News & Press

New AHS Board Members!

We are grateful to announce three new members of the American Horticultural Society Board of Directors! Doug Barker, Dr. Larry Deaven, and Philip Tabas bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the organization. Our Board’s diverse range of talents and expertise help guide AHS’ mission and exemplify commitment to innovation and excellence in horticulture. 

Read more about these outstanding individuals and their passion for gardening, ecological health, and nonprofit work below!   


Doug is a strategic advisor for Barker & Scott Consulting which assists leading regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations with leveraging the power of information technology for organizational advancement and mission success. He is passionate about helping nonprofit organizations fundraise to connect more deeply with supporters and achieve greater impact. Prior to co-founding Barker & Scott, Doug was Vice President and Chief Information Officer for The Nature Conservancy and the nonprofit industry lead for the consulting practice of Arthur Andersen in Washington DC. Doug resides in DC where he is active in local environmental causes including an initiative in his community to remove invasive plants and restore ecological health through planting native plants. He loves nature, gardening, starry night skies, travel, hiking, canoeing, and biking. 


Larry is a distinguished scientist and horticulturist. Larry was the Director of the Center for Human Genome Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and he has received numerous honors for his work. Larry has had a passion for horticulture all of his life and most recently grew plants from seed and developed extensive gardens at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center in New Mexico. He designed, installed, maintained, evaluated, and supported these gardens. He is one of the leading experts in ClematisPenstemon, and Agastache. Larry has been a regular traveler and supporter for American Horticultural Society as well as writing for The American Gardener. 


Philip is Special Advisor with the North American Conservation Region of The Nature Conservancy.  He served as the Conservancy’s General Counsel from 2003 to 2013. Philip has been involved in land conservation, water resource protection and compatible economic development projects for TNC, particularly involving the use of conservation easements and tax incentives. Prior to TNC, he worked as an attorney for the New England River Basins Commission, an intergovernmental water resources management agency, and was an attorney with an environmental consulting firm. Philip is a tax lawyer and a land use planner by professional training. He is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers; a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Herring River; a former Board member of The Potomac Conservancy; a co-author of Comprehensive Planning and the Environment, published by Abt Books; and he has taught a summer course entitled “Ecosystem Conservation Strategies” at the Vermont Law School. 


News & Press

AHS’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Scott Plein Featured on Cover of The Mount Vernon Gazette

Scott Plein, the AHS Chair of the Board of Directors, is featured on the cover of this weeks issue of The Mt. Vernon Gazette! Learn about his continued commitment to AHS, River Farm, and innovation in horticulture. From an early age, Scott developed a love for gardening and the environment, which has shaped his career. His professional trajectory exemplifies his passion for bridging the natural and human worlds. Plein joined AHS’s board in 2021 and assumed the role of chairman in 2022. We are deeply grateful for his unwavering dedication, insightful guidance, and enthusiastic support as he leads our organization and River Farm to new heights and celebrate our 50th anniversary at River Farm.  

News & Press

Meet Mercedes Bryant – AHS’s new Director of Travel Studies

Drum roll, please, as we introduce our new Director of Travel Studies, Mercedes Bryant, an educational travel professional specializing in experiential learning, citizen science, regenerative travel, and cultural exchange. She brings a wealth of experience having studied and worked in France for six years, taking the opportunity to explore far and wide throughout Europe. She then managed the travel programs at the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic. We are excited for her to bring her love for creating immersive educational adventures to our AHS members! 

News & Press

AHS in the News!

Learn more about our President and CEO, Suzanne Laporte, in The Washington Gardener. In a two-page profile, Suzanne talks about her past, present and future and her connection with the AHS and River Farm. Embracing the organization’s synergy and growth, she stated, “Right now, our goal is to engage more people with AHS and with gardening. To do that, we are planning new programs. We’ll be increasing gardening resources and the ways we deliver them.” Read the full article here.

