Rutgers Professor Emeritus Receives Garden Club of New Jersey Gold Medal

Rutgers Professor Emeritus Receives Garden Club of New Jersey Gold Medal

Dr. David E. Fairbrothers Recognized for Achievements as Botanist

New Brunswick, NJ—Dr. David E. Fairbrothers, professor emeritus at Rutgers, received the Gold Medal, the highest honor of
The Garden Club of New Jersey (GCNJ), at their 83rd Annual Meeting on May 22. Fairbrothers
was awarded this honor in recognition of his many accomplishments in the field
of botany. Jeannette Johnson, chairman of Operation Wildflowers/Native Plants,
and a member of the Medford Garden Club, nominated Fairbrothers and presented
the Medal.

Dr. David Fairbrothers leading field trip in the Pinelands in 2005.
Credit: Robert S. Wallace
Dr. David Fairbrothers leading field trip in the Pinelands in 2005.

Fairbrothers was director of the Chrysler Herbarium
at Rutgers from 1954 to 1996, having continued in this capacity after retiring
from Rutgers in 1988. As curator, Fairbrothers
oversaw the growth of the collection from 37,000 to 140,000 specimens. He used the
unique specimens of native plants to document the locality and rarity species
and to implement conservation of the flora of New Jersey.

Today the herbarium is the last internationally
recognized scientific plant museum in New
Jersey. There is a proposed building project at
Rutgers which will house the Fairbrothers
Plant Resources
Center and the Chrysler
Herbarium. Fairbrothers and Dr. Lena Struwe,
current director of the Chrysler Herbarium, plan to host garden club members at
an open-house event in the herbarium in the fall of 2