Puerto Rico Conference Canceled due to Hurricane Maria



Please refer to the information for the NEW Conference info which will take place on November 1-4, 2017 in San Francisco.

We are sorry for the inconvenience- HOWEVER, we are trying to coordinate a “WORK PARTY” in Puerto Rico at a later date to help our bambuseros in PR clean up and utilize the bamboos that have been busted. Again, stay tuned. Thank you.

The following is the original announcement of the meeting (with minor edits) that was to take place in Puerto Rico and we are keeping the post here in recognition of all the people in Puerto Rico who worked very hard on the planning stages of this event.

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Bamboo Society was scheduled to take place November 1-5, 2017 in the island Commonwealth of Puerto Rico! The meeting was to take place at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (http://www.uprm.edu/) and was being organized by CoHemis – The Center for Hemispherical Cooperation in Research and Education in Engineering and Applied Science (http://cohemis.uprm.edu/). We are extremely fortunate to discover this partnership, and look forward to bringing an excellent program and opportunity to Puerto Rico. Some of you may remember when there was an active Chapter of the ABS on the island of PR, and we hope that this annual meeting will ignite new energy into this region.

Thank you to local organizing chair Christopher Papadopoulos (Department of Engineering Sciences and Materials), Jo Scheer (Tropical Treehouse), Mariano Robledo Diaz (Bamboo Puerto Rico Farms), Pablo Acevedo (Finca Tierra Unida), Ricardo Goenaga (Tropical Agricultural Research Station), Bryan Brunner (College of Agricultural Sciences), Duane Kolterman (Department of Biology), Amos Winter (Peaceful Ocean View), and Fernando Gilbes Santaella, Marcel Castro Sitiriche, Yamarie Hernández Bonet, Yesenia Echevaría Echevaría, and Cristal Del Mar Vélez Cruz (CoHemis) for their local leadership to organize the conference.

The conference dates were decided to avoid the peak hurricane season. We expect to have the opportunity to walk among the tropical bamboos of the USDA Tropical Agriculture Research Station (https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/mayaguez-pr/tropical-crops-and-germplasm-research/docs/main/), as well as other bamboo sites. As some daily rain showers are to be expected, it is prudent to bring appropriate shoes, umbrellas, and other light rain gear.

World Bamboo Pioneer Floyd McClure brought many of his tropical collections to TARS. From 1944-1954, McClure served as “Field Service Consultant on Bamboo” with the Office of Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA, which took him again to six countries in Central and South America, as well as India, East Pakistan (Bangladesh), and the islands of Java and Luzon. Ultimately he was able to establish living collections of what he considered “elite” economic species in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. At the same time, he directed propagation studies at the Federal Experiment Station in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (now known as TARS, Tropical Agricultural Research Station). Also of historical note, the ABS hosted an international meeting at TARS in 1985 (http://bamboo.org/publications/e107_files/downloads/ABSJournal-vol06.pdf), which later became known as the 1st World Bamboo Congress.

Sorry this event has been cancelled due to Hurricane Maria

 Wednesday NOV 1: 

9:00am – 5:00pm   ABS Board of Directors meeting, Mezzanine, UPRM Campus

Thursday NOV 2: Presentations on UPR campus

8:00am – 8:30am Transit to TARS / Bus pickup at Plaza Colón

8:30am – 10:00am   Visit to Tropical Agriculture Research Station (USDA)

10:30am – 12:00pm Morning Session in Stefani Amphitheater (Room 113) UPRM Campus

10:30am – 10:45am   Welcome Address, Susanne Lucas, President ABS

10:45am – 11:30am Christopher Papadopoulos, Building Materials Research Updates

11:30am – 12:30pm Fernando Gilbes Santaella, CoHemis and Bamboo

12:30pm – 2pm Lunch, Mezzanine, UPRM Campus

2:00pm – 5:00pm Afternoon Session, Mezzanine

2:00pm – 2:45pm Pablo Acevedo, An Alternative for Sustainability in Puerto Rico

2:45pm – 3:30pm   Jo Scheer, Embracing the bamboo lifestyle- mistakes I’ve made

3:45pm – 4:30pm Mariano Robledo Diaz, Bamboo Housing Projects

4:30pm – 5:30pm   Zach Gould, The Grass House: Building in Washington DC

5:30pm – 6:30pm  Tour Clemente Exhibit, UPRM Campus

6:30pm – 7:00pm Transit back to Plaza Colón

Dinner on Your Own

Friday NOV 3: Presentations on UPR campus

8:00am – 8:30am Transit to UPR campus / Bus pickup at Plaza Colón

8:30am – 10:30am Tour Civil Engineering Labs and Posters, UPRM Campus

10:30am – 12:15pm Morning Session in Civil Engineering Amphitheater, UPRM Campus

10:30am – 10:45am – Welcome and Updates

10:45am – 11:40am Lynn Clark, Bamboos of the Caribbean

11:40am – 12:15pm Robert Saporito, Tropical Bamboos for Ornamental Landscapes

12:15pm – 12:30pm Transit to Mezzanine, UPRM Campus

12:30pm – 2:00pm Lunch

2:00pm – 5:oopm Afternoon Session, Mezzanine

2:00pm – 3:00pm   Panel Discussion / Wrap up of Presentations

3:00pm – 5:00pm   Annual Fundraiser Auction

5:00pm Transit to Plaza Colón

Dinner on Your Own

Saturday NOV 4: Tours

8:00am – 8:45am Bus pickup at Plaza Colón and transit to Finca Tierra Unida (Pablo Acevedo)

8:45 – 11am Tour Finca Tierra Unida

Finca Tierra Unida (“Earth United Farm”) is a grassroots project that established a bamboo plantation in the flood plain of the Guanajibo River, in San Germán. Tierra Unida is undertaking a pilot project to determine the feasibility of using multiple bamboo species (including G. angustifoliaD. asperD. strictusG. apusB. oldhamii, and B. vulgaris) to increase and improve the riparian buffer zone. A small bamboo processing center is also being established. Tierra Unida is dedicated to employing and promoting ecologically responsible practices, community-scale economies, and education.

