TOCA Talk – Winter 2016

TOCA Talk – Winter 2016


 Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.  

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.


GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosThe value of storytellers

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Chair

During a recent visit with a golf course superintendent I was writing a story about, I got a much-needed reminder of why all of our jobs are so crucial to so many, and how an organization like TOCA can help us do those jobs better.

This superintendent — for the sake of this story, I’ll call him Peter (because his name is actually Peter) — has earned a reputation in golf as not only an excellent turfgrass manager, but also one of the most vocal advocates in the country for superintendents and their environmental stewardship efforts in the management of their properties.

He’s a superintendent who does things the right way, he knows plenty of other superintendents who do things the right way, and maybe most importantly, he knows the value of telling other people — lawmakers, regulators, the consumer media — about all the good things those superintendents are doing.

“We have to get out there and actively participate,” he told me. “We can’t sit on the sidelines. If we don’t tell our stories, nobody is going to tell them for us.”

After reading the story I had written about him, “Peter” sent me a complimentary note, thanking me for my work and for “telling our story.” It was a great pick-me-up for this editor, who too often finds himself burdened by matters that have next to nothing to do with putting out a monthly magazine.

And it was also a great reminder that the work we do each and every day does make a difference, that telling the stories of our constituents and clients is a noble pursuit. Whether you’re a magazine editor, a company public relations official or a marketing professional at the agency level, we all have a skill set that is valued by others. Our collective ability to tell these stories is one we shouldn’t take for granted.

It’s also one that we need to regularly nurture, which is where TOCA comes in. The kind of professional development opportunities offered by our organization, whether through webinars available through our partnership with the Poynter Institute or at our annual meeting — which heads to Omaha, Neb., May 3-5 — keeping those skills sharp while exploring all of what our profession has to offer in the future remains one of the best ways to make sure each of us continue to deliver the goods for our readers and our clients.

So the next time you need a reminder about why we do what we do, remember “Peter” and his words of advice. Keep telling those stories, because whether we know it or not, they’re making a difference to someone.


Den Gardner, Executive DirectorSteak Your Claim – TOCA heads to Omaha!

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

It bears repeating: Steve and Suz Trusty, who live near Omaha, once said: “An annual meeting in Omaha for TOCA has a nice ring to it. It’s someplace I know our members would love to see someday.”

The TOCA meeting is just five short months away as our members invade this great city on May 3-5. The theme: “Steak Your Claim” (thanks to design by EPIC Creative) will entice members as we lay claim to the best professional development meeting for Green Industry communicators in the industry.TOCA_2016Logos_fnl

We have a tremendous program planned. Thanks to chair Kyle Rubeling and his program committee – Jose Milan, Matt Gersib and the Trustys, this year’s 27th annual meeting will be one you won’t want to miss.  2016 TOCA Meeting Agenda

Our home during our stay will be the Magnolia Hotel, a boutique-style property near the historic Old Market entertainment district, which has everything to satisfy your deepest cravings for dining, drinking, shopping, etc. The hotel was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1974.

This year’s highlights include:

  • New this year: A Tuesday night reception at the Omaha Press Club. Through the Trusty membership, TOCA members will enjoy a reception. More details to come.
  • That Steve Wilbers, who had rave reviews in 2002 and 2003 as our keynote speaker in San Antonio and Charleston on b-b writing, is back for a Thursday presentation with a new book and great new insights into writing copy for our trade audiences and Green Industry clients.

Wilbers is a writing consultant, columnist, award-winning author, Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and Fulbright Fellow. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 business, technical, legal, and academic writers and to a wide variety of clients, including Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, U.S. Bank, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Metropolitan Council, the Wilder Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association. And of course TOCA back in the early 2000s.

