Early-Career Professional Intl. Exchange Program

2019 Exchange Program representative Shea Keene at the West Dean Gardens

Overview

Open to IPPS-Southern Region Members 35 years old or younger or SR members new to the industry.

2020 Exchange Program Details

Edinburgh, Scotland: September 7 - October 9th.  Check back soon for application documents!


Remarks from 2019 Exchange Program representative Shea Keene

Without a doubt, the 2019 IPPS Exchange Program was one of the best, most amazing experiences of my life. Every part of the trip was incredible. I found Chichester and the surrounding area enchanting, with all the lush hedges, rolling green fields, and unique architecture. Tim and Annette were such wonderful hosts—they welcomed me into their home and made me feel so at ease. During my week in Chichester, I marveled at the scale of operations at Vitacress, delighted in the gardens at West Dean and Wisley, and was inspired by the staff and cooperative structure of Walberton and the other Tristram Plants nurseries. The conference in Stratford-upon-Avon was another high point of my exchange program experience. From the moment I arrived, Karl and the Six-Packers made me feel welcome. As the exchange program representative, I was in the unique position of being known to most everyone at the conference, which allowed me to easily meet so many amazing people. Moreover, because the number of attendees was smaller than our SR meetings, I had the opportunity to really speak with and get to know a lot of the European Region members over the course of the conference, especially on the bus, during break sessions, and over drinks and meals. I found these conversations very valuable, as they gave me different perspectives on the horticultural industry. The presentations and tours were excellent, too. I particularly enjoyed learning about technological advancements in the industry; efforts to improve sustainability in the use of water, growing media, and plastics; and the development and use of improved biopesticides and IPM strategies as the industry continues to move away from conventional pesticides. I loved having a canine companion while touring New Leaf, was blown away by the machinery and automation at Bordon Hill, and was thoroughly impressed by the tidiness of Newey Avoncross and the new glasshouse at Hawkesmill. Following the conference, I spent a few days on my own in London and visited Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum, and Kensington Palace.

It was a genuinely fantastic trip, one that was chock-full of highs and remarkably absent of any lows. Even now, months after the end of my adventure, I start to tear up when I think about just how extraordinary the program was and how much I have benefitted from it. It was a truly priceless, once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that I will cherish forever. I am deeply grateful for IPPS and its support of the Exchange Program, and I am beyond thankful to have been selected as the 2019 representative.