The Sports Turf Managers Association’s 32nd Conference & Exhibition went virtual last year because of COVID-19 safety concerns. This year, the sports field industry’s largest event will be back in person Monday through Thursday, Jan. 17-20, at the Savannah Convention Center in Savannah, Georgia. Here are four things to do while you’re there, and what you need to know before you go:
1. Volunteer to Rebuild a Neighborhood Field
STMA and Project EverGreen have teamed up to rebuild the skinned ballfield at Mother Mathilda Beasley Park from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, and volunteers are welcome to join in the project. Companies interested in supplying items for the project can email Project EverGreen Executive Director Cindy Code at email@example.com. For the scope of work and list of materials needed, scroll down to Exhibitor Resources on the conference website.
The park, named for Georgia’s first African-American nun, is one of 11 neighborhood parks operated by Chatham County Parks & Recreation. Transportation to the site, 500 E. Broad St., will be provided for conference attendees.
“We are excited for the conference happening here and look forward to working with the attendees,” said Holly Holdsworth, Deputy Directory, Chatham County Parks & Recreation. “We are so thankful for the improvements planned at Mother Mathilda Beasley Park.”
To learn more about the park’s namesake, visit the Georgia Women of Achievement website.
If you prefer to give back in a different way, golf and bowling fundraisers benefitting STMA’s Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE) Foundation are also scheduled for Monday.
A live auction benefitting the foundation is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday before the welcome reception. Attendees interested in donating auction items can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Learn Something New
This year’s conference offers nine educational tracks—baseball, construction, environmental and pest management, facility management, industry developments, professional development, synthetic, turfgrass and soil management, and water.
To view the full slate of courses offered in each category, visit sessions by track on the conference website. To view the daily schedule, visit sessions by day. For information on organizations providing continuing education units and a list of sessions that qualify for CEUs, scroll down to the Continuing Education tab on the conference website.
The learning won’t end when the conference wraps up. Those who sign up for full conference registration will have access to eight virtual sessions scheduled from Jan. 25 to Feb. 15.
3. Hit the Trade Show Floor
Ewing and many of our trusted partners will be among the more than 150 vendors participating in the conference’s trade show from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in the exhibit hall.
The trade show is a great opportunity to network with peers, connect with vendors, learn about new products, find out who’s hiring, and pick up some swag.
4. Share Your Experiences on Social Media
People signed up to attend the conference are already sharing their excitement on social media.
When you’re ready to get in on the action and post selfies and other images from the event, as well as videos and shout-outs, use the official conference hashtag #STMA2022 in addition to whatever hashtags you regularly use on your social media platforms to make it easy for others to find your posts.
Don’t forget to tag us @EwingSportsTurf and tag @FieldExperts so STMA officials can see your posts, too!
Know Before You Go
Registration: Advance online/FAX registration ended Jan. 4, but you can still attend. Bring your registration form to the STMA Attendee On-Site Registration desk at the convention center.
Full conference registration includes admission to all education sessions, welcome reception, awards banquet, trade show, and all meals during the conference. Registration is free to Student Challenge participants and new first-time STMA members. See the conference brochure for full conference and day package registration fees as well as registration desk hours.
COVID-19 policies and procedures: STMA officials strongly recommend that attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19, though vaccination is not required. Those who have not been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a mask at all conference events.
Savannah Convention Center staff will be wearing masks throughout the event, regardless of vaccination status. In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STMA staff will wear masks at large indoor events and encourage all attendees to do so, regardless of vaccination status. The convention center is not owned by the city of Savannah, but attendees planning to visit city-owned buildings will be required to wear masks.
The situation with COVID-19 remains fluid, and STMA officials will provide updates in changes to state, city and site protocols, so check the conference website before you head to Savannah to make sure you’re prepared.
If you have questions about registration, policies and procedures or anything else conference-related, visit the event website or call STMA at (800) 323-3875 or (785) 843-2549.
We look forward to seeing you at Booth 613, and throughout the conference!