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Master Gardeners represent county at international conference

PHOTO PROVIDED Clinton County Master Gardeners Debra Burrows, Ginny Counsil, Candy Gore, Deb Liguori, Carole Livingston, Diane Michura, Emily Montarsi, and Kathy Dorman with the display kite representing the area’s many roadside produce stands and farmers’ markets.

LOCK HAVEN — Eight Master Gardeners traveled to Valley Forge, Pa. during the week of June 16 to represent Clinton County at the 2019 International Master Gardener Conference.

The conference theme was “Penn’s Woods: Digging into our Roots.” It was an opportunity to showcase Pennsylvania’s gardening heritage, tour the many beautiful public gardens in the Philadelphia area, hear about the latest research findings, and learn from experts. It was also a chance to interact with Master Gardeners from throughout the United States and around the world.

This was the first time the international conference had been held in Pennsylvania, and each Pennsylvania Master Gardener Program was asked to provide a display, in the form of a kite, to depict their county at the conference.

Master Gardener Coordinator Dr. Debra Burrows worked with students and faculty in the Fine Arts Department at Lock Haven University to produce Clinton County’s kite, which highlighted the many roadside produce stands and farmers’ markets that provide locally grown fresh produce and flowers to communities throughout the county.

Clinton County’s delegation also provided a basket of local items for the conference’s silent auction. Master Gardeners Ginny Council and Candy Gore filled it with a selection of Clinton County items, including a woolen shawl made by students at the Sugar Valley Rural Charter School.

Each day of the conference was packed with presentations, tours, and other activities, allowing Clinton County’s Master Gardeners to return with a wealth of new knowledge and ideas for future local projects.

Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home,” conducted multiple sessions focused on research findings and gardening practices that benefit both wildlife and the environment. He encouraged those in attendance to share that information in their home communities.

The Keynote Speaker was Dr. David Gibby, who founded the Master Gardener Program at Washington State University in 1973. Clinton County Master Gardener Diane Michura especially enjoyed his address, saying, “Meeting Dr. David Gibby was a treat for me. His belief in volunteerism, its benefits to the volunteers and those they serve, lives on in our Clinton County Master Gardener program.”

According to Master Gardener Deb Liguori, “Talking and comparing experiences with other Master Gardener groups, I found that as one of the smallest Master Gardener groups what we do year-round is on par with many of the larger groups. This made me proud of our small but mighty Clinton County Master Gardener group. The networking among groups was wonderful, everyone was friendly and willing to share ideas, etc. The speakers were awesome as well as the garden tours.”

The Clinton County Master Gardener program is currently accepting applications from individuals interested in training to become Master Gardeners. For additional information, please call the Penn State Extension Office at (570) 726-0022.

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