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President's Report, Executive Director's Report, Western Region Reports, Eastern Region Reports, Committee Reports

Board of Directors Meeting
Friday October 12, 2007 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Radisson Hotel and Suites
Eastlake, Ohio


Call to order, introductions and President's opening remarks - Fred Whitney

Meeting Minutes of April 12, 2007- June Walsh
The April 12, 2007 minutes were sent to Board and Committee members by email and post.  Minutes have also been posted to the web.

Reports from Officers, Board of Directors, Executive Director and Journal Editor:

President: Fred Whitney - September 1, 2007
A variety of activities have been occurring since we last came together in San Francisco.  Three computers have died and been replaced to allow the Society's functioning to continue - Executive Director's, Journal Editor and Seed Exchange.  These are expenses which were not necessarily budgeted this year except for the Journal Editor's which was "prior year reserved".  I think this highlights the need to look forward and likewise make annual contributions to reserves for replacing our assets so there is "no big panic" when they eventually have to be replaced.  We have received the resignations of both members of our Bylaws and Policies committee - both Bud and Gordon have served the ARS for many years both in this capacity and as officers and their "historical knowledge/perspectives" have been invaluable.  I have started the solicitation on replacements to constitute this important support committee - our written information needs to provide the guidance for our committee and officers to avoid missteps as we work to benefit the ARS.

Two items which I want the Board to focus on and provide information/discussion relate to:
1) Hosting of future ARS meetings (conventions and regional meetings).  For those twice yearly meetings when we include Board meetings, we need to be abundantly clear what our desires of the sponsoring groups are.  This issue is hosting them at facilities which are not commercial entities (hotels, convention centers, arboretums, tax-paying corporations).  There is discussion as to accommodations which are coming into operation (some already functioning) which are attached/affiliated with casinos and other "non-traditional venues".  These facilities may provide a lower cost option, but members have expressed concern that they tend to infer support of these operations by the ARS - not desirable from some perspectives.

2) Membership initiatives.  There have been several ideas floated as to initiatives which might be undertaken to reverse our membership decline and I am intending that Don Smart will have a "committee solution" to this committee which has lapsed into inactivity in recent years.  We are not alone as an organization in this membership decline, but we do have some options which are worthy of consideration/pursuit with an active and progressive committee.

An ancillary item which I want discussed is the evaluation of the ARS sponsored meetings.  We have not routinely had a process by which the opinions/suggestions of attendees are solicited/collected/assimilated/and distributed; this leaves each sponsoring group with an open item in their "wrap up" for these meetings as well as provides some guidance for hosts of future meetings.  Let's come prepared to discuss this open item.

The work which Ted, Werner, Julie and Laura expended in "cleaning up the budget" has certainly resulted in much better visibility of where the ARS is "planning to go" and also brings together the missing elements of the Seed Exchange and the Endowment activities.  Now, our task is to insure that the income and expenses get balanced by the appropriate actions on both sides of that balance sheet! I trust all are "making the most of this most unusual year" - plant-wise.  I'm sure the jury will be better able to render a verdict on "Mother Nature" next spring when we see the fruits of this year in the blooms we will enjoy!

Past President: Leonard Miller - September 3, 2007
The annual Spring convention is well in the planning stage, workers are being sought, speakers are confirmed, and the menu is high calorie.  The gardens are being groomed and gardeners are dreaming of a mild winter.  The Society has loaned the Ozark Chapter three thousand dollars for the early pay outs.  The prices for most events are below 2005 convention prices.  This convention has a lot for the spouse that may not be into rhododendrons; museums, food and entertainment. We hope to make everyone happy.  We have a beautiful four star hotel to call home and our plant sale will be stuffed with rare plants.  Thomas Ahern will have a bird carving that will be a silent auction item.  One special addition will be shipping to your home of any plants you purchase. Enjoy an early spring in Tulsa.

Executive Director: Laura Grant - September 11, 2007

Society Calendar
2008 ARS Annual Convention, District 11, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 16-19
2008 ARS Western Regional – Hilo, Hawaii Chapter, September 23-28
2009 ARS Annual Convention, District 2, Everett, Washington. April 30 – May 3
2009 ARS Eastern Regional Conference- open
2010 ARS Annual Convention, District 7, Long Island, New York
2010 ARS Western Regional Conference, Florence, Oregon (to be confirmed)

ARS Publications
An Invitation to Join ARS, (Membership Brochure):
Harold Greer will be printing 10,000 copies this fall.  This printing is sponsored by our commercial members contributing $200.00 each: Briggs Nursery, Rare Find Nursery, Meadowbrook Nursery and White's Nursery.  These sponsors will be acknowledged on the back of the brochures.  Harold is willing to distribute them as before.  His address is: 1280 Goodpasture Island Rd, Eugene OR 97401-1794. Email: hgreer@greergardens.com.

Vireya Rhododendrons, A Guide to Planting & Care:
Our Resource committee has applied for a grant for printing of this publication.  We are now working on the new design and hope to have samples ready for the Board meeting.

Rhododendron of the Year postcards and posters:
We have produced these beautiful postcards and posters for the first time this year, but only after our spring Board meeting.  Most of the plant shows and sales were over, so demand was low.  We have applied for a grant and we hope to print 2008 selections earlier in 2008.  The status of our grant application will be known before the end of December.

We have acquired 204 new members since the last report in April. Some chapters have used the 18 month bonus membership offer to attract new members with great success.

Chapter Accounts
District Directors are asked to remind their chapters to start the renewal season with a $0 balance owing to ARS.  Individual chapter financial reports are available to District Directors upon request.

Membership Renewals
Packages were sent out in August, but US Postal Service managed to loose some Priority Mail envelopes that were sent to California. T he cost of printing and mailing was $1,185.00.  This does not include the cost of envelopes which we bought last year, as they were custom ordered.

Internal Revenue Service New Requirement
Our office received a letter from IRS informing us of the new requirement for annual filing of electronic notice for the organizations with annual gross receipts of $25,000.00 or less.  Letter will be distributed at the Board meeting.

Chapter Insurance
Ken McDonald has identified one of our members, retired insurance broker, who is reviewing our insurance policy and will advise on its strengths and weaknesses.  He is also looking to locate an insurance firm that should send us a quote in the next couple of weeks.  All chapters have been asked to let our office know by September 15th if they wish to have insurance.  After several treasurer's and president's emails returned, I asked District Directors to contact their chapters.

Credit Card
We have converted to Pay Pal credit card payments for new member applications on the web.  We also use Pay Pal for offshore member renewals and book purchases only.

District Directors should make sure that all newly elected Membership Chairs and Treasurers know about www.arsoffice.org and review their chapter information on monthly basis.  Our office has 'user name' and the 'password' for all chapters and these should be passed on to the newly elected membership chairs and treasurers.  Financial transaction reports should be checked and any discrepancies reported to our office within three months.  Any discrepancies older than three month are time consuming, as we have to search the archives.  Please ask the chapter treasurers to keep the monthly balances at '0'.  Returned Journals for members that have moved without informing us or supplied an incorrect address, are reported under Membership Changes.  It is essential to check this section regularly.  The general membership should be asked to inform the Chapters of their new address immediately upon moving.  Every ARS Journal forwarded to the new address by the US post office is costing our Society $0.75.

Fall Census Report
Please find this report at www.arsoffice.org. You can use our generic user name OARS and password…to access Policies of the Board and any other important information.

Executive Director's Forum
You are invited to attend the Society Open Forum on Sunday, 9 - 10 am.

Action Items from the Last Board meeting
In progress: Reprint vireya rhododendron brochure. - Laura Grant
Explore alternate insurers, deduction level, etc. - Laura Grant

Western Regional Vice President: Don Smart - August 30, 2007
I'm not sure how the weather has been in the whole of the western region, but in the Northwest, it has been very kind to rhododendrons…so far.  No long hot dry spells this year, just several days of fairly warm weather, followed by several day of cooler and wet - usually falling on weekends.

As the new Western VP, I don't have a lot to report.  I have contacted the Committee Chairs and the District Directors in the region offering my help in any way I can. I will work to keep these lines of communications open and do the best I can at whatever comes up.

I am involved as the chair of the 2009 ARS Convention in Everett, WA.  We have had several planning meetings and a number of the committees are already at work.  This convention is being sponsored by all the chapter is the District 2 area.

I have been thinking a lot about the ARS membership issue - declining membership, aging membership and the need for new and younger members to carry on the organization.  I would like everyone to consider another side of the membership issue.  If the rest of the Society is experiencing what I find in local chapters, 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people.  We need to work on ways to get existing members more involved in the activities of the Society.  I was really impressed by the letter Dick Murcott wrote this spring about getting members enthused.  Also, this summer, our church pastor had a message on "Living Missionally" to attract others.  Well, I'll not mix church and state here, but it hit me that Society members need to do the same thing.  It's my opinion that organizations in themselves do not attract people, but people attract other people; especially if those people are having fun at something.  I saw it at the Cascade Chapter sale this spring.  The lady in charge of the sale, Dee Smith, first of all has a gift of gab - she loves to talk.  But she also loves gardening and loves rhododendrons and she lets everyone know it.  Cascade got 5 new members that weekend.  I won't even go into the Florence, OR Rhododendron Festival and how the Siuslaw Chapter gets the whole town involved in their activities during that weekend, but it's amazing.  We need to work with our chapters to get that kind of exposure to the public.  I also support some new national advertising of the ARS. We should also encourage more advertising at the local level.  I have seen this to be very effective.  Getting existing members involved is going to be my "soapbox issue".  Hopefully new membership will follow.

I have also had a request from one of our DD's, Ron Knight, District 1, to make available evaluations of conventions and conference. This would be used by chapters and districts planning on hosting future events.  I know there are probably some "after action" reports that may be available from past conferences and I'll work on getting these.  Ron has also suggested it would be good for conference attendees to fill out a evaluation form as they attend. I've been to many conventions where that was done.  If the board is interested in following up on that, Ron has volunteered to work with me and whoever else might want to help to develop a format for this evaluation form.

The other item I've working on is an updated ARS Organization chart that will be easily updated as required. I will have that at the meeting for comments and changes.

In the time between now and Cleveland, there is a Fall Western Regional Conference in September, pulled together by the folks in District 4 in a very short period of time.  Looking at their agenda, I was very impressed what a group of people can do when they put their minds to it.  And who can resist a trip to the Oregon Coast?

