JARS v58n3 - From The Executive Director

From The Executive Director
Dee Daneri
Fortuna, California

It is with a lump in my throat that I write this last report as your executive director. It's been a great seven years.

Without hundreds of active and responsible volunteers, the ARS could not accomplish its mission. Because of your dedication, the world has access to everything we know about the genus Rhododendron . It all begins at the chapter, where a small handful of volunteers acts as your treasurer, secretary, membership chairman, welcome committee, newsletter editor, program chairman, annual truss show chairman, participants in the truss show, clerks, judges, coffee committee, and even president. If we average ten people doing all of this work, that's well over 700 active volunteers providing your geographic location with essential information about rhododendrons and azaleas.

The Office of the American Rhododendron Society (OARS) depends on your chapter president to make important announcements to your membership when issues affecting the entire Society are taking place. Most recently it was the news that everyone should help us in the search for a new executive director. OARS also depends on your membership chairman to check our administrative website each month to confirm that renewals, changes, etc., that you've sent in have actually been received and accurately added to our database. Membership also checks for new members and changes which may have been made directly to OARS. Your treasurer is responsible for checking your financial reports and keeping your chapter balance at "O".

Your volunteer district directors are a vital link between chapter and Society issues. Important news coming out of board of directors meetings is dispatched by your DD to your chapter president, hopefully to be addressed at your general meetings.

Meanwhile, you have twenty-six hard-working committees developing projects which benefit all of our members and the general public. Such items as our care guides and membership brochures are developed by a committee. Our growing plant database with photos of the plants is a major project underway at this time. Our Proven Performers project with Rhododendron of the Year awards will now spotlight what the home gardener should be looking for at the garden center. From archives to test gardens, it's all done by volunteers. Our most powerful tool today is our website rhododendron.org, fully managed and maintained by a volunteer. Our popular seed exchange takes countless hours on the part of our seed exchange chairman. Our Society officers find that these top positions can often require very long hours of dedicated work. They've earned the respect of their titles.

This will be my last opportunity to give special thanks to five very special friends, without whom I would have failed at my job. Dr. Charles Briggs, retired computer scientist, developed our beautiful Access membership database. Bob Weissman, retired from Hewlett Packard, took on the project of developing our two websites, and they are as good as it gets. Jerry Reynolds, retired professor of journalism from Humboldt State University, established our complete files of media throughout North America, enabling us to properly tell the public what we have for them. And lastly, Jack and Ann Root have constantly supported us both as generous contributors to our financial needs, and taking on the monumental task of establishing our digital archives. All of this has been in the spirit of volunteerism.

Special thanks to Sonja Nelson for a delightful working relationship and to our part-part-time secretary Denniece Waters who has never lost her sense of humor as we've tried to keep the Rhododendron ER in its proper perspective.

I salute you all, as you carry on the vital work of the American Rhododendron Society with your new executive director.