March 3: Daylong symposium sponsored by UD’s Longwood Graduate Program

Registration remains open for an annual symposium on Friday, March 3, hosted by the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It will bring together experts in economics, public policy, advocacy and researchers affiliated with public and historic gardens.

The symposium, “Growing Together: Gardens Cultivating Change in the Economic Landscape,” will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Longwood Gardens Ballroom.

Seven sessions and a panel discussion will explore how public gardens can influence local and regional economies while advancing their organizations. Registration is $119 for professionals, $59 for full-time students with ID from any institution and $35 to join the symposium via an online webinar. For details, see the symposium website.

Sponsors include UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Longwood Gardens, and the Parvis Family Endowment.

Yoram Bauman, dubbed “the world’s first and only stand-up economist,” will kick off the event, blending humor about economics and politics with economic trends affecting gardens and museums.

“We are pleased and excited to offer a broad range of topics relating public gardens to economic change,” said Tracy Qiu, a fellow in UD’s Longwood Graduate Program. “The symposium will explore different perspectives of gardens as economic drivers. For example, Ethan Conner-Ross, director of Econsult Solutions Inc., will share the results of the report The Economic Impact of Greater Philadelphia Gardens. The study offers key takeaways, including implications for arts organizations seeking optimal ways to calculate and communicate their economic impact effectively.

“Participants will also learn about how Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, changed their business structure over three centuries of political and economic changes. Sandra Albro of Cleveland Botanical Gardens will share how they revitalize the beauty and productivity of vacant urban lots.”

Brenna Goggin, director of advocacy for the Delaware Nature Society, will discuss how nonprofit organizations, nature centers and gardens can cultivate relationships with key decision makers while educating members on the budget process.

Karen Washington — a community activist, owner of Rise and Root Farms, and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens — will address the question, “Is community gardening a gateway towards gentrification?” She will examine the challenges of urban renewal and greenspaces through the lens of policy, race and economics.

Washington, Albro, and Marnie Conley, vice president of marketing and communications at Longwood Gardens, will lead a panel discussion on strategies that public garden professionals can apply to become more involved beyond their immediate organizations and within their communities.

Andrea Kee will speak about the 21st-century Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, where she is assistant director of plant introduction and health. She will share the story of Singapore’s “City in a Garden” vision, which spans 101 hectares of prime land in the heart of downtown, and its economic impact.

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for UD students, garden professionals and the public,” said Qiu, who helped organize the event. “Many people aren’t familiar with public horticulture, but it’s a fantastic mashup of people and plants. This area is rich in gardens. There are about 30 gardens within 30 minutes of Philadelphia. Even on the UD campus, we have the UD Botanic Garden — 12 gardens over 15 acres maintained by staff, students, and volunteers.”

About the Longwood Graduate Program

The Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture is a partnership between Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the field of public horticulture.

This two-year, thesis-based fellowship program emphasizes experiential learning, project management, and leadership. Since its inception in 1967, graduates have served in upper management and directorial positions around the world. For more information, visit the website.

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