MARS Awards and Honours
We’re proud to honour our outstanding members! The American Rhododendron Society, of which MARS is a chapter member, sets forth several awards for volunteers who contribute to the goals and activities of the society.
The ARS Gold and Silver Medals are awarded by the ARS, to ARS members who contribute to society activities on a global and regional level respectively. Any ARS member can nominate members for these medals, and each nomination must be accompanied by at least eight supporting letters.
ARS Gold Medal
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August 2020 — Dr. Glen Jamieson
For 25 years you have immersed yourself in support of the American Rhododendron Society. Ten years ago you became editor of the Journal of the ARS, the premier periodical of rhododendron culture. Further, you have reached out to rhododendron societies world-wide with your personally initiated Rhododendrons International Journal, aiming for a cohesive and collaborative international association. You are a regular speaker at ARS chapters and other horticultural groups on the genus, with emphasis on your favourite, the vireya sub-section. You have encouraged youth membership, have been personally involved in the establishment of the recently created Greig Rhododendron Species Garden in Qualicum Beach, held by Vancouver Island University and maintained, in part, by horticultural students. For recognition of your outstanding contributions, the American Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Gold Medal to Dr. Glen Jamieson.
This medal was originally scheduled to be presented at the ARS 2020 Spring Convention in Portland, Oregon. With the cancellation due to the pandemic, ARS President Ken Webb surprised Glen with the award at a meeting of District 1 clubs in Milner Gardens in August.
ARS Silver Medal
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2021 — June Bouchard and John Deniseger
You have both enthusiastically supported many activities on Vancouver Island District 1. In particular, your efforts as co-registrars for the 2012 Nanaimo & 2019 Parksville ARS Fall Conventions were critical to the success of both meetings, and over the past years you have both contributed extensively in the development of the Greig Rhododendron Species garden in Milner Gardens & Woodlands. John, in particular, has been active in virtually all phases, from the planning, garden creation and establishment, plan selection, planting and ongoing weeding and maintenance, and you have supported island chapter activities by giving talks and helping organize the new “Fall into Gardening” mini-conferences.
For all these major activities, the American Rhododendron Society is pleased to jointly award the Silver Medal to June Bouchard and John Deniseger.
ARS and District 1 President Ken Webb and MARS President Glen Jamieson present the Silver Medal to John and June.
October 2019 — Marilyn Dawson
For 15 years Marilyn Dawson has been a ready, willing and very able participant in the activities and events of MARS and ARS District 1. Marilyn is secretary for all meetings. She has worked on the ARS 2015 Convention in Victoria, the 2012 ARS Fall Conference in Nanaimo and planning for the 2019 ARS Fall Conference in Parksville BC. Marilyn is a key member of the steering committee that has brought the Greig Rhododendron Species Garden into being at Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach. She also works in the garden, planting and maintaining new plants.
Marilyn is an exceptionally hard worker, contributing common sense and constructive suggestions in all that she does, and is therefore a very deserving recipient of the ARS Silver Medal.
ARS President Ken Webb and Linda Derkach presented Marilyn with the ARS Silver Medal at the 2019 Fall Conference in Parksville, BC.
May 2015 — Terry Richmond
For more than 30 years you have been a stalwart devotee of the American Rhododendron Society, in particular District One. As a founding member of Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society and affiliate of many chapters, you have spent countless hours at workshops, truss shows and meetings in the interests of the genus. As a speaker, educator and author you have enthusiastically imparted information on the culture of rhododendrons. Your willingness to hold office, research, donate plants and work with colleagues from many chapters has contributed to the healthy growth of interest in rhododendrons. In recognition of this outstanding contribution to the genus Rhododendron, the American Rhododendron Society is proud to award the Silver Medal to Mr. Terry Richmond.
Marilyn Dawson and Linda Derkach congratulated Terry on his achievement at the ARS Banquet held May 9, 2015, in Sidney, BC Canada.