Eastern Vice President: Ted Stecki - August 20, 2007
Many of the Eastern Chapters have enjoyed having summer picnics and cutting exchanges.  This is an excellent way to have the chapter's members "bond ", get to know each other, start to feel like they belong, and of course get to obtain various varieties of rhododendron and azalea cuttings.  District 8 chapters had a brown bag picnic, in mid August with the attendees bringing their favorite desserts for all to sample.  A cutting exchange and a plant auction rounded out the afternoon.  Hank Schannen, owner of Rare Find Nursery, a renowned hybridizer and ARS Gold Medalist was the auctioneer.  This has been an annual event for many years.  These functions contribute to retaining chapters' membership because friends are made and the members start to learn about rooting the cuttings, growing them on etc.  In September, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter (GPC) will have Plants for Members (P4M) plant sale.  The chapter has a committee that collects unique cuttings from various gardens in September/October.  The committee also welcomes new members to get involved.  The committee prepares the cuttings for rooting and sticks them in flats. They are then put in a commercial nursery's propagation facility where they are rooted. The rooting success rate has been over 80% for the past 10 years.  This project not only gets the chapter's members involved in propagation but the members have a chance to obtain unique plants.  The chapter is now growing on the excess plants that they don't sell or give away to new members.  The plants will be sold at their Spring plant sale. 

The GPC lost one of its oldest member in April, Polly Hill. Polly celebrated her 100th birthday in January 2007.  Polly will be missed.  Her legacy is her donation of her 40 acre estate on Martha's Vineyard to the state of Massachusetts to be used for an arboretum, which is now open to the public.  It has been named for her, The Polly Hill Arboretum.  When I highlighted Polly's 100th birthday in February, other chapters responded that they also have members over 100 years young who are still active in the chapter.  The Society's membership is now at approx. 4,000 down from 5700 in 1997.

The membership committee is looking into ways to get new members from the group of seniors who have retired and moved into smaller homes.  Container gardening is being looked at.  Although they have left their garden behind when they moved, they still have a love for the genus and growing them in containers will enable them to grow them on decks, porches etc.  Also this is a way to get new people involved in the Society when they see their neighbors' plants in bloom etc.  This will require some research, finding plants that will grow in containers, be winter hardy in containers and be pleasing to the grower year round.  I would suggest that a committee be established to take on this project which would involve developing a list of plants, soil mixes, techniques in growing, fertilizing, maintenance etc.  This would be an excellent project for the Society to undertake. The write up could be made available to the AARP to put in their magazine that is sent to the AARP members.  I had a member tell me that "Reality" gardening using a web site called 2nd life might entice younger members to join.  Also another stated that if we could get children involved, the parents would follow.

The Membership Committee could write an article, and put it in the journal telling the membership about the declining membership and ask for ideas. We can't just sit back and wish for new members to join.  We must be proactive and come up with new ideas.

Treasurer: Bill Mangels - September 1, 2007
We continue to spend more funds than what we receive as income.  With declining membership over the last several years the task of achieving a balanced budget has been difficult.  This condition needs to be addressed before the situation becomes worse.  We have had several extraordinary items to contend with (replacement of Executive Director's and Editor's computers) that further caused us to withdraw money from our ‘Rainy Day' general fund at Morgan Stanley.  This is something we have not had to do before.

The Seed Exchange accounting has improved over the last twelve months.  Werner Brack is now a co chair of the Seed Exchange Committee and has focused on improving accounting procedures.  The Seed exchange had been carrying several thousand dollars in account receivables dating from 2005 and this situation has improved.  However there should be policy or an arrangement where delinquent purchasers shouldn't be allowed to continue to order more seed.

At this past spring Board meeting in San Francisco the Seed Exchange Policy 9.12 was significantly revised. In haste to approve these changes the Board jeopardized the non-profit status of the Society.  This was done when we allow "...all income received shall be employed to further committee purposes".  The Seed Exchange in effect acts as a separate entity to the Board.  This view is supported in an August 9, 2007 email to Don Smart and to Society officers by Julianne Rizzo that follows. This was in response to Don's question regarding surplus Seed Exchange funds.

From an accounting standpoint, anything not needed for daily operations would be considered surplus (less, perhaps a small stash for 'just in case' circumstances).  The budget should already have any and all expenses expected to be incurred.  Don't forget that there will be income to offset those budgeted expenses (I have always preferred a budget which shows a goal for income as well as expenses).

For the question of who determines what is surplus, the ultimate answer would be the board of directors (upon consultation with the committee).  Unfortunately, you have great number of people involved that believe that the SE is and should be considered a separate entity.  It is not.  It is not even a separate fund. It is and always has been - at least for organizational and accounting purposes - part of the general fund.  This subject of handling Seed Exchange funds needs to be revisited by the Board.

Secretary: June Walsh - August 6, 2007
Minutes and Agendas are posted to the ARS web site.  I send them to Bob Weissman as soon as they are complete and he converts them into web ready documents then posts them.  Please help you chapters' boards of directors find them so that they can see that all of you are working for them.

Journal Editor: Sonja Nelson- August 21, 2007
1. As many of you know, my computer system went on a fatal slide the end of June - just as I got out the summer issue.  First one of the monitors went, then the second monitor began flickering, and then the two computers began fading in and out. Although I was hoping it would last another year, I decided I had to do something.  After conferring with Fred Whitney and Sandra McDonald, I went ahead and purchased new equipment (listed below).  I decided I didn't need two computers and two monitors.  One will do just fine.  The color printer and Nikon slide scanner will work with the new system.  The equipment I no longer need but still works includes a HP 5mp laser printer (which I can't use with the iMac) and a CD and DVD disk burner.  I also upgraded software and changed to DSL for email and purchased a backup hard drive.

The new hardware and software I purchased:
Purchased from Apple Computer:

iMac computer $1999.00
AppleCare Protection Plan $ 169.00
Office Mac upgrade $ 149.00
Tetrex surge protector $   99.00
External hard drive $ 139.00
Tax $ 214.62
 Subtotal $2769.62
Also purchased (tax included)
HP laser jet printer $ 215.72
Norton AntiVirus upgrade $   63.65
DSL modem $   99.00
Adobe CS3 Design $1743.07
 Subtotal $2121.44
GRAND TOTAL $4891.06

I have already been reimbursed for the grand total.  I especially thank Fred, Ted and Laura for their quick response.

2. Although our membership may be declining, the members we do have continue their amazing output of articles and photos for the journal, so the flow of articles remains constant.

3. Advertising, however, is at low ebb. I encourage you to consider buying from our faithful advertisers whenever the urge hits.

District 1 Director: Ron Knight - August 25, 2007
The District 1 summer meeting was held in Vancouver on August 19, 2007.  Nineteen people attended and all nine chapters sent at least one representative.

After the financial report was presented, it was decided that District 1 will not send a delegate to the fall BOD meeting in Cleveland because of budget constraints.  However, subsidy money has been allocated for the Director or Alternate to attend the Tulsa and Hilo BOD meetings in 2008.

Garth Wedemire is doing a fabulous job of administering the District 1 website at www.rhodos.ca.  He has recently included a list of District 1 Bronze Medallion winners.  Another excellent innovation is a screen that allows direct access to all nine chapter newsletters.  District 1 presidents requested that Garth set up a chat room on the website so that Chapter executive members can discuss issues.  A second request was that he publish a photo of the District 1 presidents and vice presidents which was taken at the August meeting.  In addition, the group would like to have chapter newsletter editors send articles of general interest to Garth for inclusion on the website.

Rhododendron Species Workshops: Art Lightburn's committee on Vancouver Island is analyzing results from a questionnaire they distributed.  There is definitely interest in the workshops and they will report back again in March.  On the mainland, plans have been finalized and 4 workshops will be offered next spring at UBC Botanical Garden with Douglas Justice teaching and Ron Knight coordinating.  An advertising flyer will be sent to all chapters in August and registration packages will be emailed in November. (This flyer may be viewed on the District 1 website at: www.rhodos.ca)

Mount Elphinstone R. macrophyllum grove: Ron Knight attended a meeting of the Sechelt Community Forest committee in March.  Their minutes show they are committed to protecting the grove from logging and damage by the public.  Eight committee members participated in a field trip to the grove in early June.  An article about the protection of these plants was sent to a local newspaper.  Dean Goard has raised over 100 seedlings which will be available to chapters who are willing to make yearly reports on garden testing.  In 2009, some seedlings will be planted in an already-protected and remote area of the Sechelt Community Forest, hopefully to form a satellite population.  Ron has sent an article about the Mount Elphinstone grove to the ARS Journal editor.

Lofthouse Rhododendrons at Government House in Victoria:  We are planning to get a specimen or two into the Government House garden in memory of Jack Lofthouse.

A question was raised about the possibility of omitting one District 1 meeting each year and just communicating by email.  Five people responded that the two face-to-face meetings were very beneficial and Ron Knight added that the ARS Bylaws compelled Directors to call regular meetings and to provide reports to the spring and autumn ARS board meetings.

A sample ROY card was passed around and presidents reminded to order them from the ARS office.  Each chapter should send in ROY nominations next spring, taken from their lists of Proven Performers.  The 2 chapter presidents who have not sent the ARS office a list of Proven Performers were asked to consider contacting other presidents to find out what process was used to identify the listed rhododendrons.

Great Plant Picks posters and brochures were distributed to each chapter.  These materials are free each year and may be ordered through their website at: www.greatplantpicks.org.

The meeting broke into three discussion groups during the afternoon:  How to encourage new members in the first 2 months (Ingeborg Woodsworth);  What we need from the ARS so we can better sell the idea of ARS membership (Joanne Ronsley); Speaker topics that appeal to new members (Art Lightburn).  The suggestions from Joanne's group have been sent to the ARS president for his comments.

In general, ARS District 1 is thriving under the leadership of enthusiastic and very competent presidents and executive members.

District 2 Director: Bill Stipe - August 26, 2007
I will not be attending the Fall Board meeting due to a scheduling conflict, however the Alternate Director, Warren Timmons will take my place.  He is currently the President of the Cascade Chapter and my alternate.  This is his first ARS Board meeting, so go easy on him.

Our district, like so many others, is facing the challenge of maintaining existing membership and recruiting new members.  Some ideas that have been suggested; advertising in local and national publications, reduced or subsidized membership dues for students or first time members, participation in garden tours open to the public.  Young families have so many other activities that compete for their time; we need to make our programs more relevant to younger participants.  Meerkerk Gardens has a program that invites local grade schools to participate in a "Botany Adventure".  The kids and teachers go away with a better knowledge of gardening and rhododendrons in particular.

