musings from the Western Region President
Hello and Happy New Year to my Conehead friends around the Western Region. Given how wet and stormy it is right now in Washington, I’d like to take a few moments to focus on spring and summer and let you know what an awesome year 2018 is going to be for all of us. We’re deep into the planning and coordination stages for our upcoming events and are hoping that you’ll enjoy what we have planned.
On the first weekend of February, your ACS board of directors will meet in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss and implement the visions that will allow us to remain the vibrant and progressive organization we seek to be. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you think would interest the board, let me know and I’ll try to work them in to our already action-packed agenda.
I wish to address some speculation about the Society’s financial status. Many are under the mistaken impression that we’re in dire straits. Nothing is further from the truth. At the national level, we have assets in excess of $600,000, divided among several accounts, while at the local level, our Western Region treasury stands at a bit over $20,000, the highest its been since I’ve been associated with the inner workings of our organization.
This doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. We have run a slightly deficit operating budget for three of the last five years and like other plant societies our membership growth is less than robust. Therefore, we continue to explore new and imaginative revenue streams, many of which we believe will make the member experience more valuable and enjoyable. For those of you who don’t know much about the Society’s annual expenses, the most significant and rewarding are the scholarships to horticulture (and other plant-related majors) students and grants to reference gardens, research entities and conservation organizations.
Now, on to the fun part. It’s time to mark those calendars!
The 2018 Event Schedule
This year, rather than focus all of our energy and resources on a single Western Region Conference, we’re holding three “road-trip intensive” mini-conferences in different parts of the Region. We hope to have the details worked out and on the website in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is a synopsis:
▲ April 27-28th — Conifer Road Trip III. This year we’re back into the mountains above Los Angeles to visit conifers in habitat. This event is free to active ACS members. All that’s necessary is to get there and secure lodging and transportation. Information is already up on the website. We also have arranged for a couple of hotel blocks, so we can all stay together at discounted prices.
▲ August 10-11th — In the Footsteps of a Legend, Denver Colorado. We’re very excited to offer a meeting at one of our new Reference Gardens. So many of us have asked for a trip to see Denver Botanic Gardens, so we’re going there and so much more …
- a docent-led tour of the Denver Botanic Gardens, one of the newest of our western reference gardens
- after dinner, we’ll view the premier of a tribute to Jerry Morris, one of America’s first and preeminent broom hunter
- a plant auction featuring plants appropriate for the Rocky Mountain climate.
- on day two, we’ll venture into the wilderness to the Mt. Goliath natural area, where we’ll walk around a Colorado bristlecone pine grove. After lunch we’ll head lower down the mountain to see Abies lasiocarpa and Picea engelmannii—and more!—in habitat.
- on Sunday, August 12th, visit a nursery in Ft Collins that specializes in Rocky Mountain conifers and alpine plants, followed by lunch at one of the town’s many brew pubs.
▲ October 4-5th — Pine, Wine and High Desert, Yakima Washington. Yes, another entirely new location for us! This one combines two of our favorite activities:
- an early morning walkabout with a warm beverage at Yakima’s small and tidy botanical garden. They have an excellent collection of well-maintained northwest native trees. When I previewed the trip last fall, the fall colors and frost on the grounds were captivating.
- a visit with Mike and Cheryl Davison, long-time friends and benefactors of the ACS. They are establishing a hobby nursery and conifer garden chock-full of dwarf specimens from brooms that they have collected in the forests of Michigan and the Washington Cascades. After a light lunch there, we proceed to …
- …the hills above the Yakima Valley for some touring, wine tasting and buying during the bustle of “the crush.”
- a banquet dinner and rare plant auction at a local eatery in downtown Yakima where they will allow us to enjoy the wine we bought that afternoon. Our own Larry Stanley will be on hand for a keynote presentation detailing his intensive and interesting career of collecting rare and strange conifers from around the globe. You will not want to miss this! Larry is a font of knowledge and one of the nicest guys in the Society.
▲ October 20th — Pine Cones and Pot Luck III, Olympia Washington. We had so much fun doing this last year that we’re going to do it again at Glacier’s End.
- garden tours
- tasty and fun food and beverages
- mini classes on conifer care and maintenance
- conifer swap meet
▲ Date TBD — We are also working on a date to meet the new curator of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. We’ll send out a note when that is fixed.
So that’s 2018 in a nutshell. Of course, in 2019 it’s our turn to host the ACS National Convention at our second home, the Oregon Garden resort in Silverton.