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American Horticultural Society Honors Public Garden Staff

Alexandria, VA. The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is pleased to announce three recipients of prestigious awards hailing from the public garden industry. These individuals will be honored on Thursday, June 8, 2017, during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet, held at the Society’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The recipients are Lee Coykendall (U.S. Botanic Garden), Julian Duval (San Diego Botanic Garden), and William McNamara (Quarryhill Botanic Garden).

Lee Coykendall has been named the 2017 recipients of the Society’s Jane L. Taylor Award, given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. The award is one of the Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American horticulture. Each of the recipients has contributed significantly to fields such as scientific research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, teaching, and conservation.

Coykendall is the children’s education specialist at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where she has been introducing kids to the importance and wonder of the plant world for 20 years. Her infectious passion for plants infuses the innovative lessons she designs and teaches to children of all ages. She also conducts professional development programs for teachers to help them engage their students in plant-based learning. One of Coykendall’s creations is HOPS (Hands On Plant Science), an immersive environmental science program she launched 10 years ago as a resource for underserved youth in the Washington, D.C., community and their teachers.

Julian Duval has been named the 2017 recipient of the Society’s Professional Award, given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture. The award is one of the Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American gardening. Each of the recipients has contributed significantly to fields such as scientific research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, teaching, and conservation.

Duval is president and CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, California. Over his 20-year tenure there, he has led its transformation from a struggling county-run garden with depleted financial reserves into the successful nonprofit organization it is today. This has included enhancing its educational programs and creating the largest children’s garden on the West Coast. He received the Horticulturist of the Year Award from the San Diego Horticultural Society in 2014.

Prior to this position, Duval helped establish the Indianapolis Zoo at a new location, where he championed efforts to make the zoo’s three-acre garden an accredited botanical garden. In the process, he became a pioneer in advocating for the growing role of zoos in conservation and horticulture.

William McNamara has been named the 2017 recipient of the Society’s most prestigious award, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award. The award is one of the Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American horticulture. The Liberty Hyde Bailey Award is given to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business, and leadership.

McNamara has devoted his career to discovering, researching, protecting, and promoting plants in North America and abroad. Much of this work has been through his various roles at Quarryhill Botanical Garden, a private research garden in Glen Ellen, California, that specializes in plants from temperate East Asia. In 1987, he became an assistant director there. He become a director in 1994, and today he is its executive director and president. McNamara also returned to school to earn a Masters degree in conservation biology at Sonoma State University in 2005.

McNamara’s wide-ranging professional affiliations include serving as vice president of the Western United States region of the International Dendrology Society and as an international advisor for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine,  published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In addition to sharing his horticultural knowledge through frequent presentations throughout the country, he regularly contributes to scientific journals, plant society publications, and other periodicals.

In recognition of his many achievements in horticulture and plant conservation, McNamara has received the Garden Club of America’s Eloise Payne Luquer Medal, the Scott Medal and Award from the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, the National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence, and the Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.

For full descriptions of each award and brief biographies of this year’s recipients, please visit www.ahsgardening.org/awards.

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The American Horticultural Society (AHS), founded in 1922, is an educational, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that recognizes and promotes excellence in American horticulture. One of the oldest and most prestigious gardening organizations, AHS is dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Its mission is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and science of horticulture; and to lead this effort by sharing the Society’s unique national resources with all Americans.