Robert J. Souvestre, Batty, Jr., James, Morgan, Johnny W. | 5/2/2008 1:57:40 AM
Louisiana Master Gardeners from 33 parishes attended their annual state conference in Covington April 28-30. This year’s conference was cosponsored by the St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Master Gardener associations.
The Master Gardener program is a volunteer service and educational activity offered by the LSU AgCenter.
Rusty Batty, LSU AgCenter county agent and Master Gardener coordinator in St. Tammany Parish, said the conference was filled with activities that were of interest to the group.
“Some of the highlights of the conference were tours of the Margie Yates Jenkins Azalea Garden at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station and also a tour of area wholesale and retail gardening centers in St. Tammany Parish,” Batty said.
Annie Coco and Sandra Benjamin, both county agents and Tangipahoa Parish coordinators, spearheaded the committee volunteers and managed the registration of the 150 guests.
Speakers at the conference included Dr. Neil Odenwald, professor emeritus in the LSU School of Landscape Architecture, and Chris Friedrichs, a landscape architect with more than 40 years’ experience in landscape planning, design and horticulture.
Bob Souvestre, LSU AgCenter state coordinator for the Master Gardener program, said this is the second year tours were incorporated into the conference program.
“Master Gardeners and guests who attend the three-day conference learn about the LSU AgCenter and learn about the Louisiana Master Gardener extension volunteer program and the benefits it has for each participant and the community,” Souvestre said. “It’s just a win-win situation in many ways.”
The conference provides an opportunity for the Master Gardeners to network with other programs and other individuals to find out what’s going on in other areas of the state, organizers said.
Souvestre said the Master Gardener program was initiated in Louisiana in 1994 and now has more than 1,000 active participants, and he expects two more groups will start in 2008.
The Louisiana Master Gardener program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the educational needs of home gardeners while providing an enjoyable and worthwhile service experience for volunteers.
More information on the Master Gardener program or a variety of topics related to lawns and gardens, food and health, family and home and much more is available from parish LSU AgCenter offices or online at www.lsuagcenter.com.