The Future, Second Life

Robert Pries
Wed, 03 Oct 2012 06:42:05 PDT
I want to thank the PBS forum for the great discussion on the future of plant societies. For the last seven years I have been instrumental in shaping strategic plans for the Iris Society. Many of our goals were reinforced by this discussion.

The challenges we face are essentially ones of implementation. I continually find ideas that I want to pursue but do not have the technologic expertize to do so. I have been lucky in recruiting some talented individuals whose work has expanded some of those original thoughts but much of the system I would like to create is still pending for lack of warm bodies, who can do the jobs. Since we cannot afford to pay for many of the computer skills the process of change becomes dependent on the learning curve of our volunteers.
PBS is a great organization and the wiki was a huge advance for gardeners. We learned from PBS and have created a wiki for Iris called the Iris Encyclopedia. Currently we are approaching 50,000 pages. But we still have a long way to go. The checklist alone still needs about 20,000 entries. I have been busy cross referencing species synonyms, but despite all that is there, it is still in essence a rough draft of what it will be. Yet people have been able to add almost 40,000 images. We have 400 contributors worldwide.

But there are many more ways in which we have attacked the communication problem; with Facebook, Twitter, and the Blog. But those have been the easy parts. Yet,there are still areas in which we have not been able to find capable people. At the moment U-tube is beyond my ability. I will disclose I do not even have a smart phone, cost prohibitive. My next purchase will probably be a video camera. I have dreams of the Encyclopedia containing many videos on cultivation, garden tours, etc. all generated by our users. But I will be challenged to find all the applications needed.

I have to admit when I started this thread I was feeling a bit down. Although we have begun to put lots of things into place they do not seem to have generated as large an increase in membership as I had hoped. But I suppose It is too soon to judge and many parts of the plans are yet to be achieved, some not even yet attempted. 

The ideas on the PBS forum have cheered me and given me a sense that all the work will eventually lead to a better Iris society. I thank you all for this discussion. It is sort of like getting a second opinion from another doctor.

Bob Pries
Roxboro, North Carolina
a cold zone 7 but Yeah! the Rhodophialas cam back!

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