IAS Aroid Quasi Forum

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  What is it all about?
From: "Greg Ruckert" <greg at alpacamanagement.com> on 2013.08.06 at 15:35:05(22875)
As a person who has beem a member of the IAS, on and off, over a long period of time, I am moved to wonder what is the purpose of the IAS.

I note that the term of five Board membership expires in September and would like to know what the Board members do? When and where does the Board meet?

When are nominations called for the vacant positions?

Does the IAS has a plan for the future and where might I find it?

We have a wonderful editorial team and, without wanting to cause any offence, what is the succession plan that the IAS has in place for these wonderful people?

As a non-American member, apart from the newsletter and Aroideana, what is the point of me being a member?

Does the IAS have a plan to increase its membership?

Why is the IAS Facebook page not monitored? There is an increasing amount of spam being posted there (I am not the only one who is annoyed by this) and nothing is done about it.

The IAS has a financial membership of 365, including institutions. The Facebook page has 850 members and is growing quickly. Why isn't the Facebook page used to promote the society and recruit new members?

I notice I don't necessarily get answers to questions I pose. Does the Board think this is a good look?

Why is there a high level of Society disinterest in the International Aroid Conference to be held in Hanoi? Is it because it is outside the USA?

I have asked on Facebook about the Society's involvement in the conference and have effectively been told that it really is nothing to do with the IAS. This is despite the IAS being involved in selecting the site for the conference and the front page of the IAS website encouraging people to "Join us"

Nobody seems to know who is giving the IAS presentation at the conference! Why? Why will there be no IAS merchandise available?

I have asked thirteen questions and will be interested to see how many I get satisfactory answers to.

Greg Ruckert

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From: Zach DuFran <zdufran at gmail.com> on 2013.08.07 at 07:10:53(22876)
Greg-

Thanks for your message. You have asked a wide variety of questions, some of them easy to answer and others require a much longer discussion. I will try to respond to as many of your questions as I can.

If you visit the IAS website and click on "society" you will find answers to some of your questions.

http://www.aroid.org/society/

"The Objective of this Society shall be to study Aroids and to stimulate interest in these Plants."

Five board members are selected each year, in September, and serve for a term of three years. Nominations are gathered in the months leading up to the September show and sale. The election takes place in person at the meeting and by proxy vote through the mail by those who are not in attendance. The officers (president, vice president, treasurer, corresponding secretary, and recording secretary) are then selected by the board of the 15 active board members. During their three year term board members conduct business through email and at one annual in-person meeting on the Sunday morning of the show in Miami. Board business includes any and all topics that should arise pertaining to the society, including financial decisions, planning for the show and sale, direction of the society, publication of Aroideana, etc.

All board members are volunteers. No one receives money from the IAS for their service. Of course this goes beyond just the board members. In just over a month we will have our annual show in Miami, which will require a tremendous amount of work from a number of different people. They will receive little thanks and then show up again next year to do it all over again.

The IAS board does not have a document describing plans for the future. We have discussed a number of different topics and we have made some minor changes over the last several years.

When you mention the editorial team are you referring to the editors of Aroideana? There is certainly no replacement for Derek Burch, but there are capable persons who will have to pick up the torch when the time comes. There is not a specific editor-in-waiting.

The IAS exists because people are interested in aroids and want to connect with others who share that interest and want to learn more about them. With the exception of proximity to the annual show in Miami, I don't believe that American members have any benefits over international members.

We would love to have an increase in membership. We have made some strategic decisions in the past to increase membership and had only minimal success. The reality is that there are many people interested in aroids, but a limited number of people that are interested ENOUGH to become paying members of the society. If you have any ideas about increasing membership, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact any board member.

The IAS Facebook page came into being because it was requested. With no dues required, it should be no surprise that the membership is larger than the actual society. I'm sorry you do not always receive answers to your posts. If your questions are pertaining to aroids then any number of those 850 members may respond or maybe none will. That is the nature of Facebook and the huge quantity of content that is added each day. If your questions are pertaining to the society then I would suggest sending your questions directly to board members rather than the Facebook page.

The page is monitored. I notice there were two spam messages posted this week and those have now been removed. Again, I will mention that this is a society that lives by the work of volunteers. We can give additional persons administrator privileges to remove spam messages which could help the issue.

