Call For Sessions


New Horizons: Rising From Roots

We established the theme "New Horizons" in late 2018 with the idea of promoting positive change as we move toward the gardens of tomorrow. The experience of the past few years has touched all of us and affected our public gardens in many ways. We are focused on keeping our public gardens resilient and thriving amid change. The innovative thinking that was going to be necessary to plan for the future has, in many cases, already happened.  

The state of Texas is one of the most diverse in the country - from its varied ecoregions to its multicultural residents, Texas provides a prime location to reflect on the past, dig down to our roots, and explore the possibilities for our gardens in the future. Climate change, alternate energy, and disasters are not all that we need to be prepared for. The future of garden diversity, accessibility, partnership, and cultural change will require innovative thinking and we invite you to come explore these New Horizons with us in June 2023. 

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: Monday, October 31, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET  

A Lunch & Learn will be held on Friday, October 7th at 1PM ET that will offer a Q&A and discussion about the 2023 Annual Conference Call for Sessions. A recording of the webinar will be made available here afterwards.

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 2023 Annual Conference will feature a variety of sponsorship and promotional opportunities to choose from. Corporate members interested in sponsored workshop or speaking opportunities should not submit abstracts, but should contact Sara Wilson

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

Presentation Formats

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

60- or 90-Minute Sessions 
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, but we encourage a max of 3 speakers for 60-minute sessions and 5 presenters for 90-minute sessions to allow adequate time for each presenter. 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 completed workshop needs form. Workshops do incur a workshop registration fee per attendee unless subsidized through sponsorship. Typical workshop attendance is 15-20 participants. Full-day workshops are six hours and half-day workshops are 3 hours

Abstract Submission will Reopen for Student, Poster, and Rapid-Fire presentations: January 8, 2023, 3:00 p.m. ET 
Submission Deadline: February 23, 2023, 3:00 p.m. ET 

Submission Components

Abstract submissions will address the following: 

  • Track

  • Title

  • 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

            *Final Edits by Association Staff

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 or workshop 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. If funding for a speaker (non-members only) is needed, these funding requests MUST be submitted with the proposal through a Needs Form. For questions, please email Lauren Garcia Chance  at

Session Submission Agreement

By submitting a session proposal, I agree on behalf of all those listed in my session that: 

  • All speakers will sign and return a speaker waiver upon acceptance of our session
  • All speakers will present in-person in Fort Worth/Dallas. Options for virtual are extremely limited and reserved for unique circumstances. 
  • All speakers must register for the conference (min. 1-day) or may choose to present and attend only their session. Registration discounts or waivers are not available for speakers. (Note that we invite applications in Jan/Feb for financial assistance through our Garden Scholars program)
  • Any expenses incurred to participate in this conference are the speakers' responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the Association. 
  • No substantive changes in content or presenters are made without prior written approval from staff or Program Selection Committee. 
  • The Association will be notified immediately if an emergency would prevent this session from being presented at the Annual Conference. In the event an originally listed presenter is unable to attend, the session coordinator will provide a substitute presenter of equal expertise for approval by the Association. 
  • I warrant and represent that this session/workshop is my own original work, factually accurate, and contains nothing libelous or otherwise unlawful. I have the authority to present the content in my presentation or I have obtained all necessary permissions or licenses from any persons or organizations whose material is included or used in my presentation. 

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 our 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 2023, 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 5 - 8, 2023, 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: Monday, October 31
, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET 

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