Introducing: the 2012 Longwood Graduate Symposium!

(written by Ashby Leavell)

The holidays are over, and some of you out there may be wondering what there is to look forward to as you settle in for the winter. Never fear, the 2012 Longwood Graduate Symposium is almost here! Mark your calendars for Friday, March, 2nd when we will be excited to present “The Panda and the Public Garden: Reimagining our Conservation Story.” Join us at Longwood Gardens as we bring zoo and garden experts together to explore how public gardens can inspire audiences to advocate for conservation issues.

Our Speakers Committee worked up until the last minute before the holiday break to put the finishing touches on the schedule of the day and the presenter lineup.  Many thanks to Fellows James Hearsum, Aubree Pack, Abby Johnson, and Martin Smit for organizing an outstanding group of speakers. We are excited to bring you:

Jerry Borin of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Dr. Alistair Griffiths from the Eden Project,  John Gwynne of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society, Catherine Hubbard of the Albuquerque BioPark, and Kathy Wagner of the Philadelphia Zoo. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post introducing these compelling speakers, as well as details regarding a special session on better storytelling with Sally O’Byrne of the Delaware Nature Society and Andrew Losowsky of the Huffington Post.

The Marketing Committee Fellows Felicia Yu, Sara Levin, and Won Soon Park graciously put in overtime this holiday to finalize the Symposium brand, website, and brochure.  Check out our website to register and to learn more about the speakers and schedule of the day:

Working with staff at Longwood Gardens, Guest Relations Committee Fellows Quill Teal- Sullivan and Nate Tschaenn have organized an exceptional attendee experience for our guests on March 2nd. We know you’ll be pleased with their careful attention to detail when the big day arrives. Our Symposium is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors. This year, we have reached out to an enthusiastic network of local gardens, horticultural sponsors, and professional organizations. We have seen tremendous support through both monetary and in-kind donations.  Bravo to Sponsorship chair Raakel Toppila for spearheading these efforts.

Check back here and on our Symposium website to follow our progress and learn more about the event. If you have any questions, please contact us at

2010 Symposium a Success!

On Friday, March 5th all of our hard work came to fruition as we hosted over 140 professionals at Longwood Gardens for People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection. We saw attendees from 12 states and 66 institutions, and had over 120 virtual viewers log in for the live webcast of our keynote session!

The day begins as registrants start to arrive!

All of the speakers provided fantastic insight into our topic. Tim Merriman started off the day with a rousing discussion on how to foster emotional connections between people and collections. Galen Gates used his expertise to provide the collections planning perspective. Gail and Barry Lord presented on how cultural change has affected gardens throughout history. Jim Folsom and Kitty Connolly delighted us all, speaking about how to cultivate wonder among visitors. And Christine Flanagan led a breakout session that got attendees talking about planning strategically when facing real-life challenges. All of the sessions were recorded and will be made available through Longwood Gardens’ Green Stream web site in mid-May.

A packed Ballroom listens to one of the sessions.

This year, over 20 organizational sponsors provided significant support for this event, and we would like to express our appreciation for their continued support of the Longwood Graduate Program Annual Symposium. Additionally, we would also like to thank our Former Fellows for their contributions, support, and encouragement.

Attendees enjoy lunch in the Ballroom.

Thank you to all of the speakers, attendees, sponsors, Longwood staff, and LGP staff and fellows who made the 2010 Annual Symposium not only possible, but lots of fun!

The Symposium speakers and the LGP Fellows pose for a picture at the end of a successful day!

Almost there…

With the 2010 Symposium around the corner, the Guest Relations Committee has been hard at work preparing for the day’s activities. It has been a flurry of activity around the office..stuffing registration packets, making registrant lists, producing name tags and finalizing catering details.

