Dr. Bob Barth received his PhD in Biology from Harvard University in 1962. He taught Invertebrate Zoology and Ornithology at the University of Texas at Austin for many years until retirement in 2003.  His professional research concerned the neuro-endocrine control of reproductive behavior in insects. Bob became interested in cacti and succulents in the early 1970s and was one of the founders of the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society. He has been an officer in the Society ever since and also has served as an officer of the Texas Association of Cactus and Succulent Societies on occasion. Bob joined the CSSA in 1974 and has attended every CSSA Convention since 1977.  He served as a member of the Board of Directors of CSSA from 1997 to 2008.
Bob's twin interests in birds and succulent plants has stimulated extensive travels in Mexico, Central and South America, Southern Africa and Madagascar, East Africa, and Australia and New Guinea.
At home in Austin he curates a large private collection of cacti and succulents and has been the Proprietor of Oracle Gorge, a small hobbyist nursery since 1990. In case you are wondering, a hobbyist nursery is one that doesn't make much money. It does, however, help to support the hobby.
Bob's programs at the upcoming CSSA Convention in Austin will be a survey of succulent plant diversity in South Africa, the country with more species of succulents than any other.

Bob Barth
Steven Hammer was born in Indiana in May 1951. Two months later he was transplanted to southern California, where he remains. Currently he lives in San Diego county, where he manages his Sphaeroid Institute. He perpetuates rare species, develops new cultivars, and concerns himself with plant improvement or guided evolution, as Rep. Broun would put it. With Gasteria, for example, one can put up the ravages of black spot, douse the plants and oneself with toxins, or breed spot-free plants. Similarly, one can select for improved flower color and compactness and do all the things rose breeders would do if they appreciated our plump little partridges. 

Hammer has grown and admired mesembs since 1962. Harry Hall’s invitation to tour Namaqualand in 1980 led to many return trips (several sponsored by CSSA), numerous discoveries, and a long series of bagatelles and books on aspects of the South African Aizoaceae. In 1994 he was invited to curate the mesemb holdings at Kew. His favorite plants are bulbines and sweet peas. He is a vegetarian but understands good cookies.

Steven Hammer
Leo was born in Denver in 1948. His family moved to Co. Springs in 1957 and has lived there ever since, except for a brief period in southern California after graduation from high school and during military service. Leo married his wife Ann, who has spent her life as a schoolteacher, in 1968 in Co. Springs. He was drafted into the Army in 1968 and served in Viet Nam. On return from the Army he worked as a carpenter for a few years. From 1972 through 1974 Leo worked for a local concert promoter. Then managed a music store/Ticket Master outlet until 1996.

In 1978 he became interested in cacti and other succulents and has dedicated over thirty years into researching cold tolerance of these plants. With advice and encouragement from Steven Brack, Steve Hammer, and Panayoti Kelaidis, the senor curator of the Denver Botanic Gardens, he has found an abundance of succulent species that are capable of adapting to cold climates.

In 2006 he began a book on the subject of cold hardy cacti and succulents, which is now available through Timber Press. For several years he worked as a gardener in the summer, creating dry gardens in Co. Springs, Pueblo and on a few ranches south of Co. Springs. For the last several winters he has been writing and giving talks to garden clubs in Co. Springs, Denver, and Pueblo Colorado.

Leo Chance

Ernst van Jaarsveld has been interested in succulents since a young boy collecting and growing succulent plants. He is authored or co-authored more than 100 succulent plant species. He is especially interested in the classification Gasteria and Aloe and other monocotyledonous succulents. His other interests include the Mesembryanthemaceae and Crassulaceae. He is a keen explorer regularly traveling to remote parts of South Africa, Angola and Namibia. Some of the expeditions include rubber canoe expeditions investigating remote river valleys.
Ernst also regularly travels abroad and local lecturing on succulent plants.

Ernst is a fellow of the Cactus and succulent Society of America. He is a horticulturist at Kirstenbosch, where he is currently curating the Botanical Society Conservatory. He has also recently (2012) been appointed extraordinary senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. He is the author of more than 200 articles (popular, semi-scientific and scientific) and several books. He is a keen explorer and for his latest study (cliff dwelling succulent plants), has visited cliffs throughout southern Africa, of which he is preparing a book.

Ernst van Jaarsveld
Attila Kapitany has served as President of the Cactus & Succulent Society of Australia for 10 years, and has 30 years of experience growing and marketing cacti and succulents.  He is also a prominent member of the Horticultural Media in Australia, writing regularly in magazines, journals and newspapers and promoting succulent plants.

