North East Newsletter - September 15, 2017 (Plain Text Version)

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Daniel Firth AIFD

North East Regional Chapter Presidential Report
Daniel Firth, AIFD

The North East has a vibrant chapter and I am looking forward to serving you as President in the upcoming year.  This year has been a very big learning curve for me and I want to thank Polly Berginc AIFD, Janet Black AIFD and Rob DeBellis AIFD for their help in getting me off to a good start.

At the National Symposium in Seattle, we installed our officers and board members for the upcoming year.  Serving you as officers are Dot Chenevert AIFD (President-Elect), David Siders AIFD (Vice President), Laurie Lemek AIFD (Secretary), Polly Berginc AIFD (Treasurer) and Rob DeBellis AIFD (Past President).  Our new board includes Renee Tucci AIFD, Darcie Garcia AIFD, Shannon Toal AIFD, Rebecca Carter AIFD, Alisha Simone-Bell AIFD, Marianne Suess AIFD, Bunnie Hovan AIFD, Jennifer Plasky AIFD and Christy King AIFD.  Ron Mulray AIFD will continue to represent us on the national board and Polly Berginc will be our foundation representative.  We are fortunate to have such a talented and enthusiastic group of individuals leading our organization.  Remember, we are all here to serve you, so please give us feedback, and let us know your ideas and better ways that we can serve you and our chapter.

We also inducted 6 new AIFD members and 3 CFD’s at the Seattle Symposium.  Congratulations to Sun Ja Park AIFD, Caroline Crabb AIFD, Kathryn Delve AIFD, Amanda Randall AIFD, Mieko Kawazoe AIFD, Lori Kunian AIFD, Shawn Brown CFD, Elizabeth Kim CFD and Yong Hee Petrik CFD.  We look forward to you being a part of our NERC family!  Even as a new member, please don't hesitate to get involved in NERC. We value every one of our members.

Several of our NERC members were recognized with awards at Symposium.  Tim Farrell AIFD, AAF, PFCI was recognized by the AIFD National Board of Directors with the Award of Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry. This award is presented to AIFD members who have made a significant contribution to the floral industry.
 Jiseon (Jessie) Yun, our Memorial Scholarship Winner, from our SAIFD chapter at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada was the first place winner of the Interpretive Design and the third place winner of the Sympathy category in the student design competition in Seattle. Kudos to Marianne Suess for doing a great job with this chapter!
Finally, congratulations to the newest members from the Northeast who will be inducted in 2018:  Nancy Bartlett, Sujin Jung, Marta Sondej, Jorge Uribe and Daisy Vincenty.

Looking forward to this year, my primary goal for the year is education. I believe that we can't be stagnant as individuals or as an organization.  There is so much to learn and share with each other.  I would like to get as many members as possible involved.  Although we are planning some bigger programs, please let me, or a board member near you, know if you would like to head a show in your area. Not everyone is able to attend symposium every year and local hands-on workshops are a great way to share your talents and give back to the floral family.  Last year, Lori Lemek held a prom workshop.  Two of my employees attended and came back so enthused and full of ideas.  Don't underrate your abilities to share your talents!

Our fall show is slated for October 10, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  I am chairing the event which is sponsored by Zeiger and Sons Wholesalers.  Vince Butera AIFD, AAF, PCIF will be the commentator.  
An exciting lineup of designers includes Polly Berginc AIFD, Renee Tuci AIFD, Darcie Garcia AIFD and Shannon Toal, AIFD. Be sure to put the date on your calendar and plan to attend.  The evening promises a great night of education and opportunity to network and share with fellow designers.  Remember that this event is open to all floral designers.  Please welcome someone who is not currently CFD or AIFD.  Your encouragement may start them on the exciting path to joining our organization!

Looking forward to spring, we will be again be working with the AIFD exhibit exploring "The Wonderful World of Water" at the Philadelphia Flower Show March 3-11. Anyone interested in helping with the show should contact Suzanne Sampson at  More information will follow.

Again, looking forward to working with old and new members to continue advance our art of floral design.

