2012 APGA Conference Awards

Awards introduction from David Price: 

"As chair of the APGA Awards Committee I have had the pleasure of working with a great team. Members of the committee are:

  • David Price,Chair, Bok Tower Gardens
  • Nancy Bechtol- Smithsonian Institution
  • Patty Craft- Horticulture Magazine
  • Madeline Dobbs- APGA
  • Catherine Hubbard- Rio Grande Botanic Garden / Albuquerque Bio Park
  • Harry Jongerden- VanDusen Botanical Garden
  • Wilf Nicholls- The State Botanical Garden of Georgia
  • Fred Spicer - Birmingham Botanical Gardens
  • Claire Sawyers- The Scott Arboretum

Our charge was to review nominations of Gardens and Garden programs submitted by you all in the categories of: 

  • Horticulture Magazine’s Award for Garden Excellence
  • Professional Citation Award
  • Award of Merit
  • Award for Program Excellence
  • Honorary Life Member Award

Other Awards given by the Association, but reviewed by others include:

  • APGA Service Award
  • Dorothy E. Hansell Publication Award
  • Student Travel Award

These awards are meant to recognize exemplary gardens and programs as well as persons working in or serving the public garden field. This year’s awards will be announced at different venues throughout the conference."


Horticulture Magazine's Award for Garden Excellence

Award Presented by Catherine Hubbard:

The Horticulture Magazine has been given to a public garden since 2003 that exemplifies the highest standards of horticulture practices.  There are 5 criteria for this award:

--Best designed and most horticulturally outstanding display
--Gardening practices that are appropriate to a local or regional environment and reflect environmentally informed horticulture
--Maintenance of commitment to plant collections
--Demonstrated commitment to the national or regular horticultural community and
--Encouraging students of gardening at all levels through innovative practices 

This year, APGA and Horticulture Magazine are proud to announce that the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Nevada is the winner of the 2012 Horticulture Magazine Award for Garden Excellence.

The Springs Preserve is one of the leading advocates for environmental sustainability, and incorporates elements of water conservation and resource preservation into its design and its operation.  It is a young garden, having just opened in 2007, and celebrated its 5th anniversary last Sunday. 

The Springs Preserve invites visitors to explore both the beauty and the fragility of the natural environment.  The landscape is home to over 1,200 species of native and adapted plants over a 180 acre site, and is the only botanical garden in the Mojave Desert.  Almost all of the native cacti and yucca species were salvaged from local sites before being destroyed by development.  The 6 acres of display gardens exemplify sustainable horticultural practices and are a creative and innovative learning environment for the area’s homeowners. 

I think we would all agree that the Springs Preserve is an important touchstone in the Las Vegas area, an area not typically known for appreciating and valuing the natural environment. I’d like to invite Tracy Omar up to accept the award.


Award Accepted by Tracy Omar:

"On behalf of Springs Preserve staff and management, I'd like to thank APGA and Horticulture Magazine for this Garden Excellence award. Since Las Vegas is known for its over-the-top advertising you can expect our next ad campaign to be "Visit Las Vegas - America's Garden City". Springs Preserve was built to show people how to live sustainably in the Mojave Desert. The climate change everyone talks about is the reality we live with every day in Las Vegas. With only 2-3 inches of rain per year and temperatures regularly over 100 degrees, water usage is a critical issue. But Las Vegas is a young and transient city and almost everyone came here from somewhere else, bringing their lifestyle with them. Teaching them that living in the desert requires a wholesale change of that lifestyle is an ongoing battle. This award is recognition that the battle is worth fighting. Thank you."


Professional Citation Award (2 Awards Presented)

First Award Presented by Wilf Nicholls:

"One might conclude that the achievements of this nominee must have resulted from decades of hard work, but, I am pleased to say that Dr Andrea Tietmeyer Kramer is someone who still has most of her professional life ahead of her. And doesn’t that bode well for us all?

Andrea Kramer, Executive Director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (USA) is no stranger to the APGA. Since 2008 she has been a member, the vice-chair and now chair of the plant conservation professional section; she co-chairs the conservation track for the program selection committee; she has co-organized, moderated and presented at APGA meetings in Atlanta, St Louis and Philadelphia.

