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Luaus, Speaker Roles, TV Spotlights, Expeditions, & FNGLA Awards!

The end of spring has brought some great and proud moments for Wedgworth alumni! 

Scroll down to see the last month in review:

ALOHA from Region VI!

On April 21st, a few of our very own gathered in Wellington, FL, at the home of  Mr. Toby Basore, Class V and Region VI Co-Director, and Mrs. Toni Basore for a luau-themed regional gathering!  (If you happened to miss this fun-filled evening, you better be on the look out for next year’s invitation!)

Toby, thank you for hosting an incredible evening for our Wedgworth Leadership Institute family to enjoy!  Below are a few snap shots from the gathering. (Photo credit: Toby Basore.)

Class X’s Seminar X Slam-Packed with Alumni

It is customary for Wedgworth alumni to step up and volunteer during program seminars for current classes.  However, during Class X’s tenth seminar, seven different alumni gave of their time and resources for leadership programming!  This seminar was designed to prepare Class X for their next seminar, which will take them to Swaziland and Scotland!  This seminar also introduced Class X to some of the agriculture and natural resource industries that exist in north Florida.

Seminar X speakers included:

  • Mr. Wes Wheeler (Class V), Attorney, Wheeler and Traviss, P.A. 

As the Solar Coordinator for the League fo Women Voters of Alachua County, Wes presented a wealth of information on Florida’s solar industry as well as opportunities to commercially benefit from it.

  • Mr. Mark Greeff (Class VI), Vice President and General Manager Eastern Region, Driscoll’s

As a native of South Africa, Mark provided an extensive overview of growing up in South Africa, the agriculture in the area, and helpful insight for traveling to Swaziland.

  • Mr. Danny Johns (Class IX), Potato Farmer, Blue Skys Farm

Danny gave Class X a tour of Blue Sky Farms and spoke of the history of Florida’s potato industry.

  • Mr. Eric Hjort (Class VII), General Manager, Tater Farms LLC

  • Mrs. Polly Johns (Class I–Spouse of the late Frank Johns), Tater Farms LLC

Both Eric and Polly led Class X in a tour of Tater Farms to educate the class on Florida’s turf grass industry.

  • Mr. David Register (Class IX), Executive Vice President, FernTrust, Inc.

David provided Class X with a tour of FernTrust and provided insight into Florida’s fern industry.

  • Mr. Steve Crump (Class III), Farmer, Vo-Lasalle Farms, Inc.

Steve provided Class X with a tour of Vo-Lasalle Farms as well as led a discussion around agri-tourism.

Also during Seminar X, Mrs. Gale and Dottie Trotter sponsored an “International Dinner” for Class X, complete with foods and decor representative of Scotland and Swaziland.  Several alumni attended the dinner to interact with the class on this special evening, including Mr. Wes Wheeler, Mr. Reggie Brown (Class I), Mr. Scott Emerson (Class III), Mr. David and Mrs. Angela Pope (Class I), and Mrs. Brittney Lee (Class IX). 

Thank you, Gale and Dottie, for preparing an incredible dinner for the program!  And, thank you to the many alumni who traveled to Belle Oaks Barn to support the program during Seminar X!

“Ag Facts” Features Alumna

Brittany Lee, Class IX

Mrs. Brittany Lee (Class IX), Vice President and Manager of Florida Blue Farms, Inc., represented Alachua County Farm Bureau’s “AgFact” on WCJB Channel 20 in Gainesville recently.  To watch the television video (requires log-in to facebook), click here.  

Brittany has once again represented our program well!


Alumni Complete Another Corridor Expedition

Mallory Dimmitt (Class IX) and Carlton Ward, Jr. (Class VII) described their recent expedition from the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the Green Swamp to the Tampa Bay Times.  The special article vividly describes this stretch across Interstate 4 and brings to life their accounts.

We are incredibly proud to claim these two leaders as they passionately bring to light the issues around the Florida Wildlife Corridor through radical exploration and detailed documentation!

Read their article to the Tampa Bay Times here.

FNGLA honors Program Director and Alumnus

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association has named its 2018 Industry Award Winners, and two of our own Wedgworth family members made the list!  Here’s the excerpt on Dr. Hannah Carter and Mr. Billy Butterfield (Class VI) from FNGLA’s announcement:

Outstanding Educator – Hannah Carter, Ph.D, University of Florida (Gainesville)

Dr. Hannah Carter, WLIANR Program Director

A long-time friend of Florida’s horticulture industry, Carter has been instrumental in helping FNGLA members and staff build their leadership skills. Carter currently serves as director of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR) for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) University of Florida Gainesville. A passionate advocate of ‘learning by doing,’ Carter brings agriculture professionals up close and personal to industry issues, at the same time, providing leadership development tools to people across the industry to help solve the challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Dr. Carter brings a flash of enthusiasm to all her educational activities.


Wendell Butler Award – Billy Butterfield, FCLC, Ameriscapes (Orlando, Florida)

Billy Butterfield, Class VI

A past FNGLA president, Butterfield has had a long and respected history of service to both the FNGLA and Florida’s horticulture industry. A very active volunteer in many of FNGLA’s programs including FNGLA’s Action Chapter, Butterfield has helped in a wide range of capacities, most recently with erecting training classes to help professionals train for an FNGLA certification. Butterfield has also earned a reputation for being a steady and trustworthy confidant and mentor, helping many industry newcomers obtain success within the industry.

Congratulations to Hannah and Billy!! We are so proud to claim you both as integral members of our alumni family!

Read more about this year’s industry award winners here!