Wenatchee botanist to be honored at reception

Pamela Camp

Provided photo Pamela Camp, left, and Susan Ballinger working in the field at Mission Ridge.

Pamela Camp

Provided photo
Pamela Camp, Botanist

The Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) has recently awarded Wenatchee botanist Pamela Camp with the prestigious Mentzelia Award for her exceptional contributions to the society. The Wenatchee Chapter invites the public to a reception to honor Pamela during the monthly meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. The guest speaker in Jim Hadfield, U.S. Forest Service Forest pathologist (retired) speaking about dwarf mistletoes in Washington. Dwarf mistletoes in the genus Arcethobium are native plants that parasitize conifers of Pacific Northwest forests. Hadfield will describe the geographic and host ranges of these interesting parasites. The effects — both negative and positive — of dwarf mistletoes on trees and forests will be described through photos. This event is free and open to the public.

The Mentzelia Award recognizes 30 years of Pamela’s volunteerism to further the society’s mission to promote the appreciation and conservation of Washington’s native plants and their habitats through study, education, and advocacy. Since 1981, Pamela has made an array of significant contributions at the chapter and state level to native plant conservation, research and education in Washington through volunteer service to the society.

Pamela has supported WNSP in a wide variety of ways at the chapter level, leading the formation of both the Northeast and Wenatchee chapters. As an active chapter board member, she coordinated annual native plant identification workshops, oversaw program meetings, and spearheaded the development of chapter newsletters. Pamela was first elected to the WNPS State Board of Directors in 1981, serving 1981-1984. She has continued on the state board as the chair of the Plant Inventory and Research Committee, 2003 through the present.

During her professional career as a botanist, Pamela was a tireless advocate of the WNPS mission. She worked for the Bureau of Land Management for her 30-plus year career, in both Spokane and Wenatchee for the BLM Spokane District. She coordinated the BLM’s rare plant and restoration programs for Washington state, which included field studies on rare plant populations and restoration for sage grouse habitat. Seeing a need for the public to value native plants and habitats in central Washington, Pamela produced “Washington Watchable Wildflowers: A Columbia Basin Guide.” The booklet identified 11 wildflower viewing sites on BLM property, each with a species list, driving directions and a natural history overview. It is available online at:http://www.wnps.org/plant_lists/watchable_wildflowers.html.

Pamela is the co-editor of 2011 University of Washington Press book, “Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Washington.” This comprehensive book has two purposes: to offer a window into the beauty and diversity of the rarest plants in the state, and to serve as a field reference for individuals who seek to find and identify these uncommon species.

Possibly the most significant volunteer contribution Pamela has and continues to make is as a life-long passionate collector. Throughout her career, she took extra efforts to always collect plant herbarium specimens with one for her employer, one for education (University Herbarium) and one for her personal herbarium. Pamela likely has the most extensive private herbarium collection in the Pacific Northwest. Pamela has deposited nearly 1,400 plant specimens at the University of Washington Herbarium that provide important diversity and distribution data. Dr. David Giblin, University of Washington Herbarium director said, Pamela’s contributions to the knowledge of Washington’s flora and the development of its community of botanists here over the past 30 years is far-reaching.

Susan Ballinger is a member of the WNPS Wenatchee Chapter and serves on the board. The chapter offers free monthly programs September-March and a series a wildflower walks starting each spring. The chapter is partnering with Wenatchee Valley College to offer a 10-week Introduction to Botany course March 26-Jun. 4. Register at: http://wenatchee.augusoft.net/index.cfm?fuseaction=1010

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