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TN MG Winter School and home

February 27, 2015

I met Tennessee MG coordinator Natalie bright and early this morning to head to day 2 and the final day of their annual MG winter school. For now this is a combination state conference/leadership conference with a mix of horticulture topics and management/leadership topics. They had 200 MG’s from across Tennessee and it was an eager and enthusiastic bunch. Tennessee MG winter school.2015.11

Tennessee MG winter school.2015.12
I visited with quite a few who had been on the Alaska cruise with us and several that attended the IMGC when it was in LR. I also got some great ideas from what they are doing. They turned 20 last year and developed a pin for their MG’s and they also give leaf pins for every 100 hours of volunteer service. Tennessee MG winter school.2015.08

Tennessee MG winter school.2015.09 Their TN Advisory board all had on bright orange vests so you could pick them out of the crowd, and many counties had display boards around the room promoting their programs. One that I thought was quite good was a look back at their program over the past 20 years done up to look like a news reel. Tennessee MG winter school.2015.04

Tennessee MG winter school.2015.05 I heard two excellent presentations on hydrangea diseases and beneficial insects. My topic was well received and was on Local Identity- Shared Vision. It generated a lot of questions on how we do things here in Arkansas. After a barbeque lunch they tackled a lofty topic on the history of GMO seeds and where we are today. Tennessee MG winter school.2015.15 The other tract was on tomato grafting. I had to leave before the panel discussion ended to get to the airport. Luckily one of the agents took me back to save me cab fare. It was a great conference, and although a quick turn-around trip, I was glad I went. So many great enthusiastic volunteers. No matter where you are in your program, you can always get some good tips and pointers by seeing other programs at work.

My first flight was delayed by 30 minutes, but my second one was on time and I basically walked from one plane on to the next. My seatmate was a California woman coming to LR to run in the Marathon this weekend. She is 47 and plans to do a marathon in all 50 states before she turns 50. This was her first trip to Arkansas and she was so excited. She has run in over 100 marathons already and after this one on Sunday will catch a plane and then go straight to work for her evening overnight shift! I would be exhausted. She plans to tackle 100 mile marathons next. She has already run 100 miles straight–it only took her 12 hours!! I was exhausted just listening to her. She was pencil thin (how could she not be with all that running) but eats over 5000 calories a day to keep up her schedule–and much of it junk food! Not only does she run daily, but works full time and has 4 teenage daughters. We talked the whole way so it was a really quick flight.

I have decided my new pet peeve (second only to not taking your turn when the road narrows to one lane–and jumping to the front of the line) is how people take on more luggage and carry-ons than is allowed into the airplane. Too-Much-Luggage It says two items–one small carry-on and a personal item. Today (and yesterday) people were taking on three and four huge pieces. One man today had a large rolling bag, a big laptop and a guitar! One woman had two rolling suitcases, a backpack, a shopping bag loaded to the gills and a bag of food. How she could even carry it was beyond me. No wonder it takes forever to load a plane, and why they run out of room in the overhead compartments. If there are rules, they should be enforced.

It has been a few months since I have flown, and I did not get special clearance, so I had to go through security and take off my shoes, but you don’t have to take out your makeup and liquids anymore. That was a new rule.1207_tsa-airport-security-intro_485x340 It seems the rules change monthly when flying, but the lines moved pretty fast. Oh the adventures in air travel. But overall, a successful trip.

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