Baxter County Master Gardeners hosted their 25th annual seminar on Saturday, March 23 as part of our group's 25th anniversary celebration. Our largest crowd to date, close to 300 people, enjoyed presentations by four high-profile speakers.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Doug Tallamy, gave two presentations during the event. His entertaining presentations stressed the importance of each individual developing a nature friendly yard. He showed us the benefits to pollinators by our choosing the right plants at our homes. He showed how long it takes nature to adapt to introduced plants, and encouraged us to make our gardens up to 70% nature compatible plants.
The theme continued with Lucinda Reynolds giving us many ideas on plant selections we might consider. We next enjoyed hearing Lissa Morrison, one of the designers of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, showing us how native plants can be used beautifully and manageably in residential plantings. She encouraged the group to check the BCMG website, www.baxtercountymg.com, for a listing of suitable plants in residential settings.
To complete the day, we enjoyed hearing from Ken Forman of Arkansas Fish and Game, who gave us an animated history of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC); discussed the impact of the portion of our state sales tax that is allocated to natural resources; and stressed what the state is doing with the development of nature centers and educating our children to the values and beauty of Arkansas, the Natural State. Arkansas is one of 2-3 states that has a conservation tax, 1/8th% of our sales tax, which can only be used for conservation purposes.
During the day, attendees did not go hungry, enjoying a great lunch prepared by the Methodist Church, as well as many different selections provided by BCMG members. Many folks did not go home empty handed, enjoying items won in our special raffles, door prizes, and opportunity table selections. Though in a sense, no one went home empty handed, full of the knowledge we gained.
Many thanks to all our speakers, and to all BCMG members who helped make this event our best ever. We encourage everyone to visit our website, baxtercountymg.com, go to "Gardening Tips", to view many of the handouts from our speakers, including a list of great plant selections.