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AAS awards recognize leadership


August 20, 2012
By All-America Selections

Aug. 20, 2012, Downers Grove, IL — In yet another break from tradition,
All-America Selections (AAS) hosted its annual summer meeting for the
first time ever in the state of Michigan.

Aug. 20, 2012, Downers Grove, IL — In yet another break from tradition, All-America Selections (AAS) hosted its annual summer meeting for the first time ever in the state of Michigan. Over 70 attendees came together Aug. 7-9 to tour central Michigan’s trials from a base in East Lansing.

Next year's AAS Summer Summit will be held in mid-August in the Niagara region of Ontario.

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This event is an opportunity for breeders, brokers/distributors, mail order seed companies, seed packet companies, growers, retailers, AAS display gardens, AAS trial judges and the media to network and learn more about recent AAS winners and varieties that are currently being trialed by the AAS Judges.

This year's Summer Summit was held in conjunction with the Michigan Garden Plant Tour, which features a number of trials throughout the state.

After touring their trials, the group participated in a live consumer panel discussion where five non-gardening consumers shared their thoughts and ideas regarding why they don’t pursue a horticulture hobby and what our industry might do to convince them to buy a few flowers or plants.

An annual highlight of the AAS Summer Summit is the Awards Banquet.

• The AAS Breeder’s Cup Award is designed to recognize a person who has dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that bring significant improvement to their class.

Receiving the award this year is Paul Thomas, a vegetable breeder for Petoseed for almost 30 years, and an AAS vegetable trial judge during most of his tenure there. Although he officially retired in 1993, Thomas continues his tomato breeding work independently with some support and assistance from Magnum Seeds.

• The second award is the prestigious AAS Medallion of Honor, an award designed to recognize an individual with a lifelong dedication to advancement in the field of horticulture. 
This year’s recipient is recently retired Dr. Jim Alston, (“Doc” Alston) of Park Seed Company. An impressive highlight of Dr. Alston’s career is his involvement in the Seeds in Space program with NASA in the 1980s and 1990s. Flower breeding was the mainstay of Dr. Alston’s work and he created numerous new varieties of begonia, salvia, coleus, capsicum, rosa, X pardancanda, lantana, mandevilla and brugmansia. He was also an AAS trial judge for many years.


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