Australian Institute of Horticulture Inc
The Election of Fellows

AIH as a Professional Institute 

History of Guilds and Professional Institutes 

Guilds were founded to support the disciplines for which they were named. The recorded history of guilds dating back to the third millennium BC includes references to trades such as shipbuilders and the keepers of weights and measures. In the middle-ages the roles of guilds were enhanced to ensure the skills of trades and crafts people were protected. The guilds laid down instructional directives and established the concept of ‘journeyman’ that required years to progress to be a master then on to a grandmaster. 

In recent decades, these institutes, like many other organisations, have been increasingly called on to expand their relationships to new or emerging fields of practice. The horticulture profession has embraced this expansion and is now recognised to encompass many sectors. 

Within AIH our horticulturists are employed in areas such as parks and gardens management, arboriculture, turf production and care, therapeutic practices, nursery management, interior plantscaping, natural resource management, permaculture, urban food production, soil management specialists, seed production, compost development and vermiculture, landscape design, installation and maintenance, irrigation systems design and management and horticultural media. These sectors have as their basis – the arts and sciences of growing and maintaining plants. 

Influencing the Narrative

Often professional societies have direct knowledge of the needs and trends in their sectors more so than other ‘go-to’ policy makers. 

Professional associations have the leverage with which to promote public awareness; are able to design and promote change within the industry through policy statements, meetings, committees; are best placed to manage professional education and recognition programmes, scholarship, sponsorship; and importantly, promote excellence through an award programme.

An institute’s award programme is paramount for the development and maintenance of professional excellence within their represented sectors as it sets standards of which others can measure. 

AIH Inc. aims to emulate a guild like structure through 3 professional pathways:

  • The AIH Registered Horticulturist programme: defines and sets standards for the professional development of horticulturists. This programme recognises our member’s ongoing learning and commitment to maintain currency of skills and expertise. 
  • Awards Programme: an extensive annual award programme for members, non-member individuals, government and public entities; both locally and internationally. 
  • Election of Fellows – our oldest and most revered recognition for AIH members which aims to promote high standards of commitment to the institute’s objectives and the promotion and advancement of the profession of horticulture.  
What does it mean to be a Fellow?

Fellowships of professional associations or guilds are a title of honour bestowed on those who have made a personal commitment above and beyond the ordinary member. 

AIH Fellowships represent the recognition of significant professional experience, professional leadership within the industry and distinguished and outstanding contribution to the AIH. 

The AIH confer its Fellows through election by their peers who are members of the Fellows Group. The Institute Council considers the nominee and ratifies the recommended election by the Fellows Group. 

Criteria for Fellowship Nomination for Election 

The nominee must be a member of AIH and continue their membership after election.

The nomination process requires the nominee’s expertise and skills applied in industry to be addressed through a selection of categories.

There are several Election Categories that may be considered for fellowship. 

The primary nominator must indicate the categories that most accurately describe the distinguished contribution(s) of the nominee. 

All supporting nominations must address Category1 and 2 plus a selection of 2 more of the noted categories. All supporting letters must address 2 of the chosen elective categories.

  1. Commitment to AIH: Participation in the active leadership, management, continuing support and/or development of AIH for a period of no less than 6 years.
  2. A nominee for Fellowship must have had an established career. Typically, this means at least ten years of professional experience post achievement of the qualifications required for AIH membership OR 10 years full-time experience as a senior horticulturist. 
Elective Categories a minimum of any 2 of the following:
Author, Editor, Researcher: 

The dissemination of knowledge contributes to the advancement of the art and science of horticulture. 

  1. This category recognises original works that are related to some aspect of horticulture and reported in standard publications, websites, blogs, videos, webinars, presentations, social media. software, photography, radio, television
    1. Content may include knowledge and skills allied to horticultural practices
  2. Contributions may be made from all levels of practice.
Teaching of horticulturists:
  1. Teaching constitutes an important contribution to the science of horticulture. 
  2. Participation in specialised training in applied programmes, short courses, etc 
  3. Preparation of educational materials (textbooks, manuals, short-course guides, field guides, etc.).
Supporting professional horticultural programs: 
  1. Effective development of industry based professional advancement programmes, 
  2. Mentoring of individuals or leadership of teams, 
  3. Coordination of industrial programmes involving practical application of horticultural principles, 
  4. Proven supervision of horticultural apprentices, trainees and/or employees.
Public awareness of horticulture: 

Presentations of horticultural work that supports the promotion and/or advancement of horticulture to:

  1. Governmental agencies, legislative bodies, courts, committees, etc, 
  2. Other Industry groups or associations
  3. Community engagement in general 

The opportunities available to AIH members to make a contribution to the science of horticulture are as diverse as the sectors in which horticulturists operate. Therefore, a nominating sponsor may present activities that do not fit into any of the prescribed categories.

AIH Fellow Procedure and Nomination Form

The nomination submission comprises:

  • The attached nomination form containing;
    • Summary information and signatures of those endorsing the nomination;
    • Responses to the 2 compulsory categories – Category 1 and 2 
    • Selection of minimum of 2 of the 7 Elective categories 
  • Include a high quality digital graphic of the nominee in a .jpeg or .png format minimum of 1MB. 
Procedure for the submission: 

As the Fellows group and AIH Council Officers may not necessarily have a personal knowledge of the nominees, it is important that nominations be prepared in this standard format with responses to the stated criteria and to provide sufficient information for the assessors to be able to make an informed decision.  

The nominator may be asked to provide further information to clarify any point in the nomination.

Who can nominate:

  • Members of AIH
  • AIH Council through the AIH Secretary
  • Nominations may also be endorsed by a regional convenor


  • The nomination forms to be downloaded from the AIH Web page.
  • All nominators must present a completed submission to be sent to the AIH Membership Manager
  • To be assessed by the Fellows Group the nomination submission must meet the criteria as stated
  • Nominations are forwarded to the Chair of Fellows for distribution 
  • Group consider nominations and respond to Chair Fellows Group
  • Chair Fellows Group collates and prepares recommendations 
  • Recommendations referred to the AIH Council 
  • AIH Council confer and ratify or reject the nomination/s
  • Fellows Group notified of Council decision
  • Chair of Fellows group prepare response to the nominator for Council approval 
  • Secretary notifies nominator of outcome of submission
  • Results recorded with AQIH Membership Manager
  • Medallions prepared by Chair Fellows Group and forwarded to AIH Council for presentation