He was co-founder and developer of the well-known Collectors Corner and Paradisia nurseries, where his interests focused on the breeding, cultivating and marketing of rare and unusual plants. He has travelled extensively to plant habitats around the world and had amassed possibly one of the largest collections of (mostly seed-raised) plants in Australia.  Also, Attila has co-written seven books with Rudolf Schulz about succulents, with an eighth book a solo effort on Australian native species. His newest publications are a series of booklets on xerophytic Australia plants.

Attila Kapitany

Gertrud Konings has a PhD in biology (human genetics, University Berlin, Germany), is professor of biology at the El Paso Community College, and past editor of the newsletter of the El Paso Cactus and Rock Club.

Ad Konings is a biologist by profession (doctoral in human genetics, University Amsterdam, Netherlands) and specializes in underwater observation and photography of cichlids (tropical freshwater fish) and has authored more than 20 books relating to these fishes. He is the current editor of the El Paso Cactus and Rock Club’s newsletter and its treasurer.

Cacti have fascinated Gertrud and Ad Konings since they moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1996. It soon became more than a fascination and they have traveled extensively throughout the state in order to locate and photograph each and every cactus species in its natural setting. These efforts culminated in the coffee table book “Cacti of Texas in their natural habitat” which was published in 2009. They are some of the very few people who have seen and photographed each of the 136 species and variants of Texas cacti in the wild. The 12 years of passion for the prickly succulents has taken them on many trips outside of Texas as well, with most of the excursions to the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico.

Gertrud and Ad Konings

Joël Lodé is a naturalist adventurer originally from Nantes, France, the home of Jules Verne.  Perhaps inspired by Jules Verne’s adventures, he has traveled extensively around the world on many adventures, including an around-the-world bicycle trip that started in 1975. This led to his first encounter with a cactus in Death Valley, an unpleasant encounter due to a flat tire!

He publishes the quarterly Journal “International Cactus Adventures” and manages the website Cactus-Adventures.com.  Recently, he has written several books including “Succulent Plants of the Canary Islands” and "Succulent Plants of Socotra, A Cactus Adventures Handbook".  Joël will guide the upcoming CSSA Tour of the Canary Islands.

Joël Lodé

Jeff Pavlat is the Vice President of Education for the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society and a past society president and newsletter editor. He is also a member of the Horticulture Committee at Zilker Botanical Garden. He is the Host Society Chair for the 2013 CSSA Convention. Jeff lives in Austin, TX with his partner and son. He received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas with an emphasis on graphic design, photography and printmaking. He worked as a graphic designer and design manager at National Instruments in Austin until his son was born in 2003. He left his desk job to focus first on raising his son and then later on his plants as well.

Jeff has always liked desert plants, but became more interested in them as he began to landscape his home thirteen years ago. He was looking for plants that needed little water and wouldn’t be eaten overnight by deer. Cacti and succulents worked perfectly. While searching for suitable plants he discovered the diversity of amazing succulents from around the world. He was soon hooked and building his first greenhouse. He works part time at Oracle Gorge, a small cactus and succulent nursery. His hillside garden in Austin features extensive plantings of cacti and succulents and has been on several garden tours. Jeff has traveled throughout the southwestern United States chasing plants in habitat. In 2012, he made is first trip to South Africa.

Jeff Pavlat

Dr Jim Mauseth has been a professor of botany at the University of Texas at Austin since 1975, specializing in plant anatomy and evolution. His research focuses on plants whose bodies have become highly modified as they adapted to extreme environmental conditions: for example, the succulent, spiny bodies of cacti allow them to survive in desert habitats, and many parasitic plants (relatives of mistletoes) are able to spend most of their lives completely inside the bodies of host plants because the parasites now lack roots, stems, and leaves. Jim has written several books, including A Cactus Odyssey: Journeys into the Wilds of Bolivia, Peru and Argentina (with Roberto Kiesling and Carlos Ostolaza), Plants and People, Botany, An Introduction to Plant Biology (now in its 5th edition); Plant Anatomy, and Plant Structure, a Colour Guide (with Bryan Bowes). He has summarized his findings about cactus biology in a technical review article available online (Mauseth, J. D. 2006. Structure-function relationships in highly modified shoots of Cactaceae. Annals of Botany 98: 901-926).

Jim Mauseth
(Keynote Speaker)

Wendell S. Minnich or Woody, as he is commonly known, grew up in the Mojave Desert and has had an attraction to desert plants and animals since the early 1950’s. He has been involved with the cactus and succulent world as a grower, field explorer, club and organization leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and presenter.

