From The President
As I write this in mid-August, summer seems to have arrived in Washington -and the rhododendrons are not happy about it! - they would prefer clouds and rain. Having witnessed the snowcap of Greenland and the resultant glaciers and icebergs, how fortunate we are to live in more temperate climates and hospitable growing environments. But there are offsets - all of Iceland's homes and streets/sidewalks are heated by "free thermal waters" and the applications of wind turbines for powering industry (including off-shore oil rigs) and residences in Scandinavia are admirable efforts to divorce ourselves from fossil fuels. We might have to accept the sacrifice of some birds and views as advancements of our ultimate wisdoms!
As most of you no doubt have heard, our devoted and capable Journal editor has expressed her desire to "move forward with less obligation of her time to this publication." She is willing to continue with pre-press aspects of the publication which would "keep her mentally challenged" in an area which she assumed at a savings to the Society in the cost of the Journal several years ago. We are pursuing alternate avenues of achieving Sonja's desire including out-sourcing that phase of the journal to another individual or another publication.
Your Board took action at the Tulsa convention to expand the Journal content towards inclusion of additional basic information desirable to new/prospective members while continuing to keep a healthy mix of what has been historical/technical content. Without question, the Journal is an important element of membership in the ARS both for current, long time members and newer/younger members who will sustain/advance this organization in the future. We're optimistic that both levels of interest will be satisfied.
The reports from the Edinburgh conference had been very positive - both from Northern attendees as well as those from the Southern Hemisphere. Congratulations to the Scottish Chapter and all the members who made such an international conference occur. The J.D. Hooker Chapter in Sikkim previously indicated a desire to host a conference in 2009. They have now advised that it would probably 2010 since there are major elections which need to be focused on in the country during 2009 which would conflict with a spring conference - more as plans are further developed.
For those who attended the Tulsa Convention, the experiences were very favorable. On a survey scale of 1-5, location = 3.7; hotel = 4.4; enjoyment = 4.6; tours = 4.1 and keynote = 3.4. Such a survey is intended to be used in future conferences to assess the attendees' satisfaction and improvement suggestions. The fact that the meeting was not a financial success and a subsidy had to be invoked does not mitigate the amount of effort expended by the Ozark host chapter members for our benefit. It does emphasize a basic principle of involvement in conventions by ENTIRE DISTRICTS as opposed to individual chapters - broad-based ownership of the event and attendance interest!!
Several members are taking advantage of the tour organization as well as independent travel to the New Zealand conference in October - a great opportunity to interact with other "like minded individuals" and enjoy a second spring with the glory of the rhododendrons.
I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the 2009 spring convention in Everett, Wash., come April/May—it should be a glorious and entertaining event.