Master Gardener’s program affords us a contact with the community,” she said. “It is one of the best service organizations I’ve ever been involved with.”
Duhon said the conference has given her several ideas to use in Sabine Parish. “Some of the things we saw one night would be perfect to incorporate in our Junior Master Gardeners program,” she said.
Robert Turley, LSU AgCenter horticulture agent in Calcasieu Parish, said the convention is a focal point for plant lovers.
“It brings people together and creates a synergism,” he said. “People get ideas on all kinds of things.”
Janelle Menard, Master Gardener in Lafayette and the conference coordinator, said this year’s theme, “Broadcasting Seeds of Knowledge – Harvesting Stewards of the Earth,” was aimed at helping Master Gardeners spread their know-how throughout their communities.
The conference included tours in the Lafayette area of the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the organic operation at Gotreaux Family Farms, Live Oak Gardens, Stokes Tropicals, the Atchafalaya Basin and fruit and nut orchards in Vermilion Parish.
In addition to tours, the program featured numerous presentations by experts.
Several gardening-related vendors also offered products for sale.
Next year’s conference will be held in Covington.
Statewide, more than 1,000 people have become Master Gardeners since the program started in Louisiana more than 10 years ago, Gauthier said.
To become a Master Gardener, participants must go through 50 hours of training by the LSU AgCenter, then perform 40 hours of volunteer work in their communities.
Stuart Gauthier at (337) 898-4335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Turley at (337) 475-8812 or email@example.com
Bruce Schultz at (337) 788-8821 or firstname.lastname@example.org