1997 — Dot and Ken Gibson
For the past 20 years you both have unselfishly given time, energy, and resources to promote the genus Rhododendron. Your dedication and enthusiasm have inspired interest and a desire for knowledge about propagation, care and cultivation of rhododendrons. Your leadership helped stimulate the tremendous growth in District 1 membership over the last several years. Your warm hospitality and generosity, to your peers, friends, and visitors from around the world, is renowned. You have each made significant individual contributions and worked well as a team. His persistent dedication studying the cause and effect of powdery mildew on rhododendrons and sharing this knowledge is widely recognized and appreciated. Her organizational skills, warm support, and encouragement have been an important part of the teamwork supporting their accomplishments. The development of your breathtaking “hill top” rhododendron garden, which you have gladly and willingly opened to all, is an admirable feat of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Your efforts have been an inspiration to rhododendron enthusiasts and instrumental in encouraging hundreds to visit your West Coast garden. In grateful recognition of your contributions, the American Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Silver Medal to “ambassadors extraordinaire” Ken and Dot Gibson.
Ken Gibson at a MARS meeting.
MARS Bronze Medal
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2021 — Al Bieberstein
This award is in recognition of Al Bieberstein’s devotion to MARS since the mid-1990s. Over the years he has shown particular interest in the Rhododendron Show and Sale, winning many prizes, once creating the grand prize with his wood-working skills. He is always willing to share his knowledge of the genus Rhododendron with members. How to
prepare a truss for competition is a talk that members always enjoyed. He co-chaired the Rhododendron Show twice with his wife Maria, already a Bronze winner. They are extremely generous with their time, offering their beautiful garden many times to the MARS annual Garden Tour as well as hosting numerous potluck social events. With great
pleasure, MARS recognizes Al’s outstanding service with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
October 2020 — Ray and Jane Walker
Mount Arrowsmith is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Jane and Ray Walker in recognition of their contribution to MARS over many years. Ray and Jane are known as great hosts of the annual Christmas Party, their home so alive with lights and laughter, but they are so much more. Ray has been director, then treasurer, a post he still holds. He has chaired the Rhododendron Show and Sale twice, assisted at every sale, organizing cashiers and doing other necessary chores. Jane has served as Director, helped out at MARS events and organized treats for the social break. Most recently with Ray, she helped to operate the coffee service at monthly meetings. It is with great pleasure we recognize such service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Parksville Community Park was the location for our Annual General Meeting where Jane and Ray Walker were honoured with the ARS Bronze Medal. COVID-19 rules necessitated the wearing of masks. Here are the unmasked Jane and Ray at one of the many MARS Christmas parties they have hosted.
May 2019 — Ann de Brincat
Ann is one of the unsung heroes of MARS. A cheerful, willing volunteer, she has worn many hats and contributed to MARS in many ways. She has served as director for twelve years, including two years as Secretary and one as Vice President. She was Program Chair for four years and has been a long-time worker at the annual Rhododendron Show and Sale, both displaying her tender rhododendrons and working a cash register. Ann has also led several propagation workshops. She has always been generous with her time, participating particularly at the Christmas social by donating the turkey for this annual dinner. Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society happily recognizes this outstanding service with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Marilyn Dawson and Glen Jamieson presented Ann with the Bronze Medal at the May MARS meeting.
May 2019 — Don Bridgen
This medal is in recognition of Don Bridgen’s long-standing service to MARS, a willing volunteer, always helping out wherever he could. For seven years he served as a director on the executive, choosing the monthly raffle plants and holding them until needed. He has a particular interest in propagating rhododendrons from cuttings and has conducted many propagation workshops for MARS members and the public. Most recently he has joined other MARS members in Victoria in rooting rhododendron cuttings. Don is generous with his time and on many occasions he has acted as a judge at district truss shows. With great pleasure we recognize this outstanding service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Linda Derkach and Glen Jamieson presented Don with the Bronze Medal at the May MARS meeting.
June 2018 — Barbara Kulla
Barbara is one of the unsung heroes of MARS. Since she joined many years ago, she has been a cheerful, willing volunteer and worn many hats doing necessary jobs that are often hard to fill. She has managed the tea table in years past, looked after the Dollar Table and has been a fixture at the annual Rhodo Show and Sale, seeking donated items for the hourly draws. Her talent for acquiring donations has led her to contribute to the Silent Auctions at the ARS Fall Regional Conference in Nanaimo and the subsequent 2015 ARS Convention in Sidney. As well, she has opened her garden for the annual Mother’s Day Tour and hosted several pot lucks. It is with great pleasure, we recognize this outstanding service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Barbara accepts the Bronze Medal Award from Glen Jamieson, Marilyn Dawson and Linda Derkach at the June Social.
