Volunteers Needed

Planning and executing an international conference for 1,200+ Master Gardeners from across the country and world is a big job!  Volunteers are needed to assist in many capacities, in order to put on a top-notch conference that will make us proud of our efforts.

If you are interested in volunteering, please register your interests and skills via this online survey form.  A brief description of the different volunteer opportunties can be found below.

Speaker committee: creating the program of conference speakers; contacting and communicating with speakers; obtaining speaker biographies; making sure that the website and the paper program has all relevant speaker information; work with the gardener’s store committee to arrange for space and time for book sales and book signings for speakers who wish to do so; serve as the liaison between the conference speakers and the IMGC chair.

Local tours: helping to create a program of local, Portland-area tours that will be of interest to conference attendees. This could include hosted or unhosted tours. Creating maps and directions for participants to get to tour sites. Pre-touring sites to make sure they are safe for conference attendees. Arranging for transportation, as needed, for tours.

Pre-conference tours or Post-conference tours: helping to create a program for a 2- and/or 3-day tour of Oregon sites, that conference participants can take before the actual IMGC begins, or after the conference ends; arranging for bus transportation, hotel stays, tour activities. Helping to develop a price for the tour(s) that covers tour costs, but is still affordable for conference participants.

Food committee: helping to create the menu for meals and snacks during the conference. There may be an in-house caterer, or there may be other caterers to interview. Taste test meals and snacks. Consider their nutritional value. Choose between buffet, seated meal or passed appetizer options.  Plan meals and snacks that are affordable, nutritious, delicious.

Goody Bag Committee: creating the goody bag that will be given to each conference attendee. Choosing the bag, itself. Finding high-quality items to stuff in each bag. Make sure the items are travel-friendly, for those flying with checked baggage. Work with sponsorship committee to find donors of goody bag items.

Hospitality Committee: greet conference attendees as they arrive at the airport, and help direct them to their destination. Help conference attendees navigate public transportation in Portland. Generally assist conference attendees, by answering their questions or finding someone who can answer their question. Serve as a greeter that helps attendees feel welcome in our state and in our city.

Gardener’s Store Committee: line up vendors to display or sell appropriate items during the conference; work with sponsorship committee to ensure that high level sponsors are given a free trade show booth; serve as the liaison between trade show vendors and the IMGC chair.

Sponsorship Committee: solicit sponsors to help defray the costs associated with the 2017 IMGC. Sponsorships can be ‘in-kind’ or ‘cash’. Work with chairs of other committees, to ensure that sponsors donations are received (e.g. goody bag committee, finance committee). Make sure that sponsors receive documentation of their donation, for tax purposes.

Registration Committee: helping attendees register for the conference (many will have questions about how to register or what to register for, and volunteers are needed to assist / answer questions); helping to put together registration packets that will be picked up by attendees; arranging registration packets and tickets so that they are easy to understand and easy to pick up; helping to choose a vendor to handle the online registration process.

Finance Committee: helping to develop and monitor the budget for the conference; adjusting budget as needed; working with sponsorship committee to ensure that all sponsors receive the proper forms documenting their tax-deductible donations; work closely with OMGA treasurer to ensure timely payment of conference bills and timely deposit of conference revenues.

Decorations Committee: plan and make decorations that will help conference attendees feel welcome in our state and in Portland. Examples of decorations that could be made include a map, where folks can place a star to show where they traveled from; floral arrangements for general sessions or the banquet; something Portland-esque that can be displayed around the conference site (for example, West Virginia had scarecrows displayed throughout their conference center).

Program Committee: gathering information from the speakers’ committee, sponsorship committee, tour committees, etc., to create a program that can be given to conference attendees. This program will be the conference attendees ‘guide’ to the conference ~ and will provide all of the information they need to find their way around and enjoy themselves. Work with the registration committee to ensure that each attendee receives a conference program when they pick up their registration packet.

Publicity Committee: publicize the conference in various no-cost outlets, including, but not limited to: social media, email listservs, garden centers, MG events, radio spots, etc. Work to get the work out locally, but also nationally and internationally about this event. Work with IMGC chair to ensure that all publicity adheres to OSU policy.

Why Portland?

Video Credit: Travel Portland

We are pleased to announce that the 2017 International Master Gardener Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, July 10-14, 2017.

Portland is a mid-sized city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Portland has been described as a city of neighborhoods, coffee shops, bookstores, brew pubs, restaurants and food carts. Our rainy winters feed a vibrant and verdant gardening culture. Our perfect summers make gardening a dream! Green roofs on LEED-certified high rises, as well as on the sheds and garages of home gardeners, exhibit our commitment to sustainability. A network of ‘green streets’ throughout the city shows how gardens can be used to manage storm water issues in urban areas.

Portland is a great space to experience Oregon’s commitment to local foods. Portland area food carts, restaurants, farmers’ markets and brew pubs are great places to experience the world class hazelnuts, berries, vegetables and meats, cheeses, beers, and wines that showcase Oregon’s award-winning agricultural production systems.

Portland is located within a 90 minute drive of the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Oregon Coast. A 30 minute drive east allows visitors to explore the waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge, including majestic Multnomah Falls. And, it’s only a 60 minute drive to Mount Hood, where visitors can ski nearly year round or just enjoy the views from and the history of the magnificent WPA-built Timberline Lodge.

Within the city, itself, Portland is home to one of the largest urban forest preserves in the country (Forest Park), and one of the largest city parks in the country (Washington Park). The Washington Park complex includes the Oregon Zoo (where Master Gardeners staff an exhibit that teaches visitors about sustainable landscaping practices), the International Rose Test Garden, the World Forestry Center, the Hoyt Arboretum and the Portland Japanese Garden. Pittock Mansion, Leach Botanical Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden are also popular attractions.