Wilbers teaches both written and oral presentation skills. He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. He has written more than 900 columns on effective business writing. His column appears twice a month in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He has published two collections of his columns—Writing for Business—(winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers. His book on stylistic technique—Keys to Great Writing—has been described as “a writing class in a book” that “breaks down general advice on what to do into practical steps on how to do it.” His most recent book—Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style—is a compilation of his free monthly writing tips.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. For more information about Steve, please go to:

  • Telling your story through infographics. Our program committee is rounding up a team of experts to explore this very topical seminar on Wednesday morning. Our members asked for a workshop on this through our survey after last year’s meeting in Milwaukee. Thanks.
  • The tour group on Wednesday afternoon will feature visits to Omaha’s Henry Jungle Bridge close up 2 (3)Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (plus members will get a free pass to the zoo on Friday if they plan to stay an extra day) and Lauritzen Gardens.
  • Golfers will play the award-winning and prestigious Omaha Country Club. Cost will be about $90 for green fees and cart (normally $250)! Details to come, but look for the normal fantastic array of prizes.
  • Wednesday night’s reception will also be at Lauritzen Gardens. The website describes the gardens this way: “Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship. It provides memorable educational and aesthetic experiences for all. Escape to an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility to experience the glory of the garden. Discover a hidden sanctuary in the heart of the city. Relax while cultivating your mind in this living plant museum, conveniently located in the beautiful riverfront hills.”

Wow is all I can say about the great evening TOCA will have at this location.

  • After a five-year absence (and oh how the PR world has changed in five years) we are bringing back our very popular editor/PR panel to discuss how in today’s climate, editors and PR practitioners can work together to provide Green Industry audiences with the type of information they need to succeed in business.
  • Finally, our workshops will conclude with a presentation by David Crow of DCLRS in Washington, D.C. Crow is an expert in what the political winds are saying about 2016 nationally and how this will impact the Green Industry. He serves a lobbying role for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) and will have plenty to say about the upcoming election.

Of course our meeting will end with the annual awards banquet. Also during the two days of meetings will be our presentations of our Environmental Communicator of the Year, Plant Health Writer of the Year, our business meeting and much more.

Registration information will be at the TOCA web site soon. We will certainly provide additional information in the months ahead. See you in Omaha!


A Welcome & HighlightsSteve Suz Trusty

From Steve & Suz Trusty

We are so happy that TOCA will be in Omaha this year! Not because we won’t have far to travel, but because we’ll have a chance to show you just a small bit of why we think this area is such a special place. We have lived in West Omaha, now in Iowa within 15 minutes of downtown, and never further than three hours from Omaha. After all that time, there are still many things we haven’t done. We keep looking and trying new things.

One thing that is always changing is the restaurant scene. While excellent, it just keeps getting better. In fact, according to, Omaha rates as the nation’s No. 2 “foodie city” of 2015, up from No. 9 last year in the rankings. While famous for steaks, there is just about any ethnic food that you could ever imagine. National food critics have given high praise to the Boiler Room and the Grey Plume. Farm-to-table is very popular. also gave Omaha high ranking in the following categories: Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families 2013, Top 10 Music Cities in 2012, and 99 Best Beers in 99 Best Beer Cities in 2015. You should plan to come and stay a week or more, just don’t plan on staying the weekend before TOCA. The Berkshire Hathaway stockholders have every room booked in a 60 mile radius or more.

Be sure you attend the reception at the Omaha Press Club on Tuesday evening. You’ll have an excellent view of the city and you can connect with other attendees and decide where you want to go for dinner. We’ll have a list of some of our favorite places and some favorites other TOCA members have suggested for you on check-in at Registration or the front desk. A few of the best known places might require reservations, but many won’t on a Tuesday evening.

