Ardie APOSTOLOS is principal of Green Concept Group, a landscape design firm specializing in Japanese-style gardens, primarily in the Southwest. The design firm which she and her husband Michael formed provide clients with landscape design and scheduled maintenance care, including aesthetic / Niwaki pruning. She and her husband have been long-time students of Bonsai, studying with California masters such as Ben Oki and Dennis Makishima. It was not hard for Ardie to translate her love of trees and Japanese aesthetics into a desire to study and practice Japanese design. Under the tutelage of Tom Okuma, John Powell and Dennis Makishima, she evolved into an ongoing student of Japanese garden design. She volunteers as a gardener at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, Arizona and is a member of the Garden's Board of Directors.
Jeff BURTON is currently the Cultural Resources Manager at Manzanar National Historic Site in California. He received his Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1990. Although he has published reports on topics ranging from prehistoric villages to Spanish missions and frontier Army posts, his passion is the archaeology of World War II Japanese-American internment sites. He has conducted work at Poston, Minidoka, Tule Lake and Manzanar, and teaches a summer field class at Honouliuli Internment Camp in Hawai'i. Since 1993, he has directed archaeological investigations at Manzanar, including the excavation and stabilization of 12 Japanese gardens. His nationwide overview of internment sites was cited in the national law that created the Japanese American Confinement sites grant program and his documentation of still extant remains outside the original Manzanar Historic Site boundary led to its expansion by Congress in 1996.
Jay van ARSDALE is a licensed contractor, woodworker, author and teacher in Oakland, California. He teaches traditional Japanese hand tools and joinery at Laney College and Merritt College. Jay was inspired to become involved with Japanese woodworking in the mid- 70's after seeing a demonstration by Japanese Daiku Makoto Imai, with whom he studied for a number of years. Jay is the author of "Shoji: How To Design, Build and Install Japanese Screens" (Kodansha, 1986), "Introduction To Daiku (Japanese) Woodworking" (Video, 1987) and is a contributing editor to "The Complete Japanese Joinery" (Cloudpress, 1989). In 2010, Jay produced a DVD set on the history, preparation and use of traditional Japanese hand planes, "Japanese Hand Planes - The Workings and Wonders of Kanna." In 2011, he added another two-hour tutorial, "Connections: An Introduction to Japanese Hand Tools and Joinery." Jay is the founder of Daiku Dojo, a wood joinery alliance for community service and is a NAJGA member.
Grant FOERSTER is the founding president of the Aesthetic Pruners Association. In 2003, he began the aesthetic pruning program at Merritt College in Oakland, California. He worked as a staff gardener at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and now runs his own aesthetic pruning business. Along the way, he has worked in many notable private and public Japanese gardens and served as a teacher for the Merritt-affiliated Hands-On Pruning class. Grant's interest in trees also extends to bonsai. He hosts a monthly bonsai studio.
Richard HEIMBERGER has been into koi husbandry since 1999, working for several nurseries and private pond builders before starting his own business. A member of the Midwest Pond & Koi Society, he spent ten years as a moderator on the now defunct KoiVet forum. His formal training comes from the University of Georgia where he attended the Koi Health Management Course in 2005 to 2008. He has also attended various other koi-related trainings from 2009 to 2012.
Tim GRUNER is the Garden Curator at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, working with a team of six gardeners in the maintenance and ongoing construction of one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in the world outside Japan, and under the direction of garden designer and 2014 NAJGA conference keynote speaker Hoichi Kurisu. A frequent contributor to the Japanese garden journal Sukiya Living magazine, Tim completed a two-week intensive garden training in Kyoto, Japan back in 2001 and has studied the traditional Urasenke-style tea ceremony. After graduating in 1987 from the Kishwaukee College Horticulture Program, he spent a year as horticulture intern at the Chicago Botanic Garden, one year as a field trial grower for the All American Selection trial at Kishwaukee College and three months as a volunteer at the Robert and Catherine Wilson Tropical Botanical Garden in Costa Rica.
Wesley HSU has a Bachelors of Science degree in Cognitive Science from University of California San Diego and is the UI/UX Designer at the Balboa Park Online Collaborative. He works at a wide variety of digital media projects in Balboa Park such as location-aware mobile applications, museum web pages, touch screen exhibits and audio tours. He has designed and developed several touch screen applications that have been deployed in Balboa Park institutions, including an award-winning collaboration with the Museum of Photographic Arts and the Japanese telecommunication company NICT. His passion lies in designing and building engaging and intuitive user experiences. He is interested in the open-source philosophy behind the HTML5 technology.
Graham HARDMAN is Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Garden Society in the UK, having been National Chairman from 2003 to 2010. After a career in the computer industry, Graham has been a freelance garden designer for 16 years, with a special interest in Japanese gardens. He has won many awards during that time, including a Gold Medal for a large Japanese-style garden at the Royal Horticultural Society Tatton Park Flower Show in 2013, built by members of the Japanese Garden Society. With the JGS, he has co-designed several public gardens including the courtyard at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and a dry stone garden at Norwich Cathedral. Other designs include three gardens at hospices in the UK, all built by members of the JGS. Graham has visited Japan many times and has led garden tours there for JGS members. He is a regular speaker on Japanese gardens around the UK and was invited to give a lecture about Japanese gardens in the UK to the Asiatic Society of Japan in Tokyo last year.