District 2 is deeply involved in planning the 2009 ARS Convention in Everett Washington.  All chapters are participating and it looks like we will have a good convention.

We believe our District has the ideal growing conditions for Rhododendron; after all we have three native species that grow wild here, albiflorum, groenlandicum, and macrophyllum.  We also boast many gardens that feature rhododendrons; The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Meerkerk Rhododendron Garden, The Edward Dunn Garden, just to name a few.  Many ARS members gardens are also exceptional and will be on tour for the convention.

The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) continues to draw visitors from around the world to the gardens.  Their fall plant distribution list of rare species rhododendrons contains many plants that are not available anywhere else. T heir 2007 yearbook sent to all RSBG members paid tribute to Warren Berg, a dedicated rhododendron collector and grower.

The Meerkerk Garden has improved the entrance by construction of a new gate house, inspired by the pepper pot style building in the Secret Gardens of Highgrove, Prince Charles, Garden in England.  They are continuing to work on their signage project and expect to have it complete by year end.

All of the chapters have updated their proven performers list and made them available to growers and nurseries. Our local hybridizers, Jim Barlup, Frank Fujioka, and Bill Stipe are continuing to release their new introductions.  We expect many of these new hybrids to end up on the proven performers list in the near future.

District 3 Director: Don Powell - September 3, 2007
It takes a lot of dedication to visit all the chapters in a district.  In fact I must admit I've only visited a little over half so far and this year. It will be a continuing quest to see them all.  Chapters function like isolated civilizations in a far flung galaxy, though with occasional and welcomed contact through conventions, shows, joint work parties and meetings.

One such meeting took place on March 20th at Homestead Park in University Place, WA.  It was a joint meeting of the Peninsula and Tacoma Chapters.  Homestead Park contains a stately stand of Douglas fir.  A large part of this open forest is being developed into a woodland Rhododendron park through the hard work and dedication of many people within the Peninsula Chapter and numerous community organizations.

Quoting from the Peninsula Chapter's April newsletter: "The final number of guests was 86, almost a full house.  Harold Greer, the featured speaker, gave a very good presentation of color in the garden throughout the year.  As usual, Harold's photography was excellent.  Gary Becker received a surprise award by the City of University Place for his contributions to Homestead Park.  It was a surprise and much appreciated.  For those that had not seen Homestead Park, it was an opportunity to visit this public space dedicated to Rhododendrons which was built with community volunteers.  It should be a place of enjoyment for years to come."

And quoting from the Tacoma Chapter's May newsletter: "Our joint March meeting with the Peninsula Chapter held at University Place City Hall, almost turned into a District meeting.  The Olympia and Shelton Chapters were represented; the Mayor and most of the City Council made an appearance, and Doris Briggs and Marge Badger were also spotted in the audience.  The Friends of Homestead Park put on a free, very delicious buffet style dinner complete with dessert.  A brief history of the park was given and a bronze plaque was unveiled in honor of Dr. Gary Becker's commitment and perseverance in the establishment of Homestead Park.  Dr. Becker gave a short speech and was very touched by the recognition . Speaker Harold Greer amazed us with a brand new program he put together for our meeting.  The program was a hit with all who were there and many of us found different ways to display plants with odd colored bark and leaves as well as flowers."  A great venue, a world class speaker, tasty food and new and renewed acquaintances are great ingredients for building the ARS.  The Homestead Park evening was like a mini-convention but without huge logistics.

We learned a tough lesson regarding the importance of communication within the society.  One of our chapter's increasing unpaid balance with ARS largely resulted from the continuing insurance coverage.  With good intentions the Society kept renewing the coverage, but apparently the chapter didn't keep up to date by viewing its account through OARS.  Laura stated she had "continued the same practice that Dee implemented.  All chapters are notified and if they do not wish to have insurance, they have to let me know by a set date or they are automatically renewed.  This works well with most chapters". However to avoid this situation Fred has directed that unless a chapter "opts in", they are not a part of the ARS umbrella insurance.  This has its own set of dangers, but either way, clear two-way communication is essential.

Dan Meier, Alternate District Director, will represent District 3 at the board meeting and attend the ARS Fall Regional Conference October 12–14 in Eastlake, Ohio.  I will attend the 27th Western Regional Rhododendron Conference sponsored by District 4 September 21-23 in Newport, Oregon.

District 4 Director: Anne Gross - September 1, 2007
The highlight for District 4 so far this season was the 100th anniversary of the Rhododendron Festival in May in the small costal city of Florence, Oregon.  The Siuslaw chapter played a prominent role in the weekend event.  Their truss show was reported to be the largest ever in the US, with 1384 entries.  Non-members were encouraged to enter trusses, and flowers were received from northern California, southern Washington and all over Oregon.  Children from the local elementary school had an art display. They each had to go on line and find a rhododendron of their choice, draw it & paint it.  It is to become an annual event with the schools, with the anticipation of encouraging interest in rhododendrons that may lead to future involvement with the Society.  The chapter had a float in the parade.  Our ARS president, Fred Whitney, and his wife, Ann, rode on the float along with the chapter president.  Siuslaw chapter meetings are announced in the local newspaper and on the local radio station.

For the first time, the Willamette chapter held their truss show at the Friends of Bush Garden plant sale.  There was much better attendance than at the old venue.  This summer, several chapter members took a hike to Rhody Lake.  Willamette chapter members continue to do the routine maintenance at the Cecil & Molly Smith garden.  Portland and Tualatin Valley chapter members helped out at the spring work party at the garden.  The Tualatin Valley chapter also helps to maintain the Jenkins Estate garden.  The chapter will also be involved in plantings of a rhododendron species garden at a park in Hillsboro.  The Portland chapter continues it's involvement with Crystal Springs Park, doing maintenance, working on projects & raising funds.  The early and Mother's Day plant sales grossed over $25,000.  A circular stairway near a waterfall in the park is planned, awaiting final approval from the city.  A test garden of 39 Encore hybrid azaleas from Alabama is being established to determine the hardiness of these plants, which bloom several times a season.

We are looking forward to hosting the 2007 Western Regional conference on the coast in Newport, Oregon.  This will be the fourth time in seven years that we have put on the conference.  We had very short notice, but, thanks primarily to Harold Greer and Mike Stewart we've put together a great lineup of 21 speakers.  As usual, there will be a variety of plants, not just rhodies, available at the plant sale.

District 5 Director: Paul Anderson - August 30, 2007
Since the last report in April 2007, District 5 ARS chapters have had flower shows, and most have closed the year with a social event in June.  Four of the chapters have new presidents for the coming year - Tim Walsh - Eureka, John Barbour - Hawaii, George Klump - S. California, Mike Ekberg - De Anza.  Three chapters will have the same president continue - Terry Giomi - Noyo, Tom Kelly - Monterey Bay and Marilynne Mellander - California Chapter.

ARS District 5 was honored to be host for the April '07 Annual ARS convention in S. San Francisco. The planning and leadership for the convention was expertly conducted by Tim and June Walsh of the Eureka chapter.  We also had excellent participation from the four host chapters - Cal, Noyo, Eureka, and De Anza.  We appreciated having talented volunteers take on the responsibilities for the success of the convention.

The convention was a good success in having three days of garden tours and having gardens mostly in peak bloom, a good attendance, a large plant sale, silent auction, and was successful financially due to careful planning.  The proceeds from the convention have been distributed as follows:  ARS - $1200 - general fund, $ 400 - endowment fund, $ 200 - research foundation
Rhododendron Species Foundation - $200, Monterey Bay Chapter - $200 (for organizing the Monterey Bay garden tour),
Four Host chapters - Cal, Noyo, Eureka, and DeAnza - $2350 each chapter.

Reports from chapters include:
Hawaii Chapter - "Mitch" Mitchell and his wife "Betsy" have established the Kimalia Vireya Foundation trust for their one acre woodland garden.  After Mitch and his wife are gone, Sherla and Richard Bertelmann will be the successor trustees.  The Hawaii chapter is looking forward to hosting the 2008 Western Regional Conference and ARS board meeting with a Vireya Seminar Sept 24-27, 2008 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.  Tours will be on Sept 24-25-26, the board meeting on Sept 25, and the Vireya Seminar Day on the 27th.  We invite everyone to start planning on attending this unique and informative meeting.

Monterey Bay Chapter - They held a plant sale on May 12 at Cabrillo College and sold all of the plants except the 5 gal size and most of these were sold by the end of their May meeting.

California Chapter - are having continuing efforts to improve the rhododendron display garden at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland.

Noyo Chapter - The Noyo chapter had a successful flower show in May with 649 entries. This was down from their 724 entries in '06 but more than entries in previous years of '05, '04, '03, '02, '01, and '00.  The Noyo chapter is pleased to have one of their members, Peter Schick, receive the ARS Gold medal at the '07 convention. Peter joins 2 others from the Noyo chapter who have received ARS awards - Paul Bowman - a gold medal in 1968 (first person in District 5 to receive a gold award) and Eleanor Philp, a silver medal in 2002. Peter also was honored on April 17 to have the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens dedicate their Rhododendron Tender Species Garden to Peter. The May 3rd issue of the Fort Bragg Advocate News had an extensive article detailing both of these honors.

Eureka Chapter - Dee Daneri has been spending time in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and has joined their Puerto Vallarta Botanical Garden. She has been promoting a Puerto Vallarta Vireya Garden that could be a sister garden from the Hawaii Chapter's Hilo garden. Both Puerto Vallarta and Hilo are on the same latitude.

The Eureka Chapter has also been working on the Plant Selection committee for the Humboldt Botanical Garden's Temperate Woodland Garden (TWG). The TWG has received two ARS Endowment Fund awards to collect tender species rhododendrons for its collection. The plants are mostly being sourced from the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

De Anza Chapter - Nan Ray has been working with the San Francisco Botanic Garden Society in upgrading the Rhododendron Garden there. In the recent fall newsletter the "Leaflet" of the SF Botanical Garden Society, Michael McKechnie, executive director of the society reports, "The Rhododendron garden has been under construction and looks beautiful. The so-called Monastery Stones have been shaped by master stonemasons into a wonderful structure. Planting of our unique collection is proceeding with some advice from the Steve Hootman and Rhododendron Species Foundation".

District 5 is planning to have an active and informative year with assisting chapters in support of their needs. We have received a kind welcome from our Western Regional Director - Don Smart, and look forward to having his assistance when needed. We are placing his name on the e-mailing address of our chapter newsletters.

