International Award of Honor, 2011
Kevin Handreck was selected to receive the 2011 International Award of Honor from the Board of Directors of the International Plant Propagators’ Society. He is a member of the Australian Region.
Kevin Handreck is one who fits this category precisely, with his extensive training that led to a long working career as a soil scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Organization (CSIRO), he continues his activities as a private consultant following his retirement.
Kevin has a gift of explaining in simple layman’s terms complex soil and media related issues that concern growers. His books and published papers have been read by many nursery people, first in Australia and now around the world, so much so that his book, “Growing Media,” written in association with Neil Black, has become an essential tool of all plant growers.
Kevin Handreck joined the Society in 1986 serving on the Australian Board from 1990 to 1992 as Editor, 1993 as second Vice President, 1994 as Vice President, 1995 as President and then 1996 as International Director representing the Australian Region, he was convenor of the very successful 1995 Conference in Hahndorf, South Australia. From the mid eighties to his semi retirement in the late nineties, Kevin was presenting a paper or workshop at every conference; he was the recipient of the Australian Award of Honour in 1997.
Kevin’s contribution to the Society over his 21 years of membership has been outstanding and he has placed challenges and solutions before us in many practical sessions and papers. His presentations to IPPS meetings have been prolific including:
1984. Ensuring an adequate supply of Sulphur to plants in containers.
1988. A Standard for Potting mixes.
1990. Phosphorus and Iron effects on the early growth of some Australian native plants.
1992. Assessment of wetting agents used in Nurseries.
1994. How much Potassium do flowering plants growing in soilless media really need?
1995. Testing prevents diseases.
1996. Co-‐author for-‐ Effects of saline irrigation water on the production of nursery crops on capillary sand beds.
2003. pH and Alkalinity are not the same.
2004. Media properties.
In many of the non-‐presenting years he has staged workshops or demonstrations on such practical aspects as air filled porosity, field capacity, measuring pH and a range of other topics. He was also a major contributor to our conference question box with answers to many of the perennial media related problems facing modern growers.
His presentation in 1988 was a seminal moment in the progress of the nursery industry in Australia. Kevin was responsible for drafting a full set of guidelines that were adopted by the industry in the form of an Australian Standard for potting mix and for the first time, the industry had a reference point to work from. It did not take too long before all of the major potting media production companies saw the commercial sense of meeting an accepted standard. Kevin’s leadership in helping formulate these standards was outstanding and the Australian Nursery Industry has benefited accordingly, it also placed Australia as a world leader in this field.
Kevin is seen as a doyen of the Australian industry but has never been seen as a person that is removed from growers. Many new IPPS members would talk to Kevin with a sense of awe but were surprised that this person would spend time discussing their issues. Yet to Kevin it was simply in his nature and he has spent many conference tea and lunch breaks explaining the finer points of getting the best from a growing medium. His readiness to discuss one on one with a member’s specific propagation problems through the conferences he attends, typifies the spirit of our Society’s motto “To seek and to Share”.