ARS Website Up and Running
The ARS Website is now an established service offered by the Society to its members, advertisers, and the public. The establishment of the new service began when Past-president Herb Spady formed the ARS Electronic Media Committee to modernize the ARS's outreach via the Internet. The original website, featured at the 1996 Western Regional Conference in Ocean shores, Wash., was created by Stuart Celarier, Bob McKenzie, Keith Bowers, and Sandra McDonald with photos from Harold Greer. Further contributors to the website were Frank Fujioka, Warren Berg, Bud Gehnrich, Herb Spady, Ken Gibson, Dick Savold and many others. Stuart Celarier served as the first webmaster, but because of a work overload resigned in 1997. Since then the ARS has contracted with Chris Hoffman, owner of A Sandy Rhododendron and C-Images, a web design and maintenance company, to serve as webmaster. I have served as the committee's first chairperson.
Just two months since its redesign, the ARS website has improved tremendously. The current features of the website include the Hybridizer's Forum, showcasing hybridizers, photos of their plants, and cultural information. Originally Chris Hoffman's idea, the Hybridizer's Forum was donated to the ARS for use on the ARS website. Additionally, there is a chat section of the website that allows on-line visitors to post rhododendron questions to the Internet audience for discussion.
Standard features of the ARS website include:
EVENTS SECTION: listing news, the ARS Journal, convention information, calendar, Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) news, announcements, the Rhododendron and Azalea Newsletter, Rhododendron Forum, and awards.
LIBRARY SECTION: including genus data, the Hybridizers Showcase and Forum, ARS Seed Exchange and Pollen Bank, RSBG, cultural information, glossary of terms, research information, web resource links, sponsors, reading resources, and lecture circuit information.
ADMINISTRATIVE SECTION: with information on the ARS office, lists of ARS chapters, their presidents, contacts and links when applicable, and an email roster of members.
In addition to the written word, excellent photographs and graphics create a professional website, inviting viewers to explore the pages of rhododendron information. Also, the site offers any viewer the opportunity to suggest modifications to the website. These requests are reviewed by members of the ARS Electronic Media Committee before the webmaster initiates the changes.
ADVERTISING SECTION: with display advertisements and, for ARS Journal advertisers, free text-only ads.
The possibilities of the ARS website are vast. Committee discussions have visualized a hybrid and species data bank to be used for research, a feature that is currently under construction with the assistance of Chris Hoffman and the RSBG. Perhaps the ARS can work out a way to have the rhododendron registrar's information on hybrids available on line to be used as a reference.
I encourage you to visit the ARS website often to learn, to chat, to improve, and to link to the world-wide opportunities of our beloved genus Rhododendron. Visit the ARS website at: www.rhododendron.org