From the Executive Director
Deanna "Dee" Daneri
Are you a member or a subscriber? Do you pay your annual dues, receive the ARS Journal and perhaps a chapter newsletter, and avoid all other involvement with the Society? If this describes you, then you're a subscriber. You don't want to attend meetings, you could care less about the benefits of special plant sales, seed exchanges, educational programs, conferences and the multitude of activities presented by the membership. You're entitled to complete privacy. Enjoy your journal, your newsletter, and thank you for renewing in September each year. Please go directly to the last paragraph of this column.
If you're a member of the Society, you've chosen to be a critical component of a body of people who are charged with the advancement of education. Our mission is concentrated on the genus Rhododendron, including azaleas, and other ericaceous plants and companions which may enrich the gardens and libraries of our fellow members and our communities.
The evolution of a member generally begins with someone who has discovered a rhododendron garden, or otherwise been introduced to these extraordinary plants. Do you remember your first rhododendron experience? Somehow you heard about the American Rhododendron Society. What were the circumstances?
Within your chapter you quickly became selective at the plant table, and learned from the experts how to give your plants the best life possible. In exchange for your privileged access to the cream of the crop, and the doors which were opened to you, you began helping at shows, doing everything from providing the much needed truck, to apprenticing to the pros who knew how to lay out the show and do the judging.
You know when you've entered the seasoned circle of "those in the know." When did someone first turn to you and ask your opinion of the truss under observation? When did you discover that you actually knew what you were looking at?
Rhody life is a great life, but it's not complete until we come full circle. The easiest way to introduce someone new to the American Rhododendron Society may not be a contact with someone you know. You can reach hundreds of people by simply becoming a benefactor. Your $28 annual donation can buy a membership for a library, university, or public garden. Just send your check to OARS, along with the information about your gift. Your giftee will receive a special announcement of your gift. You could even see to it that membership brochures and applications are always available at these public places. Ask your membership chairman about Society membership information.