Call For Sessions


CommUNITY of Gardens

At their core, gardens are gathering places, where people can get lost in the beauty and fascination of the natural world and create meaningful experiences together. At their highest level, gardens hold a grounding strength, one with the power to unite us all in our similarities as well as honor and celebrate that which makes us unique.  

Under this theme, sessions will address the ways in which gardens harness this individual and collective power to ignite connection, protection, and change. How the work of staff and volunteers provides respite, care, conservation, and a better understanding of all living beings, both humans and plants alike. And lastly, to explore what new audiences, stories, and collaborations have been missing in this important work.  

The theme CommUNITY of Gardens is perfectly reflective of our conference destination, Portland, Oregon- a beautiful "City of Gardens" at the forefront of recent social, environmental, and community issues. The CommUNITY of Gardens conference will highlight the partnerships, established and emerging, between gardens and their chosen communities for the cultivation, security, and betterment of our planet, ourselves, and our future.  

Share your knowledge and use our online submission system to submit your abstract. Prior to submitting, please read the below information in its entirety.

You will need to login with your Association credentials in order to submit. If you need assistance, please email
Submission Deadline: Friday, October 29, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET  

Who Should Submit? 

The individual who submits the session, the session coordinator, should be a public horticulture professional, volunteer, or trustee who holds current Association membership and be a non-corporate member of the Association. Individuals who provide commercial services and goods to gardens or who are non-members may not serve as session coordinators, but are encouraged to collaborate with others to submit session ideas and may participate as presenters. Anyone with an interest in public horticulture from disciplines or organizations outside public horticulture are strongly encouraged to participate as presenters. Want to become a member? Email for details.

Please note that each individual is limited to a maximum of two session submissions. Individuals may be included in multiple submissions, but following Program Selection Committee session selection, individuals will be capped at presenting in two sessions to encourage a diverse representation of speakers. 

Corporate/Sponsor Presentation Opportunities 

The 2022 Annual Conference will feature a variety of sponsorship and promotional opportunities to choose from. Corporate members interested in sponsored workshop opportunities should not submit abstracts, but should contact Joan Thomas:

Session Coordinator Expectations: 

  • Coordinate session logistical details
  • Organize session focus, format, and presenters 
  • Develop session content 
  • Specify session room/site setup and audiovisual needs 
  • Budget for costs - food, audiovisual, etc., and make these needs known to the Association 
  • Notify all presenters when a session is accepted 
  • Ensure all presenters register for the conference 
  • Introduce session, presenters, and provide summary remarks 
  • Ensure the electronic capture of session and workshop information

Presentation Formats

30-Minute Individual Presentation  
Structured discussions or presentations based on a single, focused topic are welcome. One to two speaker presentations encouraged.  

60- or 90-Minute Presentation 
A variety of formats may be used to build 60- and 90-minute sessions, such as panel discussions, case study comparisons, interactive formats with small group breakouts, and more. Multiple presenters are encouraged to lend broader perspectives to these longer sessions. You are encouraged to contact your Program Selection Committee co-chair to discuss whether interactive formats such as breakouts and debates, engaging narratives or more formal multi-speaker panel style presentations are the right fit for your topic. 

Workshop (Full- or Half-day) 
This is the perfect venue for experienced workshop leaders to pass on their knowledge in a targeted learning opportunity. Typically workshops have an interactive, hands-on component. Please note that proposals for workshops must include a complete budget. Workshops are expected to cover all costs through registration fees unless subsidized through a sponsorship. Typical workshop attendance is 15-20 participants.  

Abstract Submission will Reopen for Student Oral Presentations, Posters and Rapid-fire presentations: January 3, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET 
Submission Deadline: February 28, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET 

Submission Components

Abstract submissions will address the following: 

  • Session Description (attendee-facing) -- 350 Word Max  

  • Key Issues and Concepts -- 200 Word Max

  • How Proposed Session/Workshop is Engaging -- 50 Word Max

  • Describe Learning Outcomes -- 50 Word Max

  • Why Presenters Were Selected -- 50 Word Max

  • Optional : Session/Workshop Needs Form

Session/Workshop Needs Form  

To ensure the American Public Gardens Association can fully provide all needed materials, equipment, etc. for proposed sessions, we request that if you have needs beyond what is typically provided you download this form, complete, and upload with your session submission. Workshops will have registration fees beyond the cost of conference registration to help offset needed supplies, food, etc. Costs vary depending on workshop supplies and needs. Sessions are included in conference costs and have limited capacity for cost coverage. Please note a request for supplies/needs does not guarantee provision or coverage. For questions, please email Lauren Garcia Chance at

Develop a Strong Proposal  

Conference attendees are diverse. Your audience potentially includes people who are employed in a wide variety of capacities at botanical gardens, arboreta, cemeteries, zoos and university campuses -as well as volunteers, graduate students, and corporate members from a variety of industries.   

The American Public Gardens Association is committed to creating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture where the contributions of all community members are valued, respected, and appreciated.  

When recruiting presenters for your session, please keep in mind that member gardens vary in terms of size of budget, staff, location, and acreage. If applicable, please ensure that your presenters are representative of the membership and/or provide multiple perspectives on the topic so that all gardens can take advantage of the valuable information you are presenting. 

Discuss your session with a member of the Program Selection Committee! Learn more.

     How are proposals evaluated?   


By early January 2022, you will receive notification of the status of your proposal. If acceptance is contingent on changes, you will have two weeks to make those changes and return the amended proposal to the Program Selection Committee. Punctuality and cooperation are appreciated.  

The American Public Gardens Association will determine the specific days and timeslots for sessions. Your submitted proposal automatically confirms your availability for any session block during June 20-24, 2022, the dates of the Annual Conference. If you already have a known time conflict, please note it in your submission. All selected sessions will require speakers to sign a speaker waiver.

You will need to login with your Association credentials in order to submit. If you need assistance, please email
Submission Deadline: Friday, 
October 29, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET