Members of the Western Nursery & Landscape Association (WNLA) have voted to dissolve the association, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the Western trade show event that was set for January in Kansas City. The show was the 130-year-old trade group’s main source of income, and the board determined the association could not be sustained without it.
“We are saddened that we will not gather for another Western in Kansas City but the legacy of WNLA can live on if our members and supporters are active in a WNLA community inside AmericanHort, our national association who has done so much for our industry this year and in many years past,” the group stated in an announcement.
The trade group was founded in 1890 as the Western Nurserymen’s Association, and it covered the United States west of the Mississippi River. The group evolved into an association representing green industry firms in the Midwest.
The Kansas Nursery and Landscape Association will receive the remaining physical assets of the WNLA, which are limited. Meanwhile, the WNLA is working with AmericanHort to carry on the group’s legacy and retain its identity. There will be a fundraising campaign for the Horticultural Research Institute to help honor WNLA’s legacy.
The official announcement from WNLA:
Press Release: WNLA, a 130-year-old non-profit association to dissolve
Kansas City, MO, October 14, 2020 — As you know this historic global pandemic has created numerous challenges and great sadness for many. On August 31, 2020 the Board of Directors of the Western Nursery and Landscape Association, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)6, announced that they had unanimously decided to not have a tradeshow event in January 2021. WNLA cannot confidently hold a safe event for you, our exhibitors, partners, and supporters and the safety and health of our colleagues and friends are and always will be our primary concern.
The annual Western is the main source of income for the Association and without the income of the 2021 Western, the Board has determined that the non-profit association cannot be sustained.
A vote of the members of WNLA has been taken and the membership approved of the dissolution of the Western Nursery & Landscape Association.
Management of the Association by Woody Bibens & Associates will end on November 15, 2020.
To celebrate the legacy of the Western Nursery and Landscape Association, the Board of Directors of WNLA is grateful to AmericanHort for stepping up to help celebrate this long legacy. AmericanHort will offer community, membership, and recognition of the WNLA legacy in the following ways:
- Establish the Western-1890 member group inside AmericanHort to help retain the identity and community of WNLA within the industry.
- Facilitate quarterly communications for Western-1890 members (ex. zoom calls, newsletter, company spotlight)
- $189 introductory membership to AmericanHort*
- Work with Western-1890 members to plan industry events in the region as appropriate and available
- Build a permanent legacy for The Western and WNLA by expanding the existing HRI research fund
- Invite representatives from WNLA to attend the HRI reception at Cultivate’21 and dedicate agenda time to celebrate the 130-year history of the organization
- Solicit additional donations to the fund from companies across the industry through asking for pledges that honor the legacy of the WNLA, such as $189 or $1890.
(*Available to new AmericanHort members only. After the first-year membership rates revert to published AmericanHort Basic membership currently $295)
The very limited physical assets of WNLA will be transferred to the Kansas Nursery & Landscape Association, a non-profit corporation. KNLA and its members have been very long-time supporters of WNLA.
We are saddened that we will not gather for another Western in Kansas City but the legacy of WNLA can live on if our members and supporters are active in a WNLA community inside AmericanHort, our national association who has done so much for our industry this year and in many years past.