2015 Cullowhee Native Plant Conference attendees get ready to attend their field trips. Photo courtesy of WCU Educational Outreach.
From the Steering Committee:
It’s January, and for many people, that means two things: Highlighting important dates on their calendar for the coming year and making New Year’s resolutions.
When it comes to important dates – and what, of course, could be more important than Whee? – here are some days you’ll want to highlight for making plans to attend the 2019 Cullowhee Native Plant Conference:
- April 1: Registration opens (tentative; if this changes we’ll let you know in a future post).
- July 3: Last date to register for on-campus accommodations.
- July 11: Last date to register for the conference.
- July 17-20: The 2019 conference.
One especially important thing to remember about the registration process is that field trips fill up quickly. As such, it’s always a good idea to register as soon as possible after your registration email hits your inbox to ensure you get in on the field trip of your choice!
Under the heading of New Year’s Resolutions, think about this: Long-time Whee attendees remember that ‘back in the day’ they rushed to return registration forms either the day they received them or the day after. They did this because so many native plant lovers attended the conference that they were concerned the conference would fill up and they would be left out if they didn’t register right away.
That’s when the conference was held at the old University Center. “We moved for the simple availability of space,” said Bobby Hensley, WCU’s Associate Director of Continuing Education who does such a great job of hosting the conference year after year. Even though the University Center has been renovated, Bobby said it’s still not suitable for our event. He gave several reasons for that: Ramsey can accommodate many times more people, plus everything is in one building at Ramsey.
“I’ve “heard” that numbers were closer to 500 in years past, but I don’t recall it breeching 375 since I started in ‘01,” he added. “There were cut-offs only because so much filled up quickly.” There are still caps on campus accommodations, field trips and workshops, but Bobby said that conference attendance itself is not technically limited.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get our attendance back to where it once was? To help make that a possibility, think about making one of your New Year’s Resolutions a commitment to invite a friend or colleague to attend the 2019 conference and join the
Whee family. Perhaps that’s a first-time attendee. Maybe it’s someone who’s been on hiatus you could welcome back. Regardless, let’s all try to grow the family!
You could even take that resolution a step further through your local garden club or favorite native plant society. Ask the group’s calendar editor to put the above dates on the society’s or club’s calendars and ask if you can make announcements about Whee at meetings of your favorite plant groups.
Share Whee memories
Here’s an invitation to Whee veterans: If you attended Whee ‘back in the day’ when it was at the University Center, please share your favorite memories in the comments section at the end of this post.
The Steering Committee is working with Bobby and his team to nail down the last few speaker commitments so we can finalize the conference agenda. We’re in the final stages of doing that, but one agenda item we are comfortable in sharing now will be a main stage panel discussion by members of several key land trusts in the Southeast. One of the topics they will discuss is how to apply for a conservation easement. One thing you may be surprised to know about conservation easements is that you don’t have to own a large tract of land to apply for an easement. As an example, one of the land trusts that has committed to the conference has granted an easement to slightly less than half an acre. The key qualification to be granted an easement is not size but conservation value. We know that you’ll have questions, and we’re building time into the schedule for a Q&A.
We’ll share more information in future posts about the agenda as we work with WCU on the final touches. In the meantime, enjoy the winter garden!