ABS President’s Report 2017 from Susanne Lucas

2017 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA

From Susanne Lucas, ABS President

After 28 years, I continue to be so proud of the ABS. Yet it has become so difficult to achieve the mission of our Society while plagued with declining membership and an extremely small core group of volunteers. As I review my President’s Report of last year, I’m disappointed with myself that nothing much has changed. I have tried to spark new interest, re-fuel long-time bambuseros, and pull together committees, but still we fall short on a comfortable revenue-stream, a new website, and growing memberships numbers.  I truly feel I have done all I can possibly do for ABS, but I do wish I could do more.

Optimism comes with new officers!  We sincerely welcome Bill Hollenback (Washington) as the new President of ABS and Adam Graves as Vice President (joining the board too, as Rep for the Southern California Chapter). David King will remain as the stalwart Secretary!

We had a very positive team in Puerto Rico to host the ABS meeting in Mayaguez this year. Unfortunately, Hurricane Maria hit the island hard. I am very sorry that our efforts were not fulfilled with a conference there, but I feel the connections made are positive for doing something together in the future (particularly with Chris Papadopoulos of UPR). Stay tuned as we try to put together a <work team> to go help ABS member Jo Scheer (and others) rebuild using bamboo.  In addition, the bamboo collections at the Tropical Research Station suffered severe damage, and this could be met with donations from ABS to expand the collection of bamboos on display.

Without gushing, as I don’t want to cause him to blush too much, I cannot overemphasize the tremendous effort and commitment of David King (California) to see this Annual Meeting happen here in California. After the decision was made that the conference in Puerto Rico must be cancelled, there was a couple of possibilities. After discussion with the Northern California Chapter President Darrel DeBoer, the decision was made, and David worked amazingly to see it happen. His dedication to ABS is unparalleled. I don’t know how we can express our thanks sufficiently – but I hope he knows our thanks are so heartfelt.

Regarding the publication of BAMBOO, our magazine, the protocols set up for the Magazine Committee submitting papers via Dropbox has helped streamline the process for magazine editor, Don Shor (California). We now publish just 4 issues per year, and I feel they are of high quality and on-time. Further improvements can be made regarding more advertising, and increasing revenue via magazine sales. We welcome anyone interested to join the Magazine Committee.

Our membership numbers continue to decline. The mechanics of membership has always been complicated, and it continues to prove to be more difficult than it should be. With the Chapters as the conduit to ABS, it takes multiple people to make it work smoothly, to make sure that it all follows through, and it seems straight-forward. But it is not. Membership Chair Harry Simmons (Texas) is working to improve this scenario. The basic issue is a changing culture and we need to evolve on several levels.

Re; finance, Dawn Weaver (Oregon) has resigned from her role as Treasurer. We owe Dawn a great deal of thanks. With the Board’s approval, we welcome Jenn Hollenback (Washington) as our new Treasurer to take up this important position. To repeat from last year, I feel automation is mandatory for us to get more stream-lined, however personal commitment is needed to make sure no one slips through the cracks. We are confident that Jenn will work hard to improve our systems and communicate with the Chapters to make sure payments are streamlined.

re: The Tech Committee, Bill Hollenback (Washington) has done this job in an amazing fashion, with great thanks also to Carole Meckes (Texas) for continually updating the website. We budgeted a great deal of money to see the creation of a new website, but no one committed to see it through.  I see this as a primary need. Aside from face-to-face opportunities to meet & interact together in person, our website plays a significant role in promotion, education, and membership. Fortunately, Kristen Comstock (North Carolina) has stepped up to design bamboo.org (and also as the new Rep for the Southeast Chapter). We look forward to her analysis and the big step forward! Thank you, Kristen.

The Help Line – I will say it again, thank God for Kinder Chambers (Texas) and Noah Bell (Oregon). But, like I said last year, we need to spread the load more!  Let’s work on getting more people on this important public-outreach. Anthony Poveromo has said he’d like to get involved. I hope Kinder can unload a bit onto Anthony, as it’s a big job! Anthony (New York) also joins the ABS Board as Rep for the Northeast Chapter!

If any of you wish to get more involved in ABS, please = you are welcome! Contact Bill Hollenback at president@bamboo.org or David King at secretary@bamboo.org

Again, I genuinely thank each of you for your continued support of the ABS. Thanks to the ABS board members, Chapter Reps, the Committee Chairs, Kinder Chambers, Carole Meckes, Don Shor, Chris Stapleton, and especially Dawn Weaver for taking care of our Treasury tasks, Bill Hollenback for his countless contributions, and David King – as Secretary – and this year’s amazing last-minute conference organizer!

We are indeed a dedicated team. Thank you all.

~ Susanne



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