(Note: this was posted on my profile updates on the ASHS website this morning. I thought it may, perhaps, be beneficial to someone to post it here as well. )
Today I have 3 webinars to attend! One is via the USDA Forest Service, another from the Raising Trees webinar series out of Auburn U, and another webinar from ASHS.
As a CPH who needs to earn CEUs, having an ASHS Member benefit of attending all the wonderful ASHS webinars developed for the Society is fantastic. As someone who pays all their dues, conference registrations, and all fees associated with attending the conferences out of their own pocket (I think all but two years since 1998), getting this Member benefit is wonderful and appreciated. Having only a Master’s degree, and being employed only part-time for many years now, means that saving money and budgeting my time and money are very important.
Attending virtual training and conferences saves me both money and time. It has allowed me to maintain professional certifications for both the CPH and ISA programs from home. I know I am a “rare bird” who is both an ASHS Member, ASHS-SR Member and attends conferences without having a PhD or a faculty/research position. I am fortunate to be able to split lodging and some travel costs with my spouse, who is also a Member. If it were not for that, I would probably not have been an ASHS Member all these years. Not everyone is that fortunate to be able to budget time and monies with a spouse in the same professional organization. Having moved to different states and changed jobs within the “realm of horticulture” several times, I can say that connections and experiences within ASHS have been extremely beneficial to me since graduate school.
I am sure there are hundreds of B.S. and M.S.-level horticulturists (particularly in Extension or working as Biological Science Technicians, non-tenured Horticulture faculty, Horticulture Technicians and those who branched off into the affiliated plant sciences) who would be interested in joining if they could attend our conferences and webinars virtually, as nearly everyone can use continuing education as part of their annual employment goals. Not to mention the benefits of staying up-to-date on the latest horticulture science, job announcements, and making connections for future horticulture employment and/or collaborations in horticulture research. From what I have seen in all my years with ASHS, this is NOT the target audience for Membership. Yet, ASHS looks to increase Membership. ASHS might “hook” some Members this way, virtually, and then maybe every so many years, or when the conferences are close by, these Members attend in person. With this increase in Membership and participation, the message of horticulture science is propelled farther and penetrates deeper into society where it is needed. Perhaps this helps to “seed” future horticulture generations.
The B.S. and M.S. non-faculty horticulturists are likely perfect candidates to participate virtually and to be looking at the ASHS Certified Professional Horticulturist program. When posed the question, “You work in horticulture science, but you aren’t a Member of ASHS?” These folks may very well reply, “It is expensive and I cannot afford to attend the conferences or take time away from my family; I can only afford the annual Extension conference; my employer will not pay for me or allow me the time off; my boss does not encourage me to participate.” What a great time to push the “virtual” ASHS conference and educational webinars as Member benefits and plug the CPH program! This, combined with the open access ASHS journals, means there is no reason for a CPH to not complete their CEU requirements.
In short, thank you ASHS for the virtual webinars and thank you for keeping the virtual option to attend the annual conference again this year. If you, too, appreciate all the virtual webinars or the ability to attend the conferences virtually, please send your own love notes along to ASHS. Spread the good “green” word! Have a fantastic weekend! (and now, for more coffee)
Yours in Horticulture Science (not Silence)!
The Garden Maiden
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