Thanks for kicking off this new sub-forum with a great topic. First of all, the idea behind this sub-forum (and, BTW, the initial idea came from Sue Rowlands in SoCal) is to have a dedicated place on PalmTalk where we can answer questions about the IPS, provide information in general, and maybe specifically about Biennials and Palms, the quarterly IPS publication, but also anything else that may be relevant. I know there are a few threads under Discussing Palms that are at risk pf being lost in the shuffle there, so we'll move those threads over to this new sub-forum.
As far as my own involvement with the IPS, I found out about it (and the Southern California chapter) in early 1991, when I happened to get in touch with Phil Bergman of Jungle Music ("Phil" on the Forum), and he told me about the two organizations. Phil was President of PSSC in SoCal at the time. I joined both organizations at that time, and have been active ever since. Became an IPS Director in 1994 (Biennial in Caracas, Venezuela) and that's been a very interesting and rewarding experience as well. One of the best things about the IPS (like Paul mentioned) has been all these great friendships all over the world, and the PalmTalk forum really extends these connections to a whole new level.
One of my own most intense IPS experiences was May 13, 2004. That was during the IPS Biennial, held here in Hawaii, and on that day, the 200 participants (in 4 buses) visited three gardens: our garden, the Sullivan garden in Kapoho and the Swann garden here in Leilani Estates (the Swanns have since sold their property and are now developing 40 acres up on the Hamakua coast north of Hilo). Anyway, we had 1 bus in the morning, 2 buses for lunch and 1 bus in the afternoon. I gave 3 guided tours that day, and to say that it was a great day would be a major understatement! VERY busy, but great!
Here are a few photos that our daughter, Annika, took that day. First, one of me explaining the Dypsis "Orange crush" (even though we didn't have that name yet!).