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APSU’s Southeastern Grasslands Initiative to establish Texas Hub at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) and The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will advance their missions of landscape conservation and ecological restoration through a recently formalized partnership.

Austin Peay State University’s Southeastern Grasslands Initiative to work with The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. (APSU)
Austin Peay State University’s Southeastern Grasslands Initiative to work with The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. (APSU)

The two organizations officially signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding on November 18th, 2019 that will establish a presence for SGI in Eastern and Central Texas.

The agreement recognizes that coordination between SGI and the Wildflower Center can advance the conservation of southeastern U.S. grasslands (e.g. prairies, savannas, meadows, etc.).

Outcomes of the partnership are expected to include: 

  • A member of the Wildflower Center’s staff joining SGI’s Steering Committee and/or future board as well as SGI’s Scientific Advisory Committee.
  • A staff position or positions to be based out of the Wildflower Center to jointly represent SGI and the the Center.
  • The development of mutually beneficial proposals and grant applications.
  • Shared production of educational and outreach materials and activities.
  • Community-based grassland conservation teams based out of various cities in Central and East Texas.

“SGI’s work is critically important,” Patrick Newman, executive director of the Wildflower Center, said. “By aligning with one another, we hope to strengthen our common goals of conserving North America’s native plants and grassland ecosystems.”

Dwayne Estes, APSU professor and SGI director, responded by saying that “The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does an outstanding job of educating the public and implementing urban ecological restoration, both of which are critically important for the current age we live in. Their ongoing field research and strengths in volunteer/educational programs will also serve our collaborations in more traditional conservation efforts. Everyone at SGI looks forward to working with the Wildflower Center through a variety of events, promotions, and projects.” 

The SGI is a collaboration of leaders in international biodiversity conservation led by the APSU Center of Excellence for Field Biology, located in Clarksville, Tennessee.

SGI seeks to integrate research, consultation and education, along with the administration of grants, to create innovative solutions to address the multitude of complex issues facing Southeastern grasslands, the most imperiled ecosystems in eastern North America.

SGI’s focal region includes parts or all of 23 states in the southeastern United States. This forms an area of what is called the “biogeographic Southeast.” The northern boundary is formed by the southern limit of glaciation during the Ice Ages and the western boundary is the eastern edge of the Great Plains. For more information about SGI, visit their website at www.segrasslands.org.

The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the Botanic Garden of Texas. The Center promotes its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through its internationally recognized sustainable gardens, education and outreach programs, research projects, and consulting work.

For more information about the Center, visit their website at www.wildflower.org.

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