Welcome all to the final edition of Permibytes for 2012.
It's been an eventful and somewhat difficult year, but here we are at the end of it with 462 members and all still standing. I'm sorry that we didn't celebrate the remarkable milestone of PSN's 20th anniversary this year, but rest assured we will be having a 21st party! A save the date will be sent around in the first quarter of next year.
Firstly I'd like to say a massive and heartfelt thank you to Barry Hadaway for all his effort on the Management Committee this year. Barry has been the Advocacy Team Leader since 2009. During this time he has, on our behalf, written numerous well researched and well written submissions to government at all levels, advocating in a practical sense, the 3 Permaculture ethics of Earth Care; People Care; and Fair Share. This year Barry has put in a spectacular effort in updating PSN's constitution to be compliant with the most recent legislation and to be relevant and robust for an organisation of PSN's size, maturity and vision. Barry will not be standing for a position on the MC for 2013 as he and Rosemary will be focussing on their new property and venture in Mudgee. I personally wish to thank you both for your support and guidance throughout the year. We wish you both all the very best in your endeavours and hope you drop in every now and again when you're in Sydney.
Next I'd like to thank Deb (Garden Team Leader), Barbara (Living Skills TL), Monika (officially Vice President, but actively Newsletter editor), Steph (offically Secretary, but actively Membership secretary) and Craig (Education TL) for stepping up into their positions early on in the year. You've all done a fabulous job in your respective areas. Outside of PSN you all have excessively full and busy lives, so the effort you've all managed to put in to providing and managing fun, safe and educational events and publications for our members has been extraordinary. For this and for your contributions to the Management Committee, on behalf of our members and myself I sincerely thank you.
Roman was elected onto the Management Committee as Treasurer for 2012 and straight off the bat, did a great job in putting together guidelines and a policy for expense reimbursements. Members and people in leadership positions in the organisation now have a transparent guide as to what their responsibilities are and what they can expect from PSN in regards to financial expenditures. The fast turn around time that people have been getting reimbursed has been greatly appreciated. Roman has also been instrumental in consolidating our numerous bank accounts and getting us online and mobile for credit card payment processing.
Thanks also to Tom (Communications TL) and Rolf (Shows TL) for their assistance on the Management Committee this year. Tom ran some excellent training for our Team Leaders and Local Group Co-ordinators on how to use the website and put events up. By enabling them to take control of putting things online themselves, it has reduced the workload of a small core of people who were previously putting things online on everyone else's behalf. Rolf was a great help in the logistics of getting things to and from, and setting up the successful 120 square meter display at the Sustain Expo in July.
Not on the Management Committee, but highly deserving of recognition is Margaret Boutell, for her efforts over the last four years as the PSN accountant. As of this year, this role is now an official role that reports to the MC. Margaret has dillegently been working behind the scenes over the years with Geoffrey, and this year with Roman, to get our accounts into a managable and transparent state. This task is now complete, and Margaret reported in July to the MC on the aquital of grants for the 2008 APC9 (9th Australiasian Permaculture Convention) and NPD 2011 (National Permaculture Day), as well as reporting on the general state of the PSN accounts. Margaret will be outlining these reports to the membership at the AGM.
Helen Smith, our Public Officer, has also been of great assistance this year as an observer at several MC meetings.
Local Group Coordinators, past and present, this year have made wonderful contributions to the organisation.
The Northern Beaches has strived ahead with their own independent MC. They have gained many new members and are happily running their own permabees, monthly meetings, garden tours, and workshops. Well done to Myriam and the NB team... Keep up the great work!
Di in Ryde has successfully managed to have a PSN presence at virtually every local fair in the Ryde / Hunter's Hill districts and the group has been on fire in terms of selling plants, show bags and Keep Cups. And also thanks to Di for taking the initiative of purchasing a 3m x 3m gazebo for PSN and for getting the Permaculture models in a suitcase revamped.
Cecilia in Hornsby ran the fabulous Chook Forum earlier in the year, and since then Kay and her team have been rounding up the troups for mini-working bees, workshops, dinners and general merriment.
Peter in Ku-ring-gai ran a workshop on building a quail house and has run a couple of seed saving, propogation and seed sharing events. Pete also rejigged the fabulous Mollison design chook/glass house structure that he built last year and that was hugely popular at the Sustain Expo.
And unfortunately this year Lane Cove lost Mandy Stubbs and North Sydney lost Peter Pezzolesi as their Local Group Co-ordinators, whom have been in the role for 4 and 3 years respectively. Hopefully someone, or a team of someones, will step up and re-invigorate those groups in the near future. In the mean time, all other local groups have welcomed Lane Cove, North Sydney and Willoughby residents to attend their events / meetings.
Also thanks to Fairlie for co-ordinating monthly meeting suppers (remember December meeting, everyone is asked to bring a dish to share!), Libby for co-ordinating Permashop, and Di Evans for co-ordinating the Perma-library. Thanks also to Karen and Lynda and anyone else who mans the stalls, helps set up and pack up at monthly meetings, at local group events and at displays, or helps and contributes in any other capacity.
Finally, and probably unconventionally, I'm actually going to publically thank myself, in the hope that what I do does not go unnoticed. This year my official role was President, which is generally a role that oversees and "project manages" the MC and ensures the organisation functions.
However in reality, I've also been doing the secretary role (as Steph, together with Ian focused on Membership Secretary, which is a large job in itself for an organisation of PSNs size). I've also been convening the meetings, which means organising the guest speakers when we had them (and sometimes trying to organise things / speakers that didn't eventuate, but never-the-less took time to investigate and co-ordinate) and getting to monthly meetings early to set up the room, as well as MCing the meeting. I've also done the majority of what in the past has been done by the Comms team, which is putting things online and assiting others to do the same, and ensuring everyone has the access they need to the website, and ensuring the PSN email addresses and groups are directed to the right people, and moderating the Facebook page. I did the bulk of organising, communication and facilitating of volunteers for the PSN display at the Sustain Expo (and huge thanks goes to Richard Brasil, for once again bringing the PSN balcony down to Sydney for the event, and then taking it back to store). I've written articles, the information for the monthly meeting and the new members section of the Newsletter every month. And I predominately organised my own Perma-bee and National Permaculture Day Earth-bag building workshop in May this year. Together with working full time, this is a huge work load. So much so that in about August this year, I one day lost my ability to walk straight. No joke. It lasted over 2 months. A CT scan, MRI and other tests revealed nothing physically was wrong, but the neurologist said that it was a physical manifestation of stress.
So, I'm truly sorry if the MC meeting minutes weren't made available online in a timely manner in the 2nd half of the year, or if some of the meetings were considered boring, or the event details weren't put up on the website far enough in advance. All I can say is that I honestly did the best I could.
If every person in our organisation of nearly 500 members, put their hand up to contribute a few hours every month, or even just every year, this would make the work of a few core people so much easier, and this in turn would enable PSN to flourish and to sustainably enable the organisation as a whole to offer more to you, its members.
Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe festive period and looking forward to seeing you all in the new year.