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Plant Focus

Quercus peninsularis
A Red Oak (Section Lobatae) endemic to inland ranges of northern Baja California, Mexico

2022 IOS Service Awards Presented at the 10th IOS Conference in Las Cruces


During the Gala Dinner at previous IOS Conferences, the IOS Service Awards were announced, and one of the great pleasures for those present was to see the surprise and delight on the faces of the awardees, who by tradition had not been notified in advance. However, this year circumstances forced a change in this procedure, as only one of a geographically diverse group of recipients was able to attend the Las Cruces Conference; additionally for the first time a posthumous award was made. Instead, the awardees were informed, and encouraged to send a message of acceptance to be read out by an attendee of their choosing.

As usual the awards were of two types: the Lifetime Service Award and the Special Service Award, and take the covetable form of a plaque detailing the award, which is attached to a tablet of wood provided by Guy Sternberg and cut from one of the last known Native American marker oaks after it fell over.

Eike Jablonski Award presented by Shaun Haddock received by Guy Sternberg
As most recipients of the 2022 IOS Service Awards were sadly unable to attend the Conference, they were received in their name by someone they nominated.
Here former IOS President Guy Sternberg receives Eike Jablonski's Lifetime Service Award, presented by Shaun Haddock. ©
 Julianne Skai Arbor 

Below are the names of this year's recipients of five Special Service Awards and three Lifetime Service Awards, with a brief paragraph outlining the reasons for each award, written by the IOS member who nominated each candidate.

Special Service Award: David Cranwell

David established The Himalayan Oak Trust in 1994 after he saw first-hand the plight of the Himalayan oak in North West India. The Trust is financed mostly by the sale of Quercus leucotrichophora seedlings that David propagates himself. The Trust supports the regeneration of Himalayan oak in the lower Himalayas, Northwest India, as well as other community projects there, including support for a school, water conservation, and rejuvenation projects involving local communities, particularly women. David propagates and sells thousands of seedlings each year. David has also promoted the planting of Himalayan oaks all over New Zealand, both as ornamental trees and as windbreaks and remedies for soil erosion. He is currently investigating timber potential and truffle production on inoculated seedlings of Q. leucotrichophora, with royalties going to the Trust.

Roderick Cameron

David Cranwell
David Cranwell with Himalayan evergreen oak in bloom © Tim Whitaker

Special Service Award: Janet Cobb

Janet, Director of the California Wildlife Foundation, formerly the California Oak Foundation, has worked tirelessly over the last 25 years in preserving oak woodland habitat in the State of California by using her position and funds she has raised to preserve wild oak habitat. She has been a staunch defender of preserving wild oak woodland everywhere and used her influence to convince County Boards of Supervisors, Cities, and State agencies to back appropriate conservation measures while limiting commercial development that would otherwise have destroyed thousands of acres of oak woodland.

Ron Russo

Janet Cobb
Janet Cobb amidst blue oaks (Quercus douglasii} in San Luis Obispo County, California © Robert F. Lawrence, Paso Robles, Calif.

Special Service Award: Jeannine Cavender-Bares

Jeannine has been a member of the IOS since 2014. As an ecologist she has contributed enormously in applying phylogenetic data and methods to understanding oak-community ecology and the dynamic evolutionary relationships that exist within the trio genotype-phenotype-environment, including her seminal 2004 paper on phylogenetic overdispersion in Floridian oak communities. Jeannine led a study on the role of diversification in community assembly of the oaks across North America and was a senior author on a study on the sympatric parallel diversification of major oak clades in the Americas and the origins of Mexican species diversity, both published in 2018. She has authored a number of other major publications that have transformed our understanding of the genus Quercus.

Béatrice Chassé

Jeannine Cavender-Bares
Jeannine Cavender-Bares in Black Canyon National Park, Colorado, with Quercus gambelii © Danielle Cavender Heskett

Special Service Award: Min Deng

Through her research over the years, Min, with her passion for oaks and expertise in many areas including comparative plant anatomy and plant genetics, has contributed significantly to resolving taxonomic issues in Asian oaks and to our understanding of the evolutionary relationships between different sections of the genus. Recent examples include elucidating the East Asian origins of European section Ilex oaks, understanding the role of Pleistocene land bridges in flora assemblages, and investigating the spatial genetic patterns and distribution dynamics of rare oaks.

