Reznicek honored with Michigan Botanical Club Lifetime Achievement Award
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
In recognition of Dr. Tony Reznicek’s countless contributions to the understanding of Michigan plants and ecology and the Great Lakes Region, the Michigan Botanical Club has bestowed their Lifetime Achievement Award upon him.
Prompted partly by the release of the updated Field Manual of Michigan Flora, the award further recognizes Reznicek’s many other scientific contributions. Reznicek is a research scientist and the curator of vascular plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium. His local chapter contributions provide an MBC context and a starting point for his broader scope and scientific contributions, which is what this award is about.
Reznicek’s very visible and countless less visible contributions to the MBC and the Huron Valley Chapter have spanned several decades. In recognition of those contributions, he received the Distinguished Service Award in 1990 and he continues those efforts.
That award honored Reznicek’s diverse services to conservation and public botanical education at the local and regional levels, too diverse and numerous to list. “His contributions are usually low-profile, and I know of them only because I have often been directly involved,” said Larry Noodén, president, Huron Valley Chapter, Michigan Botanical Club and professor emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, U-M. “Locally, he has served on the advisory boards for natural areas acquisition for Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor Parks, and he has helped all of the local conservancies in various ways. Regionally, Tony was a key player in opposing environmentally destructive plans by the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) park system, and he worked constructively to help them to understand and value their natural area holdings.”
Reznicek’s contributions at the state and greater regional levels are recognized by the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Again, his contributions are mostly low-public-profile; however, he is generally acknowledged as the ‘Supreme Court’ on endangered species and plant ecological issues,” said Noodén. “He has served on (and chaired) the Michigan technical advisory committee on threatened and endangered species. He was instrumental in developing the Floristic Quality index and its applications in Michigan, including assignments of coefficients of conservatism for species in our flora. He served on the state board of The Nature Conservancy and in many capacities with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the state Forest Service and the National Forest Service. He has given many training courses for the staff in these agencies.”
Perhaps most significantly for the Lifetime Achievement Award, Reznicek has researched extensively and published numerous papers on plant systematics (especially the sedges) and natural history relating to Michigan and the Great Lakes region, according to Noodén.
“His recent completion of the new version of the Field Manual of Michigan Flora, with some complex nomenclatural changes, represents a career apex.” Michigan Flora is online and the book is available through The University of Michigan Press. “This is an enormous contribution to the field. In addition, Tony has made great contributions to sedge systematics worldwide, particularly in Latin America, and as an editor and one of the main contributors to the Flora North America sedge volume, and he brings this expertise home to Michigan. These efforts help the MBC’s prime mission activities and conservation and ecological activities statewide. He is also a curator in the U-M Herbarium and all these various activities also serve to strengthen the Herbarium.
“Although lifetime achievement connotes late career recognition, we hope this is more like a mid-career recognition and that he will surpass these contributions. Prior recipients Ed Voss, Herb Wagner and Fred Case set the bar very high for this award, but Tony’s achievements have reached this level.”
Voss was professor emeritus of U-M EEB and curator emeritus of vascular plants at the University Herbarium. Wagner was professor emeritus of U-M EEB and Case received his undergraduate and master’s degrees (botany) from U-M and was a research associate at the U-M Herbarium and Matthaei Botanical Gardens.
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