Behind the Scenes at the Native Plant Sale
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s Fall Native Plant Sale on September 11 was a success thanks to our volunteers, nursery vendors and more than 600 customers that attended the sale.
A tremendous amount of work goes into planning and hosting the semi-annual Native Plant Sales so we thought we would give you a little behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to have a successful event.
Plant Sale Coordinators, Janet Locklear and Sheila Ferguson, spend countless hours planning and organizing. They begin months in advance by coordinating with vendors, staff and Loudoun Wildlife Program Coordinators. Four to six weeks before the sale date, they plan the layout of the sale and begin sending out notifications promoting the sale to other organizations, libraries, homeowners associations and others. Staff begins advertising the sale on social media.
The afternoon before the sale, volunteers spend two or more hours moving everything (tables, chairs, canopies, booth materials and merchandise) to the sales area. Tables and canopies are set up.
The day of the sale requires the assistance of 47 volunteers who contribute 180 hours performing the following tasks:
- Ten volunteers arrive at 6:30 am to help the nurseries unload plants and set up their booths.
- Each nursery receives one volunteer that is a “Knowledgeable Plant Person” to assist with helping customers choose plants. There are two shifts so there are six volunteers that perform this duty.
- Each nursery also receives two volunteers to assist in any way needed for a total of 12 volunteers for the two shifts.
- Four volunteers assist with parking and counting the number of attendees.
- For the Fall Sale Loudoun Wildlife had five program tables and each of these tables had two volunteers per shift for a total of 20 volunteers
You may have noticed that the number of volunteers listed equals 52, yet we had 47 volunteers. This is because some volunteers perform more than one task. For example, some of the early morning setup people will stay to help one of the nurseries for the morning shift.
When the sale ends at 3:00 pm, many volunteers stick around to break down and load up everything that was brought in for the sale. This takes anywhere from one to two hours.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy hosts this sale at Morven Park in the spring and fall of each year to promote the use of native plants in the landscape as part of our mission to increase wildlife habitat. It also gives attendees the opportunity to learn more about Habitat Restoration and Amphibian Monitoring Programs along with information about pollinators and our Audubon at Home Program.