Professional Development Opportunities

by Cris Blackstone, NHCLP

Whether you are looking for credit for recertification as a Certified Landscape Professional or interested in increasing your body of knowledge of Green Industry trends, there are more opportunities to participate in online workshops or view online presentations than you may have time to even attempt. Take a look at the list of resources later in this article. You might be able to promote your company as having interest or expertise in these topics, helping you reach customers who may be seeking assistance with very specific needs. Previous issues of our Newsletter, available online, also contain lists of resources.

The NH Association of Conservation Commissions is offering a “Lunch and Learn” series on topics of interests to the green industry, including several on groundwater protection and clean water sources. These are free, and presenters are from the NH DES among other professionals directly involved in clean water and updated information and regulations about water use during our severe drought affecting most of the state. Registration is required to get your zoom log in, but your information is never shared with any other group or business when you register for sessions offered through

UNH Cooperative Extension offers a Face Book Live series of presentations on many topics in the horticulture and agriculture industries. Check out the presentations on pruning, extending growing seasons, safety in the workplace, among others. It’s easy to join their mailing list, and their sessions are, for the most part, free.

Responses to the recent survey distributed show that more than half of the responses included wanting more information on “gardening,” so check out the Fall 2020 Literary Series, if gardening books are up your alley. The series is offered biweekly, and includes garden writers such as Bill Noble and Page Dickey, with an extensive list of authors included. Renny Reynolds is among the distinguished list of authors with his book, Design Inspiration from the Gardens at Hortulus Farm in the series. Free, although registration is required, through

The Garden Conservancy’s website is one you may like to book mark, to check on other webinars offered periodically, outside of this regularly scheduled gardening authors’ series.

Garden Writers International offers many workshops on the business of gardening, and sponsors many webinars (generally around $20) about gardening trends. With a pulse on the greenhouse industries and garden center sales, you may find webinars from this group to be helpful. Sponsored presentations from the large growers and suppliers you know such as Proven Winners, Dramm, Corona Tools, Syngenta, are presented through Garden Writers International also. While some of them may be considered “infomercials,” all are rich with details about research and developments in their respective industries.

Here’s hoping some of these organizations and websites offer you beneficial info to help you grow your business and knowledge base.



Survey Says…

Thirty-five responses were returned during the recent NHLA survey window, with ten of those during the first day it hit your in-boxes! This rate of return beat the generally recognized rate of return on surveys by a long shot – thanks so much for letting the Education Committee know what your thoughts are and what an impressive array of members NHLA has in its roster. There is a lot of information that will be so helpful as we plan (yes, there is a lot of planning going on) for the direction we’ll take as we close in on winter and already look toward next summer. While the COVID-19 challenges and unknowns still could hamper our progress, we are not being hampered and are excited to shape our Association beyond the virus’ roadblocks.

We’d like to thank the folks who offered a location for a Twilight Meeting, however the logistics of getting speakers with availability that could mesh with site availability and the additional uncertainties we faced about gatherings of certain sizes, Twilight Meetings became unrealistic to plan with so many details and considerations. These have been such successful social, and sometimes hands-on, that the interactions we have come to expect could not be guaranteed. So where does that leave us with those opportunities and recertification opportunities?

Taking the recertification situation first – with the Recertification Committee reallocating requirements to 3 credits (not the usual 5) this year, we hope the people involved seeking recertification can use the 2020 January Joint Winter meeting as a great starting point for the accrual. Thinking back on that meeting, we heard presentations which have hopefully inspired you so far this year; notably, from our Keynote, Josh Altidor who offered info and inspo on leadership, management, and ways to keep connected to your teams of employees thereby helping your business move forward and keeping clients pleased with your performance. We heard about the ways in which the Boston Parks Department is working against the clock on designs to help manage increasingly intense storms and rising water levels. With many in our field working in parts of the state where these topics are especially imminent, we hope you’ve found local sources on climate considerations related to water or storm water management that are helpful.

Take a look at the recertification information tab on our website to learn more ways to earn your credits and please connect with the Recertification Committee if you have any questions about your situation. The survey responses show that more than three-quarters of the respondents learn of professional development through professional journals and newsletters. Here’s hoping this Newsletter has been offering ideas for you in recent issues. In the October-November Newsletter (log in for access to the Newsletter) you will find more ideas for professional development sources.

Survey respondents listed a broad array of professional organizations in answer to the survey question about what other organizations you belong to. From specific organizations centered on hardscapes, outdoor lighting, aquascapes, and ecologically minded groups, our NHLA members represent professionals who are devoted to the highest quality education and best management practices available. We’ll look at those organizations to see what ways we might be able to offer presentations either in person at some point or via Zoom, to share their expertise with our membership.

We value your time in responding, and we’ll be pouring over the responses to see exactly what our next steps are to incorporate your input in our planning! To those respondents who have offered to present a workshop, or to be on a panel, or to serve NHLA in its broad outreach, we offer a whole-hearted Thank You. If you have ideas you would like to share and didn’t respond during the open window, feel free to send an e-mail with your ideas to We would like to know the topics you would like to learn more about. Who may be an engaging presenter? Would you like to serve on a committee, or volunteer for a specific task for the organization?

NHLA members are a vibrant group, willing to share information and offer support to one another and carry on the great tradition of camaraderie and professional development upon which the organization was founded.

by Cris Blackstone, NHCLP

A Sidenote

Comments from Alan Anderson

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Kidd in June of this year. We have lost a great one. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

I met Peter back in my days at Tuckahoe Turf and knew that this guy was a character. His sense of humor was funny, but made you think. He was witty and had a sly way of making a joke seem serious. You laughed anyhow. He was highly opinionated. If there was a topic to discuss, Peter was all over it and would advise you to think about all aspects of the subject before coming to a conclusion, mostly his conclusion.

Peter gave you 100% all of the time. I always looked forward to hooking up with him, whether it was a jobsite of his or an NHLA event or to have a beer (and we had a few), or just a visit at his house in Bedford, NH. Peter was just fun to hang out with. His landscape knowledge and passion for this industry was unwavering. He was not afraid to share his knowledge with the “competition” because to him, a fellow landscaper was not competing against him, but the best way to teach is through example.

In his many Sidenotes articles, Peter shared numerous ideas and experiences that he had experienced over the years. Peter gave a lot of time to this Association. Peter gave a lot of ideas and insight to this Association. He ran a successful business and instilled a sense of professionalism to the New Hampshire landscape industry. His philosophy was simple – live by the self, die by the self – and was summed up in a paragraph from his Sidenotes column in December, 1984. This is the way he ran his business and what he cared about most.
He wrote, “ Is my picture rising up? It’s extremely important for an employer to get involved. It’s good sense, sound business, and makes the day pleasing. This deal of using up persons, sometimes friends, for dollar motivation is unjustifiable, schizophrenic, down right unbiblical, for live by the self, die by the self. I’m totally aware of the worth of my workmates, I have not fallen victim to the world of concept or the suicidal belief that it’s just my talent or whatever, that makes this ship fly. Do you thank your employees each Friday when the eagle makes manure? I do. And they thank me, and we all head off into the sunset feeling we don’t owe one another anything because we have already given the fair portion. I think it is this kind of straightforwardness that is the source of magic.”

Peter was 37 years old when he wrote that. It is something that still applies today. Make a note of it.

Take care, Peter, our paths will cross again.