JARS v58n2 - From The President

From The President
Coordination, the Secret to Success.
Mike Stewart
Sandy, Oregon

The American Rhododendron Society is a multi-facetted volunteer organization that is certainly succeeding in its mission. It is an amazing organization of volunteers and staff who work together toward the common goal of educating the public about rhododendrons. I would like to give you a few examples of how this well-oiled machine works, and give credit to those who work so hard to accomplish their tasks.

In an earlier President's Message I talked about the Proven Performers, the Rhododendron of the Year program, and Ed Reiley's work in this area. It is well recognized that such a program will bring an enormous amount of publicity to the organization and to the use of rhododendrons in the landscape. Our Public Education Committee in recent years produced "A Guide to Planting and Care" in preparation of hopefully increased use of rhododendrons. Dee Daneri will gladly send you as many of these brochures as you need, free of charge. Jerry Reynolds, our volunteer expert in charge of PR and publicity, developed a database of newspapers, horticulture magazines and other media for news releases pertaining to ARS activities. Recently, he and our Executive Director, Dee, released information including a CD-R disk to over 700 newspapers and 40 magazines and other publications. Our Webmaster Bob Weisman recently used high resolution images provided to him on CD-R for use on the ARS website. All of this coordinated activity was aimed at bringing attention to rhododendrons and to the Rhododendron of the Year project. But where did the CD-R disk of over 100 high-resolution images come from, and who developed these images?

The answer, of course, is Jack Root, our ARS Digital Archives Chairman. If you don't know by now, Jack has worked tirelessly to get this enormous project off the ground. His work involves collecting photos, performing color correction, digitizing, obtaining copyright permission for ARS use, maintaining an archive of these photos for future use, among many other things. His work also involves preparing and distributing digital photos to other committees within the ARS for their use. Already, his work has proven invaluable to at least six other committees that are developing programs that promote the ARS and rhododendrons. Jack produced the first two sets of "Rhododendron of the Year Commemorative Prints." These high resolution prints were auctioned at both the Western Regional and the latest Eastern Regional Conference, with proceeds going to the hosting chapter. Be sure to come to the next conference prepared to bid on these exceptional pictures. Jack continues to amaze us with his creativity, and we look forward to his next accomplishment.

We can be very proud of our committees and how they are accomplishing great things. It is equally important to recognize the extreme value of a coordinated effort. Although each group works to achieve its own goals, our mission remains constant. This well oiled machine runs smoothly when all parts know what each other is doing and how one can benefit from the other. Our Executive Director serves that most important function of coordinator, and serves it very well. I know each of you has some wonderful ideas that will advance our organization. Please don't hesitate to contact your District Director, Dee, or me, and we will be happy to help you or direct you to those who can serve you the most effectively.