The Orchid Forum, for the UK and Europe (previously known as The UK Orchid Forum) • View topic - Societies, what is the Future?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:51 pm 
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After a post on facebook I saw the B.O.C had 'Societies, what is the Future? ' on their agenda for the last meeting on the 2nd July. They've not posted the minutes yet and I wondered what came out of that discussion and what thoughts people here had on the topic?

Do societies still have a place? Or is the ever changing online environment a sufficient replacement? I dont like facebook particularly, but see its value in holding people with interests together and providing a quickly updated place to ask questions and post pictures. Of course forums have existed longer and do much the same thing (although not as much, it seems these days).

Is anyone currently a member of a society that is suffering from lack of members, or indeed thriving - what are you doing or would like to do differently?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:32 pm 
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I saw a similar post buy a nurseries I commented and never heard anything back, if societies want to survive they are going to have to change and imbrace change.

But a part of me thinks it won't change which is a shame.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:25 pm 
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Probably staff and budget problems. Look at the American Orchid Society, it is said that they lost half of there members and then became financially unstable and sold their headquarters and green house and had to move in with a botanical garden. The American Orchid Society did not listen to its members and the monthly magazine became a showboat magazine.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:13 am 
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Our local society is very clique. I've been a member for over 10 years and rarely bother to go anymore. What i've observed is when you new people wander in, no-one talks to them, they wander out again and never come back.

Most of the time the old folks who run the show just sit around talking to each other, there are exceptions, but they're in the minority.

A society is meant to be a social thing, if it isn't then why would anyone go? Yes after ten years we know a few people to talk to, but my gosh what would potential new people think?

You get more involvement/information through facebook or forums. Societies that are run like some, are doomed to fade away.

(Except for the british pteridological society forum, where you virtually have to be security vetted before being allowed to post anything - another story entirely).


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Hi Silvershaded and I totally agree with what you have said You have been missed at the society and we are about to change a few things and make the society one for the members . By that I mean we are trying to involve the members more into our meetings. Our President is resigning so changes are on the way. Would be nice to see you there again and participating in the resurrection of the society.
Ed.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Speaking for my self, when I belong to a few orchid society's.
My major dislike was the show boaters, and the know it all's, killed it for me.

The best example that I can give you is, form the orchid board. One forum member asked how many species of vanilla plant are in the word. I replied at least 110 and with many more in dispute or discussion. The next day, checking my emails; I found that another person from the board sent me a private email. She was very harsh in her words, "That I did not know what I was talking about, and that there are only two kinds of vanilla plants in the world, and I should not speak about what I don't know about". So I took the time to reply and sent her the same list that I am using in my book about vanilla orchids. And the next day I got a reply from her "Oh I did not know, that there was so many" And I replied most EXPERTS only know enough to be dangerous or get in the way of real scientist. What I found the most disturbing was no apology from her.

I spent nineteen years I college, I admit I did learn quiet a bit, but out side college I found the real world of knowledge. Many people cannot understand why I choose to refer to myself as a student of orchidology. And the answer is very easy; I cannot say I have done it all seen it all, after forty-nine years, I still learning and discovering new things and information about orchids, and this has been my driving force. I have learned more about orchids from hobbyist and citizen scientists, than I have any place else, in my carrier as an orchidologist.

The personal interaction make a great society, talking to people and helping people, along with sharing experience and knowledge, on a human level, not me level, makes a functioning society.

I watched this forum for some time before I joined it, and I joined it because it felt like a great place to listen and talk with other orchid enthusiasts. A society that fells comfortable and meaning full will grow it's members.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:51 am 
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I suppose for me i stsrted growing orchids at the age of 14, I had been buying from orchid nurseries and talking to orchid nurseries for a few months earlier.

