Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Highlights of the GCNC District 9 Annual Meeting

Highlights from the District 9 Meeting, Oct. 22, 2015.
Photos by Marcia Loudon and Jennifer Corser of the Durham Council of Garden Clubs.
The Garden Club of North Carolina’s District 9 Annual Meeting convened Oct. 22 at St. Luke's Episcopel Church in Durham. Sixty-eight club members and guests were in attendance representing 22 garden clubs in the District 9 Piedmont area. The clubs in largest attendance were the Daylily and Croasdaile Garden Clubs of Durham and the Chapel Hill Garden Club, each with eight to six members in attendance. The Durham Council of Garden Clubs took the lead in hosting responsibilities with: logistics, catering, raffles, table decorations, and program speakers, while other garden clubs like Chapel Hill lent their talents in assisting GCNC executive reports regarding the state awards program; and the Hillsborough Garden Club offered table handouts and favors including homemade seed packets with seeds collected from flowers in their home gardens.

District 9 Director Andrea Lewis called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. and gave her report of the District 9 activity over the 2014-2015 fiscal year. GCNC President Judy Bond and her Vice Presidents then gave state reports with national program overviews designed to drive garden club membership. Some District 9 garden clubs were surprised to be awarded with certificates recognizing their gain in members during 20114-2015; the Forest Hills Garden Club of Durham led the pack with five new members. Ideas presented to gain membership included:  holding club meetings in evening and flexible hours to accommodate working members, adding men/husbands to club rosters, taking waitlisted members and forming a second neighborhood club, scouting for new members by dropping business cards and an invitation to join into the mailboxes of neighborhood homes with impressive gardens. Youth garden clubs and children’s programs were also emphasized with references to children’s books that come with study plans like “The Frightened Frog” by Brenda Moore and Jean Ohlmann of National Garden Clubs, Inc. and “Katie’s Cabbage” by Katie Stagliano. GCNC Youth Program Chair Darene Honeycutt shared in her report a sample of the new guidelines handbook (soon available) that she created for state junior garden clubs.
After the luncheon, the District 9 Meeting's keynote speaker Dr. Manuel Reyes, NC A&T Professor of Biological Engineering, presented 'Natuculture' theory and urbane agricultural projects by NC A&T students and Durham Public Schools students of the School of Energy and Sustainability (Southern High School). Natuculture™, defined as “any human made system that mimics nature in human disturbed landscapes,” began in the United States at the campus of NC A&T by Dr. Reyes. See the Durham Council blog for more information: http://durhamcouncilofgardenclubs.blogspot.com/2015/10/natuculture-and-dps-project-featured.html.
Dr. Reyes emphasized how critical it is now to motivate high school students into agricultural programs. Moreover, he said, the United States Department of Agriculture has a significant labor force of employees aged 60 and older, and the next generation will be tasked with filling these important federal roles for managing the nation’s food industry.

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