If you are not a golfer, you’ll definitely want to take Wednesday afternoon’s tour. You’ll get to enjoy some of the sights of the city while you savor your box lunch on Ollie the Trolley. After that you’ll have a few hours to get an overview of Omaha’s Henry Doorly AquariumZoo & Aquarium. It was voted Number One Zoo in the World by TripAdvisor, April 2014. It was named the largest zoo in the world by You can not see it all in one day. You will get to see many of the highlights. Many of the attractions, including the dome_dusk (3)Lied Jungle, the Aquarium, the Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, the Aviary and others were the largest in the world when they were constructed. Many of those still hold that ranking. The new $73 million, 28-acre African Grasslands is the zoo’s largest undertaking to date. It is scheduled to be completed this summer. Most of it should be ready for your viewing in May. We highly recommend, if you like zoos and can spare the time, that you stay over on Friday after TOCA and spend as much time as you’d like at the zoo. We have made arrangements for a Friday pass for those who request them in advance.

LauritzenGardenslogoAfter the Zoo, we’ll hop back on the trolley for a short ride back to the other side of I-80 and spend some time at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center. The Gardens cover over 100 acres and opened in 1995. New gardens and features have been added every year. The Visitor and Information Center contains over 32,000 sq. ft. of indoor space. The newest addition is the Conservatory where the TOCA Reception will take place. You are welcome to stay and visit the gardens right up until the reception starts at 7:00 p.m. and then visit the Conservatory at that time. If you feel you must go back to the hotel prior to the reception, transportation will be provided.

If you want any suggestions on other things to see or do while in the area, don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll be happy to help you get the most out of your stay.


Steve CastleA Fond Farewell

By Steve Castle, Communications Executive for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

 It’s 2016 already? I’m starting to feel old. Fortunately, no one has offered me a seat on public transport yet, which is generally the accepted sign that you are over the hill. However, bands that I remember releasing their first single are reforming for ‘Farewell’ tours, the offspring of eminent sports people are beginning to emulate their parents on the field of play and most horrifyingly of all, young turf managers born in NINETEEN NINETY NINE are joining our Association.

Indeed, our Membership Executive Elaine Jones has joked she will flee the premises forever the moment a member joins who was born in 2000. At least, we think she’s joking.

Fortunately, the last few weeks have provided much to distract me from the inevitable march of time. I’ve decided to move on from this industry and have joined a media agency which specializes in managing the social media profiles of various organizations.

During the interview for the role, my brief yet inspiring involvement with TOCA was discussed on several occasions, and I’m convinced this played a significant part in my successful application. Not only did last year’s epochal TOCA annual meeting cover many of the areas I will be concentrating on in the new position, the mere fact that I was part of such a committed, passionate and valuable organization must have worked in my favor.

Sadly, I’m leaving the turf industry just days before BIGGA’s flagship show in North Yorkshire – BTME. I’ve had to convince my boss this was a total coincidence! So I will not be present at TOCA’s partner event taking place on the Monday of the exhibition, but many of my current industry contemporaries will be taking advantage of the opportunity, and it’s sure to be another landmark as TOCA spreads its wings in the UK and Europe.

All that remains is for me to thank everyone at TOCA, particularly Kristy, Den and Scott, who absolutely shared my belief that TOCA membership plays a key role in professional (and personal) progression. I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future, and the memories of a special week in the States last May will never fade, no matter how many years fly rapidly by.


Editor’s Note:  Each month, the TOCA Professional Development Committee profiles a TOCA Member — the stories live on under the Membership Tab of the TOCA Website.

Here’s…..Linda!LindaBeattie - head shot (2)

Getting to know our TOCA board members:   Linda Beattie 

By Debbie Clayton

Please tell us a little about your background — where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, the youngest of five children who all still live in the city. I moved out to Willow Grove, PA four years ago. It’s about 10 miles outside of the city, which is about as suburban as I get. Being raised in a blue collar city like Philadelphia with a population of 1.5 million certainly influenced my life and I credit the city for carving out the person I am today. The city is my first alma mater and the first love of my life.

How did you get into the turf industry?  

I interviewed at Schiller 15 years ago with a wonderful high-energy man named Ken who was the head of Human Resources. He told me I was over qualified and that I would probably be bored here. (Back then Schiller only had two brands of outdoor power equipment:  Little Wonder, which is our landscaping and debris management equipment line, and Mantis, a line of tillers and composters.)