Amidst all of this last minute excitement, we’ve also been reminded of those generous parties who have helped make this year’s Symposium possible – our sponsors. This facet of Symposium planning got off to an early start last fall when Sponsorship Leader, Daniel Stern, began contacting area gardens, local businesses and other professional organizations about supporting the event. Throughout October and November, each of the Fellows had an opportunity to join Daniel in meeting with one of our sponsors and gain some valuable professional experience in the nuances of cultivating donor relations.

Dongah and Keelin enjoying some time in the garden following a sponsorship visit to Chanticleer

With several additions to our growing list of supporters, we had a banner year too! Several sponsors including the American Horticultural Society, the Association of Nature Center Administrators,the American Public Gardens Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International and the National Association of Interpretation helped us spread the word about the Symposium through advertising space and emails to their members. We received other valuable in-kind support from Event Network, the Hilton Garden Inn Kennett Square and Lord Cultural Resources.

We also received a tremendous amount of financial support from the following list of local gardens, businesses, and other entities.

Zoe taking in the view from atop “Tree Adventure” after a sponsorship meeting with the Morris Arboretum’s Director Paul Meyer

And finally, we were delighted with the amount of support we received from Former Fellows of our very own Longwood Graduate Program. Not only were all of these donations essential in helping to offset some of the significant costs associated with putting on the event, they represent a tremendous vote of confidence in the Symposium and the Longwood Graduate Program as a whole. Again, we are so grateful for the support from all our sponsors and are excited that we will see many of them in attendance at the event!

Shari and Dan hamming it up in the garden after a sponsorship meeting at Tyler Arboretum

Keynote Speaker Webcast and Last Call for Registration

Can’t make it to the Longwood Graduate Program Symposium this year?

View the keynote address via LIVE webcast for FREE!
Friday, March 5th
1:10-2:20 pm EST
“Cultural Change and Public Gardens”
Gail Dexter Lord and Barry Lord, Presidents of Lord Cultural Resources

Culture is constantly changing – and never more so than in our contemporary world. As it changes, so do the ideas and values associated with or expected from public gardens. Gail and Barry will explore the connections between people, plants, and collections at public gardens in this age of constant and sweeping cultural change.

Click here for more information and a link to the free webcast.

Still want to make it to the Symposium?
Symposium registration will closes this Friday, February 26th!

Click here to Register Now

People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection
Friday, March 5th, 2010
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA
$75.00 ($55.00 for students)

Learn to cultivate meaningful relationships between people and your institution’s collections. Visit our website for more information on our speakers, sessions, tours, and event schedule.
If you have any questions, please contact the Longwood Graduate Program via email at or by telephone, 302-831-2517.So, no matter where you are in the world, you can join us for this first time opportunity presented by the Longwood Graduate Program!

Marketing Team Takes Over Symposium Blog to Advertise Webcast and Relive the Past

Speaker’s Committee is coordinating travel arrangements.
Guest Relations Committee is putting together registration packets.
Marketing Committee is taking a breather! (To work on our theses, of course….)

Our flurry (blizzard?) of activity happened in the fall and early winter. Brochures, webpages, magnets, flyers, advertisements – if it has the Symposium logo, we made it and hope you like it. Now, with only a week and a few days to go, we wanted to reflect on our experiences—and make one more plug for your participation in the 2010 Longwood Graduate Program Symposium.

What’s New for You
If you can’t make it to Longwood Gardens the first week of March, you can still enjoy the Symposium keynote address from the comfort of your office chair!

Tune into the free live webcast, from 1:10 – 2:30 pm EST on Friday, March 5th. Gail Dexter Lord and Barry Lord, Presidents of Lord Cultural Resources, will be presenting “Cultural Change and Public Gardens,” exploring the connections between people, plants, and collections in this age of constant and sweeping cultural change.

Click here for more info and a link to the free webcast.

What Didn’t Quite Make It

The design process for the Symposium logo starts from scratch each September. This year, the “plant in a hand” concept was quick to emerge, but the final product took a little tweaking. Check out these alternate ideas:

Symposium Speakers Represent

The 2010 Longwood Graduate Symposium, “People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection“, is quickly approaching. Before we know it (Friday, March 5, 2010 to be exact), the diverse selection of speakers will be arriving from all over the United States.

