Speaker Spotlight: Susan Poizner

Susan Poizner, Founder of Orchard People Fruit Tree Care Education is an award-winning author, journalist, filmmaker, and urban orchardist. She has been a fruit tree care educator since 2013 and currently teaches fruit production at Niagara College in Ontario, Canada. 

With a goal to make fruit tree care easy, Susan created OrchardPeople.com where people can find a blog, podcast, books, and online courses. On the site, she expresses the challenges that beginning orchardists may face.

“If only growing fruit trees was easy. Many of us plant our trees thinking that all we need to do is water them and wait for the harvest. But fruit trees can experience problems including poor fruit quality, pests, and disease.”

She began creating various e-learning materials for people who are starting their own orchards because it was “exactly what I needed when I planted my first fruit trees in 2009.”

It’s hard to imagine an expert like Susan making a mistake, but everyone has to start somewhere, right? We asked her about a gardening mistake she made that led her to where she is today, she responded,

“One of my biggest gardening “mistakes” was planting fruit trees in 2009! I planted nine fruit trees in a community orchard in my local park that year. But the problem was that I didn’t know that fruit trees needed special pruning, feeding and care. This led to a series of fruit tree pest and disease challenges. 

If I had learned about correct fruit tree care BEFORE planting our trees, I would have selected cultivars that are easier to grow. I also would have pruned and cared for them correctly, right from the start! In the end, I learned a lot from my mistakes and shared the lessons I learned in my award-winning fruit tree care book, Growing Urban Orchards.” 

Going back ever farther in her gardening life, Susan recalls her first garden-related experience; growing tomato plants. She had just gotten married and her husband wanted to plant veggies in their garden. She was skeptical at first and thought it would be messy but as she watched those plants grow, she fell in love with the magic of gardening. She says, “It’s beautiful. It’s challenging. It is rewarding. And, as a bonus, you can often eat what you grow!”

If she could only give one piece of advice to a new gardener, she would say to just dig in and give it a try! She suggests starting by growing annuals. Because they are largely transient, there is more room for trial and error. 

But when it comes to planting perennial plants, she advises to be sure to do your research first. “Perennial plants and trees are like babies. If you neglect them in the early years, they can get stressed and have health challenges in the years to follow.” She continues, “But if you care for perennial plants and trees correctly in the early years, they will have a long and healthy life.”

Susan will be sharing the skills she has honed creating online courses on day two of the GardenComm Virtual conference in a program called “Creating eLearning FAST”. 

Susan says that today, more and more people are turning to online learning, and it’s a profitable teaching tool that every garden communicator should be considering. However, she also finds that many garden communicators are hesitant, saying that they feel like in order to create a successful online course they need top-notch skills in technical areas like cinematography and sound mixing.

In this workshop, Susan will share how to create successful online courses quickly using familiar tools, like PowerPoint as well as other easy options for filming, recording and editing an online course.

Susan says, “Your goal here is to stop procrastinating, and just to roll up your sleeves and get started! I look forward to teaching you how to create eLearning fast!”

Click here to learn more and register for the conference.

Author: GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly known as GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GardenComm members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members.

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