Discussion in 'Judging & Awards' started by ehanes7612, Apr 13, 2018.
Pun? What pun?
I agree with orchidmaven. Orchid shows and society meetings are a great way to see and interact with orchids and their growers. Yes, I use the internet. A lot! I've found good resources for orchids I can't get locally, and vendors who are honest and have quality products. But there is nothing like going to an orchid show and being able to choose from thousands of blooming plants, as well as seeing the variety of plants in the many displays both from societies and vendors.
Our show is this coming weekend, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else during that time. If you want to come, and/or learn about who will be participating, please go to: https://www.greaterlansingorchidsociety.com/GLOSShow.html
As for the AOS - yes, they've had problems. But they are the group that is dedicated to the kingdom I love. Perhaps the question should not be "what can I get from them" but rather, "how can I support them so they continue to advocate for our common passion?"
Unfortunately, there has not been an orchid show like that in the northwest in years...I stopped going to Portland's shows because vendors I wanted to see stop going..and literally the last time I was at an orchid show in Portland, at the convention center, I was one of three people buying orchids in the early afternoon. I remember talking to Andy (Andy's orchids) ..he said he probably couldn't afford to come up anymore because of the lack of turnout. I was seriously bummed. That was the Oregon Orchid Society show. I also went to the POS shows at the exhibition hall...maybe five vendors in a small space carved out during the home remodeling show. Seattle shows have not been much better. I don't disagree that shows are a great way to meet people..if people show up..got tired of wasting my time with these shows here in my region. Maybe it will get back to being something worthwhile to do...I check their websites every year...same old stuff. I was involved with my orchid society a lot more in the 90's , even wanted to be a judge ,started mentoring under Allen Clark. Got tired of the politics and people (meaning judges) who were more discouraging rather than being encouraging. You're right though, it takes a passion from people to have an institution prosper..I am just not seeing it from enough people in this region. I know I have no faith in it.
That shut down is unfortunate for people of the aos. Hopefully the local societies can stay strong and can keep the shows going, I was told by a longtime orchid society member that politics of the aos was a problem
Maybe this is just a regional issue unique to the Northwest. Oregon and Washington shows don't seem to have the influence to attract vendors unless those vendors are local or/and on their show circuit like Ecuagenera. But Oregon and Washington have lost a lot of local vendors that were very experienced and had great breeding programs (white river orchids, bill leonard, roger crawford, clackamas orchids, just off the top of my head). Now that I think more of it, Portland had a string of good to great shows in the 90's up until the AOS meeting show in May 2002.Everything seemed to go downhill from there.
Seattle orchid has no interest in being part of those shows anymore, they tried..but with the internet they see no reason to try to hustle their plants at shows and pay fees they cant recoup. I rarely see paph growers from other regions come up to the Northwest to speak and sell. Just no incentive ?? I dont know. Like I said earlier, when Sam Tsui shows up , people show up ...but no one seems to book him over here anymore. Back in the 90's, local vendors were a main reason why orchid shows here were so good..most of those are gone now..and replaced by ebay or seattleorchid.com as well as other websites. I have been to shows in SoCal , Chicago area and have heard about the Redlands show..they put the Northwest to shame...maybe it's the type of people that are attracted to the NW...just not as interested in clubs as much because of everything else one can do.
I just looked at Fred Clarke's speaking schedule...a very prolific speaker, incredible breeder ...goes everywhere..well, everywhere except the US NW. Why is that??????? Anyway, the NW is still a great place to live and grow orchids.
Fred goes where he is invited?
I don't have a great deal of experience here, but let me throw out a couple of comments:
Ed asked why a vendor would sell at shows, having to pay a commission, travel expenses, etc., rather than just online. Well, for one thing, at a well attended show, one is likely to sell a hell of a lot more than one would via internet orders in that same time period, and it is actually likely that those internet orders will still be there upon returning from the show.
Secondly, (0.80 x a large number) - costs > much smaller number.
I often noted that show prices are greater than website prices, too.