Dr. Jim Folsom and Ms. Kitty Connolly will be traveling the furthest to be with us. They will be coming from Pasadena, CA where they work at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Hopefully they will be able to survive Kennett Squares’ chilly temperature for a couple of days because they have a photo-filled presentation prepared especially for us. Their presentation will be spotlighting examples from the Huntington that succeed in forging connections between plants and people. Be sure to click Jim and Kitty’s names above to see some great videos of their work.

Hailing from Fort Collins, CO, Dr. Tim Merriman represents the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) and is the next stop on the journey to Longwood Gardens. As a speaker he will bring a different perspective to the connections angle. He will be presenting on thoughtful interpretive planning and how it is essential for helping people connect with collections at museums, zoos, arboreta, and botanical gardens. Looking forward to learning the best practices required in making emotional connections between people and collections? Then don’t miss this one!

The ‘windy city’ and Chicago Botanic Garden is where Galen Gates is traveling from. We are fortunate to have him at the Symposium to present on what is required in establishing a plant collection of botanic garden status, the elements that denote a high-quality collection, and how best to advance the collection into the future. We are all sure to learn from this true plantsman.

Coming from the “Great White North” to somewhere hopefully a little warmer are Gail and Barry Lord of Lord Cultural Resources, Toronto, Canada. Gail and Barry Lord bring to the symposium a wealth of experience in cultural institution planning at museums and botanical gardens within North America and beyond. Drawing on ideas and concepts from around the world, the Lords’ keynote address promises to be a truly global and inspirational presentation on how public gardens can connect to the public in a rapidly changing culture.

From somewhat closer to Longwood Gardens, Christine Flanagan, will be traveling from the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. to lead a thought provoking session on how to transition collections to what they need to be in the future. What a great opportunity for symposium participants to put into practice what they have learned from the symposium sessions! This closing session will wrap up with what should be a lively panel debate with the session presenters.

Register now so you can represent your state and institution during the Longwood Graduate Symposium. See you there!

2010 Symposium Update

For the past few months, the Fellows have been working hard on all of the details of the Symposium, which is on Friday, March 5th. We are happy to announce that we have a full line-up of great speakers! Thanks to our Speakers Committee (Andrew Gapinski, Kate Baltzell, Shari Edelson, and Zoe Panchen) for coordinating all the details with our speakers.

Brochure Schedule at-a-Glance

Here’s a sneak peek from the brochure, which will go to print next week. And our website will soon have all the details of the day. Both the brochure and the website were designed completely in-house by our talented Marketing Committee: Jon Pixler, Laura Aschenbeck, and Rebecca Pineo.

Our Symposium is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors. This year, we have reached out to a strong network of local gardens, professional organizations, and horticultural sponsors. We have seen tremendous and generous support, both monetary and through in-kind donations! Thanks to the Guest Relations Committee, Dongah Shin and Dan Stern, for their dedication to this aspect of Symposium.

Check back here and on our Symposium website to follow our progress and learn more about the event! If you have any questions, please contact Keelin Purcell at

2010 Symposium: Save the Date!

The Fellows are already busy planning for the 2010 Symposium. Every year, the students coordinate and host a one-day event aimed at professionals in public horticulture and related fields. This year’s Symposium will be on March 5th and is entitled People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection. Throughout the day, speakers will explore different ways that institutions can connect people to plant collections.


As you can see above, we have been hard at work developing branding for this year’s event. Thanks to Fellows Jon Pixler, Rebecca Pineo, and Laura Aschenbeck for designing and creating the wonderful logo!

We are now in the process of finalizing speakers and the schedule of the day. One exciting new development this year is that we are going to webcast our keynote speaker! Anyone interested in tuning in from afar can view this session free of charge.

Check back here and on our Symposium website to follow our progress and learn more about the event! If you have any questions, please contact Keelin Purcell at