Wednesday, February 15, 2012

March 10th...Mark Your Calendars...Sullivan Renaissance Annual Conference

Yes, it is that time of year again, and for many community, like Rockhill, this time of the year means citizens ramping up their summer gardening plans as they prepare to apply to the Sullivan Renaissance grant programs for beautifying our communities.  Last year my own design for Mountaindale's Train Garden propelled our community, and its many volunteers into a Second Place finish in Sullivan Renaissance's Category B, and of course all of us here in Mountaindale are anxiously waiting to see what our $7,000 grant award will bring in new community beautification projects/infrastructure here in our hamlet.

This year's conference is a MUST ATTEND event for all serious gardeners, and for anyone who is planning on participating in Sullivan Renaissance...get your reservations in early, as many of the work shops fill up fast.

Saturday, March 10:


Expert on Gardening Trends to Give Keynote Address

[FERNDALE] – This year’s Sullivan Renaissance Annual Conference and Expo will focus on gardening trends around the country – and introduce the Renaissance Collection, a group of annuals and perennials that meet the challenges of gardening in Sullivan County.  The conference will be held on Saturday, March 10 at the CVI Center in Ferndale. 

The Renaissance Collection of annuals and perennials includes nine plants that do well in the Sullivan County climate and are designed to assist communities as the basis of new gardens or as additions to existing beds.  There will be a display of the plants at the expo, and the collection will be available at local nurseries and garden centers in the spring.

The keynote address will be delivered by Joe Lamp’l (aka Joe Gardener), one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in gardening and sustainability.  In 2011 the American Horticultural Society selected him as the recipient of its B.Y. Morrison Communication Award, which recognizes effective and inspirational communication to advance public interest and participation in horticulture – through print, radio, TV and/or online media.  That passion was evident to the nationwide audience who watched Joe as host of the popular series “Fresh from the Garden” on DIY Network and “GardenSMART” on PBS.

Today, Joe Lamp’l combines his national television experience and expertise of gardening, environmental stewardship and eco-friendly living as host and executive producer of the award-winning series “Growing a Green World” on public television. 

Growing a Greener World is a groundbreaking television series that delivers the latest trends in eco-friendly living mixed with traditional gardening know-how to a modern audience,” said Joe Lamp’l, “Each episode features the people, organizations and events that are making a difference in our world today by raising awareness and influencing others to better stewardship of the environment we all share.”

To view a full episode online, go to


Recipients of the 17th Annual Sullivan First Achievement Awards – to be recognized at the conference – will soon be announced.  Door prizes will be awarded at the conference conclusion. 

The conference features exhibits and workshops on the Renaissance Collection of plants, garden maintenance, recruiting volunteers, cultivating leaders, cultivating leaders, Main Street success stories, enhancing storefronts, and the Catskill Edible Garden Project  It will also outline the new 2012 Sullivan Renaissance grant program and have applications available.

The conference begins at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast and registration.  The program starts at 9:00 a.m. and runs to 2:00 p.m.  Workshops include:

·         The Renaissance Collection: Learn how to use this unique collection of annuals and perennials that have exceptional ability to meet the challenges of gardening in Sullivan County.  Visit the collection in the Expo.
·         Getting Maintenance Support: Learn how this new support program can provide technical and financial resources to enhance the beauty and sustainability of your community garden.  Explore how a master calendar can optimize volunteer hours.
·       Recruiting & Retaining Volunteers: What makes a person volunteer and stay with an organization from year to year?  Hear about a professional’s experience in finding and working with volunteers.
·         Cultivating Community Leaders: Successful communities need one or more “spark plugs” to move a community to the next level.  Learn about the qualities of these “spark plugs” and how to cultivate talent in your community.
·         Main Street Success Stories: Using case studies from the central Catskills, including the communities of Margaretville, Roxbury and Fleischmanns, this session focuses on what it takes to create a successful and beautiful Main Street.
·         Enhance Your Storefront for Under $200: Beautiful storefronts enhance the appearance of the communities and invite customers.  Learn how the Sullivan Renaissance Mini Grant Program can help.
·         Catskill Edible Garden Project (Two Sessions): Edible gardens are a wonderful way to connect young people with their food, while helping them learn about nature, volunteering and nutrition. Include a presentation of edible garden programs that have succeeded.
·         Sullivan Renaissance Salon (Individual Appointments): Bring ideas for beautification projects and have a one-on-one conversation with staff, who will review grant paperwork and answer questions.  Sign up for one of seven 15 minute slots from 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

Workshop space will be limited to the first registrants.  To sign up on-line, go to  To obtain a registration form, call Sullivan Renaissance office at 845-295-2445.  To return a form, email to; fax it to 845-295-2746; or mail to Sullivan Renaissance, c/o Gerry Foundation, PO Box 311, Liberty, NY 12754.