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Master Gardener Conference Schedule

Friday, March 19, 2021

WVMGA Board and Committee Meeting

Open to WVMGA board and committee members only. 

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Opening Keynote: Starting Early for Your Best Garden Ever

Doug Oster
9 – 10 a.m.

Learn how to not only start early, but garden later into the season. Everybody Gardens editor Doug Oster has spent 30 years discovering how to extend the season with an early start. Don’t let spring rains or frost stop you from creating an amazing garden nearly year-round.

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1-A: Spring Gardening: Tips and Tricks

Doug Oster
10 – 11 a.m

The first part of the garden season is essential in determining what the rest of the year will be like in the garden. Oster will cover soil improvement, raised beds, organic gardening, succession planting and much more in this very popular workshop. 

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1-B: Using a Weed Wiper to Control Weeds on a Small Scale

Rakesh Chandran
11 a.m. – Noon

Mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris) is a perennial weed with a spreading growth habit facilitated by extensive rhizomes. It is a troublesome pest in gardens and can invade lawns and landscapes. As a beneficial plant, its aromatic leaves, stems and underground parts are considered to possess many medicinal attributes. We will share some preliminary results from ongoing research to control mugwort, using low rates of glyphosate and a handheld weed wiper. 

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LUNCH, AWARDS & WVMGA ANNUAL MEETING


1-C: Beginner Guide for Bird ID

Sheldon Owen
2 – 3 p.m.

Birdwatching is a rewarding pastime, but it can be confusing to get started. You see a bird for just a second before it flies away, or maybe you see its silhouette in a tree. What bird is that? You flip through an identification book looking at pictures while your memory of what you saw fades. How do you use a bird identification book more efficiently? We will learn types of birds, the characteristics that differentiate them and how ID books are organized to help zero in on our bird of interest.

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1-D: New Methods of Disease Control

Mahfuz Rahman
3 – 4 p.m.

New diseases emerge or minor diseases can become major with the potential of causing devastating losses to fruits and vegetables. Scientists work relentlessly to find new solutions and minimize losses through new cost-effective technologies. This session will familiarize you with some of the newly developed techniques and approaches to efficiently manage diseases of fruits and vegetables.

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1-E: American Chestnut Restoration

Mark Double
4 – 5 p.m.

The audience can expect to learn about the history of the American chestnut, it's relation to the state of West Virginia and how to identify various chestnut species. Double also will discuss the three approaches being utilized by the American Chestnut Foundation to combat the chestnut blight pathogen with the hope of restoring American chestnut back into the forests of eastern North America.

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

Closing Keynote: Audubon Society Mission and Programs

Chris Kubiak
9 – 10 a.m.

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania is an environmental education and conservation engagement organization that serves a seven-county region surrounding Pittsburgh. Founded in 1916 on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus, ASWP has long focused on education. Through our programs, projects and places, we educate and inspire the people of southwestern Pennsylvania to be effective stewards of the natural world and to help create bird-friendly communities. Each year, we engage nearly 25,000 people in formal, hands-on natural history programs, the majority of which are children.

ASWP strongly believes that conservation begins with education. As an environmental engagement organization, ASWP focuses heavily on connecting people, especially children, to the wonders of nature. Through this connection, we encourage responsible stewardship through the promotion of healthy forests and plants, wildlife diversity, clean water, environmentally friendly development and green space preservation. Native plants are a key component of our conservation efforts. Audubon Center for Native Plants has been part of Audubon and Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve since 2000, but its roots go back well over 20 years. Dedicated to the promotion and propagation of true western Pennsylvania native perennials, small trees and shrubs, ACNP grows plants for the public, community partners and use in our own projects. This talk will focus upon the history of ASWP as an organization, as well as the conservation programs and projects the organization champions in the region. While much of our mission focuses upon birds and educating people on their importance, we also have a significantly broader impact. Chris Kubiak also will discuss ASWP’s Center for Native Plants and Backyard Habitat Certification program, which has certified over 200 acres of wildlife habitat, along with its Bird Friendly Communities initiative.

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2-A: Climate Change and Plant Specific Impacts

Chris Kubiak
10 – 11 a.m.

Climate change continues to be one of the most important and potentially greatest challenges facing our global ecosystems in the 21st Century. In this lecture, Chris Kubiak will discuss the causes and impacts of anthropomorphic climate change on our local biome, with a focus on shifting growing zones in the eastern United States, disease pressures on plants, and issues with pollination timing and other plant-specific impacts. A portion of his talk will be focused on a citizen science program called Project Budburst, which studies the phenology of local plants bloom time in relation to climate change. 

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2-B: Improving the Mortgage Lifter Tomato

Lewis Jett
11 a.m. – Noon

The heirloom tomato strain that is most often associated with West Virginia is the Radiator Charlie Mortgage Lifter, so named because the plant sales helped Charlie pay off his mortgage during the Depression. It is a red to pink beefsteak slicing tomato. In 2018, several heritage tomato varieties were evaluated for yield and quality within high tunnels in West Virginia. Wholesale marketing high tunnel tomatoes is usually not profitable, but concentrating on unique, heritage varieties with high flavor for direct marketing is the best strategy for maximizing profit. Since there is a strong demand for heritage varieties with a story, our objective in 2019 was to acquire Mortgage Lifter seed from several commercial seed companies as well as local seed savers and determine which ones had optimal yield and quality within high tunnels. There is tremendous diversity in Mortgage Lifter seed from various sources, but screening helped to identify the best lines for commercial production of this heritage variety. The seed can be increased by local seed savers for future generations.

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LUNCH


2-C: The Latest Research on Invasive Species in West Virginia

Laura Nixon  
1 – 2 p.m.

An overview of the invasive species that have made West Virginia their home in recent years. There will be a special emphasis on researching the newly invasive spotted lanternfly to assess potential risk and management for the region. 

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2-D: How to Avoid Costly Mistakes in Landscape Installations

Mira Danilovich
2 – 3 p.m.

Choice of plant material and planting procedure are among the most important steps for the success of a landscape whether we are just adding a few shrubs and trees or installing a completely new landscape. You will learn about common but preventable mistakes that lead to insect and disease attacks and steady landscape decline. We don’t want something that was supposed to provide tranquility and enjoyment to turn into a major headache.

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