She is a plant-person, studying Penstemon for her dissertation, Viola, Platanthera and the evolution of the American Great Basin flora. She has an impressive list of publications, posters and presentations to this and other learned societies; her productivity, communication and energy has been admirable.

Since joining BGCI in 2008 Andrea has worked to implement BGCI’s 5-year plan through coordination and information-sharing amongst gardens and organizations across this continent.

Equally at home in the field or at the conference table she is a colleague of those doing the on-the-ground activities of plant conservation (for she has and still does that) but she also sees and appreciates the global perspective of conservation and represents us all with confidence, diplomacy and a dedication to getting ‘the job done’.

Nowadays, as the APGA undertakes the Sentinel Plant Network, Andrea is busy assessing the potential for developing an international sentinel plant network where living collections around the world are connected and capable of serving as early warning systems to predict and prevent new pest incursions.

We are indeed fortunate to have Andrea at the helm of BGCI-USA and furthermore, we are fortunate to have her as a dedicated and active member of APGA. I am delighted to present an APGA Professional Citation to Dr. Andrea Kramer."


First Award Accepted by Dr. Andrea Kramer:

"Thank you for those kind words, Wilf.  I also want to extend my gratitude to David Price, the awards committee, and colleagues that put forward and supported my nomination for this honor. 

I am incredibly humbled to be up here today, and know I have very big shoes to fill, particularly given that last year’s recipient is now APGA’s new Executive Director.  Casey has already informed me that with this award comes great responsibility.  I am happy to accept the challenge, because I believe deeply in the power of public gardens to make a real, lasting difference when it comes to conserving the world’s plants.  Especially when we all work together.  But as I accept my challenge, I’d also like to issue one to all of you. 

The foundation of public gardens is built on the world’s amazing diversity of plants.  This is courtesy of the work of evolution that has occurred over hundreds of millions of years.  This diversity is not only really cool, but is also essential to the survival of people and the planet.  Yet despite this, the world’s plants are facing unprecedented threats, and not nearly enough is being done to address them.  A number of wonderful presentations this week helped bring this point home; for example we learned that 3 cycad species have been declared extinct in the wild in the last year, and that even species we never worried about before are facing a very uncertain future (think ash trees and the emerald ash borer).

I know it is hard to believe that most people do NOT spend much of their time thinking or worrying about this, especially right now in a room full of many self-confessed plant-nerds like myself.  But it is true.  The vast majority of people do not understand why plants are important or in need of conservation, and that means they are unwilling to spend time or resources to support them.  Here are just two of many many examples of how this plays out:

- Despite its importance to our health and well-being, plant science research receives less than 2% of all federal spending on life sciences in the US.
- And did you know that 60% of all Endangered Species in the U.S. are plants, yet they receive only 2% of federal endangered species funding?

This is not good for plants, it is not good for people, and it is not good for public gardens. 

This is something that we ALL need to care about.  Fortunately, it is also something that I truly believe we can and are changing for the better by pushing ourselves, and by working more strategically and collaboratively together.

So here is my challenge to you:

Regardless of the shape or size of your garden, infuse conservation into your work and continually challenge yourself and your colleagues to do more.  At the very least we should strive to educate every visitor, every organization, every community, and definitely every policymaker that we work with so they truly understand that plants, and the people that study and care for them, are essential to the survival of people and the planet. 

Honestly, I can’t think of a better application of APGA’s mission to advance Leadership, Advocacy and Innovation than that, and I look forward to working with you all together to rise to this challenge. Thank you."


Second Award Presented by Dr. Casey Sclar:

APGA’s Professional Citation recognizes someone whose work has resulted in significant achievements for public horticulture. A commitment to professionalism combined with a dedication to curatorial horticulture and plant conservation defines this year’s Professional Citation Award Winner Andrew Bunting.

