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2018 Annual Conference

2018 Conference


Cultivate Your Creative Nature

June 4-8, 2018
Southern California


Hosted by:

Descanso Gardens
Disneyland Resort
Huntington Library, Art Collections, & Botanical Gardens
Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
San Diego Botanic Garden
Sherman Library & Gardens
South Coast Botanic Garden 

Southern California is best known for its sand, surf and now, its SESSIONS! Thank you to all who submitted your trendsetting, innovative, and artful ideas that “Cultivate Your Creative Nature”. The Program Selection Committee is eager to review your proposals that change perspectives and challenge tradition. We look forward to bringing you the full program in early 2018! Conference registration will open early March 2018.



Abstract Central  is now OPEN  to accept Poster, Rapid-fire, and Student Presentation submissions.


The deadline for Student Presentation abstract submission is 3 pm ET March 16, 2018. 


The deadline for Rapid-fire and Poster abstracts is 3 pm ET April 6, 2018. 


Submit a Poster, Rapid-fire, or Student Presentation here.


Interested in Sponsoring or Exhibiting at this year's event?
Click here to download our 2018 Promotions brochure.


Want to learn more about the 2018 Conference? 
View our 2018 Call for Sessions brochure.


Tracks and Program Selection Committee:

With broad themes that represent overlap and collaboration between disciplines, five tracks reflect the work of our Professional Section communities and offer all participants the opportunity to share their diverse perspectives.

Whether you are new to the submission process or a veteran presenter, consider reaching out to a Program Selection Committee co-chair before you submit.  Are you wondering if any other gardens have a program or innovation like yours?  Are you looking for the right panelist to provide needed perspective for your great session idea? Co-chairs are experienced in a variety of public garden disciplines and are available to help members in designing and creating sessions and workshops for any track. These experienced professionals are available to help you, so do not hesitate to contact them to make your conference program a huge success!

The Living Landscape

Clayton Bass
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
(505) 471-9103

Ray Mims
Conservation, Partnerships & Sustainability
United States Botanic Garden
(202) 409-1659

Tom A. Smarr Jr.
Director of Horticulture
21st Century Parks, The Parklands at Floyds Fork
(502) 415-1457


Collecting and Conserving

Dr. David C. Michener
Associate Curator
University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum
(734) 647-8711

Dr. Damon Waitt
North Carolina Botanical Garden
(919) 962-2184

Sara Helm Wallace
Director of Public Gardens
Trustees | Doyle Center
(978) 840-4446 ext. 1939


Education and Communication

Dr. Ann Fleener
Director of Education
Myriad Botanical Gardens
(405) 445-7094

Rebecca Wolf
Assistant Director
Queens Botanical Garden
(718) 886-3800

Tanya Zastrow
Director of Programs
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of the University of Texas at Austin
(512) 232-0122


Making Friends, Making Money

Elisa Heikkila
Associate Director of Development
San Francisco Botanical Garden Society
(415) 661-1316 Ext. 312

Missy Whisler
Senior Vice President of Sales & Development
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Society
(214) 515-6500

Somer Sherwood White
Director of Advancement
Descanso Gardens
(818) 952-4389


Leadership, Innovation, and Advocacy 

Preston Bautista
Deputy Director for Public Programs & Audience Engagement
(317) 923-1331 x100

Charles Hunter
Director of Horticulture, Acting
The Niagara Parks Commission
(905) 295-4396 ext.3259

John Whisnant
Executive Director
Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden
(336) 996-7888  


For More Information

Program Selection Committee Chair:
Tom A. Smarr Jr.
Director of Horticulture
21st Century Parks, The Parklands at Floyds Fork
(502) 415-1457

Staff Liaison:
Sarah Beck
Program Manager, Current and Future Initiatives, American Public Gardens Association