Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ralph Heiden's Retirement

After nearly 22 years as Jackson's "man of knowledge" for horticulture questions, Ralph Heiden has decided to retire.

In an effort to acknowledge and thank Ralph for his impact on Jackson County horticulture, a reception is being held at the MSU Extension Office on Tuesday, August 31 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. All are welcome to come and help celebrate Ralph's work in Jackson. If you are unable to attend, cards can be mailed to 1715 Lansing Ave, Suite 257, Jackson, MI 49202. If you would like to honor Ralph, contributions can be made for maintenance of the Natalie Emmons Memorial Garden at the Dahlem Environmental Education Center, which is maintained by Master Gardeners. Contributions should be made out to 'Dahlem Conservancy' and sent to our office at the above address.

Farewell Letter from Ralph
To everything there is a season, and my season as the MSU Extension Horticulture Educator for Jackson County is coming to a close. I will be retiring on September 1 to see what will happen next in my life story.

I started in Jackson County on May 15, 1989. They showed me my desk, the phone started to ring, and I was on my way. It has been interesting to see how the years have varied in terms of weather and the current "hot pest". In my time here, we have gone through Elm Leaf Beetles, Japanese Beetles, European Chafers, Emerald Ash Borer and, who can forget, Gypsy Moth?

I have met a heck of a lot of people over the past two decades and made a few friends. The Master Gardeners have been a special group to me. Over 500 of them have passed through the course and they have all been great people. Many of you I might know only as a voice over the telephone, while others have stopped by the office with samples of insects or diseased plants for me to diagnose. I have enjoyed meeting you all!

So, I face another of those transitions in life that keep coming around whether we like it or not. From what everyone who is retired tells me, I suspect I will thoroughly enjoy this change. I plan to stay active in horticulture, so our paths may cross again somewhere along the line. Keep gardening!