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Press Releases

The communications office of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin provides media with timely, accurate information about the Wildflower Center. Below are recent press releases related to Center events and to staff expertise on conservation practices, native plant gardening, nature education, and native plant resources and research findings. For more information or photos beyond those on the newsroom site, please contact:

    Media Manager
Barbra Rodriguez

September 6, 2011

Fallen Firefighters Commemoration

What: A remembrance ceremony and tree planting will be held at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin to honor firefighters who died fighting Texas wildfires in 2011. Free center admission applies that morning.

When: 10 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Sept. 10. The families of two fallen Texas firefighters and a fallen Idaho firefighter will participate in a 10 a.m. memorial ceremony followed by an 11 a.m. processional to the Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum. Free admission occurs from 9 a.m. to noon thanks to the sponsorship of South Texas Money Management, Ltd (STMM).

Where: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. The tree planting led by the Austin Fire Department Honor Guard will occur in the developing Texas Arboretum.

Background: In memory of first responders who died on 9/11 and firefighters who died this year fighting Texas wildfires, the Wildflower Center is hosting a commemorative ceremony and tree planting the morning of Saturday, Sept. 10.

  • 10 a.m. Opening by Austin Fire Department’s Pipes & Drum and posting of colors by their Honor Guard. Gregory Thomas, Boy Scout Troup 3 in Austin, leads the Pledge of Allegiance. Lisa Ivie Miller, STMM government relations and education director, speaks as the mistress of ceremonies. Buda’s and Manchaca’s Fire Department Chaplain Bill Zilar provides an invocation.
  • 10:20 a.m. Susan Rieff, Wildflower Center executive director, welcomes visitors, followed by greetings from Austin Fire Department Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr, and Helen Johnson, chair, the board of visitors for the National Fire Academy.
  • 10:35 a.m. Thomas G. Boggus, Texas Forest Service director, speaks about the 2011 wildfire season.
  • 10:45 a.m. Gifts will be presented to the families of the fallen firefighters by Della Williams, WPI Firefighters’ Fund founder and president. Family members will be in attendance in honor of Caleb Hamm (Boise, Idaho), Elias Macias (Cactus, Texas), and Greg Simmons (Eastland, Texas).
  • 11 a.m. Processional for one-quarter mile to the Texas Arboretum, where April Rose, executive director of TreeFolks, speaks and oversees the planting of a Texas mountain laurel in honor of fallen firefighters, followed by an 11:45 benediction by Chaplain Zilar.

Sponsors: This event is sponsored by South Texas Money Management, Ltd., in conjunction with the Texas Forest Service, TreeFolks and the WPI Firefighters’ Fund. Additional support was provided by the Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force. Full event details are at http://www.wildflower.org/2011FirefightersCeremony/.

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