President: Rod McKenna-Johnson
Vice Pres: Malcolm Hooe
Treasurer: Greg Baumgartner
Secretary: Barbara Waughtel
Rod McKenna Johnson (North Central)
Rod began his membership with us back in the 1980s during the years that the renown sensei John Naka taught us each year at our annual Tucson guest seminars. Back then, Rod was our leader in seasonal trips to collect older trees in the mountains. Absent for a number of years to raise a family and start a business, he has now rejoined us as a mentor and teacher, having presented a number of lectures and programs; and he succeeds David Meyer as president of TBS. He is now co-owner of Arizona Zenscapes, specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of Japanese gardens.
Phone: (510) 444-3792 Email:
Gabe Reed, Sr. (Southeast)
Gabe is our newest mentor but has had vast experience, since he started the hobby at age 15. He was entirely self-taught until he discovered our society at a Foothills Mall show five years ago. David immediately recruited him as an intern and assistant, and he studied for two years to become certified by GSBF. He has performed a number of demonstrations before groups and classes and is eager to share his love of this fascinating art form. Gabe has been very much involved with our “safaris” to locate and dig old trees in the Santa Rita mountains.
Greg Baumgartner (Vail)
Greg has been active in our society for over a dozen years, having moved here from Fargo, N.D., where he was involved as a master gardener and taught bonsai courses at a community college. He is now serving on our Board of Directors as Treasurer and has taught classes while being a mentor. He teaches a monthly bonsai class at a retirement home in Green Valley. He has been certified by GSBF and has presented numerous lecture programs at our monthly meetings.
Phone: (520) 661-4746 Email:
David Meyer (Northeast)
David and his late wife Judy founded our Society in 1972, and he has served as president for many years, now serving on the board as past president. He started teaching the first bonsai classes in Tucson in 1974 and began our mentor program in 2001. He has served as show chairman for a number of years and was National Convention Chair for the American Bonsai Society in 1981 in Denver, and again in 1999 here in Tucson. He was the first bonsai teacher to be certified by GSBF and sponsored Paul Vasquez, Greg Baumgartner, and Gabe Reed in the same program. Having previously owned a bonsai store and gift shop and retired as a tax consultant, he now stocks containers, tools, and supplies at his home, where many society special workshops are held. Read more
Phone: (520) 749-4155 Email:
Paul Vasquez (Ajo)
Paul has been an active teacher and mentor for over forty years, has given a number of lecture and demonstration programs, and has been involved in teaching many of our classes. He has served as vice president and president of our society and has been certified as a Bonsai Basics teacher both in Arizona and California by the Golden States Bonsai Federation (GSBF). He has served on our board of directors for a number of years. He and Stella make the long trip from Ajo to attend our monthly meetings, classes, and shows.
Phone: (520) 387-7126 Email:
Goals and Objectives of the Society
The Society was formally organized in May of 1972 by David and Judy Meyer, following the first bonsai exhibition ever held in Tucson. The Society is a contributor and sponsor of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington, D.C. We hosted the national convention of the American Bonsai Society here in Tucson in 1999. We have applied for federal tax-exempt status under IRC Code 501(C)(3).
We seek to encourage and foster the study of the art, appreciation, collection, and exhibition of bonsai as adapted to the horticultural growing conditions of the Sonoran Desert and Southern Arizona. Our educational purposes include such fundraising activities as may be deemed appropriate for the operation of the Society, and to sponsor programs, seminars, workshops, and annual exhibitions for the benefit of its members and the community.