Beautiful Minneapolis-St. Paul was the location of this year’s American Public Gardens Association Annual Conference. The Fellows enjoyed every aspect of the week, especially the hospitality of the co-hosting institutions, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.
Public garden leaders presented on wide variety of topics during sessions throughout the week, such as leading organizational change, interpreting science for the public, mapping plant collections, and tackling challenges of growing membership at “gateless” gardens.
Not only did the Fellows attend sessions, but several Fellows had the opportunity to share their research and experience with conference attendees as well:
Andrea Brennan (Class of 2016)- Exploring Horticulture and Chrysanthemum Culture in Japan: A presentation on the Class of 2016’s International Experience in January 2015 in Japan.
Frances Jackson (Class of 2016)- The Maddening Crowd? Collections Protection Strategies to Welcome More Visitors to Your Garden (presented with Rebecca McMackin, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Melanie Sifton, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Thomas Smarr, Friends of the High Line)
Sarah Leach Smith (Class of 2015)- Evaluation of Trial Garden Practices at Public Gardens and Arboreta
Bryan Thompsonowak (Class of 2015)- Pressures, Priorities and Strategies for Managing Tree Collections Across Budget Restraints
In addition to presenting and learning from the engaging sessions, Fellows explored the Twin City metro area on tours and took in the beauty of both the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in the evening.
Ford W. Bell, former president of the American Alliance of Museums, energized attendees with his opening speech about the importance of advocacy work. Later in the week, Andrew Zimmern, TV personality, chef, and food writer, showed his appreciation for the work of gardens and arboreta in educating the public on key environmental issues. The acclaimed Dr. Peter H. Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, concluded the conference with an inspiring conservation message, leaving each of the conference participants energized to return to their home institutions.
Thank you to our hosts and to the planning committee for putting together another fantastic conference!