Section Awards

Outstanding Achievement
2009 Recipient:  Paula Maywald

Paula Maywald

Paula Maywald has devoted much of her adult life to one overwhelming passion - native plant conservation in the Rio Grande Plains.

If you have ever been out in the field with this person, you will immediately catch her enthusiasm and passion for native plants - their restoration and management and conservation.

In a region of the state that had become renowned for expansive millions of acres of buffelgrass and other exotic grasses, this individual envisioned the return of the natives. She was the first director of South Texas Natives, and when the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute hired her, they could not have chosen a better person. South Texas Natives is an innovative partnership of landowners, seed dealers, conservation organizations, oil and gas companies and government agencies. The purpose was simple - to make native seed available to commercial seed producers who would in turn make them available to landowners.

She built South Texas Natives from a novel idea into a renowned and successful program. She obtained significant funding. She built a team of collaborators, advisors and workers. She supervised the development of project infrastructure, including barns, seed processing facilities, greenhouse, irrigation system and land development.

She has given countless educational programs to landowners, agencies and the public about the need for native plant restoration.

With almost no personnel, she worked with 4H and FFA clubs, and Scout groups, teaching them how to identify native plants and collect seed. She has directed more than 1700 native seed collections. To date, South Texas Natives has been instrumental in the commercial release of 11 species of native grasses and forbs, with many others in various stages of testing and evaluation.

She has become known as the "Lady Bird Johnson of South Texas Native Plants." Her name is Paula Maywald, a woman of vision, tenacity, and integrity. Her former boss at CK, Fred Bryant sums it up: "For most of us, Paula lit the fire in us about South Texas native plants. She inspired all of us, landowners, agency personnel, and scientist alike"

 

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