JARS v57n3 - From The President

From The President
Mike Stewart
Sandy, Oregon

As I begin my term as the ARS President, I am compelled first to thank and recognize our Past President Ed Reiley for his many years of dedicated service. Under his leadership many new programs have been introduced that have moved the Society forward. His leadership skills are widely recognized, inspiring a most cooperative atmosphere by all those who have worked under his direction. Thank you, Ed.

One of the projects that Ed introduced several years ago is the "Rhododendron of the Year." The current committee working on this project has successfully gotten the project moving. Pictures of selected rhododendrons from different geographical areas around the country have been published in the Journal and a publicity campaign has been started. The potential for bringing in new members and bringing rhododendrons to the forefront in the public's mind is tremendous. Much needs to be done now to move the project to the next level. Advertising in magazines outside of our own and awareness by wholesale growers and retail stores could affect the ARS in a most profound way. Chapter shows and public oriented plant sales will certainly be affected in a positive way. The public is always anxious to have the "plant of the year" or the "new introduction," especially when it is endorsed by the recognized authority, the American Rhododendron Society. This program could create much interest in our organization. I have asked Ed to return to the committee to carry out some of his original ideas.

The Society's many other committees (24 in all) continue to work hard in your behalf. The challenge of meeting the needs of today's electronic media world is being met by our newly appointed Digital Publications Committee, chaired by our web master, Bob Weissman.

Our new Membership Chairman, Mike Bones, continues the challenge of increasing membership. I have always considered each and every member of the Society to be a member of Mike's committee. I encourage everyone to step forward with an individual effort to help build membership.

Our many other committees and staff are dedicated workers who continue their efforts to revitalize the ARS for the benefit of all. Thanks to the extra efforts from our Editor Sonja Nelson, and many hours of work from Jack Root, we have some new and exciting approaches to publishing the Journal. The long tradition of volunteerism throughout our organization is well and alive. I look forward to the work ahead. I look forward to a closer connection with our off-shore members. Hopefully more activities in the future will allow us that opportunity. The Western Regional Conference in Hawaii next year is a good step in that direction. I look forward to meeting more of you, and continuing the FUN we have when we gather to share our plants and ideas.