From the Executive Director
Chapter Conference Organizers are Busy!
It's the middle of summer - too early to take cuttings and too hot to tend to the well-intended chore of deadheading the rhodie garden. If you missed that azalea extravaganza in Atlanta this spring, or didn't get to Edinburgh for the Scottish conference, this is a great time to turn to the Rhododendron Calendar this issue. Busy chapter committees are hard at work organizing priceless opportunities for our members. In the near future you are invited to visit gardens from Cape Cod to Hawaii, and north to Victoria. Don't forget there is always opportunity to head south for the autumn to Australia and New Zealand, giving you two seasons of rhododendrons and azaleas. These are wonderful chances for members and chapters alike. The members receive educational opportunities, travel, beautiful gardens, etc., while the hosting chapters generally have an opportunity to build financial coffers for future chapter projects. Without the Society, there wouldn't be an invitation list for the conferences.
But What Is Our Society Doing for Us?
While most of our members will have little Society work going on during the summer, the twenty-five committees which offer services to our members have great projects at work - all to your benefit. Our new Test and Display Gardens Chair Tom Schuetz has developed extensive guidelines for the encouragement of Test and Display Gardens, with formal recognition of these gardens by the Society. Laura Kentala's Plant Awards Committee has a major job under way, as the new Rhododendron of the Year program gets up and running. OARS is busy building an extensive growers database in order to let growers know a couple of years in advance what rhodies and azaleas will be featured. Publicity Chair Jerry Reynolds is preparing for national publication recognition.
A whole new division of the Society opened up in the last year, with future commitments to assisting committees and chapters with rhododendron projects which need resource development. Chairman Jack Root has an extensive program in the works as our new Resource Development Committee takes on this enormous challenge. The work of the committee is here to offer expert advice and guidance when a chapter or committee is in need of help. We'll be hearing much more about this later.
Bill Mangels, chair of the Endowment Fund Committee, has a large committee of skilled members on board, all dedicated to laying out solid guidelines and policies to treat the income from our Endowment Fund in the best way possible to serve our mission. Be sure and read Bill's introduction to the new Endowment Fund Committee, in this issue.
So sit back with the tour books. Dream of the exotic gardens we hope to share together in the next few years, while knowing that your Society committees are hard at work. Members from all seventy-two of our chapters work on these projects which mutually benefit every member, while bringing about public education about the genus.