District 6 Director: Barbara Gingras - August 29, 2007
The concerns are the same as always; membership, and getting interested people to join, especially younger members.
The four Chapters I represent had successful plant sales and truss shows in May, these plant sales support the Chapter Activities.

Massachusetts Chapter continues to have Plants for Members program throughout the summer, which has been hot and dry.

District 7 Director: Bruce Feller - August 21, 2007
Activities and events in District 7 followed their traditional patterns this Summer.  Flower Shows, Garden Tours, Propagation Sessions, Plant Sales and social activities were well attended as those in the District enjoyed the many benefits of Chapter membership.  Particularly successful results were reported by the Tappan Zee Chapter regarding Plant Sale initiatives and Website development and enhancement.  Unfortunately, the lack of willing and capable volunteers in the New York and Princeton Chapters continues to threaten the continuity of important programs and services.

2010 Convention Update
Preliminary steps have been taken to coordinate the timing of our Convention in 2010 with activities to be held by the German Rhododendron Society from May 20 – 24, 2010, to facilitate attendance at both events.  Final decisions regarding their meeting agenda (which is expected to include one day with English presentations and a second day with English/German speaking excursions) will be made at their next Executive Committee Meeting in November.  While our 2010 Convention will precede the event in Germany, a final decision on our dates will be postponed until we hear from our European associates in November.  Essentially, the theme of our Convention will revolve around the achievements of Northeast hybridizers in District 7, both past and present.  As one would expect, this theme will be reflected in the Convention Plant Sale.  Accordingly, steps have been taken to harvest cutting material this Summer from a broad range of recently or soon to be registered hybrids that have shown the greatest promise regarding the extension of flower color range, plant habit and hardiness.  As a result, our Plant Sale will include many new and exciting varieties not elsewhere available.  Further steps in Convention planning will accelerate following final decisions regarding precise dates.

District 8 Director: Karel Bernady - August 31, 2007
This report covers the period March 2007 to August 2007.
All five chapters continue with a wide range of activities to support the Society and to garner new members. S ignificantly, the Valley Forge Chapter registered thirty five new members in this period.  They did this in the main by offering an incentive to customers attending their Annual Plant Sale in May at Jenkins Arboretum. Customers, who signed up for membership in the Society during the sale, were given a ten percent discount on all plants they purchased.  Thirty two people took advantage of the offer.  Very few purchased enough plants such that their discount covered the cost of membership.  No other discounts applied at the sale.  Overall attendance at the sale is estimated at 1200 people.  The principal of proffering an incentive is instructive.  Time will tell, if the new members will participate in the Chapter's activities.

The Valley Forge Chapter hosted in August at the garden of Will Smith the District's Annual Cutting Exchange and Plant Auction.  In attendance on a very welcomed rainy afternoon were fifty members, mostly under the protection of a tent, from the district and chapters beyond.  Gold Medal awardee, Hank Schannen, skillfully auctioned off member-donated plants.  The Valley Forge Chapter will donate the proceeds equally to the Endowment Fund and the ARS Research Foundation.

The Valley Forge and Greater Philadelphia Chapters continue to participate in an effort by Tyler Arboretum to improve the John C. Wister Rhododendron Collection.  Jim Willhite of the Valley Forge Chapter has organized the gathering of cuttings for propagation of plants originally in the Collection but now gone.  The Plants for Members (P4M) Program of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter in October struck cuttings of thirty cultivars, for which only a single specimen exists at the arboretum.  The rooted cuttings were potted up by ARS members and Tyler Arboretum staff and grown on over the summer.  Plants have been reserved for the arboretum's Collection and the excess will be distributed to members through the P4M Program.  The ARS awarded a grant to Tyler Arboretum in 2006 towards this propagation effort.

During the reporting period the Greater Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Valley Forge Chapters all held Plant Sales.  Truss Shows, open to the public, were set up by the Susquehanna Valley, Valley Forge, and Greater Philadelphia Chapters. In March, the Susquehanna Valley Chapter participated with its information booth in the York Flower Show.  Also in March the Greater Philadelphia Chapter had its exhibit, "Perfect Together," at the Philadelphia Flower Show.  The display featured a monochromatic theme.  All plants were white in flower, which drew numerous compliments.

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Polly Hill in April. Polly celebrated her 100th birthday on January 30th.  She was well known for the extraordinary arboretum she started on the island of Martha's Vineyard and her many plant introductions.  The ARS awarded its Gold Medal to Polly in 1990.

The district celebrates two milestones in this year.   The Greater Philadelphia Chapter observed at its Annual Banquet in April the Golden Anniversary of its founding in November 1957.  The Valley Forge Chapter will commemorate at its Annual Banquet in November the fortieth anniversary of its beginning in May 1967.

District 9 Director: Kenneth McDonald, Jr. - August 28, 2007
It was a quiet summer for District 9. Potomac Valley Chapter had its picnic Aug. 5th.  The MAC BOD met Aug. 18th in Charlottesville and worked primarily on future meetings, budget and donations for 2007/08.  Mason Dixon's picnic will be Sept. 15th at Ed and Pat Kelly's farm near Taneytown, MD.

I have made several written reports and telephone calls to the chapters' presidents, vice presidents, newsletter editors and membership chairs.  We have been working up Chapter Awards lists for OARS which Laura should receive by the BOD meeting.  Our chapters seem to be doing well membership wise, but it is touch and go.  Middle Atlantic is giving a gift membership to garden tour hosts.  At least one has renewed on their own.  Mason-Dixon is using flower shows and garden centers for membership promotion and public education, and has quite a list of new members--see Summer JARS. Potomac Valley says they are "holding their own" and are doing a lot of work at the Margaret White Garden.  All of the chapters seem to be concerned about conserving chapter resources and budgeting money to projects that most likely will help retain and increase membership.

We still hope that a student membership category can be established.  Suggested criteria are: botany, biology, horticulture or related scientific field , at an accredited college or university, age under 25 and for no more than 5 years.  Dues could be $24 with $6 to the recruiting chapter.  If the category is established should there be any limit on number of such memberships per chapter?

Regarding Sponsoring and Sustaining memberships: Could the chapters retain a larger portion of these dues as an incentive to recruit or upgrade existing members?

A MAC member, Merl Aitken died in Feb.  There was no mention of this in the Spring or Summer JARS; although unspecified Endowment fund chapter memorial donations appeared.  Who is responsible for communicating this information to the Journal Editor?  Also, I see nothing about Thais Spencer- PVC dying this year.

Helen Myers is the new Mason-Dixon President. This was not updated in the Summer JARS.

It has been mentioned that there is no way to recognize writers who have made substantial voluntary contributions of articles and photographs for the Journal.  Many of these authors are ‘off shore' non chapter members.  Is there a way to award Bronze medals or other suitable recognition? (Award of Merit or Service Citation).

Laura Grant sent copies of the ARS insurance policy to me and Ray Doggett of MAC.  He is working with her on it.

As traveling becomes more expensive and difficult, I am concerned for future Directors and the Society as to how the Fall Board meetings are being scheduled.  During my 3 year term only 1 of 6 BOD meetings will occur east of the Mississippi River.  If the Fall meeting could be scheduled on the same coast (E or W) as the preceding Spring meeting rather than the Fall ahead of the Spring meeting, it would create a better chance of a 3 & 3 balance.

As our ARS membership has declined from almost 6000 to just over 4000; do we still need 13 Directors and 12 Districts? The present alignment seems good and has worked well, but is it now time to review it?

District 10 Director: David Royster - September 10, 2007
I have very little to report except that I am trying to get more information on both the Chattahoochee and Birmingham Chapters and their membership.

District 11 Director: John Heinze - August 28, 2007
OZARK: This chapter has planned a meeting to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The meeting will cover ongoing plans for the upcoming National Convention in Tulsa in Spring 2008.  There will be a plant auction to help raise funds to help cover expenses for said convention.

MIDWEST: Recently had an outing in southern Wisconsin to visit gardens of members.  A great time was had by a good turnout of members.  The chapter had a cutting workshop at members' gardens and the cuttings will be rooted by the Woodlands Nursery.  A Bronze Medal was awarded to Tom Horner.  The Chapters are Finalizing plans for their part in the Fall Conference in Cleveland. Website address is: www.midwestars.org.

GREAT LAKES: Meeting held in Granville Ohio at member Jill Griesse's home.  Members were invited for swimming, fishing, hiking, and viewing her husband's collection of old time cars.  Evening dinner was a pig roast enjoyed by all.  New officers took the reins at this meeting. Plans for the Fall Conference were discussed and reviewed.

ANN ARBOR: Big plant sale of 360 rhodos was held at member Janice Grichor's home.  All plant sold and plans for next year were made.  Talk of having a bus load of the faithful to come to Cleveland is in progress.

District 12 Director: Peter Neubauer - No report

Director at Large: Garth Wedemire - No report

Note: Wing Fong will show one of the programs from the Program Library and give his report after the District Directors' reports. You will find his written report below in Program Library.

Archives: Sandra McDonald - August 21, 2007
The Special Collections at the University of Virginia Library has added only one group of papers to the Rhododendron and Azalea Manuscripts Collection since my last report.  This includes a notebook and records of Harry L. Wise containing his records of pollen sources, hybridization, seedling and some cutting records of other material besides rhododendron.  It is listed under MSS 10554-be.

I have also sent a large collection of CDs containing scanned slides of Britt Smith.  The scanning of the slides was done by Bob Dunning.  Fred Whitney has been working on getting the actual slides to the Manuscripts Collection.  This project is a work in process so nothing shows up online in the library records yet.

The library did accept a good number of books from the library of Harry Wise, but they are not in the Manuscripts Collection, but rather in the library.  Over the years, with gifts from ARS members and purchases from its own rhododendron fund, the library has amassed a fairly comprehensive collection of books and journals about rhododendrons and azaleas.  But Harry Wise had some esoteric titles not in the collection, and the addition of these makes the collection at U. Va. even more comprehensive. 
You can access the library's special collection by going to http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small/ and clicking on the Virgo tab near the top of the page.  This brings up a search blank where you can enter Rhododendron or other term or terms you are searching.  In the next blank you can click on the down arrow and see a menu of all the libraries or areas you can search.  I like to select Special Collections since that will narrow the search results to where our Rhododendron manuscripts will be found, but you can leave it on All.  I also usually leave the Key Word circle selected.  Then click on Search All and you will get about 10 pages of results with rhododendron in them as a key word.  Actually all the chapter newsletter collections will come up in this search.

