WNPS has two awards that are intended to be given annually by the WNPS State Board of Directors: the WNPS Mentzelia Award and the WNPS Outstanding Partner Award. Awards are presented annually at the Study Weekend event.
2018 WNPS Mentzelia Award: Bill Brookreson
Bill Brookreson at Davis Canyon.
The 2018 WNPS Mentzelia Award is presented to a WNPS member who has made a significant contribution to native plant conservation, research or education in Washington State.
This year's Mentzelia Award winner is Bill Brookreson!
The nomination letter to the board starts by saying that "Bill dedicates significant time to WNPS—too much by his own admission—with many benefits to the organization..." Here is a short list of his accomplishments:
- Bill has served as chair of the South Sound Chapter for four years and the chapter has thrived under his leadership.
- Bill and the South Sound Chapter teamed up with the Suksdorfia Chapter to organize this Study Weekend.
- Bill supports local organizations, school groups, and partners in providing plant walks and talks around the South Sound on a regular basis.
- He served as chair of the Stewardship Steering Committee, where he has promoted the pilot program concept, hired a stewardship contractor, and aided as needed to ensure that new programs were successful.
- Bill also served on the WNPS's Human Resources Committee and the Financial Advisory Committee.
- Bill continues to work as a Master Native Plant Steward, spending time monthly at "Dead Horse Canyon" in Lakeridge Park in Southeast Seattle, where he has volunteered an amazing number of hours in service to the community and WNPS, recorded in the thousands to date.
Here are a few words of appreciation from Peter Mason, a fellow Native Plant Steward at Deadhorse Canyon:
- I've always enjoyed volunteering with Bill because of his sense of humor and his vast knowledge. One minute we're talking about some exotic new invasive plant like Italian Arum, the next minute the conversation has zoomed off to the interesting characteristics of various Russian czars! That sort of thing keeps me on my toes!
- Bill is unfailingly kind and patient with the volunteers whom he manages, so he's been a very good role model for me.
- Bill is so modest and unassuming it took me a long time to realize that he worked at a high level in Washington state government.
Bill was an ideal candidate for the Mentzelia Award.He has certainly been a "blazing star" at the Washington Native Plant Society.
2018 WNPS Outstanding Partner Award: Dr. Sarah Reichard
Dr. Sarah Reichard in the field.
The 2018 WNPS Outstanding Partner Award is presented to an agency, organization, or individual which has made significant contributions to native plant conservation, research or education in Washington.
This award is being given posthumously to Dr. Sarah Reichard, who passed away unexpectedly in 2016, while leading a botanical tour in South Africa.
While Sarah was a long-time member of WNPS, she contributed to native plant conservation, research and education primarily through her work at the University of Washington. She received her BS, MS, and PHD degrees at UW. She was a faculty member of the UW's School of Environmental and Forest Resources from 1997 to 2016, and also served as Director of University of Washington Botanic Gardens from 2011-2016.
Originally, Sarah's Master's research looked at the horticultural potential of Chilean plants in the Pacific Northwest, but she started worrying that she could introduce the next "Scotch broom." Therefore, she changed direction and wrote her Ph.D. thesis on "Assessing the potential of invasiveness in woody plants introduced to North America" and went on to become "a noted scholar in plant conservation and invasive ecology."
Sarah had a long list of professional accomplishments:
- She "…found time to mentor young women entering plant conservation and research fields, a role that many of her former students cite as pivotal to their professional success."
- She was dedicated to educating children on the importance of nature in their lives and used her position to expand UW Botanic Gardens' role in K-12 education, including establishing the hugely successful Fiddleheads Forest School.
- And in one of her most important accomplishments, she founded and served as director of Rare Care, whose citizen science-based model is nationally recognized for its pivotal role in monitoring Washington state's threatened and endangered plant species.
We were honored that Sarah's husband, Brian Reichard, accepted this award on her behalf at Study Weekend 2018.
Thank you for joining us Brian!