Tuesday, July 24, 2012

USFWS Recovery Champion Award Ceremony

By Susan Spackman Panjabi, CNHP Senior Botanist

From left to right: Brian Kurzel (CNAP), Betsy Neely (TNC), Susan Spackman Panjabi (CNHP), and Jenny Neal (DBG), holding their USFWS Recovery Champion Award plaques and letters. Photo by David Anderson.

It was an honor to stand beside Betsy Neely (The Nature Conservancy), Jenny Neal (Denver Botanic Gardens), and Brian Kurzel (Colorado Natural Areas Program) and receive the USFWS Recovery Champion Award, presented to us on July 20. While the four of us were singled out to receive special plaques, the award acknowledges the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative (RPCI) as a whole, including all of the RPCI partners as well as our important accomplishments over the past five years. The award ceremony was well attended and took place at the Middle Park Important Plant Area, in view of two endangered plants, Astragalus osterhoutii (Osterhout's Kremmling milkvetch) and Penstemon penlandii (Middle Park penstemon, a.k.a. "Kremmling's first settlers"). This was a great opportunity to highlight RPCI's work across the state, share our successes with national and state level decision makers, and credit our local partners who are essential to meeting our goals.

Rare plant habitat on Bureau of Land Management and State lands comprising the Middle Park Important Plant Area, near the town of Kremmling, in Grand county, Colorado. Photo by David Anderson.

It was also a thrill to receive letters from Senator Mark Udall and USFWS Deputy Director for Policy Gregory Siekaniec thanking me for my work with the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative and CNHP. Thank you to everyone who made the achievement of this award possible.

Astragalus osterhoutii (top) and Penstemon penlandii. The plants, while in abundance around the award ceremony, were not actually blooming at the time. So here are a couple of pictures taken in June a few years back. Photos by Susan Spackman Panjabi.

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