NGC Schools News – Greg Pokorski, ES, GS and LD Schools Coordinator,

Per the current NGC Directory (page A9), NGC is a not-for-profit educational organization… As we begin a new year, what better way to help NGC carry out its educational mission than to leap into action by planning, scheduling, conducting and attending NGC schools and refresher events?

Recent input to our committees that is food for thought:

  • All of the NGC schools complement each other.
  • These schools (ES, GS and LD) apply to and appeal to rank and file garden club members more than FSS does.
  • Every Flower Show Judge should attend GSS. If they did, judging horticulture would be improved 100%. The same goes for Environmental Studies–what a difference it would make in judging Educational Exhibits. Educating the public is one of the primary goals of NGC. Seeing how to make a compost pile or grow a rose bush successfully might be of as much value to a flower show visitor as seeing beauty on the table.

Garden club members who complete these schools (and fulfill all requirements) become Consultants. Consultants are recognized and honored by many clubs and state garden club organizations for completing NGC schools. Members take great pride in Consultant status. To remain in good standing, they periodically refresh by taking additional school courses or attending special refresher events. Refreshing reinforces their feelings of accomplishment and expands their knowledge base – allowing them to make more contributions to garden clubs and communities.

NGC National Garden Week and Schools Chairmen are collaborating to challenge all NGC Consultants to celebrate their consultant status and use and share knowledge gained in NGC schools during National Garden Week.  This idea of NGC Gardening Consultants Councils Chairman Cathy Felton is to make NGC’s Consultants more visible and vibrant, to give them a stronger purpose and a national purpose and to give them an opportunity to give back by observing a National Consultants Day during National Garden Week.  States with Environmental, Gardening and Landscape Design Consultants could coordinate activities of the three groups on one day throughout the state.  Or each group of Consultants might embrace activities related to that specific school so that Environmental Consultants have activities one day, Gardening Consultants another day and Landscape Design Consultants on still another day.  The second approach might be the way to go for states that are not represented by Consultants in all disciplines.  This can be handled any way you want in your club or state.  We just want you to recognize your achievement in completing an NGC school and we want you to share the information you have obtained while letting others know about NGC and your state garden club organizations.

Things that a Consultants Council can do during National Garden Week:

  1.  Organize an educational program open to the public – this could even be holding a school course or refresher
  2.  Promote an environmental, gardening or landscape workshop for consultants and members of the state garden clubs
  3. Collaborate with a school (young or older students) – either teaching some aspect of good environmental, gardening or landscape practices etc., presenting a program, or giving plants or information sheets away to students & teachers
  4.  Have a program and invite other gardening-related organizations to participate
  5.  Have an open garden day of members with teaching at each garden
  6.  Plan a work day (outdoors) at a non-profit center – Audubon, land trust, AMC/Sierra Club etc.

Things that an individual Consultant can do during National Garden Week:

  1.  Volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity house (or similar non-profit) to do some outdoor cleanup/planting
  2.  Present an environmental, gardening or landscape program at a school or nursing home
  3.  Give a program/workshop at your local library
  4.  Invite gardening friends – (not necessarily NGC members) to your own garden and teach them about how your garden works – or does not work – problems and good environmental, gardening and landscape solutions etc.
  5. Write an article on any of these NGC school subjects for your local newspaper
  6. Help a neighbor/friend who needs guidance or help in their own garden or yard.
  7. Help conduct an NGC school or refresher during National Garden Week – serve as registrar or proctor or in any way needed

Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless. Let us know your plans and your results. Share your knowledge. Learn more as you teach club members and the public.