Anya Tikka | Democrat
Master Gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension engaged in a conversation with Samantha and Patricia Martin of Hurleyville.
Bringing the promise of renewal
By Anya Tikka
LIBERTY March 15, 2013 The annual Sullivan Renaissance Conference and Expo drew large crowds in Liberty’s CVI building on a sunny March day when it was easy to believe that spring was just around the corner.
Visitors were treated to a host of experiences including flower displays, local market vendors, exhibitions, workshops, award ceremonies, an inspiring keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Tarlow; not to mention delicious breakfast in the spacious lobby.
The expo’s theme was volunteerism, and Dr. Tarlow, who’s an expert in economic development through tourism and customer services as well as in tourism security praised the efforts of Sullivan Renaissance and its staff and volunteers.
“You’re the lifeblood of the community,” he remarked, while drawing parallels with the functions of trees with their life-giving properties. He went on to say that those involved in the beautification program make things happen, and that Sullivan County is a special place.
Talking about future Sullivan County tourism plans, he noted that the bagel is the most commonly consumed food in the country, and how, with his help, the new vision of Monticello as the Bagel Capital of United States is taking shape. A festival is planned for August, and the organizers are hoping for 50,000 people to attend.
Sullivan Renaissance Director Glenn Pontier also recognized the crucial role of volunteers in the organization, and talked about new plans for the year, including the increased variety in the Renaissance Collection of plants. Other new developments include hiring new Horticultural Coordinator Diane K. Weiner, who’s available to help with grant projects, recognizing the importance of getting youth involved and introducing a new “Mitzvah” award aimed at engaging summer residents.
The Renaissance Collection, Sullivan Renaissance’s signature mix of plants has been doubled in size this season, and it now includes trees, shrubs, grasses and ground covers. All plants have been selected for their ability to do well in the local climate’s demanding conditions.