ARS Welcomes New Chapters and New District
Barbara R. Hall, Executive Director
At the Oct. 25, 1991, meeting of the American Rhododendron Society National Board of Directors, the J. D. Hooker, Dutch and Tennessee Valley Chapters were approved as our 62nd, 63rd and 64th chapters. Also, approval of the affiliation of the Rhododendron Society of Canada (RSC) as ARS District 12 was approved, effective Jan. 1, 1992.
J. D. HOOKER CHAPTER: Originating as an offspring from the Sikkim Rhododendron Society, the J. D. Hooker Chapter is located in Sikkim, India. The chapter officers are Mr. Keshab C. Pradhan, President; Mr. P. K. Basnet, Vice President; Mr. Sonam Lachungpa, Secretary; and Mr. T. R. Poudyal, Treasurer. The minutes of their first meeting reflect that "Considering Sikkim is the home of large numbers of species of Rhododendrons and in view of rapid developmental activities in the State, it has been realized that this rich natural heritage requires protection and preservation for all time to come. It is also a fact that there are still large tracts of Rhododendron forests with large variations and forms within the species which are yet to be properly identified. The Society will make concerted efforts to identify rich Rhododendron zones in the Sikkim Himalayas and take all effective steps for their protection and conservation." One of the objectives of the Chapter will be to assemble a planting in Ridge Park, Gangtok (Sikkim) of the hybrid progeny of the J. D. Hooker Rhododendrons. Another will be to provide the ARS Seed Exchange with highly desirable species seed. Also, by having this link with the ARS, tours into this rhododendron rich area should be much easier to arrange. We wish them the best!
DUTCH CHAPTER: The Dutch Chapter is based in the State of the Netherlands but hopes also to draw Dutch speaking members from Belgium. Their meeting place will be in Hattem. There are many rhododendron nurseries in Holland, and both rhododendrons and heathers are rather popular there. The founding chapter officers are Mr. Tijs Huisman, President; Mrs. H. de Graaf, Secretary; and Mr. C. Zonneveld, Treasurer. They already have about 20 members and plan to publish a newsletter in Dutch. We congratulate them and welcome them to our growing family!
TENNESSEE VALLEY CHAPTER: The Tennessee Valley Chapter encompasses much of eastern and middle Tennessee plus portions of northern Georgia and northwestern Alabama. They will meet monthly at the Chattanooga Nature Center at Reflection Riding, Chattanooga, Tennessee. They have already published their first newsletter and promise to be an active and enthusiastic group. The chapter officers are Mr. Joseph E. Schild, Jr., President; Mr. Rudolph A. Hoppe, Vice President; Caroline D. Alley, Secretary; and Philip S. Page, Treasurer. We send them our support and best wishes!
RHODODENDRON SOCIETY OF CANADA: As a result of negotiations over an extended period of time, the Rhododendron Society of Canada (RSC) will become affiliated with the ARS as District 12, effective Jan. 1, 1992. The RSC will retain its name and may continue all of its activities and services, as long as they are consistent with the bylaws of both societies and the laws of Canada and the United States. The RSC will appoint a District Director to serve until the regular election process can be implemented next year. The RSC currently has three regions, the Atlantic, Niagara and Toronto Regions, which will become ARS chapters. Representing the RSC at the ARS National Board meeting were Sophia Maitland, current RSC President, and Charles Sale, past RSC President. The ARS warmly welcomes the RSC and happily anticipates the mutual benefits that will accrue as a result of the affiliation!