You state that the Facebook page is not used to promote the society, but that is not true. There are many active members there who have been discussing the show and encouraging attendance. Albert has posted the link to the show page and the link to the Aroideana pictures once they were uploaded to the IAS webpage.

I can not speak for everyone, but my presumption is that many IAS members are not planning to attend the conference because of one or both of these reasons:

the cost of international airfare, and the academic focus of these types of events. The IAS is a blend of hobbyist growers and botanists/academics. The conference is really geared towards that latter group, while the annual show and sale in Miami is geared towards the former group.

I do not yet know who will be giving the talk on the IAS at the conference. We will discuss that next month in Miami and hopefully know those that plan to attend. There are several candidates.

There will probably not be any IAS merchandise in Hanoi because the cost of transporting the merchandise would be greater than the value of the merchandise and we would need a volunteer to be dedicated to selling the merchandise during the conference.

We do value feedback from members. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Zach DuFran

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From: "Ertelt, Jonathan B" <jonathan.ertelt at Vanderbilt.Edu> on 2013.08.07 at 07:15:08(22877)
Greg,

You can find answers to roughly half of your questions by going to the website, www.Aroid.org, and then clicking on the various headings listed on the left side of the homepage, including “society,” which takes you to a page that works through many of your
questions, including board of directors, history of the organization, by-laws, etc.

I’m simply a supporting member and a contributor to both writings and the forum, but I would expect that the plan for the future involves continuing to support education and research in the aroid family. Talking up aroids and getting folks enthused in these
plants is a good beginning towards increasing the membership, but it is admittedly a slow process.

I have no idea about the Facebook page, didn’t know we had one, as I am not involved with Facebook.

There is I suspect a great deal of interest in the conference to be held in Hanoi – I personally would love to attend, and then spend some time looking for both aroids and gesneriads in surrounding natural areas – however the price of the airline ticket alone
would take care of the family savings right now, so my enthusiasm will not be made manifest. “Outside the USA” simply means a lot more expensive, but frankly I have yet to attend our own conference, show, sale and banquet in Florida at the Fairchild gardens
for financial reasons as well. At the same time, I do expect that there will be some representation by IAS at the conference, both organized as well as individuals who are members.

I hope that this begins to answer some of the questions you pose. Certainly visiting the IAS website, again at www.Aroid.org will help clarify much of this for you. So, what sorts of plants do you have in your collection there in Australia (another place I’d
love to get to but doubt that I’ll be able to)? I take it by your address that you have something to do with Alpaca? Thanks for your obvious interest in the society – one of the benefits of membership, our journal Aroideana, has just been published and you
should be receiving your copy before too long. Good Growing!

Jonathan

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From: "Denis" <denis at skg.com> on 2013.08.07 at 07:23:33(22878)
What! we have a facebook page?

From: aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@www.gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Greg Ruckert
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 6:35 PM
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: [Aroid-l] What is it all about?

As a person who has beem a member of the IAS, on and off, over a long period of time, I am moved to wonder what is the purpose of the IAS.

I note that the term of five Board membership expires in September and would like to know what the Board members do? When and where does the Board meet?

When are nominations called for the vacant positions?

Does the IAS has a plan for the future and where might I find it?

We have a wonderful editorial team and, without wanting to cause any offence, what is the succession plan that the IAS has in place for these wonderful people?

As a non-American member, apart from the newsletter and Aroideana, what is the point of me being a member?

Does the IAS have a plan to increase its membership?

Why is the IAS Facebook page not monitored? There is an increasing amount of spam being posted there (I am not the only one who is annoyed by this) and nothing is done about it.

The IAS has a financial membership of 365, including institutions. The Facebook page has 850 members and is growing quickly. Why isn't the Facebook page used to promote the society and recruit new members?

I notice I don't necessarily get answers to questions I pose. Does the Board think this is a good look?

Why is there a high level of Society disinterest in the International Aroid Conference to be held in Hanoi? Is it because it is outside the USA?

I have asked on Facebook about the Society's involvement in the conference and have effectively been told that it really is nothing to do with the IAS. This is despite the IAS being involved in selecting the site for the conference and the front page of the IAS website encouraging people to "Join us"

Nobody seems to know who is giving the IAS presentation at the conference! Why? Why will there be no IAS merchandise available?