Committee: Jeanne Hammer, Kendon Stubbs, David Lay, Sandra McDonald

Azalea: Peg Van Patten - September 6, 2007
Since the last Azalea Committee report, the following activities have occurred:
Six hundred cuttings of Pete Vines Holly Springs azaleas taken last year were successfully rooted by committee member Kathy Van Veen, and were then sent to the various participants who agreed to grow them on and test for hardiness, as well as other criteria developed by the committee.  If you recall, the committee wanted to evaluate a select group of azaleas (notable for their vivid color and outstanding form), particularly with regard to cold hardiness and the reliability of ratings.  For whatever reason, these outstanding azaleas are little known and barely grown outside certain areas near Philadelphia.

In mid-June, rooted cuttings of our test group were sent to John Weagle in Nova Scotia, Dr. Dave Lewis in Vermont, John and Sally Perkins in New Hampshire, Shirley and Allan Anderson in northern New Jersey, and John Doppel in hilly central Pennsylvania.

Several growing seasons, of course, will be needed to complete our study. During this time, our participants will be asked to regularly report on results, and asked to photograph plants.

On another matter, the Chair has asked Princeton ARS member, Ellie Gural, to allow us to reprint her recently published article in American Nurseryman on the subject of mealy bugs, the damage they inflict on azaleas, and methods of treatment - to which she has agreed.

Budget & Finance: Ted Stecki - August 20, 2007

FISCAL YEAR 07/08(Sept. 1, 2007 - Aug. 31, 2008)

The budget financial spreadsheet for FY 2007/2008 has a new format which will provide more visibility showing income from the Seed Exchange, interest from the General Fund, Endowment Fund, and the Life Fund. Major expenses are broken out separately, detailing expenses for the Executive Director's and Editor's office.

The data that has been used in the past is included in this package for you to have for reference and information on past budgets. It is broken out as follows:
1. Account Codes for Category Items
2. Brief description of each category of income or expense
3. Budget for FY 04-05    (9/1/04 - 8/31/05)
4. Actuals for FY04-05    (9/1/04 - 8/31/05)
5. Budget for FY05-06     (9/1/05 - 8/31/06)
6. Actuals for FY 05-06   (9/1/05 - 8/31/06 )
7. Budget for FY 06 – 07 (9/1/06 - 8/3107)
8. 6 month Actuals for FY 06/07 (9/1/06 - 2/28/07)

NOTE: Actuals for FY 06-07 will be available at the BODs meeting in October.  The Accountant has to certify the financials for the Society for the FY ending 31 August before they can be given out.

FY 04-05 Actuals  9/1/04 – 8/31/05
It should be noted that the budget was projected to have a deficit of - $ 8,685.00.  However expenses were managed and as a result we ended with a positive gain of $ 8738.00.

FY 05-06 Actuals  9/1/05 – 8/31/06
The big cost drivers that caused a budget over-run of - $ 6,516.00 were a dues shortfall of $ 9,722 and a shortfall of donations and interest of $ 9,610 each.  Other income items and expenses were within budget.  As membership continues to drop, we can expect to see budget overruns.

FY 06 - 07 6 Month Actuals 9/1/06 – 2/28/07
Dues are at $ 57,547 (approx. 4200 members) which is approx. $ 8,000 under plan.  When the budget was established, membership was at approx. 4600.  Interest is down by $ 15,000, and donations by $3,000.  All other income and expense items are within the planned budget.

DUES (ACCT #13299)
Projections of $ 110,000 for general membership remaining at 4,000, plus $2,000 for Life Membership equals $112,000 projected dues income.  Chapters have to keep the pressure on maintaining renewals by contacting members who haven't paid their dues and asking members to bring a friend or make a membership donation to a library etc.  Dues income is one of the major drivers in the INCOME BUDGET.
INVESTMENT INCOME  A budget of $36,256 is planned.  This includes estimated interest from the Seed Exchange ($600), General Fund ($4,920), Endowment Fund ($29,108) and Life Fund ($1,628) Total $36,256.
GENERAL FUND DONATION (ACCT #19100) A budget of $12,000 is planned.  This is based on 6 month actuals for FY 06 – 07
RESTRICTED GRANTS (ACCT # 19101)  A budget of $ 5,000 is planned to cover the cost of the Admin. Ass't.  The ED will apply for a grant for this income.
JOURNAL ADVERTISING (ACCT# 15000)  The Editor recommends a budget of $6,000.
SALES NET (seed, books, journals, medals, binders, misc.)  From past history a budget of $13,000 is recommended.



CREDIT CARDS (ACCT # 17350)  $600 is planned based on past history.
ADMIN TRAVEL (ACCT # 17500)  $2,000 is planned. Recommended by ED.
EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE (ACCT # 17800)  $ 1,000 is recommended by ED
INSURANCE (ACCT # 17900)  $ 642 actual cost.
MISC. (ACCT# 18100)  To cover miscellaneous items. $500 recommended by ED.
ADMIN OFFICE EXPENSE (ACCT # 18200)  $3,500 recommended to cover cost of purchasing new equipment to run office. $1,000 of this is for a new copier.  This expense will only be used as needed.
POSTAGE/SHIPPING (ACCT # 18400) $1,200 is planned based on history.
PRINTING/COPYING (ACCT # 18500)  $400 is planned, based on history.
PROFESSIONAL FEES–ED (ACCT # 18600) Present fee is $ 46,800.
PROFESSIONAL FEES – Acct/Atty $5,400 based on history.
RENT (ACCT # 18700) $3,000.
ADMIN. ASS'T (ACCT # 18855) $5,000 is planned providing restricted grant is approved.

TRAVEL (ACCT #16100) $2,000 is planned. Recommended by Editor.
OFFICE EXPENSE (ACCT #16110) $1,600 planned. Recommended by Editor.
POSTAGE (ACCT #16120) $ 16,000 is planned based on history. Also includes postage rate increase.
PRINTING (ACCT #16130) $38,000 recommended by Editor.
SALARY (ACCT #16140) Present salary is $28,792.
RENT (ACCT #16160) $1,600
PAYROLL TAXES (ACCT #16180) $2,303. Actual based on salary.

OFFICE EXPENSE (ACCT #46740) $1,800
POSTAGE (ACCT # 46745) $700
RENT (ACCT # 46760) $6,000

The following budget requests have been received from committee chairs for FY00/01:
· Archives - Sandra McDonald None Required ( NR )
· Azalea - Peg Van Patton ( NR)
· Budget & Finance - Ted Stecki ( NR )
· By Laws & Policies - Vacant ( NR )
· Digital Publication - Bob Weissman ( NR )
· Editorial - Sandra McDonald ( NR )
· Electronic Media Web Site - Bob Weissman $1,500
· Electronic Newsletter - Marty Anderson ( NR)
· Endowment - Bill Mangels and Jeff Cheyne $100
· Honors - Dee Daneri $600
· Membership/Chapter Development - Mike Bones $1000
· Nominations - Mike Stewart ( NR )
· Plant Awards - Ed Reiley co - chair Ray Smith ( NR )
· Public Education - Harold Greer / Ray Smith $300
· Publicity & Public Relations - Jerry Reynolds $800
· Registrar of Plant Names - Jay Murray ( NR )
· Research Committee - Dr. Harold Sweetman ( NR )
· Research Foundation - Hank Schannen ( NR )
· Research Foundation Treasurer - Hazel Tarpley ( NR )
· Rhododendron Database -  Forest Bump ( NR )
· Secretary Misc. Expense Paper - June Walsh (NR )
· Shows & Judging - Bruce & Marianne Feller ( NR )
· Program Library - Wing Fong $1000
· Speakers Bureau - Bill Stipe $300
· Test & Display Gardens - Ron Mapes $500
· TOTAL: $5,800

OFFICER EXPENSES (ACCT #18300) - No travel expenses have been requested. $500 budget is planned.
President Fred Whitney
Past President – Leonard Miller
Eastern VP – Ted Stecki
Western VP – Don Smart
Treasurer – Bill Mangels
Secretary – June Walsh


VARIANCE: - $1,282
COMMENT: The negative variance of $1,282 can be eliminated if dues income, interest and donations received during the fiscal year meet or exceed plan.  Also this variance will be increased by the amount of monetary increase the ED and Editor receive.

Bylaws & Policies: Vacant

Digital Publications: Bob Weissman - September 4, 2007
Last spring we reported on Herb Spady's successful effort to convert the first 35 volumes of the ARS Quarterly Bulletin to HTML (web) format.  With content from the old Bulletins now available for publishing on-line we reopened discussions with folks at the Digital Library and Archives (DLA) at Virginia Tech University about hosting the content.  The DLA provides a digital archive with state-of-the-art hardware and software.  The Bulletins would be accessible via the Internet at no cost to the general public 24 hrs per day, and there would be no cost to the Society for hosting the ARS content.  The DLA staff provides excellent technical support.  The Board approved the proposal to use the DLA at the April 2005 meeting.

The DLA continues to be willing to provide electronic archiving services to the ARS. The last several months we have had discussions with the DLA concerning formatting of content and what content is appropriate for inclusion in the electronic archive.  These issues have, for the most part, now been decided.  In the words of Gail McMillan, Director of the DLA, "Thanks for the opportunity to provide this attractive, informative, and very appropriate title at Virginia Tech's DLA."

Electronic Media: Bob Weissman - September 4, 2007
Another record was set this past spring when the number of visitors to the Society's public web site reached 100,000 per month for the first time.  Web site visitation peaked at 120,000 during the month of May, which is peak bloom time for rhododendrons in the U.S.  Visitor traffic is from all parts of the world.  Popular content includes the rhododendron and azalea searchable database, plant care information, Journal articles, and the ROY awards.  So it is certainly good news that interest in rhododendrons continues to grow and more and more people are visiting the Society's web site to obtain helpful, quality information.

Several new web ads were added to the web site for members with commercial category membership.  The commercial web ads are very frequently viewed by web site visitors and are an excellent, low-cost way for commercial businesses to advertise to a targeted audience.  Many ARS commercial members do not take advantage of this great marketing opportunity.  Directors should encourage current commercial members to participate and also sign-up local nurseries and growers to become commercial members of the ARS.  All that is needed is a short description of the desired ad content.  The web committee will prepare a draft design for review and approval by the commercial member.  The process is easy and no web knowledge or computer expertise is required!