Respectfully Submitted,
By Daniel Firth, AIFD
President North East Regional Chapter of AIFD

Farewell from Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, PFCI

NERC Past Presidents Message - Post--Symposium 2017                              

Respectfully submitted by Robert De Bellis AIFD, CFD, AIFD

Wow….I can’t believe it has been almost a year already since I took over as president of our region and man what a year it has been! Our region is definitely one of the hardest working regions of our AIFD organization. It has been a privilege to represent our region. I will pass the gavel to the ever so capable hands of Dan Firth AIFD. Please give him all your support and best wishes.

      As I said we have been such a busy region. For my presidential year, we hit the ground running with what we think was one of the most fun hospitality nights at a symposium in years. Chaired by yours truly and hosted by our own region, Beach Blanket Fireworks was a wild fun night filled with bathing suits, beach balls, tons of balloons and a candy bar too!! We received many accolades for our efforts.

     As we moved into fall we had our fall fundraiser in October at Sieck Wright Wholesale. It was a wedding extravaganza presented by Chris Ondrak AIFD and Rick Cuneo AIFD. The event involved 7 AIFD designers from our region and was extremely well attended. Once again, I was told over and over again what a great night it was from attendees.

     As the holidays past by us once again we started the new year with a bang. Months of preparing were drawing near for the fabulous Philadelphia Flower Show 2017. Flowering Holland, as the show was called. It was an enormous success. Led by Cres Motzi AIFD and Ron Mulray AIFD our exhibit took home the bronze medal and the special achievement award from the Garden Club Federation of PA for excellence in education. This effort truly takes a village and I want to thank not only Cres and Ron but all the many designers and volunteers that made it happen.

      As if the flower show wasn’t enough, just one week before it Rebecca Carter AIFD and Michael Derouin AIFD were busy working with the Connecticut State Florist association to produce The North East Floral Expo (NEFE). If you have never attended this event it should be on your floral bucket list. Packed with education provided by many of our members it is an event that I hope our region will get much more involved with in the future. The event was a tremendous success and many industry professionals benefitted from its programs.

     To round out our year we held our spring fundraiser on April 5th at Pennock Floral led by Laurie Lemek AIFD! Assisted by designers Lisa Greene AIFD and Christy King AIFD, PromMania was an overwhelming success with over 70 attendees learning all the newest tricks of the trade for prom and body flowers from our talented designers. Special thank you’s go out to Fitz Designs for donating all the beautiful corsage and body jewelry that was used in the program and each attendee was able to receive a Fitz goody bag to go home and play with!

     WHEW!! Like I said …what a year! And Now this July we will be inducting 6 new members into our region. We are pleased to welcome Sun Ja Park, Caroline Crabb, Kathryn Delve, Amanda Randell, Mieko Kawazoe and Lori Kunian. We also welcome three new CFD members, Shawn Brown, Elizabeth Kim and Yong Hee Petrick. I hope you all get involved in our great region and aspire to move up to leadership positions.

     OK it is time for me to go. It has been and honor and a privilege to serve and an experience I will never forget. Please support your new board and continue to step up and help with the many events our region is involved in. Have a wonderful summer and a fantastic year.     [return to top]

Thinking Green to Grow Sales!


Zieger and Sons Wholesale in Harrisburg, PA is sponsoring an exciting  panel design show for our chapter. The show theme is based on green, the Pantone color of this year. Vince Butera AIFD, PFCI will be our commentator; and the creative design panel of Darcie Garcia AIFD, Shannon Toal AIFD, Renee Tucci AIFD, and Polly Berginc AIFD will inspire you to explore the many ways you can grow your business going green.

If you can attend or be of assistance with the show, please contact Northeast Chapter President Dan FIrth at to register. Hope to see you there!   [return to top]

HUrricanes Harvey and Irma Funds

As you are aware, the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and then Hurricane Irma in Florida has damaged thousands of homes and businesses. The AIFD Foundation has set up Funds to help florists repair and rebuild their businesses affected by this disaster.  The links to contribute are both available on the AIFD website at Please help our friends in need.



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Idalina Floranext

Ah, Fall! The time where kids are going back to school, the brisk autumn air and a harvest of flower trends galore.

This bountiful season is approaching with exciting inspirational florals that encompass the beginning of this wondrous time of the year. Floral trends are defined by something that is new, different and copied because of its enormous popularity and demand. These forecasted floral trends are making a huge impact with loyal followers on social media.