I have asked thirteen questions and will be interested to see how many I get satisfactory answers to.

Greg Ruckert

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From: "Marlena" <electrocrypt at shaw.ca> on 1969.12.31 at 16:00:00(22879)
And great questions they are...I'de like to know too

-------Original Message-------

From: Greg Ruckert

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From: "Denis" <denis at skg.com> on 2013.08.07 at 07:52:58(22880)
Good questions? Which the board should try and answer. Yes, the 15 member board rotates on three year term and yearly elections in September. Would you like to put your name in nomination to be on the board. Enthusiasm is what we need. Several years back we went from being a local Miami based plant society to one which has spread throughout the world. As the founding members of the Society have passed away, the board has become more global and we are forced to meet online when there is something important on the agenda. The only time we actually get together is at our annual meeting in September And we even then we usually have a hard time getting a quorum.

More and more people are spitting off to start their own little splinter groups as interest in one genera or another finds followers. People narrow their focus on what they like to grow and form Facebook groups. People only have so much time to spend on the internet discussing random aroids.

As far as the aroid conference is concerned: the world is in an economic downturn and not everybody has the money to fly half way around the planet to listen to scientist discuss their pet projects as interesting as they might be.

As far as a plan for the future. We can only plan what the leadership of the board and the board members themselves put forward to do. We need leaders who want to lead and have an idea of where they want the society to go.

Denis

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From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Genevi=E8ve_Ferry?= <jpcferry2 at wanadoo.fr> on 2013.08.07 at 10:04:49(22881)
Dear Greg ,

Be patient. We are in August and there will be entries for the conference in Hanoi. I 'am sure.
4 years ago,
Nancy, there were about sixty people who came from around the world. After europe, that is Asia. It is good that the conference "turns". All leading experts came to Nancy. That pride in our botanical garden.

I have had the ocassion of coming to Miami last year and I met enthusiasts. What happiness to meet, to exchange with each other. Thank you to all the volunteers who give their time freely. I cherish fond memories of those beautiful days.

Happy to meet you in Hanoi

Genevičve Ferry

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From: Albert Huntington <amasakih at gmail.com> on 2013.08.07 at 10:52:22(22882)
Greg,

I hear a certain amount of frustration behind your questions, for which I am sorry. There are a *lot* of ideas out there about what the society *should* do, but fundamentally what the society *does* is to publish Aroideana.

The gap between what the society does and what people want the society to do can only be filled in one way - by volunteers. It is not so much a deficit of ideas as a deficit of resources. The board does is come with ideas of what the society *should* do, but often fails to find someone actually willing to *do* it. Another thing the board does is try to protect the financial interests of the society so that we can keep publishing Aroideana.

That gap between what people think we should do and what people are willing to actually do is apparent in the conference organization - someone thought it would be nice to have the society more involved in the conference, and I don't think anyone would disagree, so they put us on the program from day one. We've done what we can - we voted on the location when asked, we put it on our website. But that's different from identifying someone to fly out to Hanoi and make a presentation on their day off work, which is what we are currently struggling with.

We are similarly struggling to find someone to drive down to where things for the show are stored in South Florida and schelp a bunch of shirts and posters and such in their luggage halfway across the world, spend the conference selling it rather than hobnobbing with the other attendees. and then schlep all the extra back to Florida with whatever money they might have collected. If any such person exists, we'd all be more than happy to have some merchandise at the conference. It's not that we are intentionally US-centric, but there are certain things that still need a physical location in this day and age, and most of them are still in South Florida, though our membership down there is on the wane.

Speaking of membership - historically, it's always been a few hundred. This despite enthusiastic campaigns, advertising and educational material surrounding things like A. titanum flowerings. A few hundred is on the lower edge of a viable population for a plant society. In a time when many other niche plant societies are often sputtering out, we are surprisingly holding reasonably steady ... but by the same token, growth is a difficult problem when you are a secondary or tertiary interest for most growers.

Finally - and this is for all you Aroiders out there - please do look at your society not as a monolithic entity, or a bunch of faceless folks in an ivory tower handing down edicts about what they *won't* allow, but as a handful of people who are taking time they cannot really spare in order to try to make something wonderful happen for the community at large. And if what you wonder why something isn't getting done ... talk to Zach or Peter or myself, or whoever succeeds us about volunteering to do it. There are often hidden reasons and difficulties, but beyond that, the only way anything *will* happen is if someone steps up to do it.

--Albert

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From: Jason Hernandez <jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com> on 2013.08.07 at 13:12:27(22883)
I will offer my own perspective, as one who has maintained membership since 1998. I have always been more interested in the scientific or research side, and I have found the IAS to be a useful clearinghouse of who is working on what where. Also, I have published a couple of times in _Aroideana_, likely the only venue for such narrowly-focused work. I get excited every issue to see all the new species Dr. Croat is finding! Without being a member, I would have difficulty gaining access to any of this -- _Aroideana_ is not on JSTOR or Google Scholar.

As for the conference, I am just really down on my luck, or I would certainly attend; Viet Nam is a fascinating country. I did attend the symposium in Malaysia, met Peter Boyce and his Malaysian
colleagues, and visited really great aroid sites. It is doubtful I would have known about Malesiana Tropicals and their selection of unique aroids otherwise.

The simple explanation to "What's it all about?" is this: most scientists maintain memberships in societies pertaining to their professional lives; many plant fanciers like to have clubs related to their fancy; and the IAS happens to intersect both.

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From: DAVID LEEDY <djleedy at sbcglobal.net> on 2013.08.07 at 08:56:17(22884)
Greg,

I want to respond to your questions, although I believe they have been adequately answered by Zach du Fran.

I became interested in aroids in 1974, when I lived in Miami and used to visit a rare plant nursery named Fantastic Gardens. I moved to Los Angeles in 1975, but was trading plants with a fellow in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In 1976, he mentioned an aroid organization being formed in Miami and I sought to join it.

I have met a lot of life-long friends through the IAS, most of whom I have never seen face-to-face. In the days before the internet and Aroidl, we had what we called a "round robbin" group, who corresponded monthly. Four members of that group, that I recall, were Wilbert Hetterscheid of the Netherlands, who I have never met face-to-face, Josef Bogner of Munich, Germany, who I had the good fortune to visit in the 1980's, David Burnett of Sydney, Australia, who visited my home in Los Angeles, CA, USA, one time and Dewey Fisk from Florida, who I visited several times. I apologize if I have not included someone. I should also mention a great plant collecting trip led by IAS member Betsy Feuerstein, which I took to Ecuador with a
group of my IAS friends including Dewey, John Banta, Rick Cirino, Scott Hyndman, and several others. Again, I apologize for my forgetfulness if I didn't mention someone.

Due to finances, I was unable to attend the 1984 aroid show in Australia, for which I will always be sorry. Also, I could not afford to go with David Burnett, when he went exploring aroids (Alocasia) in Indonesia.

I have benefitted from these friendships, which have greatly expanded to numerous IAS members over the years, yet only once did I attend the Show and Sale in Miami. These friendships include both scientists and hobbiest, like myself. Therefore, I want the IAS to continue and I appreciate the direction it has taken over the years. I can tell you that each January 1st, the first check I write is to the IAS for my annual dues.

David Leedy

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From: "Betsy Feuerstein" <ecuador10 at comcast.net> on 2013.08.07 at 08:32:44(22885)
Greg,

I am not the one to give you the answers to the specific questions you have asked. I can tell you that those who are involved in the operations of the organization do a great deal very quietly to make the International Aroid Society be the success it has been for over thirty years. It has been in the last ten years or so that the organization has branched out to pull in its board members and its officers from all over the United States and in some cases the world. It is very difficult in this day and age to have on site board meetings. I know there is a board meeting during the Aroid Show in Miami in September. All are welcome to come to that board meeting I feel certain. Few attend. Distance and time and expense certainly are involved in the on site meetings for those who wish to attend and those who are in official positions. Behind the scenes I know there is a great deal that is done via phone and internet. There are many who expend a great deal of time and effort on our behalf. If you have never attended the Aroid Show, it might be something you might like to do. The show is great, many plants are available for purchase and the camaraderie among others who love the aroids and plants in general is to be truly enjoyed. Dr. Croat is there to answer questions along with other experts. There is always a guest speaker at the banquet and the programs are really outstanding. There is an auction after the guest speaker where there are some really rare and very hard to find aroids up for auction. Come join us there.

Do not forget the two really fantastic publications that are offered to our members. Dr. Croat and Carla Kostelac with the Newsletter and of course, Dr. Derek Burch with Aroideana. These have become two very helpful and extensive publications on our behalf. There are others who assist with the publications.

I can assure you, that many on the board and not on the board spend hours and effort to make the Aroid Society as successful as it is. Perhaps if you have other ideas you might communicate with them to see if you can assist them with the ideas that you have for the society. These are times in our US culture where time and money is rather limited so what is done for us is greatly appreciated and rarely expressed. I thank you for this opportunity to thank them for all they do for IAS on our behalf.

You may think the board does very little but let me assure you, they do a great deal. To be honest, I did not know there was a facebook page. You demand answers in a way that feels very hostile. Hopefully that is a symbol of your frustration and not your intent. Do remember this organization has survived through many difficult times and unlike many other organizations has continued, not died. Many of the members are a great deal of distance from the Miami area where we started and where a great deal of our strength continues. Others are from far off places and still do for IAS.

I have attempted to point out to you that there are opportunities for you to be a more active member of IAS should you wish to do such. To be one who throws out questions in a way that I personally felt offended by, I felt the need to say to you, IAS has been around a long time without such a confrontory attitude. Perhaps communicate with our president for answers to your questions rather than express on this forum or ask in a less hostile sounding way here. Our dues are minimal. I know of a society right now that is going under and their dues were over $50 per year and they did not have a show at all. They had a really good bulletin……. But the costs simply overcame them. With our show and the profits from that, we have been able to continue IAS without a major dues increase. That is where the Miami group is the backbone of the show. It is not easy to put on a show of this scale and we owe them a huge bundle of gratitude for their efforts.

The opportunities are there for you to participate should you wish to but to demand answers and ways from my perspective is not the way to go about your harsh sounding inquisition. I know I have not answered your questions. Perhaps that is a weakness of the organization in that often answers are hard to come by. Perhaps that is the major issue in your request for information. Maybe someone on the board would be willing to privately answer your questions. Aroid-l is about plants and not the place for this kind of banter. If I am wrong, I feel certain others will chime in and tell me their opinions. Let’s try to have civil discussions and I do hope there are those who are in the know who will take a bit of time to answer your questions.

Now, let’s get back to our love of aroids and have a good time doing it. Hope to see many of you at the Aroid Show at Fairchild Gardens in mid-September.

Betsy Feuerstein

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From: Ken Mosher <ken at spatulacity.com> on 2013.08.07 at 09:32:12(22886)
I was taken aback by the inferred tone of Mr. Ruckert's email. Maybe that was an unjust reaction but he does seem pretty aggrieved. The all volunteer "staff" of the IAS do a fantastic job of running the organization. It's hard enough to run a local club in a small state (I am heavily involved in the CT Cactus & Succulent Society (CC&SS), past president, current treasurer and membership dude) so I can imagine that some of the administration is made much more difficult for a national/international group.

The IAS is an educational society. The board can make any kinds of plans it wants to increase membership but it will be mostly for naught. In the US membership for horticultural societies in general is declining, sometimes rapidly. The median age of members in the CC&SS is rising and we are having little luck at adding young members. My most recent success in retaining current members resulted from including a renewal form with the mailed newsletter. Most of our members still get a paper copy. Those that are on email-only get a paper copy when their membership nears expiration - so we can include a renewal form. Our membership doesn't go by calendar year. We add the most new members in April as a result of our annual show/sale which is heavily attended. Like most clubs or monthly meetings are attended by the same core group of about 20 people and we're joined by an additional 10 to 30 depending on the location of that month's meeting.

One of the most amazing features, and probably least appreciated, is the IAS web site and the technology and work that went into its revamping. I'm a web developer so I know exactly how much time and effort Albert put into the programming and database work behind the scenes. If he had charged us hourly it would surely have consumed the society's entire budget for 10 or 15 years.

Back to Mr. Ruckert's specific topics I have the same answer that I give to CC&SS members that give us grand suggestions about how to improve this or that or who have some complaint. "That's a great idea/suggestion/question. You're in charge. Thanks for volunteering. We always need more help from involved members."

