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President's Report

ASBS Newsletter 98, March 1999

We need you

I am very much in review mode at the moment. The Plant Sciences Branch of the Royal Botanic Gardens is about to be reviewed by an external review team. At the same time, I am raking through my personal research plans trying to see what would be appropriate in a new State and a new organisation. On behalf of ASBS, I have been contributing to the review of ABRS. In the next few years, there are some important historical anniversaries to celebrate, particularly William Dampier (1699) and Robert Brown (1801-05), which challenges us to review our scientific progress in Australia. And of course the end of a millennium (whenever it may be) brings its own bout of self analysis.

To the sound of long sigh I'm sure, I must hasten to add that I don't think ASBS needs a review. However we are fast approaching the end of another chapter, or maybe just a page or two. At the end of this year, at Dampier 300: Biodiversity in Australia in fact, my term as President expires. So too does the term for our current treasurer. So we need some new blood (or perhaps some reconstituted old blood!).

I know this sounds like one of those Martin Gardner puzzles, but the hard facts are these. John Clarkson and I have reached the end of our six-year terms on Council (and I have reached the end of my three-year term as President). Robyn Barker can stay on council, and as secretary if she wants. Peter Weston and Terry Macfarlane are eligible to continue as councillors or to take up one of the other positions. Barry Conn can do almost what he likes, but will be encouraged to stand for president.

If my own experience is typical, many members will feel that they are not qualified or experienced enough to take on a leading role in the Society. Others may feel they are overworked. Yet others may think it is someone else's turn. Whatever the reason you think you can't be involved, your society needs you.

The treasurer's job is usually a hard one to fill. However the financial systems are now humming along and just require some fine tuning every now and then. John Clarkson will soon train you up. If the reshuffling results in councillor positions being vacated this is a great opportunity to see how the council and the society works. We also need a new someone to be but a heart beat away from the presidency (and meanwhile learn the ropes and take on specific tasks such as coordinating the Eichler Awards).

So much to do, and so many members. Email or phone if you want to talk further about these opportunities, and look out for the nomination forms in this issue of the newsletter. The critical positions are those of treasurer and vice-president.

Eichler Awards

It's time again to start thinking about this year's Hansjörg Eichler Scientific Research Fund Applications. Due to the generosity of members, including another major contribution from Mrs Marlies Eichler, we will once again make available more money this year than last. Through sound financial management, and a healthy principal, the Fund is firmly established and doing exactly what it set out to do. And in case you missed it in the last newsletter, contributions are now tax deductible.

Tim Entwisle