Bring it on! Last Saturday, I was asked to introduce one of two Conservation Awards given out at the North American Native Plant Society’s Annual General Meeting. Our own Carole Sevilla Brown was a recipient of this award because she embraces native ecosystems and their place in our gardens.
I wanted to share with you my introductory speech which was an attempt to describe her tremendous efforts and the effect she has had on many of us:
The NANPS Founders Conservation Award (formerly Paul McGaw Memorial Conservation Award) recognizes an individual or groups’ extraordinary contribution to the conservation, protection or restoration of the natural heritage/native flora of North America at the community, regional, provincial, national or continental level.
The North American Native Plant Society recognizes that an individual or group’s contribution to the conservation/protection/restoration of native North American flora and natural heritage can take many forms, and therefore accomplishments honoured through the awards may include or be related to associated fields such as art, science, education, photography, literature, politics, or cultivation.
This year’s recipient embodies most of or even all of the associated fields, but perhaps under the main category – EDUCATION.
In the past, we’ve given awards for education, but it has been about the content. In this case, it is not just the content but the mode of dissemination. You could call it a Marshal McLuhan moment and NANPS is part of it – we all are.
Marshal McLuhan, a well-known, Canadian philosopher of communication theory was known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and the “global village”, and for predicting the “World Wide Web” over fifty years before it was invented. He had noted that it was the medium itself that shaped and controlled “the scale and form of human association and action”.
With the Internet, it is the reach; the potential to reach more eyeballs…and we don’t have to be a subscriber, just a “surfer” (another term McLuhan coined). We don’t even have to be totally engaged, initially – just interested.
The medium is taking us to places we haven’t dreamed before; making us question more, search more (Google more).
And I would argue with McLuhan, content can be as important as the medium. We are not just being entertained, we are learning. We are using the internet to get to the truth, faster.
This year’s recipient of the NANPS Founders Conservation Award is Carole Sevilla Brown for Educational Outreach through her website Ecosystem Gardening.
Carole uses the Internet to great effect. She runs websites/blogsites including sites with teams of writers. Besides the team blogs for which she also writes, she has two personal blogs: Carole Sevilla Brown and Tech Birder, a weekly newsletter: Wren Song which is an overview of the latest happenings, and an online workshop series: Ecosystem Gardening Essentials (which is a 15 course meal in itself).
Not only does she inform but she educates through social media and by heavily promoting posts from the blogs and other items of interest on Twitter and Facebook (such as the big fiasco of National Wildlife Federation’s affiliation with Scott’s tainted bird seed).
Carole Sevilla Brown and all that she does is a good “fit” with NANPS’ own mission and philosophy.
She is advocating individual responsibility along the lines of making an effort to reduce our individual footprint by reducing our consumption of energy, goods and space.
She has embraced Doug Tallamy’s call for Bringing Nature Home; his call to grow native plants to feed our native insects, birds and other animals; to create viable ecosystems in our own gardens.
This is empowering! We’re (re)creating rather than destroying! It’s a positive versus a negative, for a change.
She calls herself the Ecosystem Gardener. In her own words she expresses:
“I firmly believe that conservation begins in your own backyard, and I’m passionate about teaching people to become stewards of their properties.”
She is always imploring us to join in on the conversation. We should be engaged, if we aren’t.
Unfortunately, Carole was unable to attend the meeting much to the dismay of several fans, but she graciously assembled a slide show and audio clips to put a face and a voice to this incredible woman.
Afterwards, she quickly put together a post to describe her experience: Winning the North American Native Plant Society 2013 Conservation Award.
Thank you Carole, for all you do! I’m in awe of your personal journey that brought you here. I’m so glad that you’ve arrived. CONGRATULATIONS!
Originally published October 26, 2013 on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens