RIP IBS - comments

Robin Hansen
Sat, 27 Apr 2013 14:44:03 PDT
Jane's comments that efforts to have the North American Rock Garden Society merge with small, special interest plant groups should have been acted on by NARGS long ago.

I am a former member of the dissolved Emerald Chapter of NARGS, and regret with every passing day that we were forced to dissolve.  When I read that such an old and venerable institution as IBS is dissolving, I cringe.

We must, as plantspeople, take the time and make the energy to find innovative ways of surviving.  For NARGS to ignore this opportunity is unconscionable.  Peter George has taken a number of steps to modernise NARGS and needs to go one step further by taking in those small, specialist societies that are vital to furthering our mission of reaching new people and retaining long-time members, whatever their particular interest.

The worry I have, have had for a long time, is that I continue to observe in plant societies that the older they are, the more likely they are to become elitist.  As we have found, this is detrimental, in the long run, to all plant lovers.

I also belong to the American Rhododendron Society.  We faced this past year a budget shortfall of some $13,000, much of it due to steadily declining membership over the past five years.  ARS relies a good deal on dues, but after reviewing today's ARS journal which came in today's mail, they are much in need of updating and revitalizing their journal.  It is a glossy 8 1/2 x 11 format with tiny print, limited photographs, and is heavily weighted with densely scientific articles.  

Please don't take me wrong, I appreciate these technical articles.  However, for new members and old members who are primarily focused on propagation and culture, places to go see their plants of interest, opportunities for combined travel and education, and coping with the unusual weather we will continue to face, there's not much there.  Our journals are the face of our societies.  So are our websites and other means of letting the world know who we are and what we're doing.

PBS does this very well.  Its very newness, coming of age as it has in the world of electronic media, shows that its approach, relaxed, generous and open to a wide range of topics, whether they are completely relevant or only vaguely so, shows a path many organizations, even businesses, should also follow.

Really, we would all benefit immensely from the availability of special interest groups within a larger organization.  If an opportunity arises whether for PBS, NARGS, or ARS, let's get serious.  Time passes much too quickly.

Hansen Nursery
North Bend, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list