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AIS: The truth is out there


1970's approximately 12,000 AIS members, 2005 approximately 6,000 AIS members.

These numbers really do not surprise me. People join plant societies because of a common interest in a particular plant. However, people stay with the society because of the people.

I could easily sit here for 5 minutes and list 20 different things that come to mind as to why AIS membership has been, and is, in decline. Then some people will tell me how bitter I am, and I destructive I am. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is what many people are denying and therefore things will continue to head downwards.

I would suggest for AIS to send a "simple" questioner to the last 500-1,000 AIS members that did not renew their membership with the society. It should include questions like, "What is the main reason you did not renew your membership with AIS?" and "What do see as the biggest problem areas within the society that need attention?"

I would also send out another 500-1,000 questioners to current members asking them what their greatest concerns are within AIS and what areas they see as problematic.

This would be a great investment for AIS to make, especially if AIS then responded appropriately in the concerned areas. Every plant society has its own problems, however, denying they exist will lead the society in the wrong direction. The strong leader(s) are capable of accepting the problems and then addressing them in a positive fashion.

If AIS did send out these questioners, I would also recommend sharing the results with the entire society through the Iris Bulletin. Everyone is in this together. AIS is not a secret society. If everyone knows the problems, then they can work together for the betterment of the society to turn things around.

I will also post this message to the Happy Moose Gardening Forum (The Societies category) at http://happymoose.com in the event some people would rather post anonymously or just want to share their thoughts with more gardeners.

Bobby Baxter
Wake Forest, North Carolina


----- Original Message ----- From: "thomas silvers" <tesilvers@yahoo.com>
To: "iris-talk" <iris@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 7:41 AM
Subject: Re: [iris] Re: OT AIS membership (Join us!)


Bill Burleson wrote

...Our membership [AIS] has declined from about 12,000
in the 70's to below 6,000 now (both these numbers are
from memory but are close)...

...Would you consider a membership in Old South Iris
Society? We are AIS affiliated... Learn what Southern
hospitality really means. Join us!...

Smiles,
Bill Burleson

Bill,
Wow! Those numbers are surprising (if not almost
sickening). What has happened in the world of irises
that the AIS has lost so many members? I can't imagine
that even the coldest finger-pointers could blame this
all on the leadership of the society. There must be
something else going on. Is it maybe, that other
plants and flowers have drawn people away? Or have
irises become too fussy about growing conditions, that
average folk won't bother? I'm just makin' guesses. I
really don't want to hear any more negative stuff, but
I'm curious if anyone has any ideas. Like maybe
highest membership coinciding with some highpoint of
the shift from diploid to tetraploid (or something
like that).
And thanks for asking. I would definitely like to join
OSIS. I'll send you my address off-forum and look
forward to the interaction (even if it's from afar).
Sounds like a great bunch of people. I hope to get to
meet some of you someday.
Take care, Tom
The all-new My Yahoo! - Get yours free!
http://my.yahoo.com

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