Having been a speaker all over the world, Woody is most often associated with giving presentations on his field work from the places he has traveled, such as:  Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, South Africa, the United States and Yemen. He has also been recognized for his having operated the nursery Cactus Data Plants since 1975. Woody’s show quality plants are often considered the standard for staging and horticultural achievement. His favorite genera include: Adenium, Astrophytum, Ariocarpus, Copiapoa, Cyphostemma, Fouquieria, Gymnocalycium, Lithops, Mammillaria, Melocactus, Pachypodium, Turbinicarpus and Pachycauls in general.

Woody and his wife, Kathy, now live in New Mexico between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. He is a retired secondary school teacher of 32 years and he taught Graphics, Art and Architecture. In the cactus and succulent hobby, Woody is recognized for his high energy and creative spirit. He is an honorary life member of nine C&S societies and as an educator, he has become an important part of our hobby. He has many experiences to share and numerous of photos to show. 

Wendell S. (Woody) Minnich

Len Newton became interested in succulent plants as a teenager, and this influenced his decision to study botany. For his PhD he worked on the biosystematics of some tropical aloes. After teaching in England for a few years he went to Ghana, as a lecturer in Kumasi University. Many years later he spent one year as a Research Fellow in the Natural History Museum, in London. He then went to Kenya, where he is now Professor of Botany in Kenyatta University. He has explored remote areas in several African countries and in Yemen. He has described over 50 new species, in several genera, and has many other publications. He was president of the IOS from 2006 to 2012. His awards include Fellowship of the CSSA (1995), the Dyer Gold Medal, by the Succulent Society of South Africa (1996), and the Cactus d’Or (Golden Cactus), by the Principality of Monaco (2009).

Len Newton

Giuseppe Orlando is a geographer who lives in the Canary Islands, where he moved from Italy more than 20 years ago to finish his studies on Sustainable Island Development and Management. He now collaborates with several international organizations in projects related to biodiversity conservation, sustainable tourism, renewable energies, light pollution, etc.

He has been interested in succulent plants since he was a little boy, and in 1997 he made his first of five trips to Yemen to see and study succulents in habitat. After that first trip, his interest in stapeliads and aloes brought him to remote areas of Oman, Socotra, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Madagascar, among others, to study their succulent flora and where he also discovered a few species new to science. He writes articles for succulent-devoted magazines and often gives presentations about his trips and studies.

Giuseppe Orlando

John Trager is Curator of the Desert Collections at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California where he has worked since 1983.  Prior to that he had the privilege of working with master propagator Frank Horwood at Abbey Garden Nursery when it was located in Carpinteria.  Trager’s horticultural writings have appeared in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, the Euphorbia Journal, and various other horticultural publications.  He is perhaps better known for his photography -- over 2000 of his images have been published in numerous textbooks and horticultural journals.  Book projects include co-authorship and photography for Dry Climate Gardening with Succulents produced by the Huntington, principal photographer for the Conograph (a revision of the genus Conophytum) and a contributor to other works by Stephen Hammer (Lithops, Treasures of the Veld and Dumpling and His Wife [a revision of the Conograph], and Mesembs of the World [Hammer et al.]).  He has also contributed photographs to works by Gordon Rowley (The Succulent Compositae, Avonia and Anacampseros, Crassula, A Grower’s Guide, as well the multi-authored six-volume reference The Illustrated Handbook of Succulents (2001-2003).  John has traveled widely in search of plants (and insects) including China, Costa Rica, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and Venezuela.   He holds a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Cal Poly Pomona and earlier studied Botany at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College.

John Trager

Colin C. Walker  is an academic in the Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems at The Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes, England.  His interest in cacti and succulents started as a schoolboy in 1967, when he grew a few plants on windowsills at his parents’ house. Even at this early stage his interests were with the other succulents, and now Agave and Aloe are his principal interests. He has a modest-sized greenhouse collection of succulents, with most of the major families of succulents represented; a collection of sansevierias also occupies many windowsills in the house.

Over the years he has undertaken various roles on the “succulent scene”. From 2001 he has been editor of Bradleya, scientific Yearbook of the British Cactus & Succulent Society  He has published many articles in various succulent journals around the world. His most recent publication is Aloes – The definitive Guide, co-authored with Susan Carter, John Lavranos and Len Newton, which was co-published by The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and the British Cactus & Succulent Society.
For the CSSA Austin Conference Colin will be giving presentations on ‘Agaves through the ages’ and ‘Succulent monocots – an update’.

Colin C. Walker