Director Claire Sawyers of the Scott Arboretum begins to outline his professional contributions. “Since 1993, Andrew has served as Curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, bringing a passion for plants to his work which has enhanced our collections, our plant records and documentation, and he readily crosses the threshold between curator and educator, readily taking on walks, workshops, plant sales efforts and working with interns and student workers to impart knowledge and experience.”. Andrew has written for journals and magazines, including American Gardener, Journal of the International Magnolia Society and APGA’s journal, The Public Garden. He served on APGA’s publication committee, and is currently Board President of Magnolia Society International. A sought after contributor with a list of committee service and recognition simply too long to mention here, and it’s a shame – because Andrew is probably too quiet and humble to tell you himself.

Among Andrew’s most notable contributions to APGA come through NAPCC, where he has served as a reviewer, vice-Chair, and as Chair. Tim Boland of Poly Hill Arboretum described his tenure as chair perfectly. “Andrew led during a time of expansive growth of new collections to the program. He also spearheaded education opportunities that trained new collection reviewers.” Andrew continues his NAPCC service as Chair of the Magnolia Group and Curatorial Group Liaison.

However, the best testament to Andrew is his impact on others and on his community. Within his nomination package are numerous references to how well he worked with interns and his long-term impacts on them. “His approachable style, positive attitude, and passion for his profession are remarkable, and his knowledge of ornamental plants, especially garden-worthy cultivars of hardy trees and shrubs, is virtually encyclopedic” is how Jamie Blackburn of the Atlanta Botanical Garden referenced it. John T. Manion of Birmingham Botanical Garden stated that his experience “solidified my commitment to dedicate my career to public garden work”.

My family and I have known Andrew and his partner Carrie for many years and can personally state how impressed we are by Andrew’s contributions to his community. After developing Fine Garden Creations, a successful design/install company, his most recent endeavor is Vassar farm, a project with his neighbors to run an organic suburban farm in Swarthmore, PA. A model project, it was featured recently in The Wall St. Journal article, “The Shared Backyard”. What a great indication of how Andrew’s passion for horticulture crosses unconventional boundaries, in a very quiet, positive and motivational way. Congratulations Andrew!


Second Award Accepted by Andrew Bunting:

"I am truly honored to receive the Professional Citation from the APGA. I want to thank the Awards Committee, as well as, those who nominated me for this award.

Throughout my professional career I have benefited greatly from the relationships I have developed. As a student at Joliet Junior College we were required to do two internships following each of our school years. After my freshman year in the spring of 1983 I applied to the Morton Arboretum and also applied for a position at a nursery near Aurora. Unfortunately I did not get the internship at the Morton Arboretum. At the nursery I spent the first week in a large window-less building sorting bareroot trees in a refrigerated room. At the end of the week I got a call from the Morton Arboretum saying that they had a vacancy. Faced with the moral dilemma of quitting my first job in horticulture I sought advice from my mom. She said that if I really wanted the job at the Morton Arboretum that I should quit my job at the nursery.

At the Morton I met Ray Schulenberg who was the curator. He introduced me to the world of plant collection, plant records and curation. After my summer at the Morton Arboretum I knew my career path. I stayed friends with Ray and he became a great friend and mentor. The next summer I was hired by Kris Jarantoski at the Chicago Botancial Garden. I met fellow interns, Richard Hawke (now Manager of Plant Evaluations at the Chicago Botanical Garden) and Mike O'Neal (co-owner and developer of BG-Base) who have remained great colleagues and friends over the past years.

In 1986 my career really took a positive turn. I was hired by Judy Zuk at the Scott Arboretum to be their Plant Recorder. No offense to all of you, but Judy is greatest director I have met in public horticulture and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her and learn from her over 3 1/2 years.

I have always greatly appreciated the opportunities to volunteer on committees within the APGA. Working with the NAPCC has been the most rewarding. Over the years I have developed great professional relationships with Dave Barnett, Rick Lewandowski, Chris Carmichael and especially Pam Allenstein. It has been exciting to see this program really flourish over the last several years. I look forward to working with many of you in the future and developing new relationships. Thank you very much."


