Winners of Ackerman Contest Announced

Winners for the 2020 Ackerman Contest are:
Place Name
  9 & Under
1 Dietrich Brase
2 Alexandra Petrie
3 Tie Nathan Chien
 3 Tie  Mari Howell
  10 - 12
1 Eli Obrecht
2 Jason Chien
  13 & Over
1 Darby Redman
2 Katherine Brase
3 Tie Andrew Chien
3 Tie Colvin Follis



Topic was:  Imagine that you are the President of the American Iris Society 50 years  from now, on the 150th Anniversary of AIS. How would you encourage people to join AIS and continue to support growing and sharing irises into the future? What do you think irises will look like in 2070?


Dietrich Brase Entry:

How To Grow the American Iris Society


If I were the president of the American Iris Society in 2070, I would be think of ways to get more people to grow and enjoy irises. I would recored educational programs about irisis, donate potted median irises fro children to give to their moms for Mother's Day, and encourage school children to visit my garden.

The American Iris Society should record educational programs about the many kinds of irises, and how to take care of them.  This would be really helpful to iris clubs for the prorgrams at their monthly meetings to educate new members.  It would also get experienced gardeners interested in growing other kinds of irises, if they knew how to take care of them.  It might even inspire some kids to try hybridizing irises!  A neat program idea would be a series of "Meet the Hybridizers" where people could see the hybridizers who developed the irises growing in their gardens.  Iris Clubs should record their educational programs to share with other clubs and schools.

A great way to get children interested in gardening, is to get their parents or grandparents involved. That is why I would like to give potted irises to schools around Mother's Day.  The early median iries are usually overlooked because more people around here (in Nebraska) seem to plant Tall Bearded irises.  But the medians would be blooming around this time.  The children could paint or decorate the pots, and then give them to their moms. I would add a piece of paper with information bout joining a local iris club, and the American Iris Society.  I would not have know about irises, if is had not been for my Mom.  I think it would be a great activity for chidlren and their parents to do somthing together.  They could always look forward to their special flower blooming each spring!

I would like to have an iris garden that schools can take students to visit and practice weeding and digging around in the dirt with hoes and smaller tools.  I would give them each a free iris rhizome, with a picture of its flower and the name of the iris, as well as a sheet of planting instructions.  My garden would have different kinds of irises, including some that can grow in swampy areas.  I would dig a pond and grow those irises at the edge of it. Garden benches would be surrounding the pond, so people could take their time to stop and see the overall view of the garden.  My garden would include very old irises as well as modern ones.  In the future, I think we will see a lot more Space Age irises with larger, sturdier spoons that do not rip off with a little wind.  They will make the iris blooms look thicker and fuller.

My recommendations for encouraging more people to join the American Iris Society and simple:  Develop more educational programs, donate irises to students and youth members, and encourage schools to take field trips to local iris gardens.  Most people get started growing irises when someone gives them one.  Once their own iris starts blooming, they are likely to be hooked!



Eli Obrecht Entry:  

            The Awakening:  Keeping Irises Alive


It is the year 2070, and it seems as thought all the plants and animals are here, but where have all the irises gone?  To many people, the loss of iris populations does not affect them one bit, but to us iris lovers and AIS members, the decline of irises make us miss their beauty and the first blooms in spring. Working to preserve all living things are of great importance to our world and just like endangered animals and plants, the iris is now among those living things needing to stay alive.   

So here I am, president of the AIS. I am confronted with the declining iris population and how to preserve them.  I will begin to telling you the steps that myself and AIS member took in order to keep the irises alive, safe, and bearing their new iris genus.

I asked myself, "How are animals and plants that are in danger protected?"  Answer:  zoos and greenhouses!  So why not build iris sanctuaries that would protect them and yield to a growing population once again?       

There are three different santuaries that house iries from all over the world. 'The Endangered Iris House Santuary' is located in Napa, California.  Here iris were brought in from their original growing sites.  AIS member dug the rhizomes up carefully and brought hem to the sanctuary.  These irises in this shrine were those of long-lasting irises from genus going back hundreds of years.  Some include, Elderberry Wine, Broadband, Bess Streeter Aldrick, and many, many more. These are the forefathers of the iris, therefore, needing to stand tall for their iris families.

The next santuary called, 'The New Iris House Santuary' is located in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Here, this houses newly hybrized irises.  Among these, you will find rich new colors, such as gold, silver, turquioise, and dark magenta.  Their falls will portray eye-like shapes, and spiky-like tips.  We have the Lincold Iris Society to thank for thier hard work and creative minds, that will begin a new line of iris growing.  Once thse irise ahve made their clumps, and properly cared fro and kept free of borers, and fungus, they will them move to the third and final iris Sanctuary.

The last and final resting place for irises, is a place where the youth adn educaated iris lovers can come together and volunteer their time to protect adn care for the beloved iris.  This is called 'The School Iris House.'  The veteran iris caretakers teach the youth how to properly care for the iris beds.  They show kids how to gently clean the beds, to not break the leaves, or damage the rhizomes.  They will also learn how to delicately get rid of the dead leaves from the gardens.  Transferring and transplanting clumps is needed so the iris genus continues to grow and florish.  Teachings of how to hybridize irises is also shown and taught here.  A veteran grower is teamed up with a younger grower to hybridize new irises.  From these new blooms, they are transported and cared fro at each of the three sanctuaries.

With all of the hard work from AIS members all over the world, the iris can, and will forever be cherished and thrive.  It all had to start with protecting the iris that are still standing talll, creating new iris genus, and ensuring society is educated in preserving these ever-changing, everlasting works of art.



Darby Redman Entry:     

No Title


 Debbie Strauss the Chair of the AIS Foundation Ackerman Youth Contest received an email from Jim Morris, Managing Editor of AIS 2020 Centennial Publication 100 Years Bold, asking if we could hold off on the publication of Darby’s winning essay.  He said, “The essay in the oldest youth category is so good and prophetic that it would fit great at the end of Supplement Four, AIS 2020 Centennial Publication 100 Years Bold!  Would you mind not printing it yet?  It would fit nicely with a piece that Kelly Norris is doing for me on his look at the future of irises.” So, Darby’s essay will not be printed here with the rest of the essays but will be printed in the AIS Centennial 4th Edition. We are so proud of you Darby!