AHS and River Farm were put in the spotlight in USA Today’s special edition of Go Escape the Northeast. Highlighting gardens in the Northeast, the story’s introduction leads with information about the AHS’s dynamic Reciprocal Admissions Program of 345 partner gardens across the country and River Farm, the precious historic headquarters of the AHS. Read the full story here.  

News & Press

Meet Katie Tukey – AHS’s new Director of Development and Engagement

We’re thrilled to have Katie Tukey join the AHS team as the Director of Development and Engagement. Katie is a trained horticulturist with extensive experience in fundraising. Katie worked in horticulture with Walt Disney World’s Epcot, Longwood Gardens, and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and in development, she worked with Bowdoin College, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and most recently the Levine School of Music in DC.   

Please feel free to reach out to Katie and say hello! She can be reached at / (703) 768-5700 ext. 144. 

News & Press

An Interview with AHS Board Chair, Scott C. Plein

Please meet Scott Plein, Chairman of the American Horticultural Society’s Board of Directors since July 2022. He has been a wealth of knowledge and advice, providing strategic direction and oversight of the organization and River Farm, AHS’s headquarters in Alexandria, VA.  


Scott wants to see “… that we make the AHS a more influential voice and resource to everybody who loves horticulture.” He also wants to promote a horticulture that is both sensitive to ecological concerns and promotes traditional horticultural practices at the same time.  


David Ellis, editor of The American Gardener, interviews Plein in the January/February issue of the magazine. Find out about the Board’s key objectives for the AHS, the challenges facing the horticulture industry, AHS’s role nationally and regionally, and the top priorities of River Farm.  


Read the full interview.  

News & Press

AHS Appoints New Director, Keith Tomlinson

Keith Tomlinson

October 29, 2021
River Farm – Alexandria, Virginia
– Today, the Board of Directors of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) announced the appointment of Keith Tomlinson, former Botanical Garden Manager of Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, as Director of AHS. Tomlinson replaces former Interim Executive Director J. Robert Brackman, who resigned on September 30, 2021. “We are thrilled to welcome Keith as the new leader of the AHS team. Keith is a renowned horticultural director whose visionary leadership at Meadowlark Gardens spans a broad range of programmatic, operational, and strategic areas. He will be instrumental in re-imagining and improving the gardens while expanding our fundraising and outreach efforts. Now that we have confirmed our commitment to retaining historic River Farm as AHS headquarters and an integral component of our overall mission, he is the ideal choice to collaborate with the Board, AHS stakeholders and help us move forward with our goals – to protect the property in perpetuity and to use it as a springboard for building national horticultural programs in support of our mission,” said Holly Shimizu, former Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. and a member of the AHS Board of Trustees. “River Farm is a national treasure,” said Tomlinson, “a spectacular property that is both a symbolic link to our national heritage and an idyllic slice of natural beauty and open space. I’m very honored to join the AHS team on the eve of its 100th anniversary and be part of the exciting opportunity we have to strengthen both the Society’s horticultural mission and the stewardship of River Farm.”

Tomlinson begins his tenure at a pivotal time for AHS and River Farm. With the Board’s recent rejection of the plan to sell the historic property after a year-long debate over its future, there are new opportunities for implementing a long-term strategic vision for both AHS and River Farm. “A key priority for AHS is to enhance River Farm as a platform for launching new national gardening programs,” notes Shimizu, adding, “given the importance of preserving and protecting River Farm, the Board is also actively exploring ways to implement long-term conservation solutions on the property. With Keith’s leadership,” she concluded, “the Board will continue to collaborate with a wide range of partners over the next few weeks and months to secure both operational and endowment funding for AHS – and identify the best ways to ensure that River Farm will be a key part of our mission – and protected from development – forever.”

Tomlinson officially launches his duties at AHS on Monday, November 1, 2021, and will be formally introduced at an AHS press conference at River Farm at 10:00 a.m. ET that day. Shimizu noted that in addition to announcing Tomlinson’s appointment, the Board will announce the initial re-opening of River Farm to the public two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). “The press conference gives us an opportunity to welcome Keith to our team – and the public back to River Farm – as well as express the Board’s gratitude to the public officials and AHS stakeholders who supported our efforts over the past year.” To watch the press conference live, please visit the AHS Facebook page on Monday at 10 a.m. ET.