Work is mostly completed on web pages for the 2008 Rhododendron of the Year (ROY) awards.  Content at the public web site will be released later in the year.  Descriptions along with a photograph are provided for each awardee plant.  A media press release and high-resolution photos will be available at the OARS web.

Editorial: Sandra McDonald - August 24, 2007
Sonja contacted me right after she finished the summer Journal with the news that her eight-year old computer was having lots of problems.  Also, a monitor was not working.  She thought it was time to get a replacement and had been talking with Ted Stecki about it.  The timing would be good to get a new machine since she had a bit of free time between issues to set up and learn to use the new one and its new programs.  I agreed that it was probably past time for a replacement and suggested she also talk to Fred Whitney about it and additionally suggested she get an external hard drive for backup since the prices on them have come down so drastically.  Members: John Hammond, Don Voss, Sonja Nelson, Sandra McDonald

Electronic Newsletter: Marty Anderson - August 21, 2007
Activity for the R&A News continues on a high level.  It is a pleasure to receive each chapter's newsletter. Some are really getting fancy…color and more pictures!  Wow and wow again is what I have to say.  And, what a pleasure it must be for each chapter member to receive these beautiful, news worthy newsletters.  A personal thanks to each editor who puts what Churchill just to say, ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears' along with dedication!

Exciting, too, more members are in the 21st Century, have computers, and can print out their own copy!  This saves the chapter considerable money for mailing.  It appears all chapters are equipped for e-mail!

Website count remains same. According to my count, we have 68 chapters and most pleased to report 44 of these chapters have web sites.

Scheduled meetings; it was a surprise to find the favorite meeting time for chapters is…Thursday evening!  It is often said more people would come on a Saturday or a Sunday…not so…not so.  If you have a question of which night might be the best one, look at this summary.  Thursday 19 chapters,  Monday 4 chapters, Tuesday 9 chapters,  Saturday 2 chapters, Wednesday 9  chapters, Sunday 6 chapters, Change date often, no established date 18 chapters.

More and more chapters are creating links one to another and sharing their marvelous articles.  There is a strong support of authors and a willingness on their part to have their labors of writing appear in another chapter's newsletter.  To me…it is called the best of ARS teamwork!  And is just what we want.  Encourage your members to go into the ARS websites and take a look at others.  Try it…you will like it!

I again appeal for individual stories.  I know many of you are very gifted writers and like to share your personal experiences with your local chapter and friends.  It would be admirable to share this information with friends around the world.  Do submit your article, poem, personal thoughts and it will be given very special attention.  Credit attributions are duly enforced!

Bob Weissman deserves a tip of my hat for the marvelous leadership Bob gives me and the ARS through his dedication, his outstanding technical knowledge, and a long-range vision for the future.  He has done the most fantastic job of making the ARS site one of the very best!  We appreciate you, Bob.

Personal thanks for the privilege of being the editor of R&A News.

Endowment: Jeff Cheyne and Bill Mangels, co-chairs - September 1, 2007
The Endowment Fund Committee is prepared to receive grant applications for 2008.  Instructions for submitting an application are in the Fall Journal and posted on the ARS website.  Laura Kentala, who has been on the committee since inception of the grant program, resigned from the committee.  She has been replaced by Karel Bernardy.  Please keep the grant program in mind in creating interest in and providing knowledge of rhododendrons.

The Endowment Fund Committee appreciates the thoughtfulness of members, chapters and friends for their contributions.  These gifts show interest and confidence in the Board's handling of the grant program.  As of this writing (8/25/07) the Fund has a balance of $672,032.  The endowment fund advertisement located on the inside of the Journal wrapper has been freshened up and includes a form for making contributions.

Honors: Dee Daneri - August 19, 2007
At the Spring Conference in San Francisco, the ARS awarded gold medals to Peter Schick and Steve Hootman.  Silver awards went to George McLellan, Wing Fong, and R. A. Mitchell.

District Directors are reminded to have proposers compile from 8-12 letters for a nominee and present them to you with a cover letter giving the names and contact information for all of the seconding letters.  You are then asked to add your own letter and forward them to me as a packet before November 15.

The Honors Committee reviewed the polices concerning Regional citations - silver, and International citations - gold; the majority concluded that global contributions to our mission carry greater weight than regional contributions, and would like to see the medal presentations return to traditional protocol with silver medals awarded first, followed by gold at the annual banquet. If the board wishes to determine that the two awards have equal merit, we suggest the policies be expanded to include this.

Long Range Planning - inactive

Membership: Mike Bones - No Report

Nominations: Mike Stewart - September 11, 2007
The Nomination Committee has nothing to report for this meeting.

Plant Awards: Ray Smith and Ed Reiley, co-chairs - August 30, 2007
2008 Rhododendron of the Year selections have been made by all the regions.  The descriptions are being reviewed by Jay Murray, and will be sent to Sonja Nelson, Jerry Reynolds, and Bob Weissman for publication and release shortly.  The request for photographs published in the journal has received a number of responses and eased the burden of seeking out pictures for the journal article.

As mentioned in our report for the spring meeting, we are still lacking selections from several regions for the 2009 awards, as well as coordinators for the Northeast and Southeast.  Between now and the board meeting, contacts will be made with the representatives and district directors concerned to try to get these selections in and the positions filled.

Our thanks to everyone who has helped with the ROY program.

Program Library: Wing Fong - August 21, 2007
We now have 3 DVD titles in the Program Library.  They are:
PL001 Lendonwood Gardens – last 3 available, 2 sold to two chapters.  Also available since November ‘06 from OSU Agricultural Communication Services
PL002 Garden Walks 2006 – 10 sold to seven chapters, released May ‘07
PL003 Frank Fujioka's France Program – 1 sold to one chapter, released July ‘07

The above figures indicate that ARS chapters and their members are barely using the Program Library.  Here are a few reasons why we believe this is the case:

1. The PL DVD program is very new.
2. Summer months are usually an inactive period for ARS chapters.
3. No digital projection equipment for DVD presentation.
4. Do not own computer.
5. Not interested with current available DVD titles.
6. Not interested, period.

What can the PL Committee do to improve the situation?

1. We have to reach out to some of our knowledgeable talented members for them to help create and donate DVD/CD programs to the ARSPL.  We believe this is crucial for the ARSPL to be successful. We will be sending one of our DVDs along with a letter that explains our mission and ask such members to participate in the ARSPL program.
2. The PL Committee needs to hear feedback from current buyers of our DVD programs. We included a request for feedback with each DVD sold. We have one reply so far, which was very helpful.
3. Have members tell us what kind of programs they are interested in.
4. Re-think how the ARSPL is currently set up. Someone suggested that a library should be free and members can borrow from the library. Of course this is not a public library and it'll be time-consuming to keep track of the material and borrowers. The current charge of $15.00 for a DVD program is reasonable, we think. Could the ARSBOD give us some thought on this matter?
5. The PL is creating a Program Library Demo DVD with a speaker for presentation at local chapters, with the hope this will expose what the ARSPL is about to these chapters. However it's not feasible for distant chapters. To solve the distance problem we can design a PL Demo that will be a stand-alone program. A $5.00 charge for the DVD will cover the cost including shipping. What does the ARSBOD think about this idea?

We have purchased a DVD Duplicator for the ARSPL. Duplicating DVD/CDs is not a problem now.  There is one more piece of equipment that is needed to give the Program Library more versatility.  A digital voice recorder that we can mail to members interested in helping with programs such as on their hybridizing, their garden, rhododendron propagating, controlling pests, etc. They can record their thoughts, advice, narration, etc. and return the recorder and recording to us.  With their photographs and voice recording we can create the DVDs.  An actual personal voice accompanying the DVD would enhance the program. 
This last piece of equipment (about $100) would enable us to add more program diversification.  With increasingly good programs, we should be able to stay within our budget and maybe in three or four years recover all of our expenses.
Program Library Committee: Wing Fong, Bob Murray, Jerry Sowa

Public Education: Harold Greer - No Report

Publicity & Public Relations: Jerry Reynolds - August 28, 2007
I am beginning work on the press release for the 2008 Rhododendron of the Year Awards, awaiting a final list from the Plant Awards Committee.  I expect to have a press release ready for final checking about the time of the board meeting.  We will send the announcement to the magazines in October, to be followed by newspaper releases in late January or early February.  This timing is necessary because of the earlier deadlines for the magazines.

A few weeks ago I exchanged e-mail with the publicity chair for the Western Regional Conference to provide some suggestions for the best way to promote that event.

I will be following up on an idea, originally suggested by Tadeusz Dauksaz of the Midwest Chapter, involving membership recruitment among the retiring boomer generation.  I have had some e-mail conversation with the Executive Director Laura Grant, Western Regional Vice President Don Smart and Eastern Regional Vice President Ted Stecki.  The proposal involves advertising in AARP publications and suggesting some ideas for rhododendron related stories in the AARP Magazine garden section.

As chapters gear up for the new year, I would again like to remind the District Directors that I would like to receive copies of any newspaper or magazine article mentioning the ARS or ARS chapter activities and events.  Since the "clipping" is best done at the Chapter level, perhaps the District Directors can remind Chapter presidents and newsletter editors.  I prefer actual clippings or copies, mailed to me at 1220 E. California Ave., Arcata, CA 95521-5241.

Registrar of Plant Names: Jay Murray - August 27, 2007
Timely processing of registration applications continues.  Some progress has been made in transferring old print and transparency images from earlier registrations to digital form.

During this period the estimated expense incurred supporting the ARS is $250 ($50 for supplies and postage and $200 to replace a monitor).  No reimbursement will be requested.

Research Committee: Dr. Harold Sweetman -  August 31, 2007
Committee Members present: Harold Sweetman (Chair), Karel Bernady (Vice-chair), Norman Beaudry, and Sandra McDonald.
Committee Members Absent: Russell Gilkey, Robert Stamper, Bill O'Neill, Ben Hall, Don Voss and Research Foundation Trustees.

The Committee convened at the 2007 Convention in San Francisco CA on Friday, April 13, 2007 to review the proposals.  Five proposals were received for the 2007 grant funding cycle.  The Chair received nine completed evaluation forms from committee members, which were summarized in table format.  The four committee members present reviewed each of the proposals and their ranking for probability of success, value to society members, and overall ranking.  The committee members present were in agreement with the overall evaluation summary.

