The American Horticultural Society has announced a new national speaker series featuring current and past Great American Gardeners Award Winners and Book Award Winners. Since 1953, the AHS has been using these award programs to recognize and celebrate horticultural champions that represent the best in American gardening. The launch of this new dedicated webinar series will provide an additional spotlight on these outstanding individuals.
The 2021-2022 speakers include Karen Washington (2018 Urban Beautification Award), Michael J. Balick, Ph.D. (2020 H. Marc Cathey Award honoring excellence in scientific research), and Shane Smith (2012 Professional Award honoring excellence in public garden administration). The series will launch with the first conversation on Friday, October 8. Each live program will be hosted by Holly Shimizu, former executive director of the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. and an AHS board member, who will lead a lively and engaging conversation with speakers that will tap into their knowledge and experience. The interactive program format will allow audience members to ask questions of the guests.
Friday, October 8 at 4 pm (EDT) Karen Washington
Washington has been a community gardener and activist in New York City since 1985. As a New York Botanical Garden trustee, she currently works with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into gardens. In her earlier role as an advocate and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she championed garden protection and preservation. She’s also active with the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, helping to launch a City Farms Market to bring fresh vegetables to the community.
Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 7 pm (EDT) Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.
A world-renowned ethnobotanist and book author with the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), Balick works with indigenous cultures to document plant diversity, preserve knowledge about traditional uses for plants, and helps these communities sustainably manage their resources. In the course of this work, he evaluates the potential of these botanical resources for broader medical or pharmaceutical applications. His most recent project focuses on the tropical Pacific Islands in Micronesia and Melanesia, where he is documenting the diversity, local use, and management of plant resources in support of a region-wide conservation plan.
Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 7 pm (EDT) Shane Smith
Shane Smith was the founding director of the award-winning Cheyenne Botanic Gardens from its inception in 1977 until 2018. Currently, he serves Wyoming’s only public garden as the director emeritus. In addition to his AHS award, Smith has received the Wyoming Governor’s Community Hero award; the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Public Garden Association; and the 2012 National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence for his contributions to gardening and horticulture. He continues to mentor other public gardens and tend his state-of-the-art greenhouse in western Colorado.