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2023 GCA Honorary Members Announced


January 11, 2023

Achievements in Horticulture and Preservation Celebrated

The Garden Club of America is pleased to announce that three individuals of distinction have been named honorary members for 2023. Since 1916, the GCA has recognized the extraordinary achievements of more than 400 honorary members in the fields of horticulture or conservation, or whose knowledge and interests align with the GCA purpose. With appreciation for their achievements, the GCA welcomes the following new honorary members for 2023:

Michael S. Dosmann, PhD

Proposed by Fox Hill Garden Club, Zone I
Seconded by Milton Garden Club, Zone I


As the Keeper of the Living Collections at The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Michael S. Dosmann oversees all aspects of this world-renowned collection. He not only keeps this amazing collection, he shares it far and wide. Only the second “keeper” in the arboretum’s 150-year history, he is also a leader in global plant exploration.  

His GCA history runs deep. He was the 1998 recipient of  The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships and credits this experience with his professional success. A published scholar and frequent speaker, Michael has been a member of the board for the American Public Gardens Association. He was an entertaining and informative scholarship speaker at GCA’s 2022 Annual Meeting with his talk “How Do You Curate a Tree Museum?” 

Michael is one of GCA’s best and most enthusiastic endorsers, participating in club, zone and national activities from hosting On the Road with GCA to presenting at club and zone events, leading tours and sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm widely.

Sam Hodder

Proposed by Carmel-by-the-Sea Garden Club, Zone XII
Seconded by The Portland Garden Club, Zone XII

Sam Hodder grew up in a GCA household and has continued his close relationship with GCA throughout his professional life. As President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, he has collaborated with the GCA for more than a decade. He was the opening speaker at the 2018 GCA Annual Meeting where he also received the Elizabeth Craig Weaver Proctor Medal on behalf of the Save the Redwoods League. Sam’s passion and expertise recently helped the GCA and the League to successfully fundraise and purchase an additional 2,500 acres, bringing the  nearly 90-year old GCA Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park to 5,000 acres. This is the largest remaining old-growth redwood forest in the world. His dedication extends to working with young people, including the Student Conservation Association, so that future generations can experience the wonder of our forests.

Known unofficially as the “Chief Enthusiast of the Outdoors,”  Sam’s work and his commitment to GCA and the League personify the purpose of The Garden Club of America. 

John L. Turner

Proposed by South Side Garden Club of L.I., Zone III
Seconded by North Suffolk Garden Club, Zone III

For more than forty years, John Turner has been an extraordinary environmental advocate, educator, and protector of open space. He is the Senior Conservation Policy Advocate for the Seatuck Environmental Association and President and Founder of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.
John co-founded the Long Island Pine Barrens Society which introduced and spearheaded the passing of the landmark 1993 Pine Barrens Protection Act. This act has saved 100,000 acres of Long Island wilderness and protected a critical aquifer. The Pine Barrens are a 900-square-mile ecosystem that plays a crucial role in filtering rainwater. He’s also led efforts to save the Diamondback Terrapin, prevent bird strike deaths  and help wood frogs and other wildlife move safely to their breeding grounds by building an under-highway tunnel.

A knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide and presenter, he has written numerous articles and published two books, Exploring the Other Island and a children’s book Waylon’s Wandering Waterdrop. A teacher at heart, John generously shares his knowledge about open space, birds and other conservation topics with others including GCA club members.



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