ARS 2019 Fall Conference Speakers

ARS 2019 Fall Conference

Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
September 27 – 29, 2019


Geoff Ball

Geoff Ball graduated from UBC in 1991 with a BSc in microbiology and then from VIU in 1995 in the Horticulture Technician program. Shortly after, he became an employee of VIU’s Horticulture program, where he worked as a research assistant, technician, and instructor, until transferring to Milner Gardens & Woodland in 1998 to take on the position of Horticulture Supervisor.  In this role, Geoff oversaw the management of the grounds, while coordinating construction projects and activities of the students and community volunteers.  Geoff continued to work in that role until 2006, when he took over the position of Executive Director of the Gardens, which continues today.  Geoff is also the current Chair of “Gardens BC”. Return to conference info


Dennis Bottemiller

Dennis Bottemiller, now recently retired, was the Nursery/Propagation manager at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) in Federal Way Washington and was responsible for the tended the vireya collection and Rutherford Conservatory Dennis. He obtained a degree in Production Horticulture from Washington State University in 1989 and was an intern at the RSBG in 1987, which led to his nursery position upon graduation. Over his nearly 30-year span at RSBG, Dennis took a seven-year hiatus from rhododendrons other than vireyas to manage the collections and structures at the Victorian glasshouse W.W. Seymour Conservatory in Tacoma, Washington.  This experience grounded him in conservatory culture and prepared him for the adventure of building and maintaining the new vireya conservatory for the RSBG, which opened in 2010 and has been the highlight of his career in garden work.  The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden is home to the largest collection of species rhododendrons in North America and is a unique resource for botanic and horticultural research institutions worldwide.  Return to conference info


Marc Colombel

Marc’s main interest in Rhododendron is hybridization. More particularly in recent years, hybridization of polyploids and to this end, he is currently creating a Conservatory for polyploid rhododendrons in Josselin, France, with “old” and “new” polyploids. He has been a member of the ARS for 30 years. In 1993, he published a book titled “Rhododendrons: Mode d’emploi ” and he created the “Société Bretonne du Rhododendron ,” of which he was the President for 14 years. During these years, he wrote about 200 articles for the Association’s bulletins and newsletters. He opened his first web site in 1996, with the goal to share his knowledge and to educate visitors with the help of files. He received the ARS Silver Medal in 2008 and he was named Knight of the Agricultural Merit by the French Government in 2010 and an Officer in 2017. His website is Return to conference info


Bernie Dinter

Bernie Dinter grew up on the campus of Shawnigan Lake School, where his father was gardener from 1952 to 1972, and graduated in 1976 from UBC with a degree in Plant Science. His father began “Dinter’s Nursery” in 1973 and Bernie joined it full time after graduation, where it has been supporting gardeners in the Cowichan Valley for 45 years and now draws customers from all over Vancouver Island. Bernie is a member of the Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society and  the BC Institute of Agrologists. Return to confence info


Dr. Linda A. Gilkeson

Linda earned a Ph.D. in Entomology from McGill University in 1986, then moved to British Columbia, where she has worked in the production of biological controls for the provincial government to reduce and eliminate pesticide use, as head of the provincial State of Environment Reporting Unit, and as the Executive Director of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. She now devotes her time to writing, teaching and consulting.

Linda’s comprehensive gardening book, “Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest”, was a BC best seller and has just been republished in a new, considerably expanded edition. She continues to self-publish books for local gardeners, most recently “Resilient Gardens”, “Pollinator Gardens”, “Garlic Diseases”, and “Pest Update”. government and organic gardening books for Rodale Press.

As a private consultant, Linda is a regular instructor in the Master Gardener programs in BC and is busy year around giving workshops on pest management and organic gardening.  Return to conference info


Dr. Richard Hebda

Dr. Richard Hebda is Curator Emeritus (Botany and Earth History) at the Royal British Columbia Museum after 38 years of service, and remains adjunct faculty at the University of Victoria for 34 years. He curated the Climate and Climate Change exhibit at the museum and was the first faculty coordinator of the Restoration of Natural Systems Program at University of Victoria. He studies vegetation and climate history of BC, climate change and its impacts, ecology and origins of alpine ecosystems and botany of grasses.