Trustees of the Research Foundation confirmed that $15,000 in potential research funding was available for this year.  The Research Committee recommended that the Research Foundation of the American Rhododendron Society provide funding for the following three proposals:
#07-1 Improving Fertilizer and Water Use Efficiency of Container-Grown Rhododendrons. Carolyn F. Scagel, USDA-ARS-Horticulture Crops Laboratory, Corvallis, OR - $5,000

Summary of Proposal
The objective of this multi-year study is to characterize the seasonal dynamics of nitrogen uptake and internal cycling in evergreen and deciduous rhododendron cultivars.  The effects of liquid and controlled release fertilizer on plant growth and nitrogen uptake will be compared and the influence of nitrogen on water use and photosynthetic performance will be assessed.  It is hypothesized that excess nitrogen during nursery production decreases the efficiency of water use and the quality of container grown rhododendrons.  This has important environmental as well as economic implications.  Avoiding excess fertilizer run-off and increasing fertilizer efficiency is a hopeful expected outcome this research.

#07-2 Rhododendron Decline of the Southern Appalachian Mountains: Holistic Study of Biotic and Abiotic Factors Compared Between Healthy and Declining Stands, William D. Starrett, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MI - $5,000

Summary of Proposal
Dieback or decline of Rhododendron maximum has been reported in an increasing number of areas in the southern Appalachians and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Because of the uncertainty of causal factors, a holistic approach will be taken in an effort to identify abiotic or biotic factors that might cause wild Rhododendron maximums to decline at more than 10 sites.  Specifically, the holistic approach proposed will compare site factors responsible for increased plant stress, occurrence and importance of fungal pathogens, and changes or loss of mycorrhizal associates compared between healthy and declining stands of rhododendrons. In addition to helping manage rhododendron decline, the data collected may also help aid in the increased understanding of forest decline and the factors involved.

#07-3 Breeding Polyploid Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Thomas Ranney, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Fletcher, NC - $5,000

Summary of Proposal
Polyploids are organisms that have more than two complete sets of chromosomes.  Polyploidy will be induced chemically in rhododendrons resulting in triploid and tetraploid sets of chromosomes.  The objective is to determine ploidy level and genome size of a diverse range of species, hybrids and cultivars of rhododendrons using a combination of flow cytometry and light microscopy.

The goal is to develop improved methods of inducing polyploidy. Pollen germination and viability will be tested in ‘Nova Zembla' (2x) vs."Super Nova (4x); ‘The Honorable Jean Marie Montague' (2x) vs. ‘Briggs Red Star' (4x); ‘Vulcan' (2x) vs. ‘Vulcan Tetraploid' (4x) and six other cultivars will also be assessed.

Initial studies revealed that polyploidy has been found to be more prevalent in Rhododendron than previously thought.  One of the significant expected outcomes of this research is the development of an extensive and informative database on ploidy level and genome size of diverse species, clones and cultivars of Rhododendron.

Karel Bernady reported that he is writing an article for the Journal of the ARS reporting on the history of the Research Foundation and important milestones.  Summary data of many different research projects will be highlighted. It is hoped that this ongoing publicity and focus on the good work of the Research Foundation will continue to help solicit contributions to support future research.

Resource Development: Mary Parker - September 8, 2007
We requested a grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust for printing of new Vireya Brochure and Rhododendron of the Year postcards and posters.  Laura will have the postcards to show as she sent me one.

Rhododendron Database: Forrest Bump, MD and Jeff Cheyne - September 11, 2007
Since the last report to the board, the Database committee ("DBC") has submitted a letter to the Royal Horticultural Society ("RHS") to solicit their authorization to use the International Rhododendron Register information in the RhODIES Project.  A copy of that letter is attached to this report.  We have not received a formal response from the RHS; however on August 22, 2007, I received the following email from Dr. Allan Leslie:

Dear Mr Cheyne,

I thought you would like to be aware that I can now confirm that the Society is currently in the process of drawing up licensing agreements relevant to our various International Register databases. We just need to ensure that the details are in order before we make an offer to the ARS in relation to the International Rhododendron Register and Checklist. Can I assure you that the matter is under active consideration and I will be in contact again as soon as I have some concrete results to report to you.

Yours sincerely
Alan Leslie

At this point we can't speculate about the details offered from the RHS. As details develop from the RHS we will be in close contact with the president of the ARS.  In conclusion, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to establish a workable license agreement with the RHS.

Members of the Database Committee:
The following individuals have agreed to serve as members of the ARS Data Base Committee:
Dr. Forrest Bump, Jeff Cheyne, Carol McCarthy, Ted Petit
Members of the ARS Database Advisory Committee:
John Christie, Kenneth Cox, Harold Greer, John Hammond, Clive Justice, Hank Schannen, Mike Stewart, Kathleen Van Veen, Bob Weissman, Bob and Jay Murray

April 5, 2007

Dr Alan C. Leslie
International Rhododendron and Dianthus Registrar
109 York Street
Cambridge CB1 2PZ
United Kingdom

Dear Dr. Leslie:
We are members of the Database Committee ("RDC") of the American Rhododendron Society ("ARS"), and are working toward the development of a flexible, web-based information system for genus rhododendron.
Currently, there is no searchable information system available that is comprehensive enough to assist rhododendron hybridizers, rhododendron experts and other information seekers for advanced plant study and research. Also there is no comprehensive electronic collection of both rhododendron species and hybrids together.
Thus far, this has been a project by volunteers who have given their time and attention without compensation, and for the most part this project will continue with unpaid volunteers. In November 2005, the Board of Directors for the ARS realized the importance of the project and formed the Rhododendron Database Committee.
On behalf of the American Rhododendron Society Database Committee, we are writing to solicit an authorization from the Royal Horticultural Society to use the information published in The International Rhododendron Register and Checklist in our project.
Ted Petit, a member of the Database Committee, has made a significant contribution to the ARS with his floraGRAPHICS program which is a research system in which the data for the RhODIES Project will be housed. The underlying system is substantially complete, and we are now ready to acquire the data for each plant to add to the database. Mr. Petit's system is designed to handle a fairly complex set of rhododendron criteria and is flexible enough to add criteria as the database matures. His system is also robust enough to include plant pictures; thus, in addition to textual information, the Rhododendron Database Committee is also acquiring contributions of digital photographs.

The name of the project is Rhododendron On-line Display and Information Exchange System; hence, the acronym "RhODIES." The RhODIES Project is designed as a comprehensive, genealogical-oriented research system for genus Rhododendron, both species and hybrids, and it will be operated as part of the floraGRAPHICS software that Mr. Petit has developed.
Since the RhODIES Project will be available on the internet, it is contemplated that the basic portion will be available to a large number of users; however, access to the advanced portion will be more restricted, but these details have not been resolved yet by the Board of Directors.
The RhODIES Project data structure design is a relational database, and will allow a system with an infinitely extensible morphology, so that as additional data is acquired about a hybrid or species it can be added to the database, so that one data fact can be tied to a 1,000 others if necessary. Each data entry will be tagged with the information source as well. Thus the source of the each component of data information will be part of the database as well.
The RhODIES Project has a current data load of 3,000 genus cross-referenced to author with 1,020 rhododendron species cross-referenced to Chamberlain and Goetsch, Eckert, Hall taxonomies and 430 species cultivars. The RhODIES Project also references the following color systems: RHS, NBS/ISCC 440 and Ridgway. There are more than 6,000 color nodes. This will allow for very specific color searches.
For the digital images component of the RhODIES Project we plan to have a photo series (five to seven photos) for each plant e.g., plant, truss, flower, leaf (top and bottom in some cases), stem and new growth. The Massachusetts chapter of the ARS has acquired a Nikon slide scanner, and Mr. Petit has begun the process of scanning rhododendron slides to include in the data base.
The International Rhododendron Register and Checklist represents a comprehensive data source for the system, and it would be the foundation of the rhododendron information upon which additional information can be built. It also represents a way for us to almost immediately have a structure for researching over 20,000 hybrids. Other sources are far more fragmented and perhaps less reliable. Using the registry data will give us the ability to be operational with a very comprehensive database significantly more quickly.
We do not intend to build a replica of The International Rhododendron Register and Checklist. Our intent is to build, maintain and update an advanced plant study and research project that will provide both hybrid and species information for the genus Rhododendron. As the system matures, registered users will be able to input additional information regarding regional growth characteristics and propagation comments in a separate logically tethered Wikipedia style format.
Obviously, there is much more material involved than we can ever cover in this letter. We invite you and any members of your staff that you wish to involve to a preview of a preliminary model of the system. Mr. Petit is ready to review The RhODIES Project with you by telephone simultaneously with an internet display so that you and other staff members can observe what we are trying to accomplish.
This letter is being sent to you with a number of signed counter part copies attached. Together these copies reflect the support and approval of all of the active members of the Database Committee.

23835 SW Delanois Place
Sherwood, OR 97140
(503) 625-1717 Fax: (503) 625- 6557

The active database members have been working on this project for nearly four years. We are now ready to move forward with the data collection and we hope that we can form a productive working relationship with the RHS in this matter. We look forward to working with the RHS and their database staff to establish a data-sharing relationship to the advantage of both Societies.
Please let me know when you would like to schedule a telephone conference to review our project and content. Please contact Jeffrey Cheyne at +1 (503) 226-2966. His office is in Portland, Oregon in the Pacific time zone.
Leonard Miller, the current president of the ARS, while not a member of the database committee, has reviewed and approves of this request. Also this project is endorsed by the advisory members of the database committee.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to reviewing our project with you.
Dr. Forrest Bump, RDC Chairperson
Jeffrey Cheyne,  RDC Member and Legal Advisor
Carol McCarthy, Database Coordinator and RDC Member
Ted Petit, Database Developer and RDC Member
Leonard Miller, President American Rhododendron Society
Mike Stewart, RDC Advisory Committee Member

Seed Exchange: John Nicolella and Werner Brack - September 5, 2007
A. Budgetary Matters:
1. The Seed Committee as of communications over the past several weeks anticipates helping to fund three wild seed collection expeditions: Jens Nielsen, Alan Clark and Philip MacDougall.  One never knows if seed will be received when subscribing to such expeditions as many variables come into play but past experience has shown acceptable results and the risk is considered acceptable.  We would like approval to use out of retained earnings an amount not to exceed a total of $9,000 for these expeditions [note that only $800 for MacDougall is currently in the budget we submitted]; costs for travel in China have gone up and such collections can only continue if a greater amount of funding is given.

The potential species seed will be from areas not collected in for some time and thus will be of great benefit to the Exchange and its customers.  The Seed Committee will also inform the collectors of the 'wish list' of seed that we have generated.  Hopefully conditions in China and Taiwan have been conducive to seed set.

