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Embassy Suites View map $50 for WVNLA members, $100 for non-members

300 Court St. Charleston, WV
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 The West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association (WVNLA) is holding its Winter Symposium from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. February 21 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Charleston. The two tracks of programming which feature national expert speakers will allow attendees to focus on both landscape design as well as green industry business development best practices.

At the annual WVNLA Members Breakfast before the education courses, five college students studying horticulture and landscape design will be recognized and presented scholarships from its Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship program.

Business Development Speakers

Landscape business guru and motivational speaker Jeff McManus will provide powerful insights on how to grow great workforce teams. Author of the bestselling Growing Weeders into Leaders, McManus will present three topics. • “G.R.O.W. – Exploring Ways to Invest in and Grow Employees and Leaders in Any Organization • “Crew Leaders Aren’t Created – They’re Cultivated.” • “How Creating Your Company Core Values Will Attract and Retain Top Talent.”

For the day’s final business session, attendees will hear from Brian Branthoover of Halian Landscapes in McHenry, Maryland about how he motivates his employees and encourages green industry careers.

Landscape and Design Speakers

Design speakers will address landscaping for climate change, tropical plants, pruning techniques and West Virginia’s own Little Missy boxwood and its introduction into the European market and famed gardens there.

Kim Eirman, founder of EcoBeneficial, will discuss “Taking Landscapes to the Next Level: From Leveraging Ecosystem Services to Changing Cultural Norms.” Kim teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Native Plant Center and Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She is the author of The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening.

Marianne Wilburn, opinion columnist and author of Tropical Plants and How to Love Them and Big Dreams, Small Garden, will discuss “Tropical Fusion: Incorporating Tropical Textures in Temperate Gardens.” Wilburn is a contributing editor at

Former WVNLA president and board member Norman Cole is the third-generation owner of Cole Nurseries in Pipestem, W.Va. During his career, he has nurtured many boxwood cultivars, but the success of his patented Buxus microphyllya “Little Missy” has exceeded all expectations. Hear about the plant's development and meteoric climb in popularity, despite the worldwide threat of boxwood blight. Cole and his wife, Missy (the cultivar’s namesake), have taken the West Virginia native plant to Europe, where Little Missys thrive in Paris, most notably at the Luxembourg Gardens, home of the French Senate.

Audra Egan, a regional project manager for Davey Resource Group in Ohio, will close out the day with a comprehensive program on pruning. Egan is an ISA Arborist, Certified Pesticide Licensed Applicator in Ohio, and OCNT Master Status with the Ohio Green Industry Association each for more than 20 years. She is an active ISA Ohio Chapter member.

Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for non-members and includes lunch. Visit to register for this event. Contact Julie Robinson at or 304-553-1234. Vendors may rent a display table at the event for $25.

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