Richard Hebda is (co)author of 130+ scientific papers 250+ popular articles on native plants and climate change; co-author/editor of several books and major reports including several reports on climate change for NGO’s. He was senior editor on the recently-released RBCM volume on the human remains found frozen in a northwest BC glacier. He appears often on TV and radio, and in newspaper interviews.  He recently received the Queen’s Jubilee medal for his work in palaeontology and the national Bruce Naylor award for natural history curatorship in 2015. Return to conference info


Steve Hootman

Steve Hootman is the Executive Director & Curator of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington. He has participated in or led around twenty expeditions into the remote regions of the world looking for rare and new taxa of rhododendrons and other plants and is considered one of the world authorities on the genus Rhododendron. He is also an active collector, authority and promoter of related Ericaceae including genera such as Vaccinium, Agapetes and Gaultheria. Steve received the ARS Gold Medal in 2007. Return to conference info


Ron Long

Ron Long had a thirty-six-year career as the sciences photographer at Simon Fraser University. As a result he has a great deal of biology in his background. Early on Ron developed an interest in BC native plants and he has been photographing wildflowers for over forty years. Arctic/alpine species have always been of special interest to him.

Ron is a past president of the Native Plant Society of BC, sits on the Botany Committee of the Vancouver Natural History Society and has served on the board of the Alpine Garden Club of BC. As a conservationist Ron has, for the past eight years, fought to preserve the rare plants and their tundra habitat on Pink Mountain in Northern BC. Return to conference info


Dr. Juliana Medeiros

Juliana Medeiros is a research scientist at the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, She conducted her PhD work at the University of New Mexico on the physiology of desert shrubs in Mexico and Argentina, and her post-doc at the University of Kansas. Travelling to see new and interesting plants around the world has been a long-term, continuing fascination. Today, her research lab at the Holden Arboretum focuses on Rhododendron as a model system to understand how plant traits evolve in response to their environments. She is co-chair of the Rhododendron Research Network, committed to advancing and promoting research in the genus, and she is also actively involved in outreach programs for adults and K-12 students.  She is a member of the Great Lakes ARS chapter. Return to conference info


Nancy Moore

I’ve had a life-long love of plants and gardening, and have been extremely fortunate to be able to spend my working life doing what I enjoy. My degree was in landscape design/horticulture, I have since then (among other things) been the horticulturist for a city parks department, manager of a shade tree nursery, instructor in landscape design and horticulture at the University of the Fraser Valley, and owner/operator of a landscape design/consulting business.  I have enjoyed donating my time and expertise to benefit many community projects, including the Abbotsford Community Garden and the Sylvia Pincott Heritage/Habitat Garden. Post retirement, I still enjoy puttering in my garden, teaching the Master Gardeners at VanDusen Garden, giving gardening talks, and being involved with the Fraser South Rhododendron Society and several other Fraser Valley garden clubs. Return to conference info


Mike Stewart

Mike is a past President of the American Rhododendron Society, and is the Past President of the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden (RSBG) in Federal Way, Washington.  The RSBG holds the largest collection of species rhododendrons in the world. Mike and his wife Maria have recently retired as owners of Dover Nursery, where for the past 40 years, they propagated and grew over 1200 different hybrid and species rhododendrons, shipping some 40,000 plants each spring to garden centers throughout the US and Canada.  Mike received the ARS’ Gold Medal in 2009 for his many contributions in the areas of rhododendron cultivation, preservation, and for the information that he provides to the public.  Return to conference info


Dr. Nancy Turner

An ethnobotanist at the University of Victoria whose research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, Nancy is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada. Nancy has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for over 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments. Nancy has much to share with us as we face a warming climate, lower precipitation and significant watering restrictions. Return to conference info


Comments are closed.