May 28th, Atlanta GA
Janet Binford, Portland, OR
I wish to extend greetings to all of you here at this memorable 1984 Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. To Joe and Donna Coleman who have done so much to lead this Convention Committee in its most successful endeavor we all owe a heartfelt vote of appreciation. For all of the ARS members who have worked along with them and to the Azalea Chapter members especially who have made the Atlanta area the epitome of Southern hospitality for us we can add a rousing cheer of congratulations for a job well done.
Certainly last evening at Stone Mountain was a time to be remembered, too, as a fun occasion shared by everyone there. Can future conventions hope to top this?
Now on to this less than formal "President's Address...Our "BABY" has come a long way. From that date in 1945 in Portland, Oregon when it first saw the light of day as the American Rhododendron Society it has continued to grow and develop into a strong organization. Tonight I can welcome one of those original, and as we saw last night, a very lively member, who was there when it all began. Bill Robinson wants to know if anyone else present can stand up with him. More cheers to Bill, please. May he continue to add years for the ARS with his outstanding endeavors.
This convention does mark a milestone in our history. We now move ahead with strength and a positive approach into a new era. With our membership of approximately 5,500 on this date we accept with acclaim our 52nd chapter, the Eureka chapter from California.
At today's Board meeting we had the culmination of the Districting Plan with all eleven districts included in the governing body of the ARS. This new step calls for a definite commitment of the District Directors and the Alternate Directors not only to their chapters but also to the National organization. We are a society of volunteers and we have to have dedicated and knowledgeable individuals for leaders.
Please, let me not hear "I can care less about National." Each and every member makes up the body as a whole. To function as a whole in good health we need to have each of you taking part.
The Board meeting today evidenced an example of teamwork with a concerted effort being made to work out our existing problems. I should like to report at this time that the recommendation of the Budget and Finance Committee headed by Ralph Shumm to raise the dues to $20.00 with the increment going to National to meet the rising costs of our functions and service to members was accepted. Reports of the Board meeting will be going out soon to the Officers, Board, and chapters.
Ed Egan, our excellent Editor, will be working from now on in close association with an Editorial Committee under Sandra McDonald. This committee will serve in a number of ways and will be ready to give assistance and added insight when needed by the Editor. An even greater effort will be made to maintain the existing high standards of publication and to emphasize and recognize the needs of the members.
The Publications Committee chaired by Diane Johnson assures us that the Rhododendron Culture Handbook is on its way. The work on the standardization of color names in horticulture proposed by R.C. Huse and K.L. Kelley also is nearing completion. Outstanding, of course, in the efforts of this committee has been the aid it has given to assist in the publication of the book A BROCADE PILLOW - Azaleas of Old Japan by Ito Thei with an introduction and Commentary by John L. Creech. This delightful addition to our literature will be available through Fran Egan, Executive Secretary.
Dr. August E. Kehr has again spearheaded the work of the Research Committee with great knowledge and foresight. The forthcoming research carried on under the grants from the ARS Research Foundation, Jud Brooks, Chairman, will further advance our efforts in the research field.
Recently at a Rhododendron Species Foundation meeting I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Johannes Hedegard from Denmark, a noted writer on rhododendrons. He mentioned in his talk of how he joined the ARS in 1965, and Bill Tietjen take note, he immediately sought seed from the Seed Exchange. Bill has been carrying on the work of the Seed Exchange in his usual capable way.
Franklin West, MD is concentrating on the broad view for our future as Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee.
A new committee on computer programming for rhododendron data on hybrids is just getting underway with Clive Justice and his enthusiastic committee members beginning to formulate and outline its work.
Memorials, gifts and bequests to the ARS by individuals who wish to contribute will receive special attention this coming year. The passing of noted members this past few years has called attention to a vital need for such a program. The various facets of this plan have yet to be worked out.
Always we have the steadfast and dependable chair people like Dorothy Schlaijker in the Plant Awards and Marthaann Mayer with the Pollen Bank who carry on with commendable efforts to make these services to members be of value. We do thank them. Austin Kennell with the Honors program is another member not to forget.
Actually I could go right down the list of committees under the Services to Members and note how much our membership gains from the work of each committee.
Always the individuals count for us. I can call attention only to these few, but I would like you to know what is going on with them. Esther Berry whom you have known with admiration as "The Seed Lady" is now the President of the Rhododendron Species Foundation. May our two groups continue with our close and valued association.
A much loved person who has received this last year an outstanding recognition is Dr. Henry T. Skinner, Past Director of the U.S. National Arboretum, who was granted the Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society. This is a great honor, and we can claim Henry Skinner as one of our outstanding members for his contributions to the horticultural world and for his day-by-day giving of himself as a member of the ARS. May I present Dr. Skinner to you - a man of many fine achievements.
Herbert Spady, MD has sought to bring us to a closer understanding and cooperation with the International Rhododendron world with Ralph Sangster of Australia bringing the possible formulation of an International Rhododendron Group closer to being an organized body. The International Rhododendron Conference which is being sponsored by the Rhododendron Species Foundation prior to the ARS Convention in Seattle in 1985 will include a meeting of this group.
This brings us to our closing invitation to all of you. Do plan to come West again to Seattle this time for our 1985 Convention under Bob Badger's leadership.
May we all have a good, good rhododendron and azalea year, weather permitting of course. In friendship and sharing we shall go far and grow even stronger.