This elicits one of two responses. 1) They get very quiet and we are able to continue with the meeting [99.75%], or 2) they accept the challenge [0.2%]. You've noticed that there is 0.05% missing, right? Those are the times that extraterrestrials descend from the sky and make everything OK. I call that "extraterrestreus ex machina."

Mr. Ruckert, you raised a bunch of great points. You're in charge, thanks for volunteering. We always need more help from involved members. I look forward to meeting you at the conference in Miami, Florida either this year or next.

Sincerely,
Ken Mosher

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From: brian lee <lbmkjm at yahoo.com> on 2013.08.08 at 01:02:35(22887)
Dear Greg,

Aloha ("In the presence of the breath of life").

You have asked some very interesting
questions. There are others more qualified than I to answer most of them. From what I understand, all of the people behind the scenes making the IAS function, are volunteers. With that in mind, the question should be, "Ask what can I do for the IAS, not, what can the IAS do for me?" Everyone is very busy these days and I cannot do all I wish for the IAS. What I can do is respond on Aroid-l, if I have an intelligent question or answer to contribute. I also respond on the IAS Aroid Forum, when I have an opinion or just to welcome new people to the forum. If I meet other enthusiasts, I aways suggest joining the IAS. Some do and some don't. I am not on Facebook, so I do not know anything about that issue. I would like to see more traffic on Aroid-l or the Aroid Forum, so if you have any ideas on how to attract people to post to those, that would be great. Your post here seems to have
attracted a lot of attention and that is a good thing.

I would be interested in hearing more about your involvement with aroids. Are you a scientist, educator, or professionally associated with Araceae? I believe it would be great if we could learn a bit more about each other and our specific interests.

My first love in plants are Hawaiian endemic and indigenous flora and their conservation. I have a specific interest in Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma, which is a very narrow interest, but, I love to learn about a diverse range of natural history subjects. My mentor in landscape design and other things was Roberto Burle Marx, who was an honorary life member of the IAS. I met Dr. Simon Mayo at Roberto's sitio, before he left for Bahia and prior to his revision of Philodendron subgenus Meconostigma.

I haven't

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From: "Greg Ruckert" <greg at alpacamanagement.com> on 2013.09.08 at 19:09:17(22910)
Firstly I would like to thank all who have replied to my original email, both through this forum and directly. It is now a week since I received my last reply so I assume all have had their say.

The replies have raised more questions that they have answered.

Firstly, to those that thought I wrote in anger, you have misjudged me. I wrote in frustration at not being able to find answers to my questions, all of which I felt were reasonable for an interested member to ask. I was finally motivated to ask my questions when I noticed that one of our Board members is not a financial member and nobody seems to have noticed.

To those that felt this is not the appropriate place to discuss issues relating to the Society, I notice nobody suggested an alternative forum. There is so little communication about Society issues and it is sad that some thought it should be shut down.

I thank Zach for his response though it did raise more issues and confirm some of my concerns. I recognise and appreciate the work done by volunteers and am aware that the IAS would not survive without them.

I have seen so many (including international) plant societies fail and I do not want to see that happen to the IAS. It has certainly shrunk from what it once was.

As I see it, there are a number of reasons why societies dimish and fail, especially ones that do not have regular meetings.

The first of these is a lack of communication. To the ordinary member there is little communication between the Board members. It did disturb me to watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was happening at the Show and Sale. Communication from the Board to the ordinary members also appears to be almost nonexistent. One hopes that this is not because there is nothing to tell us. I also see little evidence of communication between the Society and the general public.

The second issue is a lack of planning. If you don't plan to do anything then nothing will happen and you end up responding to issues rather than driving them.

The society does not appear to have any plans for the future and, from a management perspective, that is a major concern.

The third issue is the failure to put plans into action, but without plans then little will happen.

These are not matters that can be dealt with by the members, they are the domain of the Board.

I hope that the new Board might look at some of these issues to help drive a bright and growing future for the IAS.

Greg Ruckert

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From: "Marlena" <electrocrypt at shaw.ca> on 1969.12.31 at 16:00:00(22911)

From: Greg Ruckert

Date: 08/09/2013 7:18:54 PM

To: Discussion of aroids

Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] What is it all about?

