Join ACS
Member Login

New member (10 Replies)

Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Hello everyone,

<div style=”margin-left: 20px;”>
My name is Clay, and I am a new member at ACS. I am a 29 year old biology student at Carleton University in Ontario Canada, and have had a fascination with conifers and other gymnosperms for as long as I can remember. I am interested in cultivars, but I am most interested in wild conifers, and their biology.

I was just wondering if the group was only geared towards cultivation, and not conifer ecology, biogeography, native range limits, etc. Basically, I wouldn’t want to keep posting things that are not the focus of the group, which would bog everyone down. I would love to discuss some works by people like the great conifer scientist, Aljos Farjon

It’s an honor to be part of this group, and I would like to thank you for accepting me.


Clayton Shearer.

Cancel Edit
Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:41 am

Hi Clay,
I’m also a big fan of Farjon. Welcome to the ACS. Our mission is as follows:

The mission of the American Conifer Society is the development, conservation and propagation of conifers, especially those that are dwarf or unusual, the standardization of nomenclature, and the education of the public.

In recent times I feel that the emphasis has been a bit overloaded toward development to stimulate the imaginations of all the cultivar collectors and home gardeners out there. The organization was created through the efforts of these kinds of gardeners and that is where the interest in the bulk of our membership lay.

However . . . at a recent board meeting the society approved a grant to an organization working to restore Pinus paulustris stands in the southeasterrn U.S. and at our most recent National conference we received a very interesting presentation from a man who’s working on saving Torreya laxifolia in Florida. So, the conservation piece is there and I feel it’s growing in importance.

One of the hats I wear is that of editor for the ConiferBase. I believe that as a student, this is where you’ll have the most fun. I’ll admit that the project is still very raw, but parts of it are coming along nicely. Last week’s project for me was completing records for the Dacrydium species where I gained a great appreciation for the work of David de Laubenfels. As you explore the ConiferBase, you will see a comment box at the bottom of each species and trinomial record. Feel free to make comments, offering corrections or additional information. At the moment you’ll probably only be interacting with me, but I hope that changes as more students and scientists become aware of us. As I said earlier this body of work is still pretty raw as this new website has only existed for a bit over a year now. Nonetheless, as one of the editors, I would greatly value your input.

all the best,
David Olszyk
ACS Western Regional President / ConiferBase Editor

Cancel Edit
Posted July 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hi Clay! I’d like to extend my welcome as well. I’m the Editor of this site and echo Dave’s comments. There is room in the Society’s membership for many different kinds of conifer interest, and many of us are interested in more than one aspect. Our meetings tend to have more a a cultivar focus, but we like to include native trees whenever possible. Next spring the Western Region is planning a trip to the mountains and coast in Southern California to observe native stands of pines – no cultivars at all on that trip! Don’t hesitate to let us know if there are particular subjects you’d like to explore; we may be able to put you in touch with members who have expertise or interest in that area.

Sara Malone
ACS Website Editor

ps And it would be great if you would upload a photo – helps people get to know you! Let me know if you have any trouble.

Cancel Edit
Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Hello David and Sara,

Thank you so much for your replies. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but I have recently moved and am just getting settled down again.

David and Sara- I am relieved that the ACS is also geared towards conifers as a wild plant. I am curious about this trip to California. Would I be eligible to attend? Will the Bristle-Cone Pines be on the itinerary? I suppose they are more Eastern California..

David- The presentation regarding T. laxifolia sounds fascinating. I recall hearing that this species was doing poorly in Florida, due to warming of the state over the past few thousand years. The result was to introduce it to an area slight north, in an environment more similar to how Florida was when the plant thrived. Is this the concept? I would love to read any publications on that, if you could recommend any. Also, I greatly enjoyed reading your work on Dacrydium. New Caladonia would be a great place to visit for ACS members!

David- the ConiferBase is absolutely brilliant! I am ecstatic to have access to such a resource. Please, let me know if there is any work that I can volunteer my time to.

Speaking of cultivars, I noticed a Red Cedar(Juniperus virginiana) growing in a heavily weeping fashion. Is this a potential cultivar? If so, I can return to the site and take photographs. It is located in Eastern/Central Ontario Canada. The specimen was ~ 8 feet in height, possibly taller.

Thank you,


Cancel Edit
Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Clay – Dan Spear is the organizer for the April trip in Southern CA. Yes, of course you are eligible to attend! Dan is on vacation right now but I’ve pinged him to respond to you with more specifics. I think that you are correct that we will not be in bristle cone territory, but Dan may be able to get you there or point the way. And if we ever manage a trip to New Caledonia, I’ll be the first to sign up! I will let David respond on your J. virginiana question. He’s at an ACS event today so may take him a few days to check in.

Cancel Edit
Posted October 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Thank you, Sara!

Cancel Edit
Posted October 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm

In April we will tour the Angels Crest in the San Gabriel Mountains, the middle range of the Transverse Ranges surrounding Los Angeles and adjacent areas in Southern California. The hot summer/dry mountains are home to 13 native conifers, with two being endemic to the southern half of the state; Pinus coulteri Coulter Pine and Pseudotsuga macrocarpa bigcone Douglas-fir. We will only be looking at native species, no cultivars or non-natives. On Sunday we will drive south down the coast to Torrey Pines State Park and get a guided tour by park staff of Pinus torreyana Torrey Pine. The focus of the weekend will be the native conifers and how amazing it is they thrive in these desert conditions.

My wife and I visited the White Mountains and Eastern Sierra in July to see Pinus longaeva Great Basin Bristlecone Pine and Pinus balfouriana Foxtail Pine, among others. Conifer Society member and former president Tom Cox also recently did a similar trip. Maybe that is a trip we can plan for the future? It is a spectacular area, but it is about 500 miles north of the Angeles Crest.

You’ll find a very wide range of interests and expertise in the Conifer Society. I am always learning from other members, so I think you will enjoy being a member (if you get involved) and enjoy our Conifer Road Trip.

Cancel Edit
Posted October 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Hi Daniel,
Thank you very much for your note. I will be planning on joining in on this trip. I have never been out west, so this will be an exceptional experience. I plan on flying west to Victoria from Ottawa (my home), then driving south through Washington, Oregon, etc. My girlfriend is gong to be joining the ACS soon, and will most likely join me. On a side note, and I am very interested in myriapods, and will be writing the Canadian guide book for these animals. I will be surveying from the Canadian/Alaska border, to the Washington border. I will be searching for conifer cultivar potential concurrently.

I think a future trip to the White Mountains would be very exciting. I will certainly join as well. A much more pricey trip would be to New Caledonia (As Sara and I were discussing) but it would certainly be an unforgettable experience to any ACS members who went. Quoting conifer scientist Aljos Farjon- “New Caledonia is something like Mecca for conifer enthusiasts, and we all would like to make at least one pilgrimage to it.”

Yes, I have been very impressed by the knowledge and diversity of passion and interest in the ACS. It’s great to be part of this.


Cancel Edit
Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Clay, as you’re passing through Washington, I’d like to invite you for a stroll about my grounds. Although it’s mostly cultivars, I think you’d be thoroughly entertained by a righteous conifer garden.

Cancel Edit
Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Thank you, David!

That would be a major highlight in my itinerary. 🙂
I would love to see your grounds. I read in your bio that you like “contorted things”. This style is probably most pleasing to me in terms of cultivar form. I can’t wait to check it out!

Cancel Edit

You must be to reply to this topic.