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Pages from Gert's book
It was a great pleasure for me to be able to write about my...
Gert Fortgens | Feb 15, 2024
Quercus marlipoensis acorns
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Plant Focus

For this Species Spotlight we train our follow spot on an oak that is quite a star of the quercine scene: Quercus hypoleucoides (stage name...

2018 IOS Service Awards

As is tradition every Triennial Conference, IOS Service Awards were presented at the 2018 Conference Gala Dinner, held on this occasion at the Sacramento Library Galleria. 

Service Awards honor individuals (non-members as well as members of the Society) who have made significant contributions to the Society and/or the advancement of its goals.

There are two categories of awards: 

  1. Lifetime Service Award: this award is given to individuals who over a lifetime have contributed to the advancement of our knowledge of oaks and/or to the Society and its goals. 
  2. Special Service Award: this award is given to individuals who contributed particular services to the International Oak Society or the advancement of the knowledge of oaks. 

Below are the names of this year's recipients of four Special Service Awards and a Lifetime Service Award, with a brief paragraph outlining the reasons for each award, written by the Board members who nominated each candidate.

The IOS Service Awards consisted of plaques made from 'Pathfinder', the last know trail-marker oak in Illinois © Andrew Hipp

Special Service Award: Andrew Hipp

For the past two decades Andrew has been a more-than-significant contributor to our new understanding of the phylogeny of the genus Quercus (as a quick search through any of the major journals in the field will show). Even when he devoted more time to sedges, oaks were always sneaking through his work. The Oaks of the Americas project was (and still is) largely led by him and his team at The Morton Arboretum. His active participation in the IOS has made oak phylogeny more accessible and interesting to many amongst us. Member of the IOS since 2006, and member of the Taxonomy Committee since 2012, he has presented a paper at every Conference since then, except in 2015 when he was actively involved in organizing the 8th International Oak Society Conference at The Morton.

Béatrice Chassé

Andrew Hipp in full flow, presenting at the 2018 Conference © Roderick Cameron

Special Service Award: David Richardson

David Richardson successfully organized the 5th IOS Conference in Texas, and through his efforts and personal initiative the campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center is now an oak arboretum. Over the years David has shared oak seeds and plants with fellow members and arboreta around the world as well as excellent information and advice for whoever wants to visit the oaks of Texas. He took the time to develop relationships with mythical figures of the oak world like John Fairey and others no longer with us, like Benny Simpson, thus keeping their knowledge and experience alive for the future.

Béatrice Chassé

David Richardson next to a Quercus canbyi hybrid from Nuevo León, Mexico, outside his Dallas home ​​​​​​© Laura Richardson

Special Service Award: Michael Meléndrez

Michael was one of the early members of the IOS and attended the very first Conference at The Morton Arboretum. He has been a strong supporter of the IOS since then. He has attended all but one Conference and has presented at a couple as well. He organized the now legendary IOS Tour in the South West USA in 2001, which led to the introduction of a number of new species in Europe by Eike Jablonski and Thierry Lamant. He put in a lot of time and effort in 2016 and again in 2017 to organize and lead similar great oak tours in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Michael has promoted the use of oaks, especially native ones, in (sub)urban landscape through his nursery Trees That Please and his landscaping business. He also created a small arboretum in Los Lunas, New Mexico mostly devoted to oaks.

Ryan Russell & Charles Snyers

Michael Meléndrez at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument during the 2017 IOS New Mexico Tour © Charles Snyers

Charles Snyers d’Attenhoven, Special Service Award.

During his time on the IOS Board, most recently serving as President, Charles Snyers has worked unceasingly to upgrade the information technology presence of the IOS, and now our day-to-day operations such as membership subscriptions run smoothly and automatically. He has also overseen the upgrading of our website, the most recent advance of which now allows viewing on hand-held devices (an aspect considered essential in this age of the tablet and smartphone). At the same time, and perhaps because of his in-depth study of its systems, the breadth of his knowledge of the workings of the Society has become unsurpassed (and perhaps unsurpassable)—his wise and informed counsel will be sorely missed now he is taking a well-earned retirement from the Board.

Shaun Haddock

Charles Snyers on a bench in San Francisco © Didier Snyers

Lifetime Service Award: James Harris

James has been an active member of the IOS since the early years (1994) and has supported the promotion of oaks through his specialized Mallet Court Nursery in the UK. He has provided oaks to many collectors, and many major collections had their first oaks from him. Mallet Court plants were usually available as seedlings, in contrast to other sources which mostly offered grafted trees. The oaks he grew can be found throughout Europe and as far afield as Argentina. James has promoted the cultivation of oaks for over two decades, providing information through catalogs and attracting public attention at exhibitions, notably the 1995 Chelsea Flower Show where the Mallet Court Nursery stand featuring oaks won a Gold Medal.

Roderick Cameron

Lifetime Service Award recipient James Harris with Bonnie Berckes during the Post-Conference Tour © Charles Snyers