Our midyear board meeting took place last Thursday, and we have some interesting developments to report! As a reminder, the ACS board meets twice a year, once at the national meeting and once in the winter. ACS members are invited to attend all parts of the board meeting with the exception of the executive session, which generally lasts about half an hour.
This meeting was the last for Martin Stone, President of the Southeast Region, Colby Feller, President of the NER and Sara Malone, Western Region Director, as their terms have expired. Martin will be replaced by Bradley Roberts and the new WR Director is Johanna Mitchell. Bobby Wallace has been nominated to replace Colby as NER President, but for logistical reasons has not yet been formally elected, although we expect that to happen very shortly. We thank Martin, Colby and Sara for their service.
New Member Benefits
The biggest news to come out of the meeting are two new initiatives: the Nursery Discount Program for ACS members and enhancements to the conifer database (ConiferBase) for members only. You will hear more about both of these in the coming months. We believe that both will significantly enhance member value and prove to be good tools for member recruitment. They will also aid us in fulfilling our educational mission. Because the ACS operates very close to the (profit) line, there were no available monies to fund the ConiferBase development costs. The Western Region, coming off a very successful regional meeting and auction, voted to pay for the ConiferBase members-only upgrade. Watch the next CQ for details on both of these new programs!
Another exciting development is the creation of a National Reference Garden Coordinator position, and the appointment of Barbie Colvin, of the SER, to that post. Barbie has functioned as an informal coordinator for several years; those of us who have introduced new gardens to the Program have relied on her considerable expertise and knowledge and it is great to have that formally recognized.
We also now have a Social Media Director and Website Developer; look for their bios in the next ConiferQuarterly. CQ Editor Ron Elardo continues to work his magic by squeezing every ounce of value out of the publisher and designer. The new, expanded CQ comes in UNDER the budget (which was based on past costs). In addition, Ron is happy to report a record backlog of articles, which means that there will be lots to read about in the coming issues. We’re also introducing a conifer ID contest, so brush up on your observational skills!
Other Program Updates
The $2500 ACS scholarship was awarded to Cole Hamilton of Western Kentucky University. Cole will be reporting on his studies in an upcoming CQ issue.
Finally, the 2018 Collectors Conifer of the Year candidates are being narrowed down and Dennis Lee, chair of the effort, will be reporting the final selections this fall.
The biggest challenge that the ACS faces is the same one faced by by every plant society: an aging demographic and the need for new members. We strive to balance the needs of our existing membership with initiatives that we believe will attract new ones. If you have ideas or strong feelings about what we should change (or not!), please let your directors know. We’d also welcome any new ideas for member recruitment.
The board salutes Elmer Dustman and Jerry Kral for a wonderful national meeting in Syracuse, NY! Now it’s on to the 2018 national in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a post-meeting tour in nearby Asheville.
For your convenience, in case you have questions or suggestions, here are your officers and key program heads, with hotlinks to their emails:
Neil Fusillo, ACS President
Tom Neff, ACS VP and Treasurer
Steve Courtney, National Office Manager
Bobby Wallace, Northeast Region President (pending)
Bradley Roberts, Southeast Region President
Byron Baxter, Central Region President
David Olszyk, Western Region President
Ron Elardo, CQ Editor
Sara Malone, ACS Website Editor
Barbie Colvin, National Reference Garden Coordinator
Dennis Lee, CCOY
Jerry Kral, Scholarship Committee
Jeff and Jennifer Harvey, 2018 National Meeting Coordinators