March 5: Longwood Graduate Program to host annual symposium

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10:19 a.m., Jan. 6, 2010----The University of Delaware's Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture will host its annual symposium on Friday, March 5, at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. The symposium, titled “People, Plants, Collections: Making the Connection,” will offer insight into connecting people with the beauty, diversity and science of plants through strategic planning, inspiring interpretation, innovative programs and exhibits, and thoughtful collections development.

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Designed for professional staff of public gardens, nature centers, parks, and cultural institutions, the symposium will take place in Longwood Gardens' spectacular Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. Registration for the daylong event is $75 for professionals and $55 for full-time students.

For more information and to register online, visit the Longwood Graduate Program Web site, or call the Longwood Graduate Program office at (302) 831-2517.

Gail Dexter Lord and Barry Lord, presidents of Lord Cultural Resources, will present the keynote address, exploring the connections between people, plants, and collections at public gardens in this age of constant and sweeping cultural change. Lord Cultural Resources is the world's largest cultural professional practice, offering specialized planning services in the museum, cultural and heritage sector.

Tim Merriman, executive director of the National Association for Interpretation, will highlight interpretive practices that forge emotional connections between people and collections.

Galen Gates, director of plant collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden, will offer museum-based planning strategies for collections development and use.

Two speakers from Huntington Botanical Gardens, director Jim Folsom and botanical education manager Kitty Connolly, will share how their innovative botanical science programs have engaged hard-to-reach audiences.

The symposium will conclude with a breakout session facilitated by Christine Flanagan, director of public programs at the U.S. Botanic Garden, who will lead attendees in a lively discussion about how program planning and collections development can connect visitors to their own institution's plant collections.

This year's event offers complementary tours of Longwood Gardens' Conservatory with Longwood staff to be held on Thursday, March 4, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registrants can choose from two tours, one highlighting display design and the other display production. Tours are limited to 20 participants each, so early registration is recommended.

The Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture, a partnership between Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, prepares students for leadership roles in the field of public horticulture. The two-year, thesis-based fellowship program emphasizes experiential learning through project management, academic coursework, leadership opportunities, travel, and interactions with public horticulture professionals. Since its inception in 1967, graduates have served in upper management and directorial positions around the country.

For more information, call (302) 831-2517 or visit the Longwood Graduate Program Web site.

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