NANPS believes that it is important to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments,  large or small, of the people and groups that work toward our shared goal of restoring North America's native flora.  Please help us find those deserving of recognition!

NANPS currently offers three award categories, and we invite and encourage you to submit your nomination.

Please read the nomination guidelines, then send in your nomination by mail to:

NANPS Nomination Committee
PO Box 84, Station D
Etobicoke, ON M9A 4X1


or via these email links:

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Please refer the links below for awards criteria, lists of previous winners, and further details.

Richard Woolger Cultivation Award Winner

Richard Woolger Cultivation Award

2017 Award Winner
Karen Abrahams of Native Plants in Claremont

2015 Award Winner
Peter Fuller of Fuller Native & Rare Plants
for the cultivation and propagation of native plants sourced fro within his local community, and promoting a better awareness of native flora for biodiversity within an urban ecosystem. Peter spoke at our 2015 AGM about his nursery (six years in operation) and some of the techniques used in porpagation of native plants, and particularly how well some species respond to mycorrhizal inoculated seed mixes.

Prize-winning Property for Sale

MOUNT ARARAT FOR SALE:  The property which NANPS recognized with the Paul McGaw Memorial Conservation Award in  2012 is available for purchase.

Early Canadian author and botanist Catharine Parr Traill lived at and wrote about Mount Ararat during during her productive decade on the Rice Lake Plains. A century and a half later, Sharon Keogh and David Acomba have restored and stewarded this beautiful 60-acre heritage landscape with inspiration from her writing. Over the past fifteen years, they have reintroduced an array of native plants, shrubs and trees to the existing native flora; and have worked on controlling invasive species. 

Traill property view


Read more: Prize-winning Property for Sale

Volunteer of the Year Award

Volunteers are the lifeblood of every charitable organization -- especially those, like NANPS, that are operated entirely by volunteers.

It would be impossible to adequately express our thanks to each individual whose contributions make it possible for NANPS to continue.  Our insufficient response is to present an annual award to a single volunteer who stands in representation of the hundreds of other members who contribute so very much.

NANPS Garden Award Winners

2016 Award

Paul Nichols

Paul transformed a fairly typical Oakville suburban yard into a pollinator garden comprising around 450 different native plants. In so doing, many wonderful things happened, especially so for neighbourhood pollinators and birds who benefit greatly.

Paul said that his goal had been to "mimic a wide array of habitat types in my vicinity. Many of the plants are similar to those I see when I go for walks through the trails in my community, and I've made an effort to have a diverse range of native plants to support as much wildlife as possible. Much of this he is now passing along, "I use my newly learned expertise to start native gardens at the two schools I teach at, while tecahing my students about their importance."


2014 Awards

Angelique-Marie Mori for her commitment to maintain and restore the natural ecology of her Hamilton area property thus providing a suburban oasis for local native flora and fauna.


Alan Bell for his dedication to create an urban oasis for native plants and a viable habitat for pollinators and birds.


Paul Foster for his commitment to create an oasis for native plants and showcase an alternative to lawns and concrete in a busy urban environment.


2013 Award

The Peterborough GreenUP Ecology Park is a five-acre showcase of sustainable landscape ideas and resources that includes a host of display gardens and naturalized areas, a native plant nursery, children's programs, garden market, skill-building workshops and hands-on displays. The park includes everything one would need to be good steward of the land.

Ecology Park has its roots in Peterborough’s East City at the Rogers Street Community Garden. After a couple of years the garden outgrew the space as eager gardeners wanted to expand into growing trees and shrubs. The goal was to get Peterborough residents thinking not only about growing food for humans, but food for all living things and creating and protecting habitat at the same time. The City of Peterborough Parks Department offered the current five acre parcel of land in Beavermeade Park.  The original garden was moved to its current home in 1993, and has been flourishing ever since.

Peterborough GreenUpEcology Park Garden     Peterborough GreenUpEcology Park

2012 Awards

The Loretta Maryholme Spirituality Centre , Roches Point, Ontario  lies at the south end of Lake Simcoe.  Over the years, the Loretta sisters have undertaken numerous habitat restorations at this site, ranging from a protected naturalized shoreline, a pathway through the woods, various gardens and labyrinth, to a beautiful savannah resplendent with native grasses and wildflowers.  Their restoration work has become an important part of the Spirituality Centre.  Theirs is about honoring the land and creating a sacred space for all by way of conscious environmental practices and initiatives. Their goal is to "establish productive, sustainable ecosystems... which contribute to the area's biodiversity and ecology".

