IRIS GARDENING – THE NO-FAIL OUTDOOR
The American Iris Society (AIS) founded in 1920, is a group of approximately 8,000 members devoted to the culture and improvement of the iris. Over 350 of this number are youth members under the age of 19. Some 175 local iris clubs are scattered throughout the United States. The AIS offers Classroom Iris Projects (CIPs) for schools. This is a "hands on" opportunity for students to grow and care for irises on their school grounds.
SET UP A CLASSROOM IRIS PROJECT (C.I.P.)
Once Tom Gormley gets the information, he gives it to Cheryl Deaton, National AIS Youth Chairperson. Cheryl then sends youth packets and other information to the teacher(s). Cheryl will also request payment of AIS dues for the teacher from the AIS Secretary/Treasurer. Many local clubs will add the Teacher(s) to the local roster and pay their club dues. That's all there is to it!
The youth members will also begin to receive a copy of the Iris Fan (the Youth bulletin, published twice a year), receive an "AIS Youth Member Handbook", have the opportunity to participate in the AIS Pen Pals Program and have the chance to enter the National Youth Contests (Clarke Cosgrove contest, Ackerman essay contest, Youth coloring contest, and other contests that take place from time-to-time).
The Classroom Iris Project is not to be confused with other available Youth Iris Projects (see also the webpage about Youth Projects for Youth Leaders as opposed to this Youth Project for Teachers.)
Irises are the ideal flowers for the outdoor classroom for several reasons. They have spring bloom while school is still in session and many irises rebloom in the fall. With the many types of species and hybrids, irises are suited to all growing areas and conditions in the U.S. Bearded irises are drought tolerant. Several beardless types thrive in moist conditions. Aril irises grow in desert regions. The species, I. setosa, is native to Alaska. Louisiana irises thrive along the Gulf Coast. Spuria irises grow over six feet tall in CA (about four feet in MO). Miniature Dwarf Bearded irises are only three or four inches tall. Irises come in all colors except for bright red. There are even brown and black irises. Irises do not have many diseases or pests. Irises are NOT BORING!
Local iris clubs, which are affiliates of the AIS, are available in many areas to sponsor CIPs. They are usually willing to provide good quality, named iris rhizomes for the students to plant. Iris clubs may also contribute all or part of the students’ AIS dues each per year. Sometimes other supplies such as garden markers, fertilizer, etc. will be donated. The teacher’s AIS dues will be paid from a special classroom fund when his/her students sign up as AIS youth members.
BENEFITS FOR THE TEACHER:
BENEFITS FOR THE STUDENTS:
LIST OF PROJECTS INCLUDES:
The above Classroom Iris Project (C.I.P.) information sheets were prepared by Valerie Mertz, Biology instructor at Marquette High School, Chesterfield, Missouri, and by Jean Morris, Past National Youth Chairman, American Iris Society (A.I.S.). Additional literature may be obtained from the current National Youth Chairman of AIS:
Clicking on the icon above labeled (For Teachers) or click here For Teachers will take you to several pages prepared by Valerie Mertz and Jean Morris which can be used in a Classroom setting.