Bearded Iris
Beardless Iris
Plant Iris
an Iris
Bearded Iris

   C.I.P. = Classroom Iris Project


The American Iris Society (AIS), founded in 1920, is a group of approximately 8,000 members devoted to the culture and improvement of the iris.  Over 350 of this number are youth members under the age of 19.  Some 175 local iris clubs are scattered throughout the United States and Canada.  The AIS offers Classroom Iris Projects (CIPs) for schools.  This is a "hands on" opportunity for students to grow and care for irises on their school grounds.

  1. Get the names and birthdates of the youth members
  2. Send in $5 w/o AIS Bulletin or $9 w/ Bulletin dues for each youth to AIS (Note: to receive the $5.00 rate, someone in the household must already be an AIS member.  Many local clubs pay the AIS dues for their youths who participate in some way -- either in shows, at meetings, or in sales/auctions.)
  3. Send the name of the adult in charge (teacher/leader) and
  4. The school's address (most CIPs are done this way, but some send the youth address)
  5. Send the information to Tom Gormley, National AIS membership secretary (see the membership page of this web site.)

Tom Gormley
AIS Membership Secretary
PO Box 177
DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
Phone/fax: (386) 277-2057
Cell Phone (314) 607-1323

Once Tom Gormley gets the information, he gives it to Cheryl Deaton, National AIS Youth Chairperson.  Cheryl then sends youth packets and other information to the teacher(s).  Cheryl will also request payment of AIS dues for the teacher from the AIS Secretary/Treasurer.  Many local clubs will add the Teacher(s) to the local roster and pay their club dues.  That's all there is to it!

The youth members will also begin to receive a copy of the Iris Fan (the Youth bulletin, published twice a year), receive an "AIS Youth Member Handbook",  have the opportunity to participate in the AIS Pen Pals Program and have the chance to enter the National Youth Contests (Clarke Cosgrove contest, Ackerman essay contest, Youth coloring contest, and other contests that take place from time-to-time).

The Classroom Iris Project is not to be confused with other available Youth Iris Projects (see also the webpage about Youth Projects under Features and Funding on this web site.)


Irises are the ideal flowers for the outdoor classroom for several reasons.  They have spring bloom while school is still in session and many irises rebloom in the fall.  With the many types of species and hybrids, irises are suited to all growing areas and conditions in the U.S.  Bearded irises are drought tolerant.  Several beardless types thrive in moist conditions.  Aril irises grow in desert regions.  Spuria irises grow over six feet tall in California (about four feet in Missouri).  Miniature Dwarf Bearded are only three to four iinches tall.  Irises come in all colors except for bright red.  There are even brown and black irises.  Irises do not have many diseases or pests.  Irises are NOT BORING!


Local iris clubs, which are affiliates of the AIS, are available in many areas to sponsor CIPs.  They are usually willing to provide good quality, named iris rhizomes for the students to plant.  Iris clubs may also contribute all or part of the student's AIS dues each year.  Sometimes other supplies such as garden markers, fertilizer, etc. will be donated.  The teacher's AIS dues will be paid from a special classroom fund when his/her students sign up as AIS youth members.

  • Four AIS Bulletins per year in January, April, July and October with articles, color photos and a special column for youths entitled "Youth Views."
  • Monthly "how to" advice and/or programs from local iris club members if desired.
  • Ideas for iris lesson plans/activities

  • 20 page "AIS Youth Members Handbook" full of basic iris information.
  • Subscription to AIS youth newsletter, "The Iris Fan."
  • AIS Pen Pal, if desired
  • Opportunity to compete for $100 prize each year in the Youth Essay Contest.  The topic is announced in the January AIS Bulletin each year
  • Opportunity to enter local iris shows in 3 Divisions -- Horticulture (single iris stalks), Design (flower arrangements) and Educational (posters or demos).
  • Standing invitation to participate in iris club activities -- meetings, programs, slide shows, garden tours, etc.
  • Viewing AIS Website with links to Websites of the 24 AIS regions plus those of the iris "Sections" (specialized groups) and the many local clubs.
  • Some local iris clubs offer small undergraduate scholarships to students planning a career in a science-related field.  The AIS Foundation offers two scholarships per year to graduate students in botany studies.

  • Bearded Iris Culture
  • Beardless Iris Culture
  • Plant an Iris Garden
  • Pollinating Iris
  • Seed Germination
  • Iris Diagram
  • Bearded Iris Varieties
  • Color Patterns
  • Color Pattern Exercise
  • Iris Growth
  • Growth Sample Data
  • Cattail vs Iris
  • Teacher Tips for Cattails
  • Chemistry of Rhizomes
  • Microscope Lab
  • Iris Poster
  • Iris Review Sheet
  • Iris Resources
  • Artistic Designs

Some of the above CIP information sheets are on this web site.  Click the Buttons at the top of the page to see them.

The above Classroom Iris Project (C.I.P.) information sheets were prepared by Valerie Mertz, Biology instructor at Marquette High School, Chesterfield, Missouri, and by Jean Morris, Past National Youth Chairman, American Iris Society (A.I.S.).  Additional literature may be obtained from the current National Youth Chairman of AIS:

Cheryl Deaton
27218 Walnut Spring Avenue
Canyon Country, CA 91351-3314