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Conservation Team

The Wildflower Center's plant conservation staff has extensive knowledge of native ecosystems and landscapes and Texas conservation issues.

Conservation Team: Minnette Marr, Justin Bush, Karen Clary and Damon Waitt.

Damon Waitt, Ph.D.

Dr. Waitt is Senior Director and Botanist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Waitt serves as the Wildflower Center's botanical authority and is the author of the Center's Native Plant Information Network. Waitt holds a Ph.D. in Botany from The University of Texas at Austin where he studied the evolutionary ecology of Phlox drummondii, an M.S. in Botany from Louisiana State University Baton Rouge for work on sex ratio evolution in sedges and a B.S. from Tulane University.  Dr. Waitt serves as the principal investigator on several projects related to the Wildflower Center’s Pulling Together Invasive Species Initiative. Dr. Waitt serves on the Invasive Species Advisory Committee for the National Invasive Species Council, is founder and past president of the Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Council, past chair of the National Association of Exotic Pest Plant Councils, chair of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Advisory Committee, serves on the Texas Invasive Species Coordinating Committee Advisory Group and is past-president of the Texas Academy of Sciences.

Karen H. Clary, Ph.D.

Karen Clary is the Manager of Plant Conservation programs at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Clary provides programmatic oversight for all conservation programs and teaches “Native Plants” for the Center’s Go Native U programming. Dr. Clary holds a B.S. in Anthropology from Texas A & M University, College Station, an M.S. in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and a Ph.D. in Botany from The University of Texas at Austin, where she studied speciation patterns, biogeography and taxonomy of Yucca L. Prior to coming to the Wildflower Center, Clary served as a Wildlife Habitat Resource Assessment Biologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin. She worked with public and private partnerships to promote wildlife conservation through use of environmentally friendly best practices on development projects. She was also the Lead Biologist for the Environmental Affairs Division at the Texas Department of Transportation, Austin, where she oversaw the agency's endangered plant conservation program. Clary is a Research Affiliate with The University of Texas at Austin, Plant Resources Center (Herbarium) and served as a contributor and scientific reviewer for the Flora of North America (Agave Family), Missouri Botanical Garden.

Minnette Marr, M.S.

Minnette Marr holds an M.S. in Science Education from Texas Woman’s University (1991) and an M.S. in Biology from Texas State University – San Marcos (2002).  Before joining the Conservation Department of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, she managed the Wetlands Restoration Nursery in the headwaters of the San Marcos River and monitored invasive plant species in East Texas forests.  As a plant conservationist, she collaborates with land managers and citizen scientists to collect seeds of native species for regional in situ restoration projects and national and international ex situ conservation programs.

Justin Bush

Justin is the Plant Conservation program's Invasive Species Coordinator and holds a BA in Geography from Central Washington University. As Invasive Species Program Coordinator for Skamania County, he managed the Noxious Weed Control Program, working on aquatic and terrestrial invasive species control and habitat restoration projects. Justin also coordinated and managed the invasive species inventory and treatment information for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, working with volunteers and cooperating agencies. Besides serving as Invasive Species Program Coordinator, Justin is our GIS specialist and logistician for the National Park Service Vegetation Mapping Projects.
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