Judges are a vital part of the American Iris Society. Learn more about judges. We hope you will consider becoming a judge.
The AIS Judges Handbook has a new version as of August 1st, 2021. It is available electronically as a PDF Handbook and is now available in the AIS Storefront as a binder version.
The electronic version is available as a single file PDF and as individual chapter’s PDFs beginning here.
American Iris Society Judges – This March 2021 recommendation was later adopted by the AIS Board.
In spring of 2020 the COVID-19 virus was beginning its rapid spread across the United States. There was so much uncertainty and concern about the virus that many celebrations such as our 100th Anniversary were not possible. In addition to cancellations of the convention, iris shows, iris sales, and judges training, the AIS Board of Directors voted unanimously to postpone judges’ requirements for 2020 (8-1-2019 through 7-31-2020).
While we know more about the spread of COVID-19 and have vaccines available, vaccines are not available to 100% of the population. Some states have relaxed mask restrictions and reduced social distancing requirements, while other states have not. The AIS has provided on-line judges training and the classes have been well received; however, we have not reached 100% of our judges due to technology and/or schedule restraints.
In 2021, we are seeing a small percentage of regions and clubs sponsoring in-person iris shows, virtual iris shows, and in-garden judges training. All these are positive signs we are moving in the right direction.
The AIS board is diligently working to complete the “new” revised Handbook for Judges. Anticipated completion date is late summer 2021. I hope you will be pleased with the updates. A number of training sessions will be scheduled, hopefully in the fall, to update everyone on all the changes made. The updated Handbook is possible through the dedication of many people and hours. We are working through various print and print-on-demand ideas that will be announced very soon.
In summary, my recommendation is that required judges training hours be waived for the time period of 8-1-2020 through 7-31-2021. Advancements of Student to Apprentice and Apprentice to Judge is possible if required hours were achieved during this time period. In addition, an Apprentice Judge would have an extra year to complete their requirements. Garden/Exhibition Judges advancing to Master Judge status will occur automatically if the number of years of required service is met.
We will start a fresh AIS Judges year on 8-1-2021. Fresh with anticipation of resuming life-as-we-knew-it before COVID-19 and a fresh revised Handbook.
Bonnie J Nichols, AIS Judges Training Chair
Because of the government-imposed restrictions on large gatherings due to the coronavirus, The American Iris Society Annual Convention, Median Iris Convention, and the Louisiana Iris Convention have been canceled as well as many (if not all) of the spring regional meetings. This means that opportunities to take garden and class room judges training will be very limited, if not impossible.
If your region has trainees that have completed their requirements to move to Apprentice or Garden Judge status, they will move automatically. If you have a Garden Judges that have met their requirements to become Master Judges, they will advance automatically.
If your region has Student, Apprentice, Garden, or Master Judges that lack hours for 2020, the decision has been made to extend their eligibility for one year.
I am in the process of evaluating online Judges Training classes and will let you know as soon as they become available for your clubs and regions.
Everyone is charting new ways of doing things. None of us have been through such a horrific event which has impacted our entire world. I appreciate your patience and will be happy to answer any questions you or your judges may have.
Bonnie J Nichols, AIS Judges Training Chairman
The accredited judge is the backbone of The AIS judging program and is responsible for the selection of award winners. It is the judges’ votes that determine which irises receive awards and thus are recommended to the public. Serving as a judge is a privilege, and duties should be fulfilled with dedication. The judge is a representative of The American Iris Society and should conduct himself/herself in a manner which will bring credit to the organization.
The most visible aspects of being a judge are voting for how irises perform in the garden and determining the quality of iris blooms in iris shows. Supporting these judgements requires continued education and practical experience.
As judges’ actions touch so many of The AIS activities, this page provides an introduction for potential judges and everyone who needs to find judges. Judges and others will find links to some of the reference materials available.
Thank you to all our present and former judges! We continue to see the results of your service in all the incredible irises.
Path to Becoming an Accredited AIS Judge
Source: AIS Handbook for Judges and Show Officials
The following “Quick Start” guide to becoming an AIS Accredited Judge was prepared by request in Region 21 based on the AIS requirements. Some Regions have requirements in addition to the AIS requirements.
All AIS members are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about irises and, in their own time, to consider taking the step from Candidate to Apprentice.
Qualified judges are needed by every affiliate hosting an iris show.
Tips For Getting Started
To Become a Candidate
Time Limit: None
AIS Membership Requirement: None
Reporting Requirements: None
Educational and Guideline Resources:
To Become an Apprentice Judge
Time Limit: 3 Years to complete
AIS Membership Requirement: Continuous AIS membership
Reporting Requirements: Annual Activity Report, due August 1
Educational and Guideline Resources: Same as above
Training as an Apprentice Judge
Required Tutored Activities
The above quick start comes from the Region 21 Bulletin 149, p 20-21 (2017).
The requirements for maintaining continued accreditation as an AIS judge can be found in Chapter 1 – this is the updated 2021 link – of the current Handbook for Judges and Show Officials.
Judges are needed as part of all Iris Shows, formally known as Iris Exhibitions. Every year the AIS Board approves the current list of accredited judges. The current list can be found in the AIS website Archive under Documents. The 2021 Judges List by Region presently is the most recent list.
Judges are also needed to provide judges training at local, regional, and national events. While the above list is helpful for this, the Iris Program Resources (Speakers) Chair can provide further guidance for specific topics and judges availability.
The process of becoming an AIS judge and remaining a judge involves continual learning about irises and their judging.
Note: The following part references the 2007 Judges Handbook. See beginning of this page for its replacement, the 2021 Judges Handbook.
The Handbook for Judges and Show Officials is the reference that all judges and aspiring judges need to have. You can order it through the AIS Storefront. Find PDFs of the individual sections of chapters beginning with this online Table of Contents.
PDFs of the following resources are available for Judges or students
The above forms come from the RVP Handbook which is available online.
You can learn more about the AIS Awards and the judges responsibilities in them. Draft ballots are available early in the year for judges and others study.
As irises continue to change, so does what the Judges Handbook needs to contain. There is currently a Judges Handbook Revision Committee with contact information on the Leadership page.