By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Welcome to winter everyone! As I sit here, in my home office, writing the notes for the start of a new year, I want to take a few minutes to look back over 2019. We experienced some crazy weather this past year. We were wet and cold most the spring, which led to a late start on summer. Summer was very short. Fall brought the rain again. The snow started early, but melted quickly. It had everyone rushing around for fall cleanups. We just finished with turkey and the fixings, and then Mother Nature came knocking on the door. WHAM! She hits with a 20+ inch blockbuster storm. It was not what you want, for the first storm of the year. A 48-hour storm is very difficult to train rookies. Let’s hope that the rest of the winter is a normal, enough snow to keep everyone busy, but not overwhelming.
I can’t believe another decade has done by! My wish for the New Year is better weather, a renewed workforce, and an abundance of work. I say this as I have heard from a few contractors that 2019 was a GREAT year for them, but they are all tired. I think the weather has a huge effect on all of us and creates unwanted stress. Our customers do not realize how hard it is to deal with the weather. They just want to get the job done, whether it’s spreading loam in the rain or dealing with the quick sand pit, from fresh gravel in the puddles. I want to wish all of you a prosperous 2020!
We have been working hard to bring many exciting opportunities this year. Don’t miss our Joint Winter Meeting, on January 15, with the NHPGA and UNHCE, at the Grappone Center, in Concord. It looks to be a great day of education and catching up with old friends. Let’s just think about sunshine for that day, so we can all get there safely and enjoy the day.
March is going to be a very busy month. We have our annual Spring Conference with UNHCE, on March 20, at the Puritan Conference Center, in Manchester, one of our most popular events. This year we are responding to input from many members we heard from recently, including at the Annual Dinner. Planned sessions include workshops on health, safety, and wellness, including first aid and occupational therapy. Join us for a day full of education, networking, checking out new services and products, and connecting with old friends. Information on that event will be available in the February Newsletter and online soon. I hope to see you all there.
We also received a grant from the Northeast Hardscape Expo and are organizing an NHLA Hardscape Education Day, on March 24, at Milton Cat, in Londonderry. This will offer NHCLP, NCMA, and ICPI credits. It is a full program, 7:30 am-2 pm and will feature some great educational sessions on design, hardscape tools, technology, small engine maintenance and repair, as well as a roundtable discussion moderated by Bill Gardocki. This event will also include a tour of the Milton Cat. You don’t want to miss it. Cost of the event is $30 per person. Registration will be limited to 50 participants, so sign up early.
The NHLA Board has also been working with the NH Arborist Association. Their annual meeting will be held on March 17 at the Grappone Center, in Concord, with a very special guest speaker, Dr. Michael Dirr. He will be giving two talks that day and will also have his brand new book, The Tree Book, for sale and will be giving autographs. It is a great resource book to have on your shelf. So once again, keep your eyes on the Newsletter for information about the meeting. It will be a Saint Patty’s day to remember.
Lastly, UNHCE is hosting a two day class on Landscaping for Water Quality on March 26 and 27. Keep your eyes open for more details.
March is raining with many educational opportunities.
NHLA is trying very hard to bring you new and exciting education classes. This is not an easy task, as it takes a lot of time and effort to find speakers and organize the events. The committee is always working several months, in advance. I know they are currently finalizing the March meeting and working on Twilight events. So here is my annual plea to get a few more members to get involved in the different committees, we have at NHLA. We are always in need of committee members to help out with our programs. Please consider being on a committee for a year and help make a difference in the landscape community.
I want to welcome Abby Zuidema, as our new Certification Coordinator. Some of you might already know Abby, from the Thompson School and also the four year school. She has also been teaching some of our summer classes. She is taking over for Patty Laughlin, the past coordinator and Scot Flewelling, who was our interim coordinator. Abby has an extensive background in the landscape industry and will be a great addition to the NHLA family. She will help the certified program move forward, in the future. So if you see Abby at our events, please stop by and welcome her to the NHLA.
It’s getting late and Minnie is asleep, on the desk, as I finish up these last few words. I would like to wish you a healthy and Happy New Year, on behalf of the NHLA Board.
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” — Melody Beattie