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Re: The South Left out!

To Karen, James, Sexton, Gombo and the others:

I thank you all for your suggestions for starting a local plant society and
your offers to help promote it.  But you may be missing my point;

I would love to start up a local group, but I have NO EXPERIENCE in this
sort of thing!  Nor do I have the "star-power" to attract committed
volunteers to keep it going.   I'm not even sure I know how your NE groups
are organized. The problem is that those who are best known in our circles
don't live south of the Mason-Dixon.  

Just think if say, Karen moved to Florida.  W/n hours of putting the word
out she would get responses from ten-dozen people expressing interest and
in weeks a So. Florida chapter would be formed w/ at least four officers
and a hardcore group of twenty devotees.  

No, I'm not saying you should MOVE south to help us organize.  But which
idea/non-profit organization do you know ever when national/continental w/o
some hands on efforts from recognized, respected promoters?  All I wish is
that you heavy hitters in Plant Aquaria consider just ONE extra-regional
convention in the near future to act as a necessary catalyst for new local
groups.  Perhaps the University of Florida's Ctr for Aquatics would be
happy to assist.  You can count on me for sure.

 I look around and all I see are "saltwater" groups promoting themselves
with their "name" people locally, giving us disorganized plant fans that
condescending "fresh-water-peon-in-our-midst" look.  Man, I just HATE that!
 Where are OUR "name" people?  Every descent LFS (operator and their
employees) w/ plants in these parts KNOWS YOU GUYS!  

And I know @least some of the AGA "founders" have Florida and Georgia
contacts.  Saying you'll help us once we're organized is not enough.  We
need a catalyst to spark new "real world" local groups that will
disseminate positive images of what it is we do.

You will all see the long-term benefits of molding both a public good image
and TRUE national organization in Fifty states when:

1.	In the future, the media blithely blames us planted people for the next
invasive species their state is called on to irradiate.  Will we be
scrambling to organize and educate then when some state politico decides to
"ban all imported non-native aquatic plants" ?  Ahh, but WE know this is
paranoid and couldn't happen in the US now...Could it? Hmmmm.......

2.	Another  future state politico seeks passage of legislation to require
"all hydroponics equipment sellers and all plant growth light bulb
retailers require the presentation of drivers license or Soc. number from
any person seeking to purchase such equipment."  Due to the stigma, Kmart
drops all full spectrum lines.  In such a crisis atmosphere no one will
standup, organize and speak out THEN against such a broad brush lest risk
being branded a pot grower! Paranoid?  Hmmm.... read "Canadians, Cops &
Aquaria; a tale of Police Terror!" I think Purchase (or was it Sexton?)
wrote it a while back.  It sure scared the ---- out of me!!!

Respectfully, I don't think I'm off-based in my assessment and I think its
in the long term best interest of our hobby for you "founders" to take more
of a personal  interest in seeking ways to promote the "Environmentally
Responsible" angle of our hobby beyond your home regions (beyond just
seeking diverse convention lcations) .  With an eye on encouraging the
formation of local self sustaining groups.  These groups can serve as info
disseminators will give the general pubic a "warm-n'-fuzzy" feeling about
the benefits (environmental and otherwise) of planted Aquaria.  


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