Theme “Growing Forward Together”
5512 Seven Gates Drive,
Greensboro, NC 27410-2694;
The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. is experiencing growing pains, just as is most other states. Our membership totals are slowly going downward as we strive to put more life into them. Our membership is probably right under 6,000 members. Our membership lists were sent out in February and are due back in by March 31. Pamphlets were handed out at our District Meetings in the fall on “Be Proactive about Membership” and “Grow Your World by Joining a Garden Club” as well as being put on our website along with Brenda Moore’s power point presentation program.
Our Youth Garden Clubs total 33 clubs with 777 members. Our Youth Award Chairman, Darene Honeycutt, is hard at work working on enticing new Youth Garden Clubs.
Our Blue Star Memorial Program continues to grow as we continue to add Blue Star Memorial Markers state-wide.
Our clubs and members are answering the “Million Pollinator Garden Challenge”, with our directors encouraging their members to sign up and to participate in this worthwhile program.
Our Annual meeting will be April 17-19 in Durham with the theme “Un-Frozen”.
Our scholarships program continues to strive with $24,500.00 in scholarships given between seven applicants. Each applicant receives $3500.00 for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Our club members continue to support their communities and neighborhoods by channeling their efforts through health organizations, hospice and palliative care, gardens, libraries, town halls, civic organizations, schools and many other opportunities. These gals and guys are out there working and learning ways to enhance the beauty of their surroundings and moving forward to make things happen from the mountains to the sea.
Our association with the NCDOT and their wildflower program is a testament to the beautiful highways throughout our state. The Department of Transportation is working with us to plant more pollinator friendly flowers and cut back on pesticides to help bring back our pollinators is also a testimony of our working together.
We have six designers who are taking part in Art in Bloom at the NC Museum of Art in in April. Some of these designers have displayed before and it’s a special opportunity and an honor to be recognized as designers for an event that attracts over 10,000 people. We are very proud of our designers and wish them well in this endeavor.
The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
Speech give to SAR Annual Meeting
Mar 13, 2016
Sarah Ann F. Parler
South Atlantic Region (SAR) Director
P.O. Box 306
Elloree, SC 29047
(803) 897-2304 H (803) 682-3824 C
Theme: “Inspire Conservation Through Education”
Sandra H. Robinson
National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) President
960 Maple Grove Road
London, KY 40744-8955
(606) 878-7281 H (606) 231-1122 C
Theme: “Leap into Action”
LOUISVILLE (May 17, 2015)—Standing here, as the newly installed president of this organization, is humbling, surreal, and just a little frightening. When I began this journey in 1985, never once did I imagine the day when I would stand before you as the 44th president of National Garden Clubs.It is impossible to thank all those who have made this possible or played significant roles in my leadership development. I have had the great fortune to work with and serve under some amazing leaders. Each former president’s vision and direction has left a distinct mark on this organization as they wrote their chapter in the dynamic history.I asked Deen Day Sanders and Lois Dupre` Shuster to install me tonight because of their role in my garden club story. Deen installed me as the president of the Garden Club of Kentucky in 2001 and I served as one of Lois’ class from 2001-2003. They believed in me and encouraged me to grow in knowledge of NGC, gardening, and service.I learned from their examples as well as June Wood’s gentle style of encouragement, Kitty Larkin’s zest for life and sense of patriotism, Barbara May’s “let’s do it” attitude, Renee Blaschke’s ability to find a common ground for all parties, Shirley Nicolai’s gentle, nurturing, positive reinforcement of everyone, and Linda Nelson’s passionate cry to “Make a Difference, Choices Matter” while working to ensure the fiscal health of NGC.
Many others have held my hand, patted my back, offered words of advice and criticism when merited and lifted me up when the road seemed too long. To each and every one I extend a heartfelt thank you.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss
With this in mind, we are called to action.
The President’s Special Project for 2015-2017, Service in Action, will focus attention on pollinators and amphibians, two bio-indicators, who as individuals and populations, are used to monitor environmental conditions, and the leadership development of our members.
Elizabeth Kolbert states in The Sixth Extinction, “Today, amphibians enjoy the dubious distinction of being the world’s most endangered class of animals; it’s been calculated that the group’s extinction rate could be as much as forty-five thousand times higher than the background rate. But extinction rates among many other groups are fast approaching amphibian levels.” She continues with the admonition that many find it inconceivable that we, man, could possibly be responsible for destroying the integrity of our planet’s ecology. There are psychological barriers to imagining that what we love so much could be lost or destroyed forever.
The public needs to understand the effects of pesticides, the role of native pollinators and plants and the importance of leaving natural areas in our lawns, parks, and forests. To be truly effective agriculture, conservationists, and the general public must work together to protect soil, water, air and wildlife habitat. Become familiar with our native bee species, especially the mason bees. Our native crops depend largely upon on native bee populations. The eradication of milkweed and the use of pesticides and genetically engineered crops has pushed the species toward extinction.
NGC is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation to work on the Million Garden Challenge by the National Pollinator Garden Network. The goal is to help establish one million gardens to support pollinator recovery. We will plant milkweed, monarch way stations, and gardens to provide food and shelter to help restore healthy populations of this important species.
Young children must learn to love and understand nature before being asked to save it. Scientific evidence identifies a correlation between the experiences of children in the natural world and their ability to learn, along with their physical and emotional health. As a society we have a moral obligation to connect nature and our children. They are the future stewards of what we are working to protect and conserve.
