Everything You Need To Know About the New England GROWS Conference

New England GrowsThe 2015 New England GROWS conference takes place Dec. 2-4 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA. The event allows green industry professionals to come together for three days of conference sessions, hands-on learning, and networking.

In addition to a comprehensive conference program, six special programs, co-hosted by leading organizations, teach new skills and provide opportunities to network with colleagues.
• Essentials of Plant ID Clinic: From botanical terminology to plant characteristics and features, Kate Watson leads a fast-paced review of plant identification. This clinic is a good primer to help prepare for industry-related certification exams.
• Electrical Hazard Awareness Program: Renowned safety expert Dr. John Ball addresses electrical hazard recognition, hazard avoidance, and additional topics in a course that earns attendees safety credits.
• National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) seminars: The NHLA hosts a new series of seminars for Spanish-speaking landscape professionals and those who work closely with them. Topics include team accountability, managing customers, and career growth.
• Women in Horticulture Networking Luncheon: For the second time in a year, women will come together over lunch at GROWS to network, learn, and be inspired by the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of their colleagues in horticulture. This year’s guest speaker at the Women in Horticulture event is Elizabeth Farnsworth, senior research ecologist at the New England Wild Flower Society, and author of the landmark report “State of the Plants of New England.” Industry veteran Monique Allen, owner of the Garden Continuum, will lead a conversation with Dr. Farnsworth about the implications of the report for horticulture professionals who want to protect and enhance New England’s diverse and vibrant flora.
• Massachusetts Hoisting License Continuing Education: This program is designed for hoisting license-holders who need to re-certify to maintain their skills, as per state regulations. Topics include hydraulic theory, proper equipment setup, inspection parameters, and much more.
• ICPI’s Advanced Residential Paver Technician Course: Participants can earn credits in this course on residential paver installation. Learn how to install pavers more efficiently and cost effectively in a variety of outdoor settings, addressing the latest trends and equipment.

Fast-Paced Learning, Hands-on Skills, And Show Specials

Learning doesn’t stay in the lecture halls at New England GROWS. Hands-on skills and practical knowledge are essential to successful landscape, lawn care, arboriculture, and nursery management. Throughout the show, the Expo floor at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center will be filled with opportunities to gain valuable skills that can be applied in the field.

The Common Ground stage will host “sprint sessions,” each of which tackles a specific topic in 15-minute talks led by Extension personnel, leading suppliers, and other experts. Among the topics are:
• Use of Native Species Along the Roadsides in New England
• Transitioning Container-Grown Plants to the Landscape
•Southern Pine Beetle: A Southern Pest Moves North
• Host Plants for Butterflies
• How to Balance Pest Control with Preserving Pollinator Habitat
• Invasive Plants: Be on the Lookout for These New Invaders
• Soil Organic Matter and Nutrient Cycling
• Using Peonies in the Landscape to Conserve Tiphia Parasitoids of White Grubs
• Managing Emerald Ash Borer in the Landscape
• Choosing the Right Grass for the Right Place
• Winter Moth Monitoring and Control
• How to Amend Soil pH of Sandy vs. Clay Soils

In addition, more than 400 exhibiting firms will fill the show floor this year with the latest innovations, technology, and industry-tested equipment. Many exhibitors will offer GROWS-only show specials including discounts on plants, soil amendments, water features, lighting, equipment, hardscape materials, tools, and software — to name just a few.

More than 30 trade associations, government agencies, botanical gardens, and other organizations are GROWS Network Members. During the show, attendees are invited to visit Network Central where they can learn more about available resources and connect with other green industry professionals from across the region.

The Bright Ideas Center is a one-stop resource center for GROWS attendees. Participants can browse the bookstore for the latest industry references or take in a speaker book signing; bring their pressing diagnostic questions to the Ask Extension kiosk and confer with the experts; and visit the Career Center to post job openings or find out about current opportunities in today’s green industry.

To learn more about the conference and to sign up for special programs, visit NewEnglandGROWS.org. To stay up to date with conference details, download the GROWS mobile app on iTunes or GooglePlay. On social media, use #NewEnglandGROWS to let friends and colleagues know that you’ll be in Boston for the show.

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