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Why We Love IPS Trips


Cindy Adair
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On PT I see all the stunning photos and descriptions of past and future travel with the International Palm Society. 

Here’s the group of us on the unforgettable Sarawak, Borneo pre tour in 2016.

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I recall times I almost did not sign up due to time, family and work constraints and costs involved.

However every time it is only the trips I missed that I regret.

And the friendships I have made across the world are at least as important as the sights and experiences.

I took my first IPS trip using hoarded airline points through a country I had to find on a map (Qatar) to a place of my dreams (Thailand) in 2012, based primarily on comments by Palm Talk users I had never met.

I am asking all of you now who have traveled anywhere on an IPS sponsored trip to post why you loved your trip(s). 

Photos always welcome, but not required. 

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Cindy Adair

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I will be collecting and posting for some members who are less active here on Palm Talk.

 

First from Director Andy Hurwitz:

I am thrilled to be attending the International Palm Society biennial on Reunion Island in May 2020. I am eager to visit this exotic wonderland and see remarkable indigenous palms in habitat, as well as visiting private gardens which are obviously not typically open for public viewing.  I am especially grateful because this clearly would not be possible without the groundwork and preparation by the IPS. Best of all, I look forward to mingling with friends, old and new, who share a passion for tropical horticulture and the preservation of endangered habitats. 

Andy Hurwitz

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           Latania lontaroides                                                                                        

Cindy Adair

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Hey, Cindy!

Great topic, about which I could write volumes, but I'll keep it brief.

When I look back at my collection of palm photos or reminisce about some of the palm highlights in my life (seeing palms on Mt. Panié in New Caledonia or gazing up at Ceroxylon quindiuense in Colombia, to name just two), so many are from IPS Biennials.  I've made a lot of palm-related trips in my life, but those with the IPS consistently rank high on my list, mostly because they are either trips I couldn't arrange to do on my own (the helicopter up Mt. Panié) or were much more fun with friends (the jeep ride up to see Ceroxylon).  I've been going to Biennials for over 20 years, and I've never come away from a trip thinking that it was not worthwhile.  Even the Biennials in places I know relatively well, like the Dominican Republic, were great fun, and I can say I saw or learned something new.  I'm especially looking forward to the next one in La Réunion, because it's an island that I wouldn't ordinarily visit -- it's pretty out of the way -- and even if I went on my own, I wouldn't be able to see all the best places for palms.  I doubt I'll ever get another chance to do a palm tour of La Réunion, so you can bet I'll be there with the IPS in 2020.  [I also intend to take a few days en route to see Paris as a proper tourist -- my previous visits to the City of Light have always been all work and no play!]

So if anyone reading this post is considering joining the IPS Biennial in 2020, I say, do it!  You won't regret it!

 

Scott Zona, Ph.D.
USA

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What I've enjoyed about palm biennials is that the IPS sets it all up in advance and "sweats the details" for you.

And, more importantly, the great people who are also on the trip!

As Scott Zona wrote, the itineraries take you to places you might not normally know or get to see.

 

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My first biennial was in 2004 to Hawaii, which I had never visited, but is where I now live and have  a large palm garden. The trip involved cultural activities, as well as palms, as evidenced below (the palm nestled in the forest is Pritchardia martii, in the Lyon Arboretum of the University of Hawaii at Manoa):

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Most of my travel in recent years has been in connection with IPS biennials, and I value the friendships and information about palms that have resulted.

 

Mike Merritt

Big Island of Hawaii, windward, rainy side, 740 feet (225 meters) elevation

165 inches (4,200 mm) of rain per year, 66 to 83 deg F (20 to 28 deg C) in summer, 62 to 80 deg F (16.7 to 26.7 Deg C) in winter.

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I have been averse to group travel my whole life. My first trip with a group was actually with the IPS. My view has changed and I now look forward to these IPS trips. I have made some amazing friends that share in the same crazy passion. I was able to spend 3 weeks around Colombia with two Aussies I never would have had the chance to met prior. Its hard to find people that want to seek out palm trees and look at them all day, for days on end :)

Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

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1 hour ago, Julie said:

My first Biennial was Miami 2014. I never looked back. Palm, friends, great itineraries and exotic locations. 

