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2016 Illinois Master Gardener Conference and awards Ceremony – August 19

Please join your fellow Illinois Master Gardeners as we celebrate our state award winners and discover bees, beauty and bountiful gardens on Friday August 19 at the I Hotel, 1900 South First St., Champaign IL. The event will feature two special speakers and silent auction to support Master Gardener mini-grants and includes luncheon, awards ceremony and free tours of campus Horticultural sites. All for only $35. Master Gardeners may bring one adult guest. Registration closes August 11, 2016.
Register Here

The schedule for August 19 is:

9:00am Registration opens at the northeast entrance of I Hotel and Conference Center.
9:00am-12:45am (in Illinois Ball Room) Silent auction to benefit state MG mini-grants. Contact Sarah Ruth at ruth1@illinois.edu or 618-939-3434 to offer donations. *See more details below.
10:00am-10:45am Tour of UI Herbarium and Fungarium (limited to 50 guests) or tour of Gable Home from past UI Solar Decathlon (no additional fees but registration required; both within walking distance from hotel)
11:00am Welcome
11:15am-Noon What about the Bumbles? What you can do to help bumble bees. Dr. Sydney Cameron, Professor University of Illinois Department of Entomology discusses her research in possible reasons for bumble bee decline and how gardeners can help bumble bees. Includes film "A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee"
Noon-1:00pm Luncheon and MG coordinators meeting
1:00pm-1:45pm The Restorative Benefits that Master Gardeners Create Dr. William Sullivan, Professor and Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; The conditions of modern living (work and life pressures) threaten the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans. There is mounting evidence, however, that exposure to even small gardens and other forms of nature can promote recovery from mental fatigue. In a variety of recent studies, scientists have found that exposure to the kind of places that master gardeners create dramatically reduces mental fatigue, irritability, impulsivity, and improves productivity. Sullivan considers these recent findings and discusses the implications for, and importance of, having everyday contact with nature.
2:00pm-3:00pm Awards ceremony
3:15pm-4:45pm Horticultural tours of six nearby locations (maps available at registration) including Champaign County Master Gardener's Idea Garden, Hartley Trial Gardens, American Hosta Society Display Garden, Japan House and Gardens, Pollinatarium and pollinator garden and Student Sustainable Farm. Look for mini-lessons at most sites.

Registration fee is $35. It includes the two speakers, luncheon and tours. Participants must coordinate travel to each tour location through carpooling or personal vehicle. Plenty of free parking available at the I Hotel. Some tour locations require metered parking. UI students will be returning to campus the week of conference. To avoid traffic, consider arriving to I Hotel from south. Click for a map to the I Hotel

Hotel rooms are available at conference location at I Hotel 217.819.5000. Special rates available until July 25.

Registration closes August 11, 2016
*Silent Auction Details
For the silent auction we are looking for donations of artwork, sculptures, paintings, photographs, books, garden tools, garden gifts, etc. Proceeds from the silent auction support the Master Gardener mini-grant program. Donations should be brought to the conference. Contact Sarah Ruth at ruth1@illinois.edu or 618-939-3434 with a description of your donation by August 15.

Our Speakers

Figure 1: Rusty Patch Bumble Bee photo by Terry MiesleFigure 1: Rusty Patch Bumble Bee photo by Terry Miesle
What about the Bumbles? - Professor Sydney Cameron University of Illinois Department of Entomology research includes the genetics of bumble bees (Bombus spp.) and looks to answer the cause for the decline of bumble bees. Cameron's talk includes the short film "A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee" With so much attention focused on the decline of domestic honey bees, someone has to speak for the remaining 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt begins and ends a quest, traveling across states to tell the story of the disappearing Rusty-patched bumble bee. Clay's journey in film helps answer the question: "why save a species?" Dr. Cameron will also discuss how gardeners can help bumble bees and other native bees.

The Restorative Benefits that Master Gardeners Create - The research of Dr. William Sullivan, professor and head of University of Illinois Department of Landscape Architecture, delves into how the landscapes we build effect our health. Sullivan gets to wake up every morning and do things he loves. He teaches about, and conducts research on, the health benefits from having regular exposure to urban green places. He and his colleagues have found that regular contact with green settings helps address some of the most pressing issues of our time: the strength of urban communities; levels of aggression, violence, and crime; and our capacity to pay attention. His most recent research deals with exposure to trees and reductions in stress levels and the capacity of high school students to pay attention. You can visit his website at www.willsull.net

Sullivan is Professor and Head of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, one of the oldest and most productive Landscape Architecture programs in the world. You can visit the department's website at http://landarch.illinois.edu

Our Tours

You must arrange your own transportation for tours. Carpooling from the I Hotel is encouraged. Parking near Hartley Gardens, Idea Garden, Pollinatarium and Student Farm is free. Parking near Japan House and Hosta Garden are at parking meters so bring coins to "feed the meters". A map to the tour sites will be provided at check-in. Each tour is only about a 5-minute drive from the I Hotel.