Take a look at the top 5 Fall Forecasted Trends below and see if this is something you are currently implementing or inspired to try something new.

image via Instagram via la flor flower

5. Flower Baskets
It’s safe to say that flower baskets are used pretty much daily by floral designers, how wonderful that they are now actually trending for the upcoming Fall season.
The biggest component here is to use quality baskets with an organic flower design which is slightly more structured.

image via Instagram via fleurette

4. Flowers In A Box
Oh my! Flowers in a box are so popular right now in Europe. Not to be confused with flowers that protrude out of the box. These floral box arrangements are made to be completely inside the box, revealing its beauty when the box lid is open.

Customers love these as gifts and sometimes add other surprises such as sweets or jewelry to complete this unique beautiful gift. It’s very simple to make these arrangements with cellophane, oasis and the box of your choice with matching lid.

Image via Instagram via Pink Diamond Co

3.Flower Ribbons
Wedding bouquets with added multiple strands of high quality flowing ribbon are amongst the hottest trend for fall. Although already very hot this summer, the difference now is the longer the ribbon, the more romantic the look. Pair it with gradual lengths of ribbon either the same color or different hues in the same color family for Fall.

Image via Instagram via printa_zita via The Wildflower Bar


2. Preserved Flower Wreaths
There is a new creative twist on flower wreaths this season which is more organic, rustic with a little whimsy. These floral wreaths are now being sold by large chain home decor stores because of their high demand.

Image via Instagram via Frosty Photo via Crimson Wedding Flowers

1. Flowers & Feathers
Flowers and feathers are actually not a new trend. Florists have been incorporating feathers in their floral arrangements for centuries. The difference this fall is the quality and uniqueness of the feathers. Opt for feathers with interesting geometric designs and length.

Do not limit feathers to only wedding bouquets these look great in any basket arrangement, vase or centerpiece.
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Gold Medal Winner

Tina Parkes Dutch Master.AIFD,CFD. MDPF

Tina Parkes Dutch Master.AIFD,CFD. MDPF

RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year Competitor

Gold Medal Winner

Tina's kite was a playful take on the traditional kite shape with a window adding a break from the tapesty of plant material. This allowed the perfect space for the inspirational message:

 'Imagination is the hightest kite one can fly.' This was written on the perspex adding yet more to interest to the design.

The kite was sectioned into two colour groups, a palette of reds through to burnt orange...

...and yellows to warm golds.


The frame was edged with ribbon, and both the front and back had plant materials including chrysanthemum, spray roses, orchids, kalanchoe, looped leucadendron leaves, hypericum and begonia rex.

Individual leucospurmum pieces were carefully glued throughout the design to add movement, lightness and extra interest.

Well done Tina a wonderful design. [return to top]

Jiseon Yun, Our Memorial Scholarship WInner

Our 2017 Memorial Scholarship Winner, Jiseon (Jessie) Yun, was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend symposium in Seattle. Jiseon and a fellow student, Min Heo, competed in the student competition representing our SAIFD Chapter at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. Marianne Suess AIFD is the Student Advisor for the floral program at Seneca.


Jiseon with her designs at the opening reception, where all students  displayed their work.  

Jiseon was the 1st place winner of the Interpretive Design category, and placed 3rd in the Sympathy category. We are proud of her accomplishments and the wonderful program at Seneca College.  Jiseon was very grateful for the scholarship and the chance to compete at symposium. 

Jiseon with her Student Competition Award.   [return to top]

Seneca College in Toronto


Early December the Chapter was involved in a HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE EVENT which happened over a couple of days.  The classroom is converted into a Retail space--- the students create various designs for sale such as the various Christmas decor items as well as outdoor urns.

The evening before the students host a VIP Reception for our industry partners, special guests, wholesalers and college administrators. The following day is reserved or the entire college community, friends and family of the students.

This is our main fundraiser for supporting students to come to the SAIFD competition every year.
The Air Program is always a big event and this year Derrick Foss, AIFD was our designer and presenter.
His workshop focused on the creation of dynamic, visually exciting floral arrangements with creating a basic wire structure which provided the base for a contemporary Hand-tied bouquet. Derrick’s workshop was a great success, challenging students to the next level of design and every student was filled with new inspiration.
In April our Chapter was participating in a Floral Exhibit which took place at the Japanese Cultural Centre.