What's not to love?

 

 

I never knew that. That was mine too, although I missed most as I had to leave super early. 

Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)

Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."

-- Alfred Austin

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What follows are words from Director Laz Priegues:

When I first visited Reunion and Madagascar in 2000 (specifically Masoala), I was by myself and I wished at the end of the trip that I had been accompanied by my fellow members of the IPS who could have helped me identify the insane variety of palm tree species growing in that area and enjoyed all the uniquely beautiful surroundings. I vowed that one day I would return to Madagascar with IPS - and my dream is coming true next year when I attend the biennial in Reunion.

I also realized at that time that had I not been a French speaker,  I would have found it almost impossible to navigate and see all the sights both in Reunion and Madagascar, as very few people speak English there. So it is important to remind palm lovers on the Palm Talk site that if they ever fancy visiting those two great palm-rich countries some time in the future by themselves, they will miss out on IPS arranging for communications and logistics in those two with french speaking countries and probably not get the full enjoyment that they hope to get from such an experience.

                                                                                  

Cindy Adair

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The camaraderie is second to none.  Plant people are generally pretty cool anyway.  Palm people are thee best.  The friendships made can and often do last a lifetime.

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Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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1 hour ago, SubTropicRay said:

The camaraderie is second to none.  Plant people are generally pretty cool anyway.  Palm people are thee best.  The friendships made can and often do last a lifetime.

Good to see you around Ray. It's been awhile!

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Westchase | 9b,  St. Petersburg | 9b,  Laurel | 10a

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I have only been to two Biennials and two post tours in the last 38 or so years.  Missed all of the others due to mainly financial constraints and family commitments, but had the pleasure of travelling to the 2012 Thailand Biennial and then the Miami Biennial with a group of my long-term friends (The Ratpack). The best part of the Biennials was meeting all of our fellow Palmtalkers and other palmy people on our group tours and social activities. The Thailand Biennial in particular, where we had an unofficial 'Palmtalk' bus along with great accommodation and surrounds where we could all socialise day and night, swapping experiences and sharing our palm stories...that was one of the best travel experiences of my life...from a social perspective. I hope I can go to more in the near future.  Made many life-long friends on those trips!

What can I say...Gileno and Wal...

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Palmtalkers!

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Who could forget those Singalongs!

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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And Miami...

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Look at all of the happy IPS members...how can you not smile!

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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One last one...there is a good story behind this...eh Jeff!

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Gold Coast, Queensland Latitude 28S. Mild, Humid Subtropical climate. Rainfall - not consistent enough!

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My first Biennial was in 1982, held at Thanksgiving in Florida, starting in a bus in St Petersburg and ending in Miami. The bus was full of the great and the good of the IPS at the time- people such as Iris and John Bannochie from Andromeda Gardens, Paul Drummond, Lynn McKamey, Dick Douglas and many others. Being my first Biennial I was somewhat in awe, but soon found the company wonderful, nay pretty outrageous. We spent a lot of time laughing. There was a hilarious Tudor style banquet at a new apartment complex with a newly planted palm collection with several  at the time, most unusual palms, such as Dypsis nodifera (now, of course, very well known,) and while I tried studiously to look at these unfamiliar palms, I was forever being accosted by the fake Henry Eighth in regal Tudor costume who had, somehow found out I hailed from Merrie England! Caryota no was beginning to grow in people's collections and there were many conversations beginning What Caryota is that? My clever dick answer No, followed by amusing confusion.

Over the years I have missed a few Biennials but several I attended really stand out stand out - New Caledonia with the exciting helicopter ride up Mt Panie, the Miami Biennial in 1992, just a month after Hurricane Andrew, with scenes of palm devastation, but with astonishing resilience of IPS members. Colombia last year was superb, especially being led by Rodrigo Bernal into the vast stands of Ceroxylon quindiuense. And, of course, Sarawak and Singapore - so many wonderful palms.