The award was accepted by Sister Mary Mallany who spearheads these initiatives, along with two very dedicated volunteers. 

Project Pawpaw  

Dan Bissonnette, program coordinator for the Naturalized Habitat Network, accepted the NANPS Garden Award for his work on raising the profile of the Pawpaw in Windsor and Essex County gardens.  By way of extensive outreach into the community, Dan was able to reintroduce this much neglected indigenous native tree back into local gardens as an environmentally sustainable food source. Community involvement and ongoing stewardship necessary for long term success evolved out of newly developed educational resources, events and activities.  Project Pawpaw has been very well received and has connected with over 150 participants.  Dan also created ”The Pawpaw Growers’ Manual for Ontario” to accompany and support both this and future pawpaw plantings.

2011 Awards

Saint Jean De Brebeuf Catholic Secondary School

Gerry Stephenson accepted the award on behalf of the school where he works and where an interior courtyard was converted into a native plant garden. Saint Jean De Brebeuf Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton - Gerry Stephenson described the courtyard restoration which was started in 2008.  The clay soil, backed in the sun in the summer was a challenge, and with the help of Ken Parker, a plan was developed.  Drought and plants that could survive minimal maintenance was critical to the success of the gardens.  With some rototilling, and sand,  the grounds were transformed.  Plants such as redbud, juniper, dogwood, gooseberry, pawpaw chinquapin oak, American plum, sand chrerry, fragrant sumac, elderberries, showy mountain ash, asters, butterfly milkweed, woodland strawberries, jack in the pulpit, and evening primrose all thrive well in this green oasis.  All this amazing garden is mainly cared for within six weeks each spring in April and May.

New England Wildflower Society for their "Garden in the Woods"

New England Wildflower Society was recognized, and a description was given by Deb Dale.  Started in 1850,  this resource centre and greenspace  located in the suburbs of Boston has demonstration gardens, art contests, and educational programs and signage.  They even have a jail for invasive plants.

2010 - Silver Anniversary Awards

Rural Reclamation             

Pat Baldwin: Port Perry, Ontario

Located at the edge of a small town, Pat's 1.77 acre property abuts lakefront land once slated for development.  For the past 13 years Pat has worked to provide new habitat for local wildlife that seemed destined for displacement.  Gradually she has reduced the amount of lawn, provided wildlife corridors between adjacent properties, added ponds and vernal pools. 

New bylaws aimed at restricting natural looking areas in this outer suburb are discouraging.  NANPS hopes that Pat's example will motivate more local landowners to stand up for nature in Port Perry. 












 Christina Kobland: Lafayette Hill, Pennsylsvania

Christina's garden epitomizes NANPS vision of bringing native plants up front.  She has created a gorgeous meadow at the forefront of her property, standing in stark contrast to neighbouring lawns.  Nestled at the edge of larger forest, 3 of Christina's 4 acres are wooded.  The remaining acre provides feeding grounds for local wildlife: containing two ponds, 12 bird houses, and a diverse meadow of native wildflowers, grasses, ferns and shrubs.  







Christina helped to change the Township's Weed definition to "any non-native plant" and is fighting a new suggestion that meadow gardens be required to pay for a permit, suggesting instead that lawns be taxed.  In addition to maximizing biodiversity in her own property, Christina owns and operates Native Return and has started a charity, dedicated to improving the environment in the Philadelphia area.











She hopes that soon "the paradigm in landscaping will shift to one more healthy and cost effective for wildlife and people."


Deep in Ontario's cottage country, Jim has transformed a denuded lakeside property into a re-creation of the wild splendor that once existed.  Working with remaining vegetation, and adding natives from other areas when necessary, Jim's wildflower preserve protects a wide variety of rare species and provides a beautiful example for neighbouring cottagers.

As a co-founder of the Canadian Wildflower Society (now NANPS), Jim has worked his magic well beyond the boundaries of this property.  He has created a CD showcasing the Stony Lake Wildflower Preserve and generously donates proceeds from its sale to NANPS.












Kahontake Kitikan, First Nations House:  University of Toronto - Hart House

Kitikan is Ojibway for garden.  This kitikan was created by a 2002 partnership between the Gardener's collective and the Native Students Association of the University.  The garden is centred around the medicine teachings of the Four Directions and creates a space where aboriginal students can gather, learn about and practise cultural ceremonies involving native flora. 











