The event was attended by participants from New York, and Kansas as well as the growers in the Deep South. Although the meeting included sessions covering the technical aspects of Christmas tree production, its primary focus was the coastal restoration projects in Southeast Louisiana.
While visiting Shady Pond the growers were treated to several unique presentations. Chief Travis Johnson displayed one of the Army National Guard helicopters used to place trees in the Louisiana marsh. The rigging used to sling load the Christmas tree bundles was included in the Sikorsky UH-1V Huey display.
Linda Franzo provided the ladies with a demonstration of wildlife edible Christmas decorations and southern potpourri. The potpourri was a blend of Carolina Sapphire and Virginia Pine foliage, and one of Linda's Passionate Platter creations.
Christine Wiltz, author of The Last Madam, added insights gained from writing the biography of Norma Wallace to a walking tour of the grounds (see below for more detail).
And no visit to Shady Pond Tree Farm would be complete without a tour of the fields and the exotic Christmas trees growing there.
But David Rogers and his Border Collies stole the show. Together they provided a fascinating display of David's ability to control the work dogs through voice commands. Without exception, every individual at the meeting was mesmerized by David, his dogs and sheep.