Spotlight on Our Volunteers - AIB Judge Alex Pearl

Spotlight on Our Volunteers – AIB Judge Alex Pearl

How did you get involved in America in Bloom?

I got involved with America in Bloom well before the organization was formed. I had earlier read an article in a trade journal about the bedding plant industry formulating some sort of contest. I wrote and volunteered to be a judge. I didn’t hear anything after that. I later learned that the project was a bust but the then trade organization OFA (now AmericanHort) had picked this program up. Then one night in February of 2001, I received a phone call from Raymond Carriere, President of Communities in Bloom, inviting me to attend training in Toronto and to shadow judges in this Canadian program to learn what in bloom programs were about. Upon my return I was invited to join such distinguished green industry leaders as Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Seed Company; Ron Pierre, then President of Express Seed; Delilah Onofrey, then Editor for Greenhouse Grower; Mr. Stan Pohmer Consultant to Floral Markets and others in the discussion and eventual formulation of America in Bloom program. As an educator and Horticulturist I was excited to contribute to the early birth and direction AIB was to take.

When did you start judging?
My very first judging experience was when I was asked by Raymond Carriere of the Communities in Bloom program in Canada to shadow with Canadian judges Herbert Noseworthy and Ted Blowes. The objective was a first-hand overview of what an “in bloom” program was all about. I returned from the experience with the realization that in bloom programs were more than “just the flowers.”

Any fun stories from your travels?
Having a bear cross my path * Sharing a garden with a moose * People I’ve met of all ages and backgrounds * Flying over the Rockies in a forest service helicopter * Revisiting towns and seeing your recommendations implemented * Being on a boat in the Mississippi headwaters * Being in a parade *  Canceled/delayed flights * Late night and early mornings * Revisiting a community and experiencing the tribute a town recognized you and your partner for contributing to their long road to change.* Pot lucks * Splashing in a fountain with the President of the Chamber of Commerce * Visiting school programs * A bike ride through a nature preserve * Judging a flower competition * dining on local cuisines  *wadding in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico * paddling down a river in a war canoe * Walking in virgin forests * being engulfed in a wildflower meadow * fabulous gardens * inspiration * community connectivity * planes, trains, ferries and automobiles * visiting Mount St. Helena * walking the Oregon Trail * Standing on the podium with AIB participants

What do you like to do in your free time?
Garden; volunteer with local schools, Park District, History Museum; travel, being a student, being a gym rat, playing softball.

Parting Words?

Being involved with AIB has given me confidence of conviction of being a part of agents of change. In speaking with community leaders from a wide spectrum of interests I have been able to pass onto my students inspiration toward their success. AIB has opened up my eyes for opportunities for growth as well as building bridges for greater understanding and potential. I have had the privilege of meeting inspiring people whom I add to that list of individuals who have influenced my thinking and actions. Consequently I feel a responsibility to pass on information and data to enhance the growth and influence of America in Bloom.
1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    great we better understand volunteerism from the judges' perspective....