I told Ken that I would find a way to make a positive impact at Schiller. With an attitude like that how could not give me the job? I’ve been with Schiller and in the turf care industry ever since.

What do you do at Schiller and how long have you been there? What changes have you made since taking your position?

I was originally hired as the Marketing Admin. But I’m a communicator by nature. I was promoted to PR Rep for the company within my first year here and held that position for 10 years. In that period we tripled in size, at least by brand count.

We acquired the Classen brand of turf care equipment in 2004 and our BOB-CAT, Ryan and Steiner brands in 2006. Needless to say, I was very busy. I learned the power equipment industry and really became intimate with the turf care industry as well – it led me to TOCA! I am now Marketing Manager for our Classen, Little Wonder and Mantis brands.

I love marketing — I’m never bored and every day I get the opportunity to make my own way. It’s the perfect career for the free-thinking, creative, opinionated/passionate type like me!

We know you have a lot of children — tell us a little about them!

While I gave birth to three children, I claim mom rights to six. I had a son and shared in raising my niece with my mother when I met my husband Scott who had a daughter and a son of his own. We had a son and daughter together. All together we have three boys and three girls. Not quite the Brady Bunch as I don’t have an Alice. (Though I’d sure like one.) The ages of our children line up nicely; Krystal is 28, Penny is 27, James is 25 as is Tim, Johnny is 16 and Danielle just turned 14 this past November.

We know you are a Phillies Phanatic — how do you stay optimistic during these tough times?

I’m a passionate fan. I’m loud, proud and I like to talk smack. You never have to wonder where I’m from because I get off the plane in my colors. I walk your city in my colors. Believe me, lately, that’s not always an easy thing to do.  

What do you do for fun — aside from going to Phillies games?

Spending time with my family is my favorite form of fun. We also have a campsite that we go to during the spring and summer seasons which is a great stress reliever for me and it offers a lot for the family to do as well.

And of course I enjoy my career. I know “work” sounds like a BS answer. Not for me. When you have six kids work is a vacation. So my advice to all the newbies out there is to enjoy what you do because life is too short to be miserable eight plus hours a day.

When did you discover TOCA and what do you like best about TOCA? 

I was introduced to TOCA when I was still relatively new in my PR Rep position at Schiller When my work load doubled with the acquisition of three more brands of equipment, I figured that I better start taking advantage of the education and support system the association has to offer. I attended the annual meeting in Minneapolis and I don’t believe I’ve missed an annual meeting since.

What I like best about TOCA are the educational resources available to me. Education comes in many forms. The annual meeting offers sessions, workshops and round tables and year-round webinars and such, but I’ve always found my fellow members to be the most valuable resource. You have access to editors, publishers, agency leaders, writers, marketing professionals and manufacturer representatives from the top companies supporting the industry. Where else can you find that? Nowhere that I know of.

An association is only as good as its members and you can only get out of a relationship what you put in to it. I wish I had been a more active in the beginning. Today, I am a member of the board and enjoy mentoring new members so that they too can take advantage of all that TOCA has to offer.


Trending in Green Industry – New Cannabis PubCannabis

By Kyle Brown

Since I started working with GIE Media, I’ve been writing about the green industry – grass, specifically – in one way or another. And although my job has shifted recently, the trend still holds. I’ve started with a new title focused on a slightly different type of grass: cannabis.

Believe me, I’ve heard the jokes already. Almost everyone who I’ve told about the switch has asked me when I start getting editorial samples, or how soon we’ll start doing reviews (probably never on both counts, for the sake of argument). But heading over to Cannabis Business Times gives me the chance to see an industry develop from the ground up, and be a part of something that could potentially change lives.

Cannabis growers are people passionate about plants for one reason for another, whether they’re entrepreneurs who are looking to learn to grow, or growing pros who need business management. No matter their background, they want the same thing out of a grow: To raise the best plants possible. And that resonates with anyone in our industry, regardless of your personal feelings about the plant. It’s great to go to conferences and see the lectures packed full of people asking good questions. It’s even better to see those people go and be successful in the industry itself, and to be able to play a part in that education. The people involved in this industry have such great stories, and I can’t wait to help tell them.

