Sunday 17th May, 2009: Annual General Meeting
The venue for this year’s AGM will be Bill Kinsey and Lyn Reid’s home at Emerald Hill.
Our great thanks go to Bill and Lynn for agreeing to host us at short notice.
Tea and coffee will be served at 9.30 am, and the meeting will start at 10. After the meeting, we will have our usual botanical walk.
Bring your lunch and a chair, and please also bring a plate of eats to share for tea.
FOR THE AGM ON 17 MAY 2009
I have pleasure in presenting the Chairman’s report for the year 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009.
This is my eighth annual report as Chairman.
The last 12 months must rank as the most difficult period ever, both from a personal and Tree Society point of view.
Inflation rose to unbelievable levels, reportedly some of the highest experienced in world history. We continued to encounter dire shortages of both goods and cash and the destruction of the value of money was accomplished in one or two days. Infrastructure collapsed, incomes were squeezed, survival became most people’s priority and this naturally has had its effect on the Tree Society.
Although we managed to maintain a nearly complete set of 3rd Sunday outings (11 out of 12), other activities came to a halt, specifically Tom’s monthly walks in the Botanic Garden and my 4th Saturday walks. Both of these have a long history in the Society; I don’t know how long Tom has been doing his walks, but I have been leading the 4th Saturday ones for about 18 years.
We also struggled to maintain Tree Life on a monthly basis in the face of both communication difficulties and a shortage of articles. No issues were produced in December 2008 and in January and April 2009.
However, since February 1st, the Zimbabwe dollar has been replaced by the US$ (and Rand) and inflation has more or less vanished overnight. We now therefore have stable money after many years and this is beginning to have a beneficial effect on the Society. There are also possibly some faint signs of renewal at a national level.
Although many problems remain, I feel that we have an opportunity to begin to rebuild the Society.
These were generally held near Harare in order to ease fuel costs.
The outings were as shown in the following table:
|May||Ridge Road, Avondale (AGM)|
|September||Haka Game Park|
|October||Haka Game Park (Teach yourself trees)|
|November||Greystone Park Nature Preserve|
|December||Winch’s home, Umwindsidale (Christmas Social)|
|January 2009||Christon Bank|
|March||Trafalgar Avenue, Sentosa|
Once again, I am very grateful to Meg Coates-Palgrave for leading a number of these outings and to Tom for restarting the Botanic Garden walks.
During the year, Bernard Beekes launched a new concept, that of ‘teach yourself trees’, mainly with beginners in mind and I would like to thank him for that initiative as well as writing up many of our outings.
The current membership, compared to previous years, is as follows:
The figures show that the slow decline in members continued.
The mapping scheme continues and remains in the capable hands of Maureen Silva-Jones.
Bill Kinsey has continued as editor of Tree Life and this arrangement has worked well. However, Tree Life badly needs more local content. This could be as simple as writing up our outings and I would urge members to assist with this.
Terry will be reporting on this separately. During the year, the Society attempted to dollarise its income and this was partially successful; however as in previous years, the Society basically operated by keeping expenditure to a minimum.
We were also assisted by a large number of donations, for which we are most grateful.
I would also like to thank Terry for his continuing hard work as Treasurer.
The website has been very reliably maintained by Odette Lind.
The Committee consisted of Ruth Evans (Secretary), Terry Fallon (Treasurer), Eva Keller, Richard Oulton, Mimi Rowe and myself. My sincere thanks go to all of them for their hard work and support during these exceptionally difficult times.
In the previous Chairman’s report, I mentioned that having completed seven years as Chairman of the Society, I am beginning to feel somewhat stale. This is even more true after eight years! I still do get a lot out of the Society, but I do think it is time to identify a successor.
A new Chairman does not necessarily need to be a tree expert; he or she needs to have the interests of the Society at heart and the ability to create enthusiasm and direct the work of others. I and many other people will always be available to assist any incoming chairman.
In conclusion …
We approach the AGM with the Society probably at its lowest ebb ever. However, I have been pleased with the enthusiasm and interest shown by members on our recent outings to Domboshawa and Lanark Game Park.
I believe that the Society meets a real need. We need to increase the number of members and resume our former activities.