Derrick Foss AIFD with the students and their designs.  

Very soon we are going to start preparations for the Student Competition in Seattle which promises to be another exciting event.

Jessie Yun, our NE Memorial Scholarship winner, designed this stunning piece.   [return to top]

Christy King AIFD, CFD


Heather Sullivan, Bob Whitney, Christy King

Pictured left- right

At the well attended Spring Flower Festival held in Springfield, Massachusetts, the involvement of 4 AIFD designers, along with many other flower shop designers and garden club members created a show to remember.

The event is in its 5th year andwith the dedication and enthusasim has brought together the everyone in the floral community in the Springfield Area.

Bob Whitney AIFD a long standing Northeast AIFD member recently retired from the Springfield Florist Supply company.  With Bob's insight and love of sharing he orchestrated much of the event, including a runway design show during the events opening night.

Heather Sullivan AIFD, CFD

Robert Whitney AIFD, CFD

Patricia Parker AIFD, CFD

Christy King AIFD, CFD (funeral arrangement)   [return to top]

Award of Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry

Tim Farrell AIFD, CFD, PFCI has been recognized by the AIFD National Board of Directors with the Award of Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry. The announcement was made on July 3 during the Institute’s 2017 Awards & Induction Ceremony held in conjunction with its 2017 National Symposium “X” in Seattle. This award is presented to AIFD members who have made a significant contribution to the floral industry.

Chairman Rich Salvaggio AIFD, Tim Farrell AIFD, PFCI and AIFD Past President Anthony Vigliotta AIFD.  

  Farrell is a Past President of AIFD,  and has also served on the national board in past years. He has been the liaison to AIFD’s involvement with the White House for the last three years and has been a part of the design teams for large events like the Academy Awards, Presidential Inaugurations and the papal visit. On an international level, he has been a designer, a presenter, a commentator and a judge. On a national level, he represents Teleflora as an education specialist traveling around the country speaking about the newest and greatest tips and tricks of the industry. On a regional level, he is the voice behind over 40 live competitions at the Philadelphia Flower show. He is the owner of Farrell’s Florist in Drexel Hill, PA.

Our sincere congratulations to Tim on receiving this honor, which was so well deserved.  [return to top]

Idalina Floranext

In Lieu of Flowers are perhaps the most detrimental 4 words in floral business.

Conveying compassion and respect for one’s passing is traditionally defined by sending flowers. The utmost disappointment is that customers take “In Lieu Of Flowers” literally, we understand it does say “In Lieu Of Flowers”, however, that in no way means the family does not want flowers at the viewing/funeral service.

As floral professionals you understand how somber a viewing/ funeral service would be without flowers. The added beauty of sympathy flower arrangements is there to offer comfort to the visitors and also pay tribute to the deceased. The terminology of “In Lieu Of Flowers” has caused an uproar in the floral community as it should, this is awfully mistaken too many times by customers.

The Future of In Lieu Of Flowers:
What is a floral business owner to do with the phrase “In Lieu Of Flowers?” We do not pretend to have all the answers, however, maybe it’s time once and for all the floral industry boycott this phrase altogether.
Although many florists have expressed their frustrations with local funeral homes, the “In Lieu Of Flowers” phrase offers a direct message not to send flowers and undermines the floral business. This is absolutely unacceptable, besides that, the true meaning of giving flowers is lost here. Regardless if someone wants to convey sympathy with flowers or not, there is no reason for the subliminal message!

Educate Customers:
Take steps to post a blog on your floral website explaining to customers what “In Lieu Of Flowers” really means. Have a small write up on the sympathy section on your website as well.

Write A Letter To Your Local Funeral Homes:
This may or may not work, however, all it takes is one funeral home director to understand the importance of re-wording “In Lieu Of Flowers” and make a difference. Changing wording to “Send flowers and donations here,” “Memorial contributions can be sent here,” completely changes the playing field.

There are so many different phrases that can be used to convey a less discriminatory message. What the floral community is asking for is not to make people send flowers for funeral services, but to leave tradition alone and allow people to make their own heartfelt decision.