David ANDERSON is the Executive Director of the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. Spending most of his childhood growing up on the grounds of what would become the gardens, he returned to Rockford in 1998 and became primarily involved in the management of the Japanese garden in 2010, transitioning from his role as a co-founder of the family-run diversified real estate development company. David is very involved in Rockford's civic community. He is a founding member of Next Rockford and serves on the boards of the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also serves on the Board of the Geneva Lake Water Safety Patrol in southeastern Wisconsin.
Kim ANDREWS has been Executive Director of Friends of the Japanese House and Garden since 2010, administering Shofuso House and Garden, a traditional-style Japanese house and garden that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the installation of its contemporary paintings in 2007. She has overseen comprehensive strategic planning and implementation in tandem with a newly established board development and training. She has raised almost $1 million for four capital projects and simultaneous capacity building. A lifelong Philadelphian who was previously a preservation consultant to over fifty cultural heritage organizations, Kim is a founding board member and treasurer of NAJGA.
Steve BLOOM is the Chief Executive Officer of the Portland Japanese Garden since 2005. He was a 2008-2009 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow in Japan (sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd.) and concurrently served as Visiting Scholar at Tokyo University of Agriculture. Steve received his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the State University of New York's Crane School of Music, and in 2003, was a recipient of a Social Innovation Fellowship to attend the Stanford University Graduate School of Business executive education program on non-profit management. He currently serves as a member of the Friends of the US-Japan Council in Washington, DC as Vice President of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association, sits on the board of the Japan America Society of Oregon and is NAJGA's founding President. He received the 2013 Oregon Heritage Tourism Award and in 2004, was one of the young business leaders cited for the Pacific Business News "Forty Under 40" award.
Diane DURSTON is the Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art and Education at the Portland Japanese Garden. During the 18 years she lived in Japan, she studied Japanese language, fine arts and crafts and published three books on Kyoto. Diane has served as a cultural consultant to international conferences, universities and museums including the University of Pennsylvania, Whitney Museum, the Yale Galleries, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. Prior to coming to the Garden in 2007, she was Curator of Education at the Portland Art Museum. Since assuming her current position, Diane has developed and curated the "Art in the Garden" exhibition series introducing contemporary and traditional artists and art forms, including Japanese glass, ceramics, bamboo, metal, textiles and more. As educator, she has developed an international lecture series and established a program for teachers and students in underserved communities.
David HOOKER is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, providing leadership to help the organization advance its mission. David is responsible for mobilizing broad-based support in order to present quality exhibitions, sculpture and gardens in unique settings. He is influential in employing diplomacy and communication skills to cultivate relationships with the board of directors, staff, volunteers, donors, corporations, foundations, peer organizations and the community. He has held leadership positions with various private companies and currently sits on the board of several philanthropic organizations in the Midwest and the Great Lakes region. He earned his MBA from he University of Michigan and Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.
Luanne KANZAWA is the Executive Director of the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego and has been with the garden for over 15 years. She is a founding member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and currently serves on the Balboa Park Committee, California Association of Museums, San Diego Museum Council and various committees in Balboa Park. Luanne has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from the University of San Diego and obtained certification in Professional Grant Writing and a Master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the same institution.
Jennifer HARTLEY is the Senior Supervisor of School Programs for pre-K-8th grade at the Missouri Botanical Garden. She and her team welcome more than 22,000 students and teachers annually to the garden's grounds for educational programs and tours, exploring topics ranging from seeds and soil to food production and garden design. Her team also devotes much time for community programs throughout the region, providing activities and training for teachers and students, with an emphasis on urban biodiversity and nature education. She holds a degree in Biology and Secondary Education from Missouri State University and has worked in education for more than 15 years. She has designed many of the garden's key educational programs for school groups, including the "Asian Gardens: Science and Culture" program and tour for middle school classes.
Kimiko GUNJI is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Arts & Culture in the School of Art & Design, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is the founder of the new Japan House at the university, serving as its director from 1998 to 2011. The courses she taught include the Way of the Tea and Zen Aesthetics and the Art of Japanese Flower Arrangement. She is a Full Professor of the Ikenobo Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) School in Japan and Chapter President of the Illinois Prairie Ikenobo Ikebana. She also serves as President of the Urbana-Champaign Association of Chado Urasenke Tankokai, Inc. and holds a teaching certificate in Japanese classical dance. Gunji has received numerous awards as a teacher as well as for her contributions to promote Japanese arts and culture. The most distinguished of these awards is the Order of the Rising Sun bestowed by the Emperor of Japan in 2012.
William CAHILL is a modern practitioner of the ancient Irish craft of roof thatching. Born in Ireland itself, he had the privilege of working under many Irish thatchers and seanachi (story tellers) during his five-year apprenticeship. He honed his skills on the many traditional thatching techniques in Ireland and had the rare opportunity to work on the residence of Irish Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats. He further widened his thatching repertoire in his travels to Asia and Africa and has since worked on a number of Japanese tea houses and projects in garden-related settings across North America, including structures at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
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Peter Thomas BOWYER is a landscape contractor specializing in aesthetics and arboriculture since 1991. An Aesthetic Pruners Association (APA) certified practitioner, he owns and operates his own company, DBA Scenic Garden Creations in Oakland, California. He holds certificates in Landscape Design & Construction, Parks & Garden Maintenance, Aesthetic Pruning and Biological Horticulture from the Merritt College and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems at the University of California Santa Cruz. He has traveled extensively on natural landscape field studies, led a symposium on the intersection of pruning and design, trained with Dennis Makishima, and continues to lead service-learning projects for the Aesthetic Pruning Club.