Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
Letter from the Director - Fall 2004Since her earliest declarations about preserving the American landscape and the importance of natural beauty in our lives, Lady Bird Johnson has provided us with powerful words that changed the way we look at the natural world. As I embark on this new challenge of leading the Wildflower Center, I'm reminded of one of her most repeated quotes:
One of the happiest things that can befall us is to love the land we live in.
I first learned to admire Mrs. Johnson's dedication to our natural environment and her vision for a healthier, more beautiful American landscape as a graduate student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. In the 20-plus years since then, I've had the remarkable good fortune to serve in a number of professional roles - in Texas and in Washington - dedicated to protecting natural resources and wildlife on the land I love. Most recently, I directed land stewardship programs for the National Wildlife Federation. Former Wildflower Center Executive Director Robert Breunig and I created a formal partnership between the Federation and the Center to spread the word about the importance of native plants for wildlife.
Increasing the Center's capacity to promote native plant conservation to a national audience is critically important. One of our most important tools for spreading the mission is Native Plants magazine. I have watched the magazine grow, change, and improve during the past two years, and I hope you enjoy every issue as much as I do. I will be working closely with our editor Chris Kosta and other members of the Wildflower Center staff to bring you articles and information that are inspiring, informative, and useful.
A major focus for the Wildflower Center over the next year will be development of a new master plan for our gardens and natural areas that will guide both the redesign and major expansion of the gardens. This planning effort, which is made possible by the generous support of the Houston Endowment, will benefit from the involvement of the University of Texas' School of Architecture. Dr. Fritz Steiner, dean of the School of Architecture and member of the Wildflower Center's Board of Directors, will serve with me as co-director on the project. The work will be facilitated by Gary Smith, a nationally known landscape architect, and faculty member in the landscape architecture program at UT. Our goal is to make the Wildflower Center's gardens the best possible expression of our mission, and to provide a model for other botanical gardens desiring to showcase the native plants of their eco-region. I look forward to sharing more details about our work in the coming months.
I hope that in my new role I will have the opportunity to get to know our membership, as it is so vital to the success of the Wildflower Center. As we continue to promote Mrs. Johnson's vision and build enthusiasm for conserving native plants and landscapes, I thank you for your continued support.