Why Flowers Are Important At Funeral Services:
There truly is no other sentiment you can send for a memorial service be it, charity donations or even money itself that can express as many emotions as flowers do.

Since the beginning of time flowers have been displayed for the deceased as a symbol of condolences, sympathy, and love. Thousands of years ago, they were used for their wonderful fragrances and soft beauty. In this time of mourning when words are forgotten the flowers offer comfort to its surroundings. Flowers also represent one’s life’s cycle, from one’s birth to one’s passing.

Taking the flowers out of memorial service will make the ambiance look dim and murky. The flowers are there to create an environment which is more comforting for people when mourning.

We could go on and on why flowers are so important at memorial services, the simple reason is flowers are natures miracles, and florists are natures miracle workers. Nothing in this world expresses the same sentiment as flowers do when given as an expression of sympathy. Let’s encourage people to respect tradition an appreciate flowers



What is wrong with doing both?

Back in the day, some may remember, it was acceptable to give a monetary donation and flowers, a mass card, food and flowers for someone’s funeral service. No matter how you looked at it flowers worked hand in hand with any other expression of sympathy.

Why are things different now? Do people have less money? Why not donate to desired charity and send flowers together?

In certain circumstances, if you cannot beat them then intrigue them! Perhaps the future of the floral business is to partner up with charities. Sympathy flowers can be sent to the memorial service and florists can also donate to the respected charity on the customer’s behalf.

Although this may sound far fetched, there are ways to accomplish this by directly participating with well-known cause affected charities. [return to top]

The Florist

You may not think travelling to Colombia is a justifiable business investment but, if you’re a wholesaler or volume buyer, we reckon it’s a must if you really want to know what’s happening in the world of flower supply.

Because Proflora, branded ‘The Best Trade Fair’, is on target to be bigger than ever with over 5,000 visitors and more than 300 trade stands and makes it the perfect chance to meet growers, network with key industry people from all over the globe, discover new trends and ideas and see the most spectacular new varieties before they’ve hit the market. Designed to boost businesses of all shapes and sizes, the show guarantees to leave visitors feeling inspired, energised and excited for a profitable 2018.
Colombian flower growers, renowned for creating some of the highest quality stems thanks to their high altitude and fertile soil, will join producers from other countries and the most renowned suppliers and service companies in the flower sector to exhibit and attend the show. There to share knowledge, strengthen business relationships, meet with local and international representatives of the production chain and develop networks for every member of the flower business. 
When it comes to flower buying, three words are key: reliability, quality and variety, and Colombia prides itself on all three. They’re also grown under high sustainable standards, with more than 40% of Colombian fresh cut flowers produced under the Florverde Sustainable Flowers certification, which pledges a commitment with local communities’ wellbeing and environmental conservation.
So why make the investment to visit Proflora? Organisers say, “Not only because it is the best, largest and most prominent flower trade show in 2017, but because having the flower industry under one roof allows you to gain an overview of the flower market and industry, get competitive information on a range of products in a short space of time, meet face to face with the best national flower growers and breeders, stay up to date on the newest flower varieties, exchange new trends with colleagues from all over the world and even take part in the Outstanding Quality Flower Competition.”
And of course it also promises to be the trip of a lifetime, held in Colombia’s capital Bogota you can take the time to visit flower farms in the nearby Savanna de Bogota where you’ll see stunning vistas and experience life at the other end of the flower chain. Then after cramming your brain with all the business and inspiration you can muster you’ll experience one of the most vibrant and energetic cities in Latin America, ranked one of the top 12 destinations of 2017 by Forbes Travel Guide, and topped off with a closing party at the dazzling and absolutely unforgettable Andres Carne de Res.
Proflora 2017 takes place from October 4th to 6th, and visitors are encouraged to also take the opportunity to connect with growers and arrange farm visits alongside the trip. To find out more and to register attendance (trade go free) visit
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Zundert Flower Parade - Beautiful Gigantic floral artistry

