What a beautiful experience, the first snow of every winter. The landscape is awash with white, the tree branches bowing with the weight. In our yard the fallen snow is graced with the dainty footprints of squirrels, intermingled with big-dog paw prints and full-body canine snow angels.
Today, for me, was a day of reflection and contemplation. I spent time thinking of the past year and the whirl-wind of activity. This includes earning our second patent, being awarded the first Certified Naturally Grown Aquaponics Certification, being a finalist for the Force for Positive Change Award and seeing continuous growth in our company and more and more customer successes.
The biggest milestone for us this year was having students from the 100th country travel to Montello for our Aquaponics Master Class.® This is huge. One hundred countries, let that sink in. After our September class, we had students from 97 countries and all 50 US states.
With registration open for the November class, Eldar Marlenov from Kazakhstan registered, #98. He was followed by Dejene Adem from Ethiopia, another new country, #99. And then, Mother and son, Usha and Arjun Sud, from India registered, making 100 countries. Then, Fraij Yapoujian from Lebanon made it 101! Exceeding the 100-mark, we planned a 101-Countries celebration as part of the November Master Class. Among other special events, each of the attendees representing a new country ceremoniously put a pin in the map designating their country. This was a surreal moment for John and I, seeing the quantified results of our efforts to share aquaponics and provide food security for all nations.
Check out some of the media coverage from our 101+ Celebration:
As we move into a less glorious phase of winter…the one that includes very cold, short days and, typically, with more snow than we really want (the phase that builds character in a climate like this), we look to our upcoming Aquaponics Master Classes® in 2017. Although we grow year ’round, we decided to offer our January Aquaponics Master Class® on St. George Island, Florida. Why you ask? Because it is much warmer, as well as being a quiet, beachfront destination and one that can benefit immensely from our technology. And, we don’t have to worry about our students traveling the cold, blizzard-ridden, icy-roads of the state of Wisconsin in January.
Our next Aquaponics Master® Class in Wisconsin is in March, after the worst of winter has passed.
For now, I am going to embrace the glorious early winter snow. Enjoy the season, wherever you are.