The Native Plant Society of Texas recognized excellence in writing, acts of conservation and public service, and lifetime achievement in the field of Texas native plants during its annual awards banquet held this year at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville on November 4.
George M. Diggs Jr. and Barney M. Lipscomb
The Donovan Stewart Correll Memorial Award for scientific writing in the field of the native flora of Texas went to the authors of The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas, published in 2014 by BRIT Press.
The book builds upon the work in Illustrated Flora of East Texas where almost half of Texas ferns are described and illustrated. This new book includes 146 taxa, illustrated and with distribution maps. The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas is designed to be useful to both botanical specialists and to a more general audience.
George Diggs is a botanist and evolutionary biologist who has taught for more than 30 years at Austin College in Sherman. Barney Lipscomb is a biologist, editor, public speaker and researcher who is the Leonhardt Chair of Texas Botany at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
Stephan L. Hatch and Jennifer Pluhar
The Carroll Abbott Memorial Award for writings in the popular vein on Texas native plants went to the authors of Texas Range Plants.
For 25 years this book has offered a handy and attractive identification guide for the soil conservationist, range ecologist, amateur botanist, land appraiser, college or high school student, 4-H member or leader, and rangeland manager. The book describes and illustrates the 140 grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees that are economically important on Texas rangelands because of their important forage characteristics, poisonous attributes, or “weedy” or aggressive nature.
Stephan Hatch is professor of grass systematics and curator of the S. M. Tracy Herbarium, Texas A&M University. Jennifer Pluhar, who lives in Canyon, is a range management consultant, with interests in cattle feeding and livestock investments, who has worked extensively with 4-H and FFA youth plant-identification teams.
The Charles Leonard Weddle Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the field of Texas native plants was accepted by Stephanie Varnum and Jonathan Varnum on behalf of their husband and grandfather who passed away last year.
Jim Varnum volunteered over 10,000 hours as a Master Naturalist in the North Texas area since 1999. He never wavered in sharing his curiosity, knowledge and goodwill. Jim was a prolific speaker and field trip guide, who also published a monthly email calendar of everything happening in the naturalist world.
The Lynn Lowrey Memorial Award for horticultural achievement was presented to Neal Hinders.
For the past 20 years Neil Hinders has searched for appropriate plants, seeds, and propagation methods for Panhandle natives. He built a greenhouse by his home and began to supply natives for our area. He has trucked plants to all local plant sales for years. He now operates Canyon’s Edge Plants in Canyon. Neal is also active in our Amarillo Chapter.
The Digital Media Award was created a few years back to recognize outstanding digital publications featuring Texas native plants. This year’s award goes to Bill Hopkins, a former board member of the Society who has served as Information Systems Manager for the Society and held responsibility for the website and social media pages since 2009.
Texas Department of Transportation
Our Native Star Award is given to an organization or agency for a specific act of conservation or public service. The Nancy Benedict Memorial Award recognizes an individual for specific acts of conservation or public service in the field of Texas native plants. The awards were presented to Texas Department of Transportation and Kay Jenkins respectively in recognition of their effort to create Monarch Waystations at safety rest areas along Interstate 35. Read more about the project and the awards here.
Recipients of the memorial awards were chosen by a committee consisting of Betsy Farris, Ruth Loper, Joan Miller, Rhoda Poenisch, and Cecil Carter. Many of the awards are named in honor of early members of the Society. Each year since 1988 awards have been presented at a banquet following our traditional fall symposium. Learn about previous winners here.
Since 1993 the Benny J Simpson Fellows Awards have been awarded by vote of the members of the Society for service and work for the enrichment of the Society. This year our members voted for Gailon Hardin, Dawn Hancock and Bill Hopkins.
All three are former members of the state board. Gailon is a former president of the Society and Dawn is a former vice president for education. Both are active in the North Central Chapter. Bill is a former president and state webmaster who is a member of both the Cross Timbers Chapter and the North Central Chapter, and was previously a member of the Dallas Chapter.
Linda Knowles also announced the Clear Lake Chapter to be the Chapter of the Year, citing their remarkable success at member recruitment. After only one year in existence the chapter already has over 100 members.
Outgoing president Linda Knowles presented framed President Award certificates to Lisa Tuck, Vickie Pullen, and Betsy Farris in recognition for their help in putting together the Fall Symposium at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. The four-day event featured speakers, field trips and more around the theme of Challenges of the Pineywoods. A silent auction raised over $2700 for our scholarship and grants program.