Pre-tour Site 1: UI Herbarium and Fungarium is about a 10-minute walk from I Hotel. It is housed in the Robert A. Evers Laboratory. There are three plant herbaria housed at the Evers Laboratory: Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium, University of Illinois Plant Biology Herbarium, and University of Illinois Crop Evolution Laboratory Herbarium. Together, these collections contain over 1,000,000 specimens making this the second largest herbarium in Illinois and one of the 15th largest in the United States. Collections also include algae, bryophytes and fungi.

Pre-tour Site 2: Gable Home was part of the 2009 University of Illinois Solar Decathlon. It's is now south of the I Hotel within easy walking distance. Discover how home design can be energy efficient and use repurposed products. Wood boards over 100 years old from salvaged barn and grain elevator make up the decking and siding of the house. Forty photovoltaic panels generate 100% of the annual energy needed to power the house. Learn how bamboo construction materials can be stronger than conventional lumber and are rapidly renewable building materials.

Afternoon Tours

Site 1. The Idea Garden of Master Gardeners of Champaign County.

The award winning Idea Garden has been a destination for thousands of visitors since 1997. Created to spark imaginative inspiration in all who visit, the Idea Garden is designed, planted and maintained by Master Gardeners. The 15,000 square foot garden includes many areas each with a different focus including roses, vegetables, herbs, small fruits, tropicals and sensory plants. Main garden is surrounded by four mixed flower and shrub borders with different color schemes. The Children's Garden was recently redesigned to include a mini gazebo with a green roof. Each year Master Gardeners trial new plants from Proven Winners and Ball Horticultural. Throughout the tour period UI Extension educator in horticulture Kim Ellson will be presenting a mini-lesson at the Idea Garden on sustainable gardening.

Site 2. Hartley Trial Gardens

At the heart of the UI Arboretum lays the Miles C Hartley Selections Garden, made possible by a generous gift from the estate, family and friends of alumnus and former UI faculty member Miles C Hartley. The Hartley is a showcase of hundreds of varieties of flowering plants, including All America Selections and Fleuroselect winners, displayed in row trials and designed beds. Dozens of companies from across the globe provide seed or plants for the Hartley plantings. While focusing primarily on annuals for both sun and shade, the Hartley contains trees and shrubs and is a lovely place to relax on the many benches surrounding the trial flower beds.

Site 3. IPHS AHS National Display Hosta Garden

In fall of 2010 the Illinois Prairie Hosta Society (IPHS) and University of Illinois Arboretum agreed to create a garden for hosta and companion plants that the community could enjoy. In 2013 it was recognized as an American Hosta Society National Display Garden, a designation reserved for public gardens that label and display at least 100 registered Hosta cultivars. Members of IPHS will lead tours of this garden that displays a blend of over 200 hostas and over 100 companion plants. The goal is to show the public how hostas can be the foundation of visual elegance in a mixed shade garden. For more information about IPHS visit http://illinoisprairiehostasociety.com

Site 4. Japan House

Japan House is comprised of three rooms which were originally constructed in Japan, then shipped to the University of Illinois Arboretum and reassembled by Japanese carpenters. Tranquil gardens surround the House, typical of the Japanese style designed for harmony—tea, dry (raked gravel) and strolling. "The role of the garden in Japan House's environment and teachings is almost impossible to calculate," says Director Jennifer Gunji. "Without a doubt Japan House could not teach its lessons without the James and Lorene Bier Gardens." The man behind the gardens, James Bier, will be on hand to give tours of the gardens. In addition, Japan House guides will give tours highlighting the background of Japan House and the tea ceremony.

Site 5. The Pollinatarium and Pollinator Gardens

The University of Illinois Pollinatarium is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators. It's surrounded by prairie and natural gardens maintained by Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists so it's the perfect place to spot some bees! Cool off while you discover the many indoor displays about the critical job pollinators do worldwide. Visit the Pollinatarium website to learn more about it. UI Extension horticulture educator Kelly Allsup will be on hand for a mini-lesson about pollinators.

Site 6. Student Sustainable Farm

The Student Sustainable Farm serves as a production farm to supply UI residence halls with locally grown, low-input sustainable food. In addition, the farm acts as a living laboratory to connect students, community members, and the state at large with regional, small-scale food systems. Currently, the farm operates between 45-48 weeks per year, occupying 6 acres for outdoor field production and nearly 10,000 square feet of year round high tunnel production.