Award of Merit (2 Awards Presented)

First Award Presented by Sarah Maietta:

"I am honored to have been given the opportunity to present the APGA Award of Merit this year. This award recognizes an individual APGA member who has performed with distinction in the field of public horticulture and has excelled as a public garden professional.

Letters of support describe our recipient as determined, kind, committed, an impassioned horticulturist, a steadfast director, a leader, mentor, and friend. She has worked incredibly hard, and perseveres and moves through her career with grace and humor. Her love of plants and public gardens is infectious and one she shares with members and visitors alike. 

This person is very near and dear to me and I could not agree more on her selection. Carol Line was one of the first people I met when coming to AABGA in 1997 when she ran the association’s Resource Center. Carol taught me so much about the field which gave me a deep appreciation for our membership. She has been my mentor and close friend since.

Carol has worked at several APGA member gardens during her career in Southern California, Chicago, Boston, and New York City. She is currently Executive Director of Fernwood Botanical Garden in SW Michigan, a small garden 90 minutes from Chicago and in the shadows of the University of Notre Dame. Carol has been at Fernwood going on five years and in that time has increased visitation by 42% and membership revenue by 25%. As Fernwood prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014, Carol has been said to lead the garden with a fresh, relevant, and ambitious vision, confidently paving the way for another fifty years of extraordinary adventures and amazing opportunities within the Fernwood community.

Carol currently serves as the chair of the small gardens professional section and has also served as the APGA publications committee chair. I think her colleague and friend Colleen Schuetz Lockovitch said it the best when sharing that “Carol’s heart and soul resides in Public Horticulture and will for a very long time.” Congratulations, Carol!"


First Award Accepted by Carol Line:

"I would like to thank APGA, David Price and the Awards Committee, and my colleagues and Fernwood staff who supported my nomination for this award. I am touched.

This association has been central to my life and career for almost 30 years. As an undergraduate at Purdue, I learned woody plants from one of the best—Dr. Harrison Flint. Harrison taught his students about trees in the context of great public gardens, sharing images of fine collections at Longwood [Gardens], the Arnold [Arboretum], and The Morton [Arboretum]. It was pivotal. I became a student member of AABGA/APGA that semester, and the rest is history.

My first annual conference was in Seattle—was it 1990? I rarely have missed a meeting since, and I’ve become a lifelong student of gardens and how they work.

We’re so fortunate, aren’t we? We strengthen our communities, conduct important research, educate, enrich, beautify, and help to save the planet. We do good work.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to work with many of you in this room through APGA and BGCI and at some of our finest public gardens—the Huntington [Botanical Gardens], Denver Botanic [Gardens], The Morton [Arboretum], Chicago Botanic [Garden], the Arnold [Arboretum], and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I would not have changed a single experience.

When I interviewed for the position of executive director at Fernwood almost five years ago, I dropped a few names. Honestly, I mentioned all of you—my friends and colleagues of APGA. I told Fernwood that if they were to hire me, they would get you as well—my support system. You have not let me down. Your support has made all the difference in my career and in my work at Fernwood, and I am grateful. Thank you."


Second Award Presented by Nancy Bechtol:

Nancy has chosen to share her nomincation letter in place of her presentation script.  

"I am pleased to nominate Eric Tschanz, President and Executive Director of Powell Gardens, for the American Public Garden Association Award of Merit. It is my pleasure to submit his nomination because he truly exemplifies the description of this award in every single way possible. I have known Eric for over 25 years, first meeting him when he was leading the San Antonio Botanical gardens. Our Professional careers have crossed many times since then, and each and every time, I have been enriched by his knowledge, experience, dedication and inspiration. 

When I was employed at Longwood Gardens in the mid 1980's as the first Integrated Pest Manager in our profession, I was sought out by Eric to assist in developing an IPM program for his San Antonio Botanical Garden's brand new conservatory. I was amazed by his courage to trust a new science for controlling pests inside his brand new conservatory. I knew right then and there that he was truly a man ahead of his time. I have been inspired by his outstanding leadership in public garden management ever since that first meeting. 