My first every orchid show was Hinckley orchid show, I was so eager and full of questions, I asked at serval societies. I was spoken to like a seven eight year old. One chap tole me how you make a hybrid was "you have a mommy plant and a daddy then you get seed". Well I walked off I was shocked. If in was being spoken to as a child, I was basically ignored and they spoken to my parents assuming in was just coming along for the rid. Or told to keep away from the stand don't touch the plants or table.

The only society that actually spoken to me like an adult was north of England, and it was John Gay will always remember the conversation, he actually made the say for me a as i was ready to give up. Also Dr. Henry Oakley and a few of the other gents from the OSOGB.

So now I keep well away from any societies at every show, I'm still at 29 either get ignored or spoken down to still. So I take the of pic and move on.

If it wasn't for the likes of Burnham, Ratcliffe, McBeans I would never have carried on with orchids, I would never have gotten to know the EYOF or get to know the RHS orchid committee, I would never have gone on to the RHS Wisley to work and do my scholarship.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:06 am 
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I haven't posted in here for a couple of years, mainly because I disagreed with personal attacks on people who were not members and in no position to defend themselves. Now I decide to have a look and what do I find? Exactly the same. I have been involved with orchid societies for fifteen years and yes there are problems, but to single out Hinckley like this is unfair. I have always found them to be a friendly, knowledgeable bunch, always willing to support other societies and to help people. Certainly when they won Best in Show at Peterborough a few years ago most people were delighted.
You say that you still go to shows, but avoid societies. But without the societies there will be no shows and without shows the traders will struggle.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:23 pm 
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Stevec2 wrote:
I haven't posted in here for a couple of years, mainly because I disagreed with personal attacks on people who were not members and in no position to defend themselves. Now I decide to have a look and what do I find? Exactly the same. I have been involved with orchid societies for fifteen years and yes there are problems, but to single out Hinckley like this is unfair. I have always found them to be a friendly, knowledgeable bunch, always willing to support other societies and to help people. Certainly when they won Best in Show at Peterborough a few years ago most people were delighted.
You say that you still go to shows, but avoid societies. But without the societies there will be no shows and without shows the traders will struggle.


Hi

I did not single out Hinckley I merely said I was at Hinckely orchid show when this happened. I have not singled out a single person in saying any bad or against there personal charactor at all.

I have mentioned names of people who encouraged me to carry on in the orchid world.

I am stateing what has happened personally to me and how i have found societies as being the younger generation, and to read that you have said that have have attacked Hinkely Orchid Society when I haven't is a shame.

Every show I have gone to and tried to talk to people they either ignore or start chatting to others, or turn their backs or talk down to me.

I'm sorry you feel i am and attacking people that is your oppion and your view and that's your and I respect your view.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:04 pm 
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I used to be part of a society, and I found them to be a friendly bunch on the whole. I have had similar experiences to Blondie with being patronised a bit, but that's probably a generational thing and it just happens that orchids were the subject. Every person will have had experiences with societies, but as has been said above; there would be no local shows without them and that would be a terrible shame. Even though I'm no longer a member of a society, I still support them by turning up at shows local to me. Mostly they are getting old hat because people are just too busy to be attending meetings. It's a shame but that's the world we live in. They will always be mostly full of retired people because they have more time to devote to their hobbies (I apologies to members who have retired and found themselves wondering how they ever fitted work in!).

I would never consider giving up because someone had talked down to me. Its their loss if they think I'm a kid who doesn't know anything. Usually people who patronise are trying to cover their own lack of knowledge.