Another major part of working on CBT for me takes me back to when I started as an associate editor for Golf Course Industry. I came into the publication not knowing much about turf, but it didn’t take long before I started seeing connections. The green industry connects so many important parts of our culture in dotted lines that most people outside never have a reason to think about beyond the color of their lawn or some new ornamentals: labor, energy, politics and others. It staggers my mind sometimes to think of the number of lives touched by a small change from one of our readers. But supporting the green industry supports so many other people – and cannabis gives me a whole new way to do that, especially through medical applications.

So yes, we can definitely make a joke in passing (like that one) about the new job. But I’d probably rather talk about California’s new wild west of regulations for medical grows and its effects on energy and labor – not to mention the rest of the state’s professional green industry.


storynatemckinniss-108x150McKinniss of OSU to be TOCA Intern in 2016

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University has been selected as TOCA’s 2016 intern. McKinniss will intern for TurfNet.

In a departure from how the internship program has previously been selected the past three years, the TOCA Foundation board determined in October to do a test in 2016 and use the intern selected by TurfNet and help supplement that program through this collaboration.

“We look forward to providing a great experience for our media intern and to a great partnership between TurfNet and the TOCA Foundation on this endeavor,” says TurfNet’s Jon Kiger. “We are excited that Nate also will attend the TOCA breakfast at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) on Feb. 10 in San Diego and meet many of TOCA’s members.”

The internship program is sponsored by Bayer. Nate will receive a $3,500 stipend to assist him financially in managing his expenses in Ireland through the internship. The TurfNet intern (Nate) studies in turf and blogs during his internship in Ireland.  TurfNet staff supervises and suggests edits, etc.  Nate will work 40 hours per week on the golf course as a turf management student and write outside of that assignment. TurfNet works with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI) in this program.

Interestingly, GCSAI has won a number of TOCA International Awards, as the intern also writes for Greenside magazine as well. A former TurfNet intern, Peter Braun, won a merit award for Best Blog in recent years. Visits to manufacturers are also part of the internship and Kiger also hopes the internship will help TOCA in promoting its new overseas chapter it is creating in Great Britain.

“This is an experiment of sorts for TOCA this year, but we’re excited about testing this new twist on our three-year old internship program,” says Scott Hollister, TOCA board president. “We believe this type of arrangement can be beneficial for both the intern and the participating organizations, and if successful, envision the program evolving into a rotation between TurfNet and other interested parties moving forward.”

Melanie Krawczyk of Illinois State was the 2015 intern. She was hosted by Total Landscape Care. The program was hosted by North Coast Media the previous two years.

The board also determined at its October meeting that marketing communications and Green Industry businesses will be eligible to host the intern in 2017, along with publishing organizations.


2016 TOCA Communications Contest View More:

By Kristy Mach, Associate Director

It’s time to start compiling your best from 2015 for the TOCA Communications Contest. The program will kick off Feb. 1, with a deadline of March 15.  All eligible work must be articles published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, or collateral/ads/brochures, etc. produced and printed within the same time period.

The contest remains online, with the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform.  Except for a few categories that require the judges to have printed materials in their hands, all entries will be submitted “electronically” – uploaded through the system as digital file attachments and/or as URLs. For the few mail-in categories, you still submit the entry form online, then the system will generate an entry form/mailing label to send with your physical entry.

So, as you begin to select your entries, again this year you don’t have to pull physical tear sheets or make multiple big notebooks of media/special event materials. Think “digital” – PDFs of  articles, or Word docs of special event materials, jpegs of photo entries or of 3D items that are part of a media event. Have URLs ready to type in for podcasts or websites, for example, complete with any and all passwords or other log-in information judges will need so they can judge your work online.

