American Iris Society – Canada Information

American Iris Society - Canada Information

The American Iris Society (AIS) now functions within Canada under four AIS Regions. Previously the AIS had just one region covering all of Canada, AIS region 16.

The Canadian Iris Society (CIS) provides this area on the website in accordance with its Mission Statement: The Canadian Iris Society (CIS) is a non-profit organization with the objective to encourage, improve and extend the cultivation of the genus iris and to collaborate with other societies for this purpose. AIS information may be posted here as it is available or provided.

The AIS designates a Region Vice President (RVP) for each area; the current RVP information for each of the regions may be found on the listing at the AIS website. A comprehensive information booklet on the RVP requirements and duties is also available at the AIS website:

Effective as of November 6 2010 the various AIS Regions are aligned within Canada are as follows:

REGION 1: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
REGION 2: New York, Ontario, Quebec
REGION 13: Washington, Oregon, Alaska, British Columbia, Yukon
REGION 21: Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, NWT, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

American Iris Society Convention 2019
AIS National Convention 2019

Current details of the various RVPs and affiliated local iris clubs/societies of the various AIS Regions are available on the AIS website:

AIS/Canada Judges

item submitted by Christopher Hollinshead (ex-AIS RVP Region 16 2005-2007)

The updated 2015 AIS Judges listing is now available.

This is a full listing of all approved registered AIS Judges for 2015. The Canadian judges are found distributed through the various associated AIS Regions that are aligned within Canada; that is Regions 1-2-13-21. The AIS regional judges training chairs are listed here as well along with their contact information.

AIS Judges listing is compiled by Judy Keisling, AIS Judges Training Chair.

AIS Judges training classes provide an opportunity for judges and those interested in irises to learn more about them and how to evaluate them based on the guidelines set out by the AIS Handbook for Judges and Show Officials. AIS Judges training is made available throughout each year at the affiliate, regional and national levels of the American Iris Society (AIS).

AIS 2015 Convention

item submitted by Christopher Hollinshead (ex-AIS RVP Region 16 2005-2007)

The AIS 2015 Convention is coming up. Everyone is now looking forward to the next AIS Convention in Oregon. The details including a registration form are conveniently provided on the AIS website for you to make your plans well ahead of time.

Interested in becoming an AIS Judge?

Interested in becoming an AIS Judge?

The AIS (American Iris Society) has set forth the criteria for becoming a sanctioned iris judge in North America. In fact, people who are AIS Judges are the most important officials of the American Iris Society, and as such have both rights and responsibilities beyond those of the regular membership.

A recommendation

It is strongly advised to obtain the Handbook for Judges and Show Officials available from the AIS. It’s an outstanding publication and readily obtained for $15 USD.

Go to the AIS Storefront on the AIS website to purchase the handbook. It doesn’t have a lot of pictures, but it does explain in detail all the functions, regulations and responsibilities of AIS iris judges.


AIS website:

There are multiple levels of judges. The titles are:

  • M Master (15 uninterrupted years as a garden/exhibition judge)
  • E Emeritus (awarded by the AIS Board of Directors).
  • OS Overseas
  • G/E Garden Exhibition
  • A Apprentice

Here are the immediate requirements as taken from the AIS handbook:


The AIS Handbook doesn’t really describe how to become a student… because it is so simple. Just attend the classroom sessions for credit. Sign the attendance sheets. Write the test. You are a student!

Get the local iris society to put you in touch with the AIS Regional Vice-President (or look up on the various iris websites). Canada is designated as various AIS Regions depending on your province, to check your AIS Region and contact information please go to the AIS website located at

To become an apprentice

You can be a student judge and not be a member of the AIS, but you cannot move up the ranks. If you take the classroom training, you will certainly become more knowledgeable about irises, but that’s all. In other words, you must be a member of the American Iris Society for three years before you are eligible to become an apprentice. Remember, you will be an important official of the AIS, therefore you really have to be a member too.

Attend the classroom judging schools. Everyone is welcome.

  • Join these classes at iris conventions, at annual general meetings, or at special weekends set aside for judges’ training schools (late winter, early spring).
  • You need 10 hours of classroom training before you can become an apprentice. These credits are good for three-four years.
  • In order to pass the course, you must fill out the attendance form and complete a written exam.

Have five accredited judges recommend you to move up the ranks.
You will get to know the instructors during classroom training. Ten hours of classroom training sounds like a lot. It’s not. There are over 14 separate iris classes alone. You could take ten hours and still not touch the non-bearded iris (such as the Siberians).

The RVP will be following up and inquiring if you want to move up in the ranks once they are aware you have completed the requirements to become an apprentice judge. If you agree, then your name will be presented to the AIS as an apprentice for the next calendar year.

Your name will be listed in the AIS Bulletin as an apprentice judge in the January bulletin, and the clock starts ticking. You have three years to complete the following requirements.


Attend the classroom judging schools. Yes, once again; a minimum of 2 hours of classroom training are required, including tests, one of which must be ‘Awards and Ballots’. You guessed it, that session lasts two hours, including the test.

To become an accredited garden judge

Complete the garden training schools. These are two 2 hour sessions of training in the garden with two different AIS accredited judges… and ensure they give you an exam. Talk to your judging friends, they should be flattered.

Complete the show judging schools under two different AIS accredited judges; each class lasting two hours – this generally means two shows. Again, they should give you an exam.

Complete an activity report for each year. The RVP will send all judges a blank report that they must fill out; and student judges should fill them out as well.

I find that obtaining training for show judging is probably the more difficult fulfillment as there are far fewer opportunities to attend shows than any other activity.


  4. Keep taking classes… or give them. You need three hours of classroom training every three years and two hours of garden training. (These above are not optional, they are requirements to remain an accredited AIS judge)