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More than 600 floral design artists from around the world gathered together in Miami, July 12-16, for Caliente, the 2012 National Symposium of the American Institute of Floral Designers, an educational extravaganza that featured 19 world-class floral design education programs, awards ceremonies and other entertaining events.

AIFD’s new president, Ann Jordan, was installed at the event and NORCAL, the California association of flower growers and shippers, received an Award of Merit for its assistance in staging the annual symposium over the years, an institute news release stated.

AIFD-NORCAL912.AWARD-PHOTONORCAL received an Award of Merit at the AIFD Symposium in Miami. At the ceremony were AIFD Secretary Susie Kostick; Chris Johnson, NORCAL transportation director; AIFD Past President Tom Bowling; Kim Kudo, NORCAL secretary-treasurer; Steve Dionne, NORCAL past president; and AIFD President Ann Jordan.Tina Coker of Melbourne, FL, and Sylvia Bird of Fort Myers, FL, coordinated the 2012 Symposium, which began with the Institute’s annual Professional Floral Design Evaluation for candidates seeking the Certified Floral Designer credential or AIFD membership. Candidates were required to make five designs in four hours.

Numerous business sessions followed, including board committees, regional chapters and the annual membership meeting. New officers for the Institute were elected and installed, and student designers from 12 colleges and universities competed in the annual student design competition. Their works were displayed and attendees voted for their favorites.

The Overall School Award went to City College of San Francisco, led by advisors Holly

Money-Collins and Steven Brown. Yumi Patricia Ota of CCSF and Rebecca Dryer of Joliet (IL) Junior College tied for first place for the overall student award and Ms. Ota also garnered the People’s Choice Award, voted by symposium attendees.

Launching the celebration on Friday, July 13 was A Salute to AIFD Partners led by Jerome Raska, followed by Las Flores Caliente en Miami, the opening reception that featured floral décor by Frank Feysa.

Educational programs included SHINE — A Journey Toward the Light, featuring Marie Ackerman; A Fresh Look at Christmas, featuring Paul Miller; Nature’s Way, featuring Dan Firth; and News Flash — Live at 3, featuring Ted Bruehl.

The annual awards and induction ceremony inducted 21 floral design artists into membership.

Chris Norwood of Little Rock, AR, was recognized with the Award of Distinguished Service to AIFD and was named a Fellow of the Institute; Ron Mulray of Philadelphia received the Award of Special Service; and Julie Puckett of Barberville, FL, was recognized with the AIFD Award of Merit-Industry.

Early Bird morning seminars covered customer service, weddings, trends forecasts, Parties that Pop and other topics.

The events concluded as AIFD’s community service program, Blooms over Miami, provided a beautiful floral surprise when symposium participants arranged floral bouquets and delivered them to about 300 nursing home residents in Miami.