Two years ago the MRHS was facing the distinct possibility of not having a convention in 2017. Only after no one else had volunteered to host, Rob Mortko of KC and Bob Saathoff of Topeka stepped forward. When the auspicious task of finding convention volunteers sank in, Rob and Bob made a pitch to the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs) for assistance. The EMGs came to the rescue.
Our EMGs come from all walks of life but their common bond is a love of gardening and sharing information throughout the community. EMGs receive a basic training in the disciplines of horticulture. They then volunteer in projects to help Extension promote its educational mission. The Johnson County EMGs now number about 450 active members who volunteer on average over 110 hours of service annually.
You might expect a special focus on education, fun and food with an EMG event. And you won't be disappointed. Some of our convention highlights include:
6 educational speakers plus 2 banquet speakers
9 tour gardens in Topeka and Johnson County
A hybrid touring approach - one day by bus (optional) and one day drive your own
A hosta tissue culture lab where you will see the Hot Hostas of Tomorrow
A Japanese garden with a focus on species hostas from Japan
A conifer lovers garden hosted by a past President of the American Conifer Society
Stay in the brand new Hyatt Place Hotel and Conference Center
Convention banquets catered by Grand Street Cafe (one of KC's premier restaurants)
A new twist on Hostatality plus a few more surprises
While the EMGs are “hosting” the convention and doing a substantial share of the work, all convention proceeds will benefit the MRHS which is "sponsoring" the event. While unconventional, we trust this "out of the box" thinking has crafted a convention for all to enjoy. Meanwhile the EMGs are gaining convention planning and execution experience toward their goal of hosting a future International Master Gardener Convention in KC.