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
To Become a Garden/Exhibition 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 – of the current Handbook for Judges and Show Officials.
Judges are needed as part of all Iris Shows (Iris Exhibitions). Every year the AIS Board approves the current list of accredited judges. The 2024 Judges List by Region was approved at the Fall 2023 Board Meeting.
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.
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.