Switching gears, I noticed nobody has brought up the influences that demographics and climate can have on the size and vibrancy of local orchid societies.
In my travels, it appears that locales that have more retirees, or at least an older population, tend to have more active societies (at least until the membership gets too old). Younger generations tend to be more comfortable with being online, so would naturally lean more in that direction than going to meetings, shows and nurseries, as is more the case with older folks.
Also, if one lives where orchid growing can be easily accomplished without the need for a greenhouse, tons of indoor space or artificial lighting, you can expect to see its popularity to increase, carting the "vibrancy" of the orchid community to new heights.
Hence the reason there is so much activity in Florida, where both situations apply.
My local society meetings are during the week in the evening. In the 10+ years I've lived in the area, there was only a 1 year span where my schedule was flexible enough and I lived close enough to possibly attend meetings without having to move mountains to make it happen. A predictable 9 - 5, M - F job is a pipe dream for a lot of people, especially younger folks. If my situation is somewhat common, and I definitely think it is, then it suggests the pool of potential members who are able to attend regularly is becoming more limited.
Also, my local society meets in a very inconvenient place for my situation. Given the time of day, for many people who live or work in Raleigh, it can take them as long or longer to drive to the center of Durham where the local society meets than it would for a lot of people who live and work in Durham to drive to the next closest society meeting, which as far as I'm aware is in Greensboro. This is due to the sheer size of Raleigh, but also due to the amount of traffic congestion in the evenings during the work week when meetings take place. By choosing to have the meetings when and where they are, it automatically limits the number of people who are willing and able to attend.
My guess is that the current time and location does work for most of the current members, so to them it makes sense to meet there, and I'm not faulting them for that. Truthfully, they may not even be experiencing a drop in participation/membership. But, if this type of decision making is the general trend, I'm certain it contributes to the general issue of dwindling participation.
All of what I said was in the context of low attendance at shows. It was the impetus of all the recent posts.
Yep, Florida and California have a lot of retirees but also climates in which a lot of money does not have to be spent for optimum temperatures..especially in winter
BTW, artificial lighting is very popular in the northwest .. lots of stores here that sell ( because of pot and hydro culture ) and we even have stores that sell plants habituated under lights ( seattle has a very popular store called indoor sun shoppe)
I imagine every society has unique problems that some overcome and some cant and burnout of older members happens quicker as new people are less frequent. My orchid society has had issues with paying people for their table sales (i know this first hand), so I never sell at meetings anymore. They aren't that good at getting the word out of shows and meetings, so I suspect this is the reason new people are hard to come by. Plus they do not have a good relationship with Seattle orchid , so Seattle orchid will probably not care to push people toward the society...which is unfortunate as in the past , vendors were really important for steering newbies to orchid shows and meetings. I suspect this is more prevalent overall these days.
Orchidmaven is spot on.
Fred Clark is a great speaker. There are actually several who are willing to travel. I often recruit speakers at orchid shows.
Orchid Societies can be hard work. they generally consist of two types of members. Those willing to work to make them function and grow and those who just wish to show up and be entertained (true of most “clubs). As with most things your reward is a function of effort. I find that when educating the public is actually practiced by a society new membership grows.
The AOS has had problems but the current president is working very hard to fix what she can. The magazine and the webinars are both improved and relevant. The judging system is still relevant for the intended audience.
I use the internet for acquiring some things but if possible would rather meet and support the local and or domestic growers and suppliers. If we don’t they won’t be there. More true everyday.
well, like I said, if attendance of orchid shows in the northwest (oregon included) is any indication of the health of this region's orchid societies..then , well...this region is in trouble...oh wait, didn't Seattle lose its judging center also?????
Optimism is great but when you mix optimism with denial , problems arise. But you know, I have seen enough on this thread to be very pessimistic about orchid societies in general for the future..lots of responses just reinforcing my beliefs.
But Tomp, you have brought up a key factor in how the orchid world works. Those societies who catch on that the key to prospering is entertainment will do well (which, if done right can be very educational),... those who don't , won't. Nothing worse than boredom to kill a group/club
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