2. The pollen-to-seed program initiated last fall has, as of the end of June, resulted in just under $400 in purchases from the Rhododendron Species Foundation.  The program remains open and pollen is still being ordered by our donors.  We do not have the final figures for 2007 we are obligating $2,000 for 2008 which we feel is more than adequate to cover demand for pollen.  The Committee views the pollen program as an import step in support of primary and complex hybridizing efforts of our donors.  The emphasis on wild collected species seed coupled with the pollen program in conjunction with RSF should have a significant positive impact on hybrid seed availability.  The Committee will evaluate any proposals or ideas submitted to it which will further support new garden hybrids and hybridizers such as support of public collections of well known hybridizers.

3. We had unexpected failure of the hard drive in the Exchange computer. Servicing did not satisfactorily resolve the problem thus a new computer was purchased.  The new PC does not have all the necessary software (Word and Excel) and if we are not able to recover it from back up discs from the old PC we will need to acquire new software.  The Seed Committee has taken note of the fact that the Board Policy for the Seed Committee has just been posted on the ARS website.  We anticipate no problems working under the new policy wording.  Werner Brack, as co-Chairman for financial matters, has adjusted the budget and financial statement to reserve adequate funds for unexpected expenses such as PC failure.  The Seed Committee is trying to keep seed prices as low as possible and is considering possible pricing structures to fully meet the operating expenses and generate some profit.  In 2008 we do not anticipate any profits to rebuild the reserve fund to its former level of over $35,000 as seed sales have been rather lean the past several years and in any event it is time to spend down the retained profits by investing in the future seed availability for the Exchange of seed types which experience shows are in most demand namely wild collected species seed.  This is not to say that we intend to discourage primary or complex hybrid cross donations and we hope to find additional ways to invest in their improvement as discussed in paragraph 2 above.

4. The budget presented for 2008 for approval which follows the format used for the 2007 budget and which is based on actual experience from 2007 will be fine tuned by the committee as more details become know to us relating to expedition funding and audit costs.  The Seed Committee will finalize the seed pricing before the 2008 catalog is released electronically so as to have a high probability that income from seed sales will be adequate to cover our recurring operating costs.  The non-recurring costs of the pollen-to-seed program and the funding of expeditions will come from the retained profits.  See the attachment for the proposed budget for 2008.

B. Other Matters:
1. Application for collecting permit on Forest Service and/or National Park land. There is a continuing demand for plant material and open pollinated seed from our native rhododendrons and in particular the deciduous azaleas. The Seed Exchange proposes to investigate obtaining a permit to legally collect seed and once the proper State and Federal agencies are identified and the application procedures are determined to file an application in the name of the ARS, Seed Committee.

We are aware that the BOD has provided funding to a federal agency for the purchase of mowing equipment to keep certain balds in North Carolina free of encroaching vegetation.  We hope to build on this existing relationship to obtain legal authority to collect seed.

The availability of seed is believed to be a sound part of any program to preserve plants in the wild by providing people a sound alternate manner to obtain desirable plants.  We will also investigate the possibility of including in any permit the limited propagation of selected wild specimens through the collection of cuttings by qualified personnel who have expertise in native rhododendrons.

The intent is to have superior quality plants available for selective breeding, distribution to commercial sources for bulk propagation, and provision of seed to ARS membership.

2. Wish List of Rhododendron Seeds:
By Ole Jonny Larsen, European member of the Seed Exchange Committee of the ARS.
On behalf of the Seed Exchange Committee of the ARS I have asked members and others who grow Rhododendrons from seeds to tell which species they really wish to grow.  I sent out emails to lots of people, and a note was printed in the winter issue of The Journal asking readers to send in their wishes.  The response has been good and has resulted in a long list.  My first thought is that it is amazing how many well-known species have never or rarely been offered, although lots of people have them in their collections.  More members should begin pollinating to produce seeds! It is not difficult to learn, you will find instructions in lots of books on Rhododendrons.  If enough people just made two or three pollinations of rare species, the Seed Exchange would be able to present much better seed lists in the future.

Most of the wishes received are on the list.  Some have been deleted since they have been offered on this year's list, or have been on the seed list more than one time over the last five years.  Maybe a shorter list would be more effective, but I feel that the list now shows members thoughts and dreams for their gardens in the future.  It also tells us how important the seed distribution is and how it can be improved to the benefit of our own members.

We now hope that the collectors and growers with large collections among us go through their plant lists and ask themselves if they can support some of these species seeds in the future. Even one new name on the seed list will be greatly appreciated by someone who has been searching for that species for years.

Long-time growers often do not realize the difficulty newer members have in obtaining particular plants.  There is also a need to insure that we are providing true seed and not seed of hybrids that are not true to the wild populations.  This is where the Seed Committee sponsorship of expeditions becomes important.

You can read about the subject in "Success with Rhododendrons and Azaleas" by H. Edward Reiley and in "The Cultivation of Rhododendrons" by Peter Cox.

Several Societies and local groups have excellent information on their website as well.

The member's wishes for the future seed lists are available upon request.

American Rhododendron Society
Seed Exchange

Budget for 2007-2008
Income Category  
Investment Income 600
Sales Net (seed) 10,000
Income Totals 10,600
Expense Category  
46715 - Travel/conference 1,000
46740 - Office Exp 2,050
Office Supplies 250
Utilities (Internet & Electricity) 1200
Auto, mileage 600
46745 - Postage 700
Advertising 288
46760 - Rent 6,000
Seed & Pollen Purchase* 1,200
Accountants fees 500
Depreciation Expense 280
Expense Total 12,018
Net Profit/ (Deficit)  -1,418

* these items are for funding a collecting expedition to Taiwan by Philip Mac Dougal
and the expected cost of the Seeds to Pollen program in cooperation with the
Rhododendron Species Foundation.  The source of these funds is accumulated surplus.

Shows and Judging: Bruce and Marianne Feller - August 21, 2007
As agreed at our last Board Meeting in San Francisco, members of the Editorial Committee reviewed the "Guidelines for Flower Shows and Judging" compiled by Eleanor Stubbs and her Committee.  In a word, the consensus was that the document required a major rewrite.  If this is in fact, the informed decision of the Board, we are compelled to point out that we are not prepared to undertake this initiative any time soon given the more immediate priorities at the Chapter and District level; involvement as registrars in the 2008 Convention in Tulsa and as Co-Chairs of our own Convention in 2010.

Before reaching a decision on this matter, we would remind the Board that there is a second component to the Flower Show and Judging resource, that essentially links those looking for information and help with Flower Shows, with willing volunteers from nearby Chapters.  In this connection, we can report that not a single inquiry or request for help has been received since the announcement of the program in the Journal some time ago.  While various conclusions can be drawn from this experience, it may suggest that there is little, if any, demand for a program of this type at Society level, with or without published guidelines.

Speakers Bureau: Bill Stipe - August 26, 2007
The ARS Speakers' Bureau is up and running.  There has been very little activity, maybe the Ad in the last Journal will spur some attention.

Test & Display Gardens: Ron Mapes - No Report

Old Business
  Previous Open Action Items:

  • List of Membership Advantages to DD's  - Mike Bones
  • "Name that Rhododendron" Committee open

  New and Ongoing Action Items:

  • Review proposal to make Past Presidents Life Members  - Awards Committee
  • Notification of ED when Emails are changed  - ALL MEMBERS
  • Send copies of publicity articles on chapter activities to Jerry Reynolds - ALL CHAPTERS
  • Email "towns who hold rhododendron festivals" to Mike Bones  - DD's
  • Make a detailed report on Test and Display gardens at the April 2007 BOD meeting. Also, should there be changes in the present policy? - Ron Mapes
  • The Editorial Committee should review the Guidelines for Flower Shows and Judging compiled by Eleanor Stubbs committee and make recommendations for changes and distribution.
  • Seed Exchange issues; The Board needs to know, where the money comes from, donors or fees? Is the Exchange focus on hybrids or species? What the focus should be? Bill Mangels requested a list of Seed Exchange recipients who should receive an IRS 1099 Form - John Nicolella and Werner Brack
  • Report to the District Directors/Vice Presidents when a Chapter is in arrears on its payments to or is owed money by the Society.  - Laura Grant
  • Program Library Committee to begin reviewing the processes of the Public Education Committee. - Wing Fong
  • Reprint Vireya Rhododendron brochure - Laura Grant
  • Explore alternate insurers – change deduction level, etc. - Laura Grant
  • Explore creating Student Membership category - Mike Bones
  • Check on activity/interest of DD for District 12 - Ted Stecki
  • Send copies of chapter By-Laws to ED - ALL CHAPTERS

  Items added at April 2007 meeting:

  • Change insurance agents, investigate Gayle Creek Insurance Agency - Laura Grant
  • Explore and propose student membership - Membership Committee
  • Membership committee seems to be inactive. - Fred Whitney will speak to Mike Bones
  • Grants should be applied for the Stanley Smith Horticultural Fund to help pay for clerical help.-  Julianne Rizzo, Laura Grant, Mary Parker
  • Increase Chapter dues retention to encourage Chapters to sell higher value memberships,
  • proposed by Ken McDonald.- Membership Committee
  • Azalea Committee would like to work more closely with Seed Exchange Committee to create a
      stand alone Azalea Seed listing. - Peg Van Patton and Seed Exchange Committee
  • Is it possible to combine the Public Education Committee and the Program Library Committee to
      better serve the public and membership?
  • Coordinate response/actions with German Rhododendron Society's 75th celebration in 2010 - Bruce Feller
  • Explore liaison contact regarding BOD insurance - Ken McDonald
  • Prepare graphic of membership vs. cost of operation (point at which membership dues can't
      support society operations) – Membership Committee
  • Prepare and submit budget for Seed Exchange per POB 9.12 for October BOD meeting. - Werner Brack/John Nicolella
  • Accumulate/submit "expenses incurred supporting ARS – both reimbursable and ‘in-kind'" - All BOD members and
       committee chairs
  • Spearhead/communicate to chapters an "annual status of life members" - if no response, delete? - Membership Committee
  • Include/solicit educational publication projects as grant applications - Endowment & Research Committees
  • Name representatives to Plant Awards Committee - DD's in SE & NE
  • 2009/2008 ROY selections to Plant Awards Committee - All BUT Northwest

Proposal for liability insurance coverage for 2008 provided by current broker, McDaniel Insurance Services:
ARS liability insurance proposal.pdf

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