The Michigan Nature Association created the Edward G. Voss Conservation Science Award this year to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the scientific understanding of Michigan’s biological diversity and its conservation. MNA named the award after Dr. Edward G. Voss, an internationally renowned scientist, dedicated educator, and committed conservationist who spent his lifetime working to protect Michigan’s natural heritage. 

At the 2012 MNA Volunteer and Donor Recognition Dinner, MNA recognized Voss and Dr. Tony Reznicek for their outstanding contributions by honoring them with this inaugural award.

“I am very pleased that Ed's name will be attached to this Conservation Science Award, because that was an interest that spanned his entire career,” said Reznicek. “Long before conservation biology became formalized as a scientific endeavor, Ed was doing it. And I enjoyed sharing insights into Ed as a colleague with the group as well.”

After a lifetime of contributions to science and conservation, long-time MNA supporter and celebrated botanist Voss passed away earlier this year. One of his crowning achievements was his groundbreaking three-volume Michigan Flora. The first volume was published in 1972, and when the third and last volume was issued in 1996, Voss expressed his hope that he and his long-time colleague (and fellow MNA member) Reznicek would complete an updated, compact one-volume version. Poignantly, the revised version he envisioned, the new Field Manual of Michigan Flora, was released three days after Voss’s death.

Voss was professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan and curator emeritus of vascular plants at the University Herbarium. His primary area of expertise was the vascular plants of the Great Lakes region, including their taxonomy, identification, distribution, history and current status. He was the founding editor of The Michigan Botanist and an internationally recognized expert in botanical nomenclature. He taught at the U-M Biological Station for 35 summer sessions and in addition to his work with MNA, Voss was an active member of the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the Little Traverse Conservancy, and the Wilderness Society.

Reznicek is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at U-M and curator of vascular plants at the U-M Herbarium. Reznicek is an internationally recognized expert on the genus Carex (commonly known as sedges). In 2006, a species of sedge new to science was discovered in New York’s Hudson Highlands area and named Carex reznicekii (Reznicek’s Sedge) in his honor.

Dr. Reznicek’s numerous contributions to conservation and botanical education make him a respected authority on endangered species and plant ecological issues. After MNA protected the only known population of lakeside daisy existing in Michigan, Reznicek was instrumental in helping MNA establish a second viable population by studying seeds, providing advice and assisting with germination. He has served on the Michigan technical advisory committee on threatened and endangered species, the board of trustees for the Michigan chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and in various capacities with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the state of Michigan Forest Service and the National Forest Service. He helped establish a Michigan Flora website hosted by the U-M Herbarium where researchers, field biologists and conservationists can exchange up-to-date information about the identification and status of Michigan species.

Read the MNA blog post about the award