With reference to above comments, I'm sure nobody means any offence to anyone else.....its only a forum, after all.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:38 pm 
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Yes I have partially misread the comment, and for that I am sorry. I must blame the red mist that was filling my eyes.
But I still feel that you did not need to specifically mention the Hinckley Orchid Show by name and then basically claim that every society bar one dismissed you. This disrespects everyone involved. I know many of the people who man those stands and simply do not believe that they would treat you this way. From what I have seen over the years that I have been attending shows children are encouraged by most of the people who have given up their day to man their society stand. They are only too happy to see young people involved. You only need look at the positive way the projects at Writhlington and King Charles School are viewed to see that.
And even now your insistence that you are somehow ignored and shunned at every show you go to is completely opposite to everything I have experienced. Talking to people is the best part of the day for many. You mention that you know the RHS orchid committee. Several of the people on there are society members, people who have devoted years of their lives to orchid societies.
I repeat without societies there will be no shows.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:00 pm 
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I have come to the conclusion that I am an angry old man, well into my Victor Meldrew phase. As a result me and social media are not best suited. Apologies to anyone that I have upset with my rants. Think it best if I avoid forums from now on.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:53 pm 
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I'm not sure if I'm a bit too much like a dog with a bone banging on about this topic, but here goes once more...

My nearest society has a show coming up, this is not mentioned on their website nor mentioned on their facebook page which is itself rarely updated. I found it by chance due to a posting from a members son with a nice image advert which suggests they'd like people to attend, although this too has now vanished. What I fail to understand is why more of an effort isn't put into promotion especially as this is relatively easy to do. Have a facebook page that's updated from time to time (stick some nice pics on it). Have a basic website that's similar and has the latest dates of meetings and plans/speakers. Have a twitter account with the same information. Done. Easy to fine, easy to understand and attract new members.

I'd be interested in the show, I am after all a keen grower of orchids, but due to the almost total lack of knowledge on my part I have no idea if its worth the 40 minute drive over, what's likely to be there to see and how/is it even possible for me to participate in some way or have a plant judged? I'm not exactly the shy and retiring type, so have no issue just wondering over to have a look and a chat which is fine for me, but for others having more information would certainly help. Mostly from my point of view is the concern my time would be better spent elsewhere (ranting on the internet perhaps!)

The other related group thats inspired this rant is the UK Pleurothallid alliance. Apparently there was a meeting just up the road from me (road being the M6) but as far as I can tell they have no web presence, no facebook presence, no contact information. I'm not sure if/how they expect people to participate at all. Did anyone here attend? How did you find out about it?

I have another hobby thats a long long way from growing and I'm very active (committee level) in that group. We treasure prospective and new members, they get shown around, introduced to kit and offered as much training as they can stand. They also get to see an active group facebook page and the trips we run and activities we put on so even if not involved they understand there is something on offer should they be so inclined. We also have an active social side where we get together for a few hours, a few drinks and swap stories/hints/tips etc. This sort of attitude seems non existent amongst UK societies sadly.



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:53 pm 
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This seems to be a global problem, many orchid conferences and societies are poorly advertised, and many orchid society members come but don't participate. I have noticed that many orchid society members that are elderly, and been in the society longer are simply computer illiterate. But they do their best to try and keep there society going. Younger people many just don't have an interest, they just come and go. Research how many orchid taxonomist there are in the world, just a hand full, same for orchid judges just not enough.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:40 am 
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There is an orchid show in Sutton Coldfield on October 7th which I shall be attending. It is the same show and the same orchid society that used to hold their shows at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (I used to be a member). I agree, the societies aren't doing themselves any favours. They complain about lack of members but don't advertise anything about themselves or their shows. The knowle show is cancelled this year as last year's effort was a disaster. I fear for the future of these events.

Its worth keeping an eye on what the nurseries are doing (Burnham Nurseries regularly update their events page), and the BOGA website usually has up to date info on it too.

I was at an orchid festival in Wales a few weeks ago and I thought similar then. Where is the advertising on the venue's website? Social media?

Kev.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:57 pm 
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One thing orchid societies have in common, when is comes to loosing members or not gaining new members is simply why. The one question they don't seem to want to address. All societies need new members, just like all professions will need replacement people at some time.

I was just reading a few papers on research gate, by Dressler, and one of the abstract's mentions he will semi retire after a sixty plus year run. His work has always been fascinating to me, and I believe that, he will be near impossible to replace. His dedication and contribution to orchidology is outstanding. His orchid work in Costa Rica keeps me busy reading.

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