Béatrice Chassé

Men Degn
Min Deng - Source: Research Gate

Special Service Award: Roderick Cameron

Roderick was catapulted into the world of oaks in 2008 by the tragic death of his parents in a road accident, and today he remains curator of Grigadale, the family arboretum in Argentina, whilst at the same time planting his own arboretum near his home in Uruguay. A learning curve steep enough to approach the vertical enabled him to join the IOS Board, becoming Vice President in 2018, and he has worked tirelessly to improve the Society’s interface with members and the public: as Website Editor he has greatly enhanced the user-friendliness of the site and created the e-bulletin The Cupule to increase the frequency of communications; he is joint editor of the newsletter Oak News & Notes for which he provides much material; and he does sterling work on several internal committees. In short, he has raised our game. In addition, he is working with Allen Coombes on the Quercus section of the important IDS Trees and Shrubs Online project, a Herculean task.

Shaun Haddock

Roderick Cameron Oak Creek Canyon
Roderick Cameron at Mogollon Rim, Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona on the 2022 Post-Conference Tour © Claudio Pedró

Lifetime Service Award: Eike Jablonski

Truth can be stranger than fiction: which IOS ex-President and ex-Board member has eavesdropped on East German and Russian radio messages from a boat in the Baltic; been wrongfully arrested in Scotland; erected dingo fencing in Australia; worked in Nepal and infiltrated hard-to-access Sikkim; before finally emerging as a Professor at the Lycée Technique Agricole in Luxembourg? The answer, of course, is polyglot Eike Jablonski. Eike, a member since 1992, continues to travel to botanical hotspots during his vacations to enlarge his already unrivaled knowledge of oaks and other trees, which has led to several publications, for example on the oaks of Cyprus, and, in International Oaks No. 10, on the little-known oaks of Borneo and Java. This knowledge continues to be freely shared with the Society in the Taxonomy Committee and as the ICRA co-registrar with Ryan Russell of oak cultivars. Eike assumed the latter role after the unfortunate death of Piers Trehane in 2011, and has been far from idle: he is the sole author of 94 oak cultivars, and the joint author of a further 57. He also finds time to be the President of the German Dendrology Society (Deutsche Dendrologische Gesselenschaft).

Shaun Haddock & Ryan Russell

Eike Jablonski
Eike Jablonski in his arboretum with Quercus buckleyi in the background, collected in Texas during the 2006 IOS Conference  © Carmen Jablonski

Lifetime Service Award: Jean-Louis Hélardot

Jean-Louis has been a member of the IOS since 2008, and as many IOS members know, he is the man behind Oaks of the World. He started this database on index cards, quite some time before home computers were common. Many years later, when his daughter insisted that he make this valuable work available to others by putting it online, he created the website that many of us know. It has evolved much since then, the most recent very valuable addition being a link for each species protologue. For the past few decades he has been devoted to this project and has also created an interesting oak collection, with a remarkable number of taxa planted on less than 3 hectares. He cares for it almost single-handedly, though he is not far from being 80 years old and has in addition developed a hobby for grafting oaks.

Béatrice Chassé

Jean-Louis Helardot
Jean-Louis Hélardot and Quercus aff. miquihuanensis at the Arboretum du Passadou © Béatrice Chassé

Lifetime Service Award: Michael Avishai

Michael created at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens the largest oak collection in Israel, with 72 different species. Many of these are rare in cultivation, and some were introduced to streets, parks, and gardens in Israel. After emigrating from Czechoslovakia to Israel, he helped establish the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, and completed a Master’s Degree in botany on the geography and distribution of Middle Eastern oaks. He was a member of the IOS from the early days and contributed seed of many oaks from his region to seed exchanges at Oak Open Days and Conferences. His research has increased our knowledge of Middle Eastern oaks, and he contributed articles to our Journal and newsletter, as well as serving on our Taxonomy Committee. Michael died in 2018, and in recognition of his life’s work furthering our knowledge of oaks, the IOS Board decided to present Michael a posthumous Lifetime Service Award.

Roderick Cameron

Michael Avishai
Michael Avishai examining a Quercus pedunculiflora in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens @ Ori Fragman-Sapir