JARS v53n4 - From the President

From the President
Lynn Watts
Bellevue, Washington

Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest have need to be thankful for the mild summer weather which we have enjoyed compared to what much of the rest of the United States has had to endure. I have been in touch with several of our members from the Midwest and from the East, and their reports confirm what the new media have been telling us. Many of our locals, spurred by the newspapers and television station reports have complained about the cloudy, rainy, cool spring and early summer which we were experiencing, but those of us in the rhododendron camp have rejoiced along with our plants. It must be very difficult to protect rhododendrons when the temperature stays above 100°F for days and weeks at a time.

This summer has been a crash learning experience for me. Because I was appointed to the position of Western Vice-president to fill a vacancy I did not have the four-year training period which most ARS presidents have had to become familiar with all the inner workings of the Society. As a result there are many aspects of the ARS with which I am relatively unfamiliar. To overcome this handicap I asked our executive director, Dee Daneri, to include me as a "CC" recipient in all the e-mail she sends and receives. I would really like to share with you the enormous amount of correspondence which Dee generates and receives each day - not only quantity but the wide range of questions and requests which she must answer on an immediate and daily basis. We put out an earlier appeal to all ARS members to not overload Dee with requests and questions which should be taken care of on the local or district level and have been gratified at your response. Thanks for your cooperation.

Also I would like to recognize and thank Herb and Betty Spady for the outstanding work they are doing, Betty as chair of the Speakers' Bureau and Herb as chair of the Hardiness Committee and both Betty (editor) and Herb (publisher) of our Internet newsletter Rhododendron and Azalea News. Our organization could not survive without volunteers like Betty and Herb and many more of you who willingly assume the responsibilities which a successful organization requires.

We are all quite aware of and familiar with the work of our Journal editor, Sonja Nelson. Her efforts are published quarterly for all to enjoy. One of the most outstanding journals of any plant organization, the Journal American Rhododendron Society , and the ARS Websites serve as communication links to keep our vast organization united.

The positions of Eastern Vice-president (Ed Reiley) and Western Vice-president (Mike Stewart) are essential to the smooth functioning of our Society. Along with the President, these two elected officials are responsible for overseeing and assisting all the committee chairs. In addition the two regional vice-presidents work closely with the district directors who, in turn, work closely with the chapter presidents. Vice presidents are the liaison between the ARS and chapters and/or districts hosting conferences or conventions and shall give every assistance possible to any district when asked by the district director or chapter president. This year Ed Reiley, Eastern Vice-president, is the senior VP and will become the ARS president in 2001. In my next message (winter 2000 Journal) I will discuss responsibilities of the other officers, the committee chairs, and the district directors.