Digital file attachments need to be 5MB or smaller to be uploaded directly as entries. For larger files (5MB to 250MB), there is an option on the Submit Entry page for you to upload those files into a free host account. Then you’ll copy/paste the hosted item’s web address into the Website URL field. You can also use,, etc. for these larger files.

Another tip in advance – BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome Browser for both PC and Macintosh computers, and will be fully supported by BetterBNC customer support. So please have the latest version on your computer and be sure to use it when you enter.

Lastly, if you’ve not paid your TOCA dues for 2016, please do so as soon as possible so you are eligible to enter the TOCA Communications Contest. Contact Kyle Wieskus at if you are unsure of your paid membership status.

We know there will be questions again this year, and we will provide more information regarding the entry process closer to the open on Feb 1.  In the meantime, pull your best together and get ready for awards night on May 5 in Omaha, Neb.


TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame

 By Staff

The TOCA Hall of Fame inducted wo pioneers of the organization – Jose Milan and Steve Trusty at its 26th annual meeting in Milwaukee in May. The previous year, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche were inducted at the organization’s 25th annual meeting in New Orleans.

The organization at that time also grandfathered four previous inductees from its

Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.

The TOCA Hall of Fame will now induct members each year into the Hall of Fame. TOCA Hall of Fame 2016 Application  (to be inducted in May 2016 in Omaha). For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.


TOCA Announces the 2016 Environmental Communicator of the Year Program

By Staff

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces its eighteenth Environmental Communicator of the Year Award program. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, is given annually to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry.

Winners in the first seventeen years were: Mark Welterlen of Grounds Maintenance Magazine; Bill Love of W.R. Love Golf Architecture; Tim Doppel of Atwood LawnCare, Inc.; Doug Fender, Turf Producers International; Allen James, RISE; Rod Dodson of Audubon International; Jeff Gullikson of Spokane Country Club; Kevin Trotta of IPM; Helen Stone of Southwest Trees & Turf; Allied Golf Associations of Colorado; Drs. Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter of PACE Turf, Chris Gray of Marvel Golf Club in Kentucky, Anthony Williams of Stone Mountain Golf Club, Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D. of Cornell University, and Phil Fogarty of Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management, Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., turfgrass professor at the University of Tennessee

The award is open to anyone in the green industry. Nominees, however, must be a present TOCA member or be nominated by a present TOCA member. (A member can nominate herself/himself).

The award is given annually at the TOCA annual meeting, held this year in Omaha,NE, May 3-5, 2016. A $500 cash stipend is presented to the winner.

TOCA is composed of editors, writers, photographers, publishers, public relations/advertising practitioners and others involved in green industry communications. The association was formed in 1990 to serve members of the green industry.

Applications will be judged and a winner selected by a group of independent, expert judges.



For more information, contact Den Gardner at or 952-758-6340.


Year Four Finds Changes in Plant Health Writer of the Year Program

By Staff

The fourth year of the Plant Health Writer of the Year program, sponsored by Bayer, willBayer Logo find changes to what types of articles qualify for writers to be eligible for selection in this program. Until this year the program criteria required that only articles specific to plant health would be eligible for candidates to enter to qualify for the award.

“We’re expanding the focus of the award to broaden the types of articles eligible,” Den Gardner, executive director, says. “This was at the request of the TOCA board and discussions with representatives from Bayer. We are pleased with the new criteria.”

Previous winners have been:

2013 – Larry Aylward, Moose River Media

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

The award is given annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These are now the types of writing that are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

  • Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.
  • Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.
  • Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.
  • Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340. 2016-PlantHealthWriter-Application.


Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship

 By Staff

 Applications are now available for the TOCA scholarship program for the 2016-2017 school year. The 2015 scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Jenna Hay of Texas Tech University. She also attended the annual meeting in Milwaukee. TOCA annually awards one, $2,500 scholarship.

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) annually does a great job,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students each year makes the decision tougher and tougher. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to a worthy student each year.”

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340. 2016 TOCA Scholarship Program Application.


