Arcata Botanist Jennifer Wheeler Wins National Wildflower Conservation Award

Jennifer Wheeler, botanist with the BLM's Arcata Field Office, has received the Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers Award, a national honor recognizing her exemplary work conserving native plants through creativity, community involvement, volunteer programs and educational efforts. (text continues below)

Wheeler was commended for her efforts in a number of areas across the Arcata Field Office jurisdiction. Since the start of her BLM career in 1993, she has worked to preserve and protect plants considered “sensitive” by the BLM, and species already on the federal Endangered Species List. This includes native and rare plants. She has focused extensive efforts restoring native plant communities in sand dune ecosystems, where non-native beach grasses have threatened to overtake native plant populations.

She also coordinated the Humboldt-Del Norte Weed Management Area last year, helping to land a $60,000 grant that assisted nine partner agencies and their projects. She has coordinated public education efforts aimed at managing Scotch broom, a widespread invasive weed.

Of special note is Wheeler’s work in the 40-acre Samoa Plant Protection Area. This area is home to the most robust populations of Humboldt Bay wallflower on the Samoa Peninsula. These populations are under chronic threat of displacement by invasive weeds. An innovative approach has been use of nontoxic, biodegradable organic hot foam that instantly kills unwanted weeds with no damage to nearby desirable plants.

Wheeler has also coordinated projects at the South Spit, Humboldt Bay, where restoration projects are benefitting native plant communities, and restoring nesting habitat for the Western snowy plover, a threatened shorebird.

“Jennifer is innovative, efficient and effective in the field, and in finding ways to financially support projects,” said BLM Arcata Field Manager Lynda Roush. “She is a well-respected botanist and very deserving of this award.”

Jennifer Wheeler was profiled for News.bytes in 2003