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2nd Annual Aroid show?


I'm probably going to get in trouble here, but I thought the suggestion about an IAS show on the west coast was a good one to consider.  But before we jump all the way to the other coast, perhaps there is an alternative that will meet a lot of needs, especially for the expansion of the International Aroid Society.
 
I had a discussion with Tricia Frank while she visited my atrium in June of this year, and it is obvious from some of her feelings as well as the total attendance at the September show we all need to do more to expand the IAS membership.  There are tons of people in this country that love some of the base species in our plant group, Philodendron and Anthurium.  But most know very little about them.  We need to do a better job of educating the world.  How do we get into the schools?  Can we include a "junior" membership?  Can we encourage new blood into this organization?  How?
 
I see an incredible number of people each year who want to see, tough and feel my aroids and travel pretty fair distances to see our very small atrium as a result of my website.  Some people think the "ExoticRainforest" is a tourist attraction in NW Arkansas.  Sorry, its only 600 square feet!  But I've had people drive 900 miles supposedly just to see it!  Since April we've had people from 13 states call to arrange a visit!  That amazes me.  But what if we got them excited about going somewhere (within driving distance) where they could really see a lot of aroids.  And my two top choices would be MOBOT or the Crystal Bridge in Oklahoma City.  MOBOT would be the top choice due to the enormous facilities they have as well as the fact Dr. Croat is there.  What a place to have an aroid show!  Many of you probably don't know, but Tom has the largest collection of section Pachynerium Anthurium in the world at MOBOT!  Those are the birds nest forms that the people in Indonesia are so nuts about right now!
 
I was at MOBOT last October when they were having a glass show inside their enormous artificial rain forest.  The crowds were amazing.  Thousands and thousands of people.  And they were there to see both the glass and the plants.  What if they were there to see the International Aroid Show?  Don't you think the local television stations would promote such an event?  I have no idea how many people came that weekend, but I've been told MOBOT receives 870,000 visitors each year.  Can we figure out a way to take advantage of that?  Can we work to have two, or three, International Aroid Shows each year?  Since we can't get huge numbers to travel to Miami, maybe we can arrange to deliver the plants to the masses.  And for those of you who sell aroids, just think of the new customer possibilities!  If they are willing to spend $600 on an Anthurium in Indonesia, will they spend a few hundred over here if we present the plants to them right?
 
I am one that is quite distressed with the constant email from Indonesia wanting to buy Anthurium.  But maybe we should use that to our advantage.  I see more and more people visiting my website to learn about Anthurium species (or at least the 50 or so I grow).  The single most often read article on my website right now is the one about how to grow an Anthurium.  I'm now receiving 35,000 hits each month and at least 1/3 of those read that page.  There has to be a reason!  Can we use this interest in Anthurium species to expand the IAS?  How do we do it?  This is your organization, and I believe it needs your help.  So kick in some ideas!
 
It saddens me, but I honestly expected triple the attendance at the IAS show in September.  I had not attended the sale for about 8 years due to where we now live (we used to live in Miami).  I am not in any way suggesting moving the show from Miami!  We lived there for over 20 years.  But is it time to figure out a way to expand into other areas?  If you can't get the people to the plants, can we get the plants to the people?  Maybe LA is a great idea.  Maybe both LA and St. Louis!
 
Can we get some discussion going on how to expand and grow the International Aroid Society?
 
Steve Lucas
 
**************************************
We collect and grow many rare and
exotic tropical plants and orchids.  Take
the "Rainforest Tour" at:
http://www.exoticrainforest.com/atriumentrancelarge.htm
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