Suburban Groundbreaker

Jim Hodgins: Toronto, Ontario
Honouring Toronto's First Native Plant Garden -- 34 years later

When Jim, NANPS other co-founder, first moved to this area, the local yards tended toward the usual urban deserts known as lawns.  Courageously, he began adding native plants, quietly battling those who saw taller vegetation as a place to hide their trash or as a substitute for fire hydrants when walking their dogs.  After 34 years, the garden has prospered and so has the neighbourhood.  The area is now known for its many diverse front yard landscapes...including a number of native plant gardens.  A few blocks away lies the winner of NANPS first garden award...the Bain Housing Co-operative.

In accepting his award, Jim honoured us with a slide show highlighting not only the development of his garden but the often strange diversity of designs that constitute what can only be termed "unnatural" gardens.                                    











Vicki Beard, Guelph councillor, and Mike Fortin - in their their amazing urban oasis in Guelph, Ont. nothing is ever wasted and the various habitats support a balanced ecosystem.

 John Oyston who won for his Rice Lake Prairie Recreation. He is gradually and very successfully transforming a 1.6 hectare (four acre) hay field into a tallgrass habitat. 


Doug Counter for his very significant urban garden in Etobicoke, Ont. It stands as one of the first Suburban Groundbreakers firmly challenging municipal bylaws.

2007 (the inaugural award year)

Maria Cattell and Jack Monger of Hillside Haven Sculpture Gardens in Millersville, Pennsylvania

Dagmar Baur and the Bain Apartment Co-op in Toronto.

Deb Chute of Richmond Hill, Ont.

Bonnie and Michael Chow of Kitchener, Ont.



NANPS Founders Conservation Award

After due consideration, the former Paul McGaw Memorial Conservation Award was transitioned into the NANPS Founders Conservation Award. Paul McGaw will continue to be remembered as a skilled naturalist, a talented teacher, and a native plant urban gardener. The wider expanse of the Founders Conservation Award sets out to acknowledge our organization’s early beginnings and ongoing mandate.

The Society’s founders, a small group of native plant enthusiasts, collectively and individually, took important first steps to bring the focus back to native plants. Coming together in 1984, they actively supported what was then a new Canada-wide gardening movement with a rallying cry to garden with Nature, not against Nature. They modeled the leadership and flow of ideas needed to challenge existing traditions of chemically infused gardens, cookie-cutter lawns, and production-line shrubs and annuals. With foresight and passion, they created the mandate that still guides the organization today.

The NANPS Founders Conservation Award acknowledges the past from which NANPS has sprung, as well as that same determination, knowledge and passion still very much needed today. Our mandate to study, conserve, cultivate and restore has not changed. Today’s ongoing conservation projectsand dedicated work deserve special recognition. This award celebrates today’s heroes!

By way of transitioning this award, NANPS recognizes the contributions made by the following:

Our Prime Movers:

Jim French (Founder and Honorary President)

Jim Hodgins (Founder and editor of Wildflower Magazine, 1985 – 2004)

First Board of Directors (February 1985):

Bill Aimers, Tom Atkinson, Bob Dorney, Jim French, Jim Hodgins, Frank Kershaw, Larry Lamb, Pam Meacher, Charlotte Mudge, Ted Mosquin, Gail Rhynard, Vicki Strong, Judith Tenenbaum, Gordon Wik, Faye Whiklo

Our criteria for this award:

The NANPS Founders Conservation Award recognizes an individual or groups' extraordinary contribution to the conservation, protection or restoration of the natural heritage/native flora of North America at the community, regional, provincial, national or continental level. The North American Native Plant Society recognizes that this can take many forms, and therefore accomplishments honoured may include or be related to associated fields such as art, science, education, photography, literature, politics, or cultivation.

• Nominations for the award may be made by any member of the North American Native Plant Society.

• Submissions are to be received by June 1st and should include a short written description or 'profile' of the nominee, their accomplishments and rationale for the nomination. Photos are always welcome.

• Nominees do not need to be members of NANPS.

• Current NANPS Directors are not eligible for the Award.

Official presentation of the award are made at the NANPS Annual General Meeting.

Selected entries will be posted on the NANPS website and in our quarterly newsletter, The Blazing Star.

Please submit nominations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Sept. 1st.


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