Firstly I would like to thank all who have replied to my original email, both through this forum and directly. It is now a week since I received my last reply so I assume all have had their say.

The replies have raised more questions that they have answered.

Firstly, to those that thought I wrote in anger, you have misjudged me. I wrote in frustration at not being able to find answers to my questions, all of which I felt were reasonable for an interested member to ask. I was finally motivated to ask my questions when I noticed that one of our Board members is not a financial member and nobody seems to have noticed.

To those that felt this is not the appropriate place to discuss issues relating to the Society, I notice nobody suggested an alternative forum. There is so little communication about Society issues and it is sad that some thought it should be shut down.

I thank Zach for his response though it did raise more issues and confirm some of my concerns. I recognise and appreciate the work done by volunteers and am aware that the IAS would not survive without them.

I have seen so many (including international) plant societies fail and I do not want to see that happen to the IAS. It has certainly shrunk from what it once was.

As I see it, there are a number of reasons why societies dimish and fail, especially ones that do not have regular meetings.

The first of these is a lack of communication. To the ordinary member there is little communication between the Board members. It did disturb me to watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was happening at the Show and Sale. Communication from the Board to the ordinary members also appears to be almost nonexistent. One hopes that this is not because there is nothing to tell us. I also see little evidence of communication between the Society and the general public.

The second issue is a lack of planning. If you don't plan to do anything then nothing will happen and you end up responding to issues rather than driving them.

The society does not appear to have any plans for the future and, from a management perspective, that is a major concern.

The third issue is the failure to put plans into action, but without plans then little will happen.

These are not matters that can be dealt with by the members, they are the domain of the Board.

I hope that the new Board might look at some of these issues to help drive a bright and growing future for the IAS.

Greg Ruckert

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From: Zach DuFran <zdufran at gmail.com> on 2013.09.08 at 21:29:35(22912)
Greg-

I am sorry you are frustrated. You are welcome to ask questions. It is often difficult to infer tone from emails and both of your messages have sounded confrontational and accusatory to me, and apparently most others who responded. I will take your word that your messages are not meant that way.

You said that no one mentioned an alternative forum for discussing society matters. I actually mentioned in my first response that you are welcome to contact any of the active board members with your concerns. As you noted in your message, these are the persons who are able to address your concerns. While it is okay to write here, this mailing list was established to discuss aroids and is not even specific to the IAS.

I will reiterate that the board functions and communicates through email throughout the year. I don't know why you feel that the board is not communicating and I don't understand your comment: "It did disturb me to watch the communications between Board members trying to find out what was happening at the Show and Sale."

Concerning your comment about not putting plans into action, are there plans you are aware of that have not been implemented?

Active board members are listed on the website and you are welcome to email any of us at any time. You are especially welcome to send ideas or constructive feedback.

Zach DuFran

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From: David Leedy <djleedy at sbcglobal.net> on 2013.09.09 at 05:16:09(22914)

Dear Greg,

I really want to respond as a member of the IAS since
1976 or 1977. I am sure that I am one of
the older members in this organization not residing in the Miami environs.

And that is what the IAS originally was. It was a Miami organization. Although Monroe Birdsey was a member, they
allowed Mike Madison to be the scientific leader, even though Mike was from the
West Coast of Florida. And I understand
there was local disagreement about that. They really didn’t know what to do with me (West Coast of the United
States) or my friend David Burnett (Australia).

Both Burnett and I worked at building up local
memberships and the Miami group really had to listen to us as we had built the
local chapters into 30 to 50 or more in membership. I am afraid I made a terrible enemy in Betty
Waterbury. Alan Fernandez (a very early member, maybe a
founder), hated me until the day he died and yet we never met or communicated. I am not sure why he hated me so.

You see, even though it was called International, the IAS
was really a local organization. They
didn’t mind taking our dues, but they didn’t want anything else from outside
Miami. And I mean anything else. Whether you have or not (and certainly not
with me), you are not the first to raise the ire of the members of the IAS and not
even the first Ozzie.

There was good reason for this, I was told. As long as the IAS was controlled by the Miami
group, the IAS would continue and continue in the manner originally
conceived.

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