For almost 100 years, the American Horticultural Society has worked to increase knowledge among American gardeners, garden enthusiasts, and professional horticulturists, inspired their passion for plants and the natural world, and encouraged responsible stewardship of the earth. The Society educates and influences a global audience of gardeners through its website, horticultural reference books, and social media. The American Horticultural Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

Media Contact:Brian Bauman (703) 768-5700

News & Press

American Horticultural Society Names J. Robert Brackman Interim Director


Alexandria, VA (August 13, 2019) – The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced it has named J. Robert (Bob) Brackman interim director of the national nonprofit organization, effective October 1, 2019.

Brackman will work closely with the AHS staff and Board of Directors while the organization conducts a national search to fill its top leadership position. AHS’s current president and CEO Beth Tuttle recently announced she is stepping down this fall.

Brackman has a long and distinguished career in horticulture, including leadership roles at several prominent botanical gardens. Early in his career, he directed the horticulture program at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, then went on to serve as vice president and director of Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee. He then became executive director of the San Antonio Botanical Garden in Texas, overseeing its eight-acre, $22 million expansion before retiring in January 2019. Most recently, he has served as interim vice president of horticulture at Holden Forest and Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Bob’s passion for public horticulture and his outstanding leadership at some of our nation’s top nonprofit public gardens make him the ideal candidate to guide AHS through its leadership transition,” said Dr. Erich Veitenheimer, chair of the AHS Board. “We look forward to welcoming him as interim director of AHS.”

About the American Horticultural Society

The American Horticultural Society, founded in 1922, is an educational, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that recognizes and promotes excellence in American horticulture. One of the most longstanding and prestigious gardening organizations, AHS is dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Its mission is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and practice of horticulture, and to lead this effort by sharing the Society’s unique national resources with all Americans.

News & Press

AHS President & CEO Beth Tuttle to Step Down October 31

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) today announced the resignation of Beth Tuttle, president & CEO, effective October 31, 2019.

In making the announcement, AHS Board Chair Erich Veitenheimer said, “Beth has decided to return to consulting to serve a range of cultural and other social benefit organizations. We are very appreciative of her work in establishing the strategic groundwork for AHS to chart a strong course in the future as we prepare to celebrate our centennial in 2022.”

Dr. Veitenheimer added that the Board will introduce an interim director for AHS while it conducts a national search for Tuttle’s replacement.

Tuttle joined AHS in October 2017 and immediately began guiding a significant research effort to understand the values and motivations of AHS members and the general population in relation to their gardening interests and activities. This work has provided new insights into the relevance of plants, gardening, and horticulture in American lives today that will help guide AHS going forward.

Under Tuttle’s leadership, AHS also established a dedicated programs and national partnerships department; delivered 4.5% year-over-year revenue growth in its national membership program in FY 2019; and grew its popular Reciprocal Admissions Program to 335 participating gardens by mid-2019.

For nearly a century, AHS has been a trusted information resource for American gardeners, garden enthusiasts, and professional horticulturists; fed their passion for plants and the natural world; and encouraged responsible stewardship of the earth. Its vision is to make America a nation of gardeners and a land of gardens.

News & Press

AHS Comments on Passage of Every Kid Outdoors Act

As a member of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, AHS President/CEO Beth Tuttle shared AHS’s position on Congressional passage of the EKO Act as part of the Natural Resources Management Act:

“The American Horticultural Society (AHS) applauds the passage of the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which will help bring the proven benefits of being in nature and the outdoors to millions more children and youth. This act will serve as an important accelerator for the AHS’s work with garden- and nature-based educators to nurture the next generation of plant lovers and earth stewards through regular encounters with the natural world and, ultimately, to create a happier, healthier, and more sustainable future for our citizenry. We are grateful to Congress for the bipartisan approach that led to this act’s passage.”

Read the full news release from the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.