I just registered to attend the 2008 Keep Genesee County Beautiful's Annual Community Beautification Conference which will be Saturday, March 1 at the University of Michigan - Flint. I went last year and it was fun, so if you're local, please think of going too!
First, it's educational - you get to go to two workshops of your choice out of these possibilities: exploring community outdoor art ideas, a Q and A with a landscape designer, composting, grant writing for beautification mini-grants, learning to look for the positive, recycling, tree selection and planting, veggies, and volunteer recruitment. Last year I learned about volunteer recruitment and landscaping: this year I chose community art and more landscaping.
Networking. You will see a lot of local gardeners there as we all come out of hibernation to see if the sun is warming up our surroundings yet. Last year the Home Street urban veggie gardeners found each other to hang around together and I also saw a bunch of Master Gardener friends picking up some educational credits.
Let's see, what else would draw you to attend?
It's free, that's always a plus in my book.
There are informational displays from a lot of different organizations that have to do with beautification, conservation, environmentalism, gardening and community. There are goodies and freebies, pencils and refreshments and suchlike. Last year they had a nice KGCB carryall bag for all attendees, and the MGA had the free seed box (for community garden projects) there.
Last year Walker's Farm & Greenhouse gave away some excellent door prizes as well. I must say, now that I've mentioned Walkers Farm, how I have been impressed in the past year by all the support I've noticed they are providing to community beautification projects. Walkers is a family enterprise that's been in our neighborhood for as long as I can remember, and we always bought bedding plants, herbs, and healthy veggie starts there for our own garden. But now that I see them blooming as sustainers of our community it gives me a warm feeling to know they are my local greenhouse.