TOCA Membership Renewal for 2016

Having reached our 2015 membership goals of 250 members, the TOCA emails for the 2016 Membership Renewals have been sent. The good news is we have been growing for the past five years and for that we say thanks to you. Now, more than ever, we need you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization. You can help us reach our goal and help TOCA grow.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.

Please note that again this year we have added an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation. If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the TOCA Membership Application_form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership. Membership Applications can be found online.   Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal.  You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX).   Click on Membership.  Click on Why Join TOCA?  At the bottom of this page click on Join and Pay Online.  To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated.  After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name.  You can update your contact information.  If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here.  And you can Renew Membership for 2016.

Your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.   We ask that you contact the TOCA office by December 31, 2015, with any changes to your contact information from last year so we can get the corrections into the online membership directory.  All renewals for 2016 are due by the end of this year.  We look forward to you renewing your membership.  Please don’t hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership.  Send emails to:

Den Gardner, Executive Director

Kristy Mach, Associate Director

Kyle Wieskus, Membership Director

Barb Ulschmid, Meeting Planner/Assistant Director

P.O. Box 156, 605 Columbus Ave. S.

New Prague, MN 56071

Office: 952-758-6340   Fax: 952-758-5813




New TOCA Members 

Glenn Rougier, Bayer Envir. Science

Chris Moyer, Dow AgroSciences

Eddie Gordon, Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Melissa Moseley, Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Ben Shooner, Focal Point Communications

Deidre D’ Aniello, Green Industry Pros

Gregg Wartgow, Green Industry Pros


TOCA, Jacobsen, Syngenta and GCSAA/Golf Course Management Magazine Offer

New Member Breakfast Reception at Golf Industry Show (GIS)

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is providing its annual breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego.  GCSAA/Golf Course Management magazine, Jacobsen and Syngenta are co-sponsoring the reception.

Breakfast Details:

For Whom:  TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where:  Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, San Diego, CA, Sapphire 410 Room

Time:     7:00-8:15 a.m. breakfast and TOCA update

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast.

An Evite has been sent out to all TOCA members. Please remember to RSVP. Any questions, you may contact Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or e-mail

Thanks and see you in San Diego!


Let’s be Safe Out There  

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

For those of us who live in cold-weather states, running regularly in the winter is certainly a challenge. There are numerous running publications that can help you “survive” the cold, but to save you some research time – here are some tips.

RunnerinWinterUse shoes that have the least amount of mesh. Wear socks that keep wetness away, but keep your feet warm.

Dress warm without sweating so much that you get chilled. Assume you wear gloves and stocking cap. Maine Track Club President Mark Grandonico says: “ . . . be slightly cool when you start.”  Wear layers and see what feels comfortable for you.  Many suggest that when the temp dips below zero, run indoors.

  1. Wear reflective clothing as piles of snow can make it harder for others to see you. If running in early morning or after sunset, carry a flashlight!
  2. If it is a windy day, start your run into the wind so the wind doesn’t chill you after you have broken a sweat.
  3. Winter running is more about maintenance than speed. Save your speed workouts for spring.

ENJOY your running regimen and be safe out there. And let me finish with the words my spouse shared with me the other evening (quoting Erma Bombeck), “The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”   You can interpret that comment any way you’d like.

Finally, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!


Calendar of Events | 2016  Winter Snow

January 18, 2016

TOCA International Half-Day Workshop/Seminar

British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) at BIGGA

Harrogate, England

9:00 AM – Noon

February 8-11, 2016

Golf Industry Show, San Diego, CA

February 10, 2016

TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.                                                   Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Room: Sapphire 410 San Diego, CA

March 1, 2016 – deadline – 2016-PlantHealthWriter-Application deadline – Environmental Communicator of the Year Application 2016 application deadline

March 7, 2016 TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2016 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 3-5, 2016 (Tues-Thurs) 27th annual TOCA Meeting Magnolia Hotels, Omaha, NE

2016 TOCA Meeting Agenda