As members of the American Conifer Society we are all gardeners in some shape or form. As gardeners, we have experience in planting new conifers and creating new landscapes. We start with a vision, acquire the right materials, get help from our friends and work hard. Although the work is never complete, we eventually need to sit back and watch the fruits of our labor, as they develop and mature
As I step down as your ACS President I have followed much the same path as any dedicated gardener. Like my predecessors, I have looked for ways to grow and strengthen the Society. During the last several years, we have seen the creation and implementation of our new website, which will be our primary way to educate future gardeners about conifers and unify the members of the ACS. Thank you to everyone who has contributed pictures, comments and articles to our site. Under the enthusiastic leadership of our new website editor, Sara Malone, I know our brightest days lie ahead. Outstanding additions continue to be carefully made to our conifer database, now under the leadership of Dave Olszyk. Over 50 % of our website “hits” go to the conifer database. Joe Carli successfully led our efforts to create a new logo, which has just been approved by the Board. Look for this new design to appear on the website, ACS publications and, of course, clothing!
Steve Courtney continues to excel in improving our main office functions. Each day more ACS members are using the new office software. We are pleased to report that over 50% of our 2014 National Meeting registrations were completed online using this software. Our membership continues to grow in part due to the ease of online signup but also our energetic members holding rendezvous and creating various garden events. With Steve’s help, ACS updates via email can take place in less than an hour; keeping our membership updated and informed.
The ACS owes much gratitude to John Ruter and the enthusiastic committee in Atlanta for providing an outstanding National Meeting. The gardens were remarkable and clearly demonstrated that conifers are alive and THRIVING in the South! It was wonderful to visit two of our Reference Gardens and see their outstanding conifers.
We have seen progress with a record number of applications for our Scholarship program: seven in 2014. Jerry Kral continues to do an excellent job assisting our applicants. The ACS is now a member of the Coalition of American Plant Societies (CAPS). This affiliation will strengthen the ACS in the future. Lastly, the Society has taken its first step towards conservation and preservation of conifers by making a donation of $1,000 to assist in the propagation and planting of the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) in Virginia. We’ll have a complete report in the Fall CQ.
Our progress and changes would not have been possible if it were not for your Board of Directors. Their recommendations, guidance and, ultimately, votes have been instrumental in directing the ACS into the future. I admire the professionalism and the responsiveness of our CQ editor Ron Elardo in producing our marvelous publication. The Conifer Quarterly continues to be the most valued component of an ACS membership. There are so many people that have assisted the ACS during my tenure – thank you to each of you.
The ACS ‘garden’ has some additions, experienced some modifications and has been nurtured by many dedicated and caring members. As the head gardener it is now time for me to step back and watch it grow. I welcome and support Brian Jacob as he takes on the task of reshaping the garden and guiding the ACS. As we all realize, work in the garden is never done and it’s a labor of love. Thank you for your confidence and support during the past two years. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your President and lead the American Conifer Society.