2023 MONPS Awards

Two people were recognized for their outstanding contributions to native plant conservation and education at the 2023 MONPS Annual Meeting on June 17:

Besa Schweitzer received the Erma Eisendrath Memorial Education Award. Besa’s recent book, The Wildflower Garden Planner has introduced many new gardeners in the St. Louis area to native plant landscaping and she has been educating on that topic for many years through the Facebook page she created, St. Louis Native Plant Swap, and her involvement with local chapters of Wild Ones and Missouri Master Naturalists. She was nominated by Susan Orr.

The Plant Conservation Award was given to Mike Reed for practicing and promoting the use of native aquatic and wetland plant species on MDC-managed impoundments and wetlands. Mike has worked as a Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologist for over 20 years. Early on, he worked with the likes of Jim Whitley and Becky Erickson to learn about propagating and establishing desirable native plants for fish, amphibians, wetland insects, and wetland bird species. Knowledge of the identification and culture of aquatic and obligate wetland plants is often lacking among native plant enthusiasts who typically deal just with upland species and/or facultative wetland species. Mike has pioneered the role of these aquatic and obligate wetland species in wetland reconstructions and pond enhancements for the benefit of both native fish and wildlife. He also has taught multiple MDC staff about the role and propagation of native aquatic and wetland plants. He was nominated for this award by Mike Leahy.

Thank you to the award recipients for their contributions and those who submitted nominations for their recognition!

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