He left the garden in Texas to travel to Kansas, and has led Powell Gardens for the past 22 years. His leadership and vision have totally transformed this garden, and the Kansas City community has benefited in so many ways. I have had the opportunity to visit his garden over the years because of his generosity and support towards helping the Smithsonian Institution and the Garden Club of America Archives of American Gardens collection by hosting our meetings at Powell Gardens. He personally has provided tours for the groups when we visit, always going out of his way to support his profession whenever asked. I have been able to witness the amazing growth of Powell Gardens over these years, by enjoying the Fay Jones Chapel, the Visitor Center and the new Heartland Harvest Garden come to life. 

Eric and I again crossed paths during his time leading the APGA Board, when I did a three year term as Member at Large. Somehow with all his Director responsibilities, he manged to server in a leadership role on the APGA Board for over 6 years, 2 of those as President. In addition to his Board leadership, he has led several committees over the years from Awards to Ground Management. Each of these roles he has performed with passion and dedication. I was totally amazed at this level of professionalism; he has always inspired me to do even more. 

The Award of Merit recognized an individual APGA member who has performed with distinction in the field of public horticulture and has excelled as a public garden professional at one of many institutions. I think Eric Tschanz and his professional career illustrates the very essence of this award. His dedication to our profession is unrelenting. I also think the man illustrates the very essence of what we all wish to be in this profession, an inspiration to many."


Second Award Accepted by Eric Tzchanz:

"Thank you Nancy, for those kind words.  I am honored and humbled with this award. And I would like to thank David Price and the Awards Committee and the Board and Officers of APGA for bestowing me with the Award of Merit. It is really great for a BUCKEYE to receive this award in Columbus, Ohio and just a football throw from campus – at least for an OSU quarterback.

I need to thank all of you, my friends, my colleagues, my mentors, my mentorees – all of you. You are the reason I am up here.  You don’t work for this award – we work in public gardens and volunteer in our organization, the APGA, hopefully for the betterment of this world, for relationships and because it is fun!

The destination is nice, this award is nice, but as they say the journey that got me here is what it is about. I encourage all of you to get on the path for a great journey. Make more professional friendships – they turn into personal relationships, actively participate in this organization, it is eye-opening, it is educational and professionally and personally rewarding. Enjoy your work in this field – don’t take yourself too serious and have FUN on your journey! Thank you again."


Award for Program Excellence

Award Presented by David Price:

"This morning it is my pleasure to announce the award for Program Excellence. This award is reserved for an APGA institutional member who has displayed a truly innovative spirit in the development of new programs and has pioneered in one or more of the disciplines appropriate to public horticultural institutions, including education, conservation, development, botany, gardening, horticulture, research, extension, or administration.

This year’s award is given to the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens

Started in 1987 the AAG celebrates 25 years of collecting, cataloging and sharing documents and photos relating to a board range of gardens throughout the U.S. This repository is devoted to preserving America’s garden heritage. 

Since its founding in 1987, the Archives of American Gardens—a division of Smithsonian Gardens--has expanded its holdings to include over 100,000 images and supplemental files documenting close to 7,000 gardens dating from the late nineteenth century to today.  AAG collections safeguard the work of professional and amateur garden designers, garden photographers, and horticultural businesses.  

Over 30,000 images have been digitized and made available to the public through the Smithsonian’s online catalog. The Archives of American Gardens strives to preserve our garden heritage before it is lost.  For this work we would like to recognize the Smithsonian Institution for the 2012 Program Excellence Award."

Award Accepted by Barbara Faust:

"The Archives of American Gardens’ (AAG) mission is to collect and make available for research use unique, high quality images of and documentation relating to a wide variety of cultivated gardens throughout the United States that are not documented elsewhere.  In this way, AAG preserves and highlights a meaningful compendium of significant aspects of gardening in the United States for the benefit of researchers and the public today and in the future.  These images provide an invaluable resource for landscape designers, historians, preservationists, scholars, students, and garden enthusiasts engaged in the study and appreciation of gardens and garden design.  Hundreds of reference inquiries are addressed each year by AAG staff.   