11 – 11:45am Transit to Mezzanine, UPRM Campus

11:45 – 2pm Lunch and Membership Business Meeting, Mezzanine

2:00 – 2:45 Transit to Rincón

2:45 – 3:45pm   Visit to Peaceful Ocean View Yoga Shala

Peaceful Ocean View is an international retreat center in Rincón, Puerto Rico. The Center features yoga and meditation retreats, yogic and ayurvedic cooking classes, kirtan events, and guest housing. The center recently completed a third story addition constructed from guadua angustifolia.

3:45 – 4pm   Transit to Tropical Treehouse, Jo Scheer’s place

Tropical Treehouse, located in Rincón, PR, is an eco-tourism center designed, built, and managed by Jo Scheer. The site features several “hooches”, or treehouses, and “hammockamas” nestled in the forest. The hooches are similar to inverted teepees, constructed with clums of G. angustifolia and supported by cables for stability. The facilities are energy and water self-sufficient and provide a beautiful natural living experience with sunset and ocean views.

4:00pm – 6:00pm Visit Tropical Treehouse / social hour

6:00pm – 9:30pm Banquet at Cowboys Cantina, Rincón

9:30pm – 10:15pm Transit to Plaza Colón

Sunday NOV 5: Field trip

10:00am – 11:00am Bus pickup at Plaza Colón and transit to Bamboo Puerto Rico Farms

11:00am – 12:30pm Tour Bamboo Puerto Rico Farms

Bamboo Puerto Rico Farms, owned by Mariano Robledo, seeks to become the first commercial supplier of construction grade bamboo in Puerto Rico. A plantation has been established with 5,000 clusters of G. angustifolia, with the first commercial harvest is anticipated to be in 2019. The plantation grounds, also known as Finca Robledo, are very beautiful recreationally, featuring several other bamboo species and a waterfall.

12:30pm – 1:00pm Transit to Centro Servicios Cristiano El Guacio

El Centro de Servicios Cristianos El Guacio (Christian Services Center of El Guacio) is located in the municipality of San Sebastian, in the sector El Guacio. The Center was founded in 1949 by the Presbyterian Church USA to offer medical and educational services to people of the area, and later grew into a Christian retreat center. In the 1950s, among other agricultural projects, and with the goal of supporting the local artisan economy, a small bamboo industry was established, including a plantation (including B. tuldaB. longuispiculataB. textilis, and B. vulgaris) and a small workshop called Guacio Craft. Crafts were produced and sold until the 1970s, after which time the Center was abandoned until recently. Today, a local nonprofit organization Bambú Pueblo is working with the Center to revive its bamboo resources by establishing a bamboo training and educational center. The ABS Conference visit to this site will support this initiative.

1:00pm – 6:00pm Tour El Guacio and workshops, with meals provided. Details TBA

Option to sleep at El Guacio – dormitory-style, starting at approximately $10 per person.

Transit to Airports from El Guacio evening of Nov. 5 and/or morning of Nov. 6, to be determined based on visitors’ itineraries.

Note: there will be no bus back to Mayaguez on Nov. 5.

Please stay tuned to the ABS website and to the American Bamboo Society Facebook page for updates and more information. The September magazine will have updates and all the info you need to know. Register early and save money!

If you have any questions, please direct them to ABS President, Susanne Lucas, president@bamboo.org

See you in Puerto Rico! Hasta pronto!


The American Bamboo Society is dependent on generous donations to fund special projects and award grant recipients, as all dues income goes to administration of the organization. Our Annual Meeting Auction is always great fun, and a great way to support ABS through your donations and your bidding! This year, we are lucky to have long-time ABS member Jo Scheer agree to receive any donations you wish to send! If you have plants or other objects of bamboo (books, musical instruments, sculptures, etc) YOU WISH TO SHIP (rather than hand-carry) please get in touch with Jo.

Jo Scheer

Ship to Address:

HC-03 Box 6780

Rincon, PR 00677

Email : bamboo@tropical-treehouse.com

We are also very lucky to have willing volunteers to help us organize the donations to this annual fundraiser and help see the actual auction flow and raise money!

Hunter Vickers of Florida, and Landy Banks of California, will lead the team on the ground in Puerto Rico. If you have plants you wish to donate for the “live” auction, please contact Hunter.

Hunter Vickers : vickershunter@yahoo.com

If you have non-plant items you wish to donate for the “silent auction”, please contact Landy.

Landy Banks : banks.landy@gmail.com

Please stay tuned to the ABS website and to the American Bamboo Society Facebook page for updates and more information. The September magazine will have updates and all the info you need to know. Register early and save money!

If you have any questions, please direct them to ABS President, Susanne Lucas, president@bamboo.org

See you in Puerto Rico! Hasta pronto!

Here is more information about Mayaguez, the city where the conference will be held

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