I'm really looking forward to La Reunion next year - it's a gorgeously beautiful island - not so many indigenous palms, but great palm collections and the superb Parc des Palmiers which we shall be visiting. Add to this, great French and Creole food, and the wildly enthusiastic members of Palmeraie Union, the local palm society, and we should be in for a winner - and don't forget Madagascar is not too far away. Roll on the 2020 Biennial.

John

 

 

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John Dransfield

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Biennials are bucket list trips.  My first was 1998 with our first biennial held in Thailand; most of us were walking zombies by the time we got there but it was special beyond words.  Each biennial I look forward to seeing old friends again and discovering new ones who have just joined us in this palm centered venture.  In 2005 I left the Bahamas and moved to my summer home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  My love of all palms remained and every two years I'm on that plane going to incredible places.....places tourists seldom venture.   We tromp through jungles, wade through streams and see endemic palms that most people only find in books.  We have adventures like getting lost (temporarily) in the Amazon jungle, hiking through the bush 400 miles east of Havana, having the Columbia SA navy escort us to a primitive location to view palms, hiking through amazing sites in Sarawak on the island of Borneo!....and the list could go on.    I've been  touched by the local people and the way they lead their lives.  It puts a whole different perspective on how I see the world .

I've waited 20 years to go to the Indian Ocean with IPS and I've already made reservations for the Madagascar leg as well....the plane fair may be high but it will truly be THE trip of a life time and I can't wait.  

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Looks like a lot of good times!  Never made one, but there is still time while I'm on the right side of the grass.

Lakeland, FL

USDA Zone (2012): 9b | Sunset Zone: 26 | Record Low: 20F/-6.67C (1985, 1962) | Record Low USDA Zone: 9a | 30-Year Avg. Low: 30F | 30-year Min: 24F

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My very first trip with the IPS was to Costa Rica in 2008. A friend and I went a few days early to do some whitewater rafting and zip lining, then joined the main group for excursions to  see palms in habitat. I was most impressed by the hanging bridges of Arenal Volcano National Park, looking down at the huge crowns of Welfia regia, Socratea exohrriza and Ireartea deltoidea just blew me away. It was my first time in a tropical rainforest, and I was totally unprepared for the magnificence unfolding before me every day of the trip. As a neophyte to palms at the time, it was a struggle to keep up with the names: Asterogyne, Astrocaryum, so many Geonoma, so many Chamaedorea, Bactris everywhere. Beyond palms, the buttressed roots of giant trees  were big enough to dwarf even the tallest IPS members on the trails, and everywhere you turned there might be a delicate fugus growing on a tree trunk, or leaf cutter ants scurrying along with their little green cargo, or an exotic flower that looked like red lips puckered to kiss, or a coiled snake looking down warily at you from above, and monkeys scurrying through overhead branches. 

One impression that stayed with me was at the Hererro Farms where we saw a path lined on either side with Areca vestiaria palms -- colorful, sheltering, exotic -- the indelible impression led me to create a similar design in my own garden in Hawaii a couple of years later.

An unanticipated bonus was traveling with and getting to know people from all over the world who already knew the names of all the palms, and who happily shared their knowledge with us. I was never one for group travel, but ever since Costa Rica I've made an exception for the IPS trips. The camaraderie was amazing, and palm people are really fun. If you have any doubts, just go to the section IPS BIENNIALS - Special Adventures to read 6 pages of enthusiastic threads about past travels with the IPS.

I did a post-trip on my own to Corcovado National Park, an off-grid nature reserve accessible only by boat and wading ashore. Our very small group spent our days hiking into the reserve to observe wildlife and plant life. The afternoon cloudbursts were steamy and sunsets were spectacular beyond the first bunch of giant Corypha utan I'd ever seen. Unforgettable.

If you have never been, you are missing out. 

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Kim Cyr

Between the beach and the bays, Point Loma, San Diego, California USA
and on a 300 year-old lava flow, Pahoa, Hawaii, 1/4 mile from the 2018 flow
All characters  in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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