I am honored to accept this award for Program Excellence for the Archives of American Gardens.  What a great way to mark AAG’s 25th anniversary and to recognize the great work of the AAG staff  Joyce Connolly, Kelly Crawford, Paula Healy and Cindy Brown who are back home in DC diligently working in the archives so that it continues to be worthy of this honor.   I would also like to recognize the Garden Club of America for their foresight to begin this project and entrusting to the Smithsonian these irreplaceable windows into America’s garden history."


APGA Service Award

Award Presented by Paul Redman:

"The APGA Board of Directors has the authority & privilege to honor an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service to APGA. It is my pleasure on behalf of your Board of Directors to announce that Rick Colbert is the recipient of the 2012 APGA Service Award.

Please allow me to share with you a few reasons why Rick is receiving this award…

· Rick has served as the Executive Director of Tyler Arboretum for 21 years.

· Tyler Arboretum under Rick’s leadership has received SIX TIMES the prestigious Philadelphia Cultural & Leadership Program Grant from the esteemed Pew Charitable Trusts.

· The PLCP Grant is the holy grail of foundation funding in the Philly area, because it provides 3-years of operating support & Tyler has received it 6 times over 18-years.

· The award is an endorsement of best practices & leadership.

· According to Rick’s colleagues at Tyler he has improved & professionalized every aspect of Tyler’s organization & operations.

· In addition to the elevation of Tyler’s best practices he has lead the entire mapping and accessioning of Tyler’s historic collections and even installed a 2-mile deer fence which has lead to the rejuvenation of Tyler’s historic trees and shrubs.

· In addition to his time at Tyler…Rick has served and continues to serve as a member of the Longwood Graduate Program’s Executive Committee.  Rick was among the first members of that committee to represent interests outside of Longwood & UDEL.

· Rick has been a faithful member of APGA and has served as Treasurer of APGA’s Board of Directors

· Rick co-chaired the 2011 APGA Conference in Philadelphia, which to date has the largest number of attendees and financial contribution to APGA.  (…$200,000).

It is my pleasure to ask Rick to come forward to accept his much deserved award."


Award Accepted by Rick Colbert:

Script currently unavailable



Dorothy E. Hansell Publication Award

Award Presented by Patricia Evans:

"This award is a tribute to a woman who stood for excellence in horticultural and botanical journalism. Hansell was editor of the New York Botanical Garden's Garden Journal, the newsletter and bulletin of the Holly Society of America, the American Bonsai Society Journal, and the APGA Bulletin.

It used to be that a visit to our gardens began at the garden’s front gate; now, it quite often begins at the Garden’s website, so it is fitting that this year the award is recognizing an outstanding website judged by the following criteria:

-- Overall Usability/User Interface
-- Design/Aesthetics
-- Content
-- Online Marketing (Search Engine Optimization)

The website selected this year is, quite simply, as beautiful as the garden it represents.  With a clean and intuitive user interface, arresting graphics and color palette, a visitor cannot help but want to delve further when visiting the site. Add to that content that concisely shares the necessary visiting information, but also smartly educates visitors about the mission, philosophy and unique attributes of the garden, and you have a spectacular site worthy of recognition.

APGA is pleased to present the 2012 Dorothy E. Hansell Award to Lotusland."


Award Accepted by Gwen Stauffer:

“Thank you, Award Selection Committee.  One of the best benefits of being a member of the American Public Garden Association is the ability to come together and share information with each other.  The creation of our  web site was a considerable endeavor by a huge team  including consultants – some of whom provided their services pro bono – as well as staff and donors.  So, if any of you are interested in knowing about our process in creating this website, please feel free to contact me.   This gathering of all of us through our professional association is our opportunity to share our projects, ideas, and successes, and I am happy to talk with you.  Again, thank you for the award – we appreciate it.”


Student Travel Awards

Receipients for 2012:

Katie King
Allie Skaer
Dana Reynolds
Gabriel Verduzco
Alisha Barton
Lauren Garcia
Erin McKeon
Amy McFarland
Nathan Tinsley
Ean Tafoya
Sarah Rice
Lexi Messenger
MacKenzie Patrick