June 2018 — Kathy & Guy Loyer
Almost from the day they joined Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society, Kathy and Guy have been willing volunteers. Ask for help and they are there, whatever the job. Kathy is serving her fifth year as a director. She has organized and chaired the successful annual Garden Tour for several years and most recently co-chaired with Guy the Rhodo Show and Sale. Both have been active in previous shows. Guy is the official greeter for MARS and also one of the heavy lifters, literally, transporting signage, tables and shopping buggies for various events. Together they have a great eye for detail and organization. Kathy and Guy have been willing hosts over the years, opening their home on numerous occasions. With great pleasure, we recognize this outstanding service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Guy and Kathy accept their award from Marilyn Dawson and Glen Jamieson at the June Social.
2016 — Linda Derkach
Linda has been a willing and energetic volunteer for MARS, wearing many hats over the years. She has enthusiastically served two terms as President, and that enthusiasm has encouraged others. She has edited the newsletter, contributing articles and photographs, made presentations to monthly meetings and moderated panel discussions. She has served as chair of the annual Garden Tour and is involved in the necessary committee work. With enthusiasm and energy Linda managed to revive the moribund bus tour resulting in successful visits to out-of-town gardens. She has also hosted many pot luck events. It is with great pleasure we recognize this exceptional contribution to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Linda Derkach at the MARS Truss Show in 2014.
2014 — Bert Harding
This award is in recognition of Bert’s long- standing service to MARS. Since he joined many years ago, he has been a cheerful, willing volunteer taking on any task requested. Over the years he has worn many hats, most recently that of highly valued treasurer. He has organized general meetings, served on committees, including two successful seasons as chair of the Truss Show; his beautiful garden has been on the annual MARS Garden Tour. It is with great pleasure we recognize this outstanding service with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Bert Harding received his award from Linda Derkach and Tony Ansdell at the MARS 25th Anniversary Social in June 2014.
2013 — Tony Ansdell
This is in recognition of Tony’s long-standing service to MARS. Since he joined many years ago, he has been a cheerful, willing volunteer and worn many hats. He has been newsletter editor, membership chair and treasurer. He has served on several committees, including the annual Truss Show and Garden Tour, where he has helped out wherever asked. He was President for three years. As well, he has represented MARS at several external functions, including the newly launched Species Garden Initiative and District One meetings where he is treasurer. With great pleasure, we recognize this outstanding service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honor, the Bronze Medal.
Past President and long-time MARS volunteer Tony Ansdell is presented with the ARS Bronze Medal by incoming President Linda Derkach.
2012 — John England
This is in recognition of John’s longstanding service to MARS. Since he joined many years ago, he has been a willing volunteer; he has edited the newsletter, coordinated meetings, chaired the Garden Tour Committee and acted as liaison with Milner Gardens. He has taken part in many Truss Shows, chaired the successful 20th Anniversary party, and served as President for three years. Two England gardens have been featured on the Garden Tour. Both John and his wife Arlene have been gracious hosts to many potlucks and also many, many guest speakers over the years. With great pleasure, we recognize this
outstanding service to MARS with the chapter’s highest honour, the Bronze Medal.
John England in his garden with Rhododendron smirnowii.
2011 — Marilyn Dawson
The Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Marilyn Dawson in recognition of her long and dedicated service to MARS. For many years she has been a dedicated Secretary and Director and has organized all publicity for MARS. She has been a driving force behind MARS’ participation in Seedy Saturday and the Spring Fling sale. She has been on the Garden Tour Committee, the Truss Show Committee and the Christmas Party Committee. She has hosted many potluck celebrations and Directors’ meetings and has had her garden on the Garden Tour. The awarding of this bronze medal is our way of saying thank you, for her service, dedication and enthusiasm for MARS.
Marilyn Dawson in November 2018.
2009 — Ron & Judy McMaster
The ARS Bronze Medal, our highest award for chapter members, is a fitting honor for Ron and Judy McMaster, who have worked diligently for the Mount Arrowsmith Chapter for many years. Ron has served on the executive in many capacities including President and
represented the island as District Alternate Director. As well, he has been active in many fund-raising events. Judy served on the executive for several years and worked on many committees, including the Truss Show and the annual Garden Tour. Both have willingly taken on any chores they were asked to do. Ron and Judy have also hosted speakers, opened their beautiful seaside home to MARS garden tours and on many occasions welcomed chapter members to windup parties. MARS salutes you!