Located South of the Netherlands, the town of Zundert comes alive every first Sunday of September as visitors and locals alike converge to celebrate one of the biggest flower parades in the world. Bloemencorso Zundert, or Zundert Flower Parade involves teams who design huge floral floats inspired by specific themes. The annual event pits the town's 20 districts against each other to see who creates the best floral float. The 2017 edition will be held on September 3rd and 4th.

 photo: Erwin Martens

A new documentary BY Gil Bruvel’s “Corso Zundert,” a Documentary About the World’s Largest Flower Parade and Produced by POTLUCK Arts + Music, CORSO ZUNDERT captures the brilliance of a rich, and virtually unknown tradition that honors innovation, dedication and community. Viewers are taken into a new world and experience a stimulating visual journey through the painstaking mental and physical labors of construction, to the joys of community collaboration and the lessons learned from a fleeting, season-long process.


Their website reads, "In Zundert, we are crazy about our flower parade. Our grannies and granddads started it in 1936 and we still can’t have enough of it. By the First Sunday of September the fever burns within us. Will the moving floats be finished in time? Are there enough dahlias? And who is going to win this time? Come to Zundert and share the experience!"

The floats are made of wire, cardboard and papier-mâché and the thousands of dahlias covering the floats are grown specifically for the parade.

Some awe-inspiring moments during past events

photo: Joyce van Belkom





photo: [return to top]

NERC info

The Northeast Chapter includes the following;

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvanian, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Canadian Providences of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and the United Kingdom. 

AIFD Northeast Regional Chapter Officers - 2016 – 2017

President:  Dan Firth
Wk: (717) 248-7843, E-mail:

President Elect:  Dot Chenevert
Home: 845-229-9336 Cell: (914) 447-8764, Email:

Vice President: David Siders AIFD, CFD
Wk: (518) 374-6885   Email:

Secretary: Laurie Lemek
(860)454-4045, Email: 

Treasurer: Polly Berginc AIFD, CFD
(724) 283-1536 Email:

Past President:  Rob DeBellis
Wk: (609) 965-4200, E- mail:



Ron Mulray
Cell: (215) 495-3043 Wk: (215) 824-1819, Email:


Polly Berginc 
Home:  (724) 283-1536, Email: 

AIFD NERC Board of Directors – 2017/2018

Alisha Simone Bell (’18)
Wk: (856) 357-4250, Email:

Rebecca Carter (’18)
Wk: (603) 817 4780, Email:

Marianne R Suess (’18)
Wk: (416) 905 707 6618, Email: 

Bunnie Hovan ('19)
Wk: (203) 378-2648, Email:

Christy King (’19)
Wk: (413) 222-2344, Email:

Jennifer Plasky (’19)
Wk: (203) 560-6249, Email:

Darcie Garcia AIFD, CFD (’20)
Wk: ((484) 347-6407, Email:

Shannon Toal AIFD, CFD (’20)
Wk: (203) 560-6249, Email:

Renee Tucci AIFD, CFD (’20)
Wk: (267) 304-6274, Email:



The Northeast Chapter has a beautiful gold (not solid but coloured) pin which represents our chapter with a spray of acorns and a cluster of oak leaves, this symbol represents the Region on both sides of the pond.  The pin is approximately 1"W x 3/4 H.

For those members who would like to purchase the Northeast Chapter pin  If you do not already own our chapter pin, they are still available to purchase. 

The price is $25.00 (plus $5 shipping). If you are interested in purchasing a pin contact Janet Black,  or mobile number (207) 514-3500.  [return to top]

How to help fund the AIFD Foundation


Help AIFD Foundation raise funds with the click of a button...... 

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Can I receive a tax deduction for amounts donated from my purchases on AmazonSmile?
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Jo A Jarvis AIFD CFD

Dear Northeast Members….

Thank you to the couple of people who sent in articles it always helps.

If you do have anything of interest please send it my way and will endeavour to either include it in the newsletter or put it on our chapter Facebook page.  Email address to send to is  attention of Jo Jarvis

Please Note: All photos submitted should be sent as a jpg file; I have finally managed to suss out how to reformat and resize.  Once shown it was easy…

Please also visit the national website at for additional news and information.  Current and back issues of our NERC Newsletter are available on the NERC Chapter page. 

Remember if you are going to change your email address to inform me if not you will not be on the Newsletter Management list.   [return to top]