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Photos of the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden courtesy of Camelia Maier.

Native Plant Society of Texas began at TWU

Plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) on TWU’s Denton campus this fall were well underway in the spring before coming to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The symposium would have brought NPSOT members throughout the state to the campus, where the society got its start.

Chancellor Carine Feyten was to play a key role in the celebration, according to Don Edwards, emeritus professor and chair of mathematics and computer science. The chancellor was to be the opening presenter, welcoming everyone to campus and launching the event during the first session.

“Because NPSOT was founded at TWU in 1980, we thought it was appropriate that she welcome everyone ‘home,’” Edwards said.

This year also was the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the society’s Trinity Forks Chapter, which Edwards serves as president. He said they had looked forward to Feyten’s assistance in incorporating that celebration into the events at TWU.

The symposium traditionally has been celebrated on the TWU campus at each 10-year anniversary. Due to the pandemic, organizers offered a weeklong virtual celebration as an alternative to the usual in-person event.

TWU biology professor Camelia Maier, Trinity Forks Chapter historian, presented on the early history of the society and also adapted a planned onsite tour of the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden into a virtual event.

“The work for my NPSOT presentation was intense but rewarding,” she said. “I did some detective work on the history of the society and learned a lot.” See the presentation.

According to Maier, it was 1978 when Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey, then president of Texas Woman’s University, called Carroll Abbott to request help with the university’s 1930 wildflower garden. Huey and Abbott successfully petitioned the State Historical Commission for a historical marker for the garden, and plans were made for a Wildflower Day on the Denton campus. The idea to form the Native Plant Society of Texas developed from the first Wildflower Day, held in the spring of 1980. Several TWU faculty and staff members were part of the organizing committee for the society.

“The role of TWU in helping get NPSOT established should be celebrated,” Edwards said. “We have an important responsibility to let community members know the impact and value TWU brings to the state of Texas.”