Morris Arboretum's Ann Fowler Rhoads Honored With 2014 Meigs Award

On Saturday, September 27, at the inaugural University of Nature conference, the Schuylkill Center will present its highest honor, the Henry Meigs Environmental Leadership Award, to botanist Ann Fowler Rhoads, one of the region’s most distinguished scientists.

Recently retired after a 36-year career at the Morris Arboretum, Dr. Rhoads is a legend among the region’s ecological scientists. A botany professor at Penn, she is co-author with Tim Block of several seminal books, including The Plants of Pennsylvania, the Bible of our state’s plant life, published in 2007. She has been conducting research on Pennsylvania plants to determine the status of rare and endangered species, to track invasive non-natives, and to document changes in the state’s plant community. Over the last 40 years, Ann has inventoried the plant communities of counties, state parks, and innumerable lakes and streams.

Ann is a woman with a driving passion for botany that began with family trips to the woods to see spring wildflowers and ultimately led her to earning a PhD in botany from Rutgers in 1976 (a time when women were scarce in academia, especially science departments). Through tireless documentation, a specimen collection of 14,000 plants, and sharing her discoveries and expertise in books and articles, she has significantly advanced our understanding of Pennsylvania plant communities.

The award is named in memory of Henry Meigs, one of the Schuylkill Center’s founders. Dr. Rhoads is the ninth winner of the award. Past awardees include Governor Ed Rendell (2007), SCEE luminaries John and Cindy Affleck (2008) and Bill Walkup (2010), Clean Air Council’s Joe Minott (2012), and pioneering aquatic ecologist Thomas Dolan IV (2013).

Dr. Rhoads will be presented the award on the morning of Saturday, September 27 as the kickoff of University of Nature – the Schuylkill Center’s new day-long adult learning event. Dr. Rhoads will lead a walking workshop on the future of Pennsylvania’s forests. For more information about University of Nature, and how you can attend Dr. Rhoads’ workshop and others, see the Schuylkill Center’s website at


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