The Frightened Frog, an Environmental Tale, an early reader book, written by NGC members Brenda Moore and Jean Ohlmann, with illustrations by Emily Lackey, is a bright, colorful, rhyming book highlighting many of the problems amphibians face with simple easy to understand solutions. The book is available through Member Services, and lesson plans that meet core standards are available on the NGC website.
The monarch population has declined by 90% since the 1990s. One sobering statement from the collaborative effort of the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and the Xerces Society is, “If monarchs were people; that would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio.”
According to the White House blog nearly 2/3 of our food is pollinated by bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, thus their protection is vital to our continued health and welfare. There are 4,000 bee species native to the United States, 20,000 worldwide.
Gardening brings out the beauty, strengths, and preferences in plants and people. We nurture our plants often spending lots of money and time on their survival. We, as garden club members, need to nurture each other. All living things need care to survive.
Each of us has unique abilities and talents to bring to the table. Look around your club or community for those who work tirelessly in the background, never asking for recognition or reward, those who give and give and give of their time, resources, and talents, and gently nudge them into the forefront. Give praise when due, offer advice when necessary, recognize potential and ask them to accept a chairmanship or office. Also, be aware that some people need more encouragement and direction than others. Be patient. It takes time for a garden to grow and bloom and set seed.
I recently had someone share their story of what garden club has given them. She began by saying she had always had very low self-esteem therefore, no courage to step forward and say, “I can do that”. One man in the state organization recognized her potential and kept asking her to just try. She credits him with her new found sense of identity and purpose. She has held several offices, including state president, works with college professors identifying students deserving scholarships, reviews their applications and interviews the students with the committee and often forming lasting friendships with them. She says now she feels she can do anything. Isn’t that a great story and testimony for what garden club has to offer? I think she and many of you would echo my sentiment, “Garden club has given me more than I can ever give back.”
It’s ok not to know all the answers or even the questions. We learn as we grow. We don’t have to be perfect, but willing to tackle the problems and have the desire to make a difference. Accept opportunities lest they pass you by and never come around again. Don’t wait for the next chance but say, “I will. I can. I’ll try.” Decide to grow now. Grow with abandonment. Grow with joy. Grow with a renewed sense of purpose.
“Leadership is action, not position.”
Donald H. Gannon
“I don’t have a college degree.” you say. Who cares? Life is the best educational system there is. Abraham Lincoln was largely self-taught and is credited with being one of our greatest presidents.
“I’m too old.” you say. “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” according to Dr. Seuss. When are we to old to call and offer praise, to encourage the next step in leadership progression, to ask someone to share the love of gardening? Bette Davis once remarked, “The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.”
“I’m too shy.” you say. Begin by chairing a project or committee, give reports at club meetings, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Garden club challenges members to grow in gardening and life skills. Don’t allow fear to keep you from achieving success. The first step is often the hardest. Members, when you see that first step give support, build up, don’t tear down, and cheer them on.”
“I’ve done that, been there, heard and seen that.” you say. Don’t hinder someone else’s progress by raining on their parade. It is always a new experience when seen through the eyes of a child or someone who has never been there, heard or seen that. Katharine Hepburn said, “I never lose sight of the fact just being is fun.”
“I’m tired.” you say. We all grow weary, discouraged, and fed up. But the job awaits our renewed passion, dedication, and perseverance. Join a new committee, suggest and help implement a new project, invite a friend and be revitalized through their enthusiasm.
“I don’t have the financial resources, political connections or influence.” you say. The place for everyone to start is in their own backyards, decks, or rooftop gardens. As we have heard Linda say, “Choices Matter.”
“I’m afraid of public speaking.” you say. Author Sidney Sheldon wisely stated, “Death is the number two fear that people have and public speaking is the first.” Remember, no one came to see you fail. They came because of the subject. Experience is necessary. Let go of your fear. Let go of your ego.
“You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” Anthony J. D’Angelo noted in The College Blue Book. Leaders must continue to grow. Work to develop your speaking, managerial and people skills, as well as your gardening skills. Don’t be afraid of failure. We learn from our mistakes. The only true failure is not trying at all. Leave room in your organization for those coming behind you. There is no growth if there isn’t ample space for growth. New leaders have to have the opportunity to serve and positions to fill.
With our continuing projects and the President’s Special Projects garden NGC is on the move. We care and we show our care through action. We accept the challenge to protect our pollinators, amphibians, plant gardens, and to remember our members. Exciting things are happening through the efforts of our energized committees which you will find on the website. Visit the site often, it is continually updated.
Gardening is alive and well. The White House blog states, nearly 35% of all households in America are growing food at home or in community gardens, a 17% increase in participation in the last 5 years. Two million more households are engaging in community gardening, an increase of 200% since 2008.
Consumers are demanding to know where their food comes from, how it was grown, treated, packaged, and transported. Our leaders, governmental officials, local politicians, big box stores, growers, and breeder are paying attention. Many have enacted measures to safeguard our health and wildlife as a result of pressure from the buying public.
We do make a difference. Now is not the time to be weary or quit. We care, we are passionate about issues. My challenge to you is to take that concern, that passion, that desire for change and join hands as we “Leap into Action.”
Sandra H. Robinson
National Garden Clubs, Inc.
View: NGC Website