President's Remarks at the Annual Meeting
Edward B. Dunn
First of all, I want to express the great gratitude of the Board and the membership to the Eugene Chapter for this splendid three days. An outstanding show has been followed by a marvelous program of talks and tours.
When Merle Saunders first talked about a Eugene meeting he had some qualms about it coming up to some of the past meetings. He shouldn't have had. Eugene certainly need take a back seat to none. This has been a unique and unforgettable meeting which is borne out by the nearly unanimous attendance at all the talks and other events. President Jim Gossler, his fellow officers and Board members of the Chapter and Dan Morris as chairman for this meeting merit the sincere thanks of us all for making this get together of "Rhodoholics Unanimous" so pleasant, so interesting and so much fun.
I want to congratulate and thank Palmer Saunders and his Show Committee for the excellent show that gave this meeting its sendoff. Merle Saunders, too, has been a powerhouse of energy and efficiency in preparation for this meeting. All those who contributed to the success of the event by giving talks and opening their gardens may be assured of the sincere thanks of the membership.
Briefly, I should like to make a report on our progress during the year. It has been a busy one for your officers, directors and committee members and while many plans have not borne fruit, several projects were accomplished.
- As you know, after much labor we finally published "Rhododendron Information." This took many hours of hard work on the part of Dr. Ticknor, his Publications Committee, and our Editor, Dr. Clarke. John Henny chaired the Ratings Committee through tedious hours of weeding and sorting and Don McClure with the awards group also devoted great time and energy digging out information. These two committees provided the information that makes meaningful this latest book.
- Our membership has made a steady growth despite the increase in dues and we now have 29 Chapters. Also, the rate of drop-out has been slowed. Bob Comerford has clone a fine job as Membership Chairman and I hope he will continue the good work.
- The Seed Exchange has become one of the most important functions of your Society. We are all in debt to Mrs. Robert Berry for her devotion to this most important project which shows no sign of slowing.
- Mr. Chas. Anderson has organized a proposed comprehensive outline for a Long Range Planning Committee of which he is chairman. It lays the groundwork for more and better service to our members. A Budget Finance Committee will he one outcome of this plan.
- I think we are all pleased with our Bulletin and Dr. Clarke has clone fine work here, as well as, with "Rhododendron Information."
- A continuing cooperation between the distant chapters and the national Board has resulted from the very beneficial efforts of Board Member Alfred Martin. Mr. Martin manages to attend at least two meetings a year and he makes a special effort to bring the wishes and complaints of the eastern members to the attention of the Society.
- Dan Morris as chairman of the Annual Meeting Committee has done an admirable job, as you all have seen. Our Vice Pres. Carl Phetteplace has been of great help in planning for the future as well as chairing the Honors Committee.
I am certainly most grateful to all of these chairmen and the members of their committees. All have served the Society well during the year and deserve the thanks of the membership.
Now, what is planned for the coming year?
Several new committee in addition to the standing committees have been initiated or are planned. A Slide Library Committee has been started with Howard Short as chairman. It is hoped to establish a slide collection on a national level to enable chapters to borrow selections for programs. Mr. Short is requesting each chapter to appoint a member to undertake the collection of slides to be donated to the Central Library. It is to be hoped, and I earnestly urge, that every Chapter will respond favorably on this project. Such a library will not only be of great service to each Chapter, but will be most valuable for study and research on the Genus. All members of the ARS are urged to take slides and contribute to this important project. Think what can be clone eventually. With card sorting techniques it will be possible to produce groups of slides in categories of color, size, hardiness, foliage or combinations of these. This is a great way to further the use and enjoyment of rhododendrons.
In order to set up uniform rules and procedures for ARS sponsored Shows I have asked Merle Cisney to chairman a Show and Judging Committee. This committee should be very helpful to new Chapters.
One of the prime functions of your Society is the operation of a sound Awards Program. Devised and organized by Donald McClure and his committee, and approved by the Board, the new Awards Program is presently in effect. Each chapter has received a report which requires the appointment of local awards committees. So far, very few chapter presidents have advised me of the names nominated for their chapters. I should like to emphasize the importance of this work by repeating the purpose of the program: "To improve the quality of Rhododendron plants available to the general public by discovering superior plants produced by breeding and selection, by publicizing these plants, and by utilizing the facilities and influence of the ARS to insure propagation and distribution." I ask all chapter presidents to expedite the formation of their respective awards Committees and to submit their names promptly.
Another continuous function of our Society is that of Ratings. There should be a constant updating of information on Rhododendrons and the latest findings published in our next book. Members are urged to make notes and keep records of plant behavior, during blooming season particularly.
The Bulletin is one of the chief services rendered to the membership. However, many think we should publish other pamphlets and books in addition. Highly technical information might well be published outside The Bulletin. Also, unpublished letters, out-of-print books and other material interesting and helpful to the membership could be printed supplementally to The Bulletin. A large nationwide, and perhaps, international Publications Advisory Committee is being formed under Dr. Phetteplace, as chairman, to consider feasibility of publication. It will likewise produce articles for The Bulletin and build a backlog for the editor.
Another committee is to be formed to study our organization, to determine whether changes should be made in the national governing setup. Perhaps we have reached a size that calls for more regional responsibility. Perhaps two divisions. Some organizations do this. In any case, a study and recommendation will be made for consideration of the membership.
There are other Society projects that will come up for consideration pursuant to the Long-range Plan and committees will be appointed as required. I wish to ask for the cooperation of each Chapter and member in our efforts to render more service to our members and the public. Our organization should grow and become increasingly useful, but growth requires the interest and assistance of the members.
At the risk of repeating myself and being guilty of re-playing an old record, I should like to point up what I consider to be our public responsibility. I believe this responsibility rests upon every organization or society that has any thing to do with natural beauty and the enjoyment of the outdoors. We all enjoy plants and growing them, presumably. While our interests may vary from the strictly scientific aspect to that of the nurseryman, ordinary gardener, or flower child, we grow rhododendrons because we like to. This is fine and most of us want to convert others to our way of thinking. We enjoy plants in our own gardens, we revel in the association with kindred souls, the competition of shows, the study of the genus, exchange of knowledge and other benefits.
All to the good, but is there an additional reason for our being? I think so. In this day of great physical change in our country, when land is being gulped down by housing projects, concrete highways, and parking lots, when so-called strip development is threatening to destroy the countryside between our cities, we must do something about America's landscape. Every voice raised in opposition to the destruction of our natural beauty helps. Every park or planting that we can develop in our cities does much to educate the public as well as beautify our surroundings. Magnificent Hendricks Park here in Eugene where this chapter has made such a contribution is an example. There are others, both east and west, and I hope every chapter will inaugurate a test or display garden. These projects are of great help in arresting what I like to term landscape pollution.
In addition to promoting and assisting in public plantings I feel that we should take an active part in resisting destructive projects by speaking out individually against them. I don't envision members of the Eugene chapter marching in protest parades or lying down en masse in front of the bulldozers, but, we can all write letters, we can all exert influence for, certainly, we are the "good guys." I think we, as a Society, have this responsibility.
Again, I want to thank the Chapter and all who have given us this marvelous time. This has been an outstandingly successful meeting and we are all proud of the Eugene Chapter.
Don't forget, next year it's Georgia!