2007 — Glen Jamieson
Glen has been an active member of MARS since the early 1990s. He served as president of MARS from 1998 to 2001. He stepped in to chair the Garden Tour Committee when desperately needed, giving renewed energy to this worthwhile activity and promoting a public awareness of ARS and the genus Rhododendron.
Glen, who is a long-time research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and also deeply involved with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Society, is also a strong motivator and advocate for improving MARS’ library resources with informative and educational literature for our members.
He willingly and entertainingly shares his adventures in the Himalayas and other parts of the world where he goes to collect and research the genus Rhododendron ; his fine presentations to MARS and other local garden clubs and ARS conferences are much applauded. Glen is a learned and loving grower of the tropical rhododendron vireya, along with other unusual plants in his large riverside garden, which he and his wife, Dorothy, have shared on many occasions for garden tours and social functions.
In recognition for these achievements, we salute you. We are pleased to present this award, June 16, 2007.
2006 — Maria Bieberstein
Our highest award, the Bronze Medal, is a most fitting honor for Maria Bieberstein, who has worked diligently for the club for many years. She has served on the executive and will do so again this coming season; she has successfully chaired at various times our annual Truss Show and the annual Garden Tour. She has always taken on any job asked to do and has also been an enthusiastic supporter of chapter social events. Since joining the chapter, Maria has become very knowledgeable about rhododendron species and hybrids, and she and her husband Al have opened their beautiful Nanoose garden to the public and visiting tour groups on many occasions. The awarding of this Bronze Medal was a unanimous decision and our way of saying thank you.
Maria Bieberstein with her husband Al at the MARS Christmas Social in 2017.
2005 — Vic Vickers
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Vic Vickers in recognition of his active and dedicated participation in MARS since becoming a member several years ago. Vic, who moved to Qualicum Beach, B.C., in 1995, has been a diligent and efficient treasurer since 1998 and since that time has served on several committees: meeting co-ordinator, garden tours, truss shows and plant sales. His garden has been opened to the public and visiting tour groups on many occasions and his donations of rhododendrons to the public gardens in Qualicum Beach and Parksville has been most generous. The awarding of this Bronze Medal to Vic is our way of saying thank you.
2002 — Diane Pertson
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Diane Pertson in recognition of her continued support in raising public awareness of the genus Rhododendron and for her outstanding contribution to the society as bulletin editor for six years as well as serving with dedication on the executive as director and vice-president. Diane has consistently and willingly shared her vast knowledge of the genus Rhododendron with M.A.R.S., other chapters, garden clubs, rhododendron enthusiasts and interested members of the general public and is a major educational resource for all of us. Diane’s liaison and knowledgeable support for the acquisition by Malaspina University College of the Milner Gardens and Woodland properties, a unique rhododendron species collection, is very much appreciated, and can now be enjoyed in perpetuity by everyone. She is also respected for her journalistic talents, by our chapter, other chapters and the ARS Diane is also extremely knowledgeable about the George Fraser collection and the history of this notable collector and grower; a knowledge which she shares willingly and freely. M.A.R.S. is very pleased to award the Bronze Medal to Diane Pertson and is our way of saying thank you.
2001 — Jim & Joan Cavers
In recognition of your long-standing contributions to this chapter. You have represented MARS at several ARS conventions and conferences, and you have both willingly and enthusiastically imparted information and education to the general public at our annual Truss Shows. Jim and Joan are charter members of MARS and garden on a half-acre lot, of which 50 percent of the lot is their rhodo garden. Presently they have about 360 rhodos in their garden, including both species and hybrid rhodos. They were first members of the Vancouver Rhododendron Society and then became members of the North Island Society, where Joan held the office of secretary for a time and Jim was the president for one term. While still a member of the North Island club, Jim was the chairperson for the first meeting of the M.A.R.S. society and thus became M.A.R.S.’s first associate member until his presidency of the North Island society ended.
2001 — Frank & Nora Allen
In recognition of your very high standard of participation in chapter events. As a Charter Member of MARS, Frank was the first Vice-President and Public Relations Officer. Nora initiated and maintained the chapter’s history album for 10 years. You have both willingly volunteered for Truss Show and Garden Tour duties and have been loyal members at club social functions.
2001 — Tom & Vivian Richmond
In recognition of your unwavering and quiet support of MARS. As chapter members you have been avid supporters of all chapter events, providing your positive contribution to the Truss Shows, Garden Tours and the many other club functions.
2000 — Jim & Jean Greig
In recognition and appreciation of all your endeavours in helping to sustain our chapter. You are both chapter charter members and individually you have taken on, over the years, the responsibilities of treasurer, auditor, director, chapter historian and refreshments convenor. You have both participated on many chapter committees and through the humorous and generous sharing of your time, knowledge and experiences are an important part of the chapter’s backbone that has made MARS such a great club.
Jim and Jean Greig at the MARS 25th anniversary party in 2014.
1999 — Bill & Kay Burgoyne
The Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society presents the Bronze Medal to Kay and Bill Burgoyne for continued active participation and hard work over the years, above and beyond the call of duty; for building our library cupboard and other generous contributions and for both having served with dedication on the executive and annual committees. We thank you. June 12, 1999.
1999 — Mary J. Parker
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Mary Parker in recognition of your energy, time and enthusiasm in a wide range of MARS activities. You have served as president, have been on various committees, have organised many social activities, and your buoyant personality has always brought laughter and enjoyment to those working with you. We wish you the very best while away from your MARS friends, and hope our paths will cross again. June 12, 1999.
Mary Parker in the Evelyn Garden, Stephenson Point during the 2012 ARS Western Regional Conference.
1998 — Sam & Martha Cosco
The Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Sam and Martha Cosco in recognition of the contribution they have made to our society and the ARS. Their enthusiastic and cheerful involvement in all of our activities has been a major factor in the success of our chapter. Sam’s wit truly sparkled through the newsletters he produced. Everything he has participated in has received the same careful attention, whether serving at a plant sale, garden tour, the convention, work parties, or producing videos of our meetings. Martha has been an equally faithful participant in our chapter activities including chairing such committees as T-shirt and Scholarship. The awarding of this Bronze Medal is our way of saying thank you.
1998 — Bob & Carol Hickman
The Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Bob and Carol Hickman in recognition of the contribution they have made to our society and the ARS. Their enthusiastic and cheerful involvement in all of our activities has been a major factor in the success of our chapter. Bob’s tenure as executive member and president, chairing the Plant Sale & Truss Show for many years, organizing and building our float, and serving as vice-chair of our “Blast Off To MARS” conference are worthy of special mention. Carol co-chaired the T-shirt committee but she participates in everything and she and Bob together have shared their home for so many meetings and social functions. The awarding of this Bronze Medal is our way of saying thank you.
1997 — Louise Dwyer
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Louise Dwyer in recognition of your dedication, hard work and active participation on behalf of MARS’ commitment to the garden at Valhalla. For your exemplary two-year term as president and the enthusiastic leadership and guidance you have given the club. Sept. 10, 1997.
1997 — Terry & Verna Richmond
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Terry and Verna Richmond in recognition of their very high standard of member participation. Terry was our first program chairman and Verna soon became secretary, a position she held for more than one term. Even more important though, was, and continues to be, their involvement in every group activity – shows, tours, and conventions – they are always there and helping with enthusiasm. Terry’s knowledge of both species and hybrids is a major educational resource for all of us. The awarding of this Bronze Medal is our way of saying thank you. Dec. 3, 1997.
1996 — Jim Greig
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Jim Greig in recognition and appreciation of your contribution these past years as club treasurer, auditor and financial advisor. For your good humour as tour host on our bus trips, your cheerful participation in all club events, and sharing so graciously the knowledge gleaned from your parents’ involvement in the genus Rhododendron . Each year you have given willingly of your time and efforts for the benefit of the membership and we acknowledge your contribution with our thanks. December 1996.
Jim Greig at the MARS 25th anniversary party in 2014.
1996 — Pat Jefferson
In appreciation of your efforts in forming our chapter and for setting high standards for the directors’ positions you held. Your enthusiasm and participation in our society’s events and day-to-day activities are exemplary.
1995 — Everett Jefferson
Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society is pleased to present the Bronze Medal to Everett Jefferson in recognition of your endeavours that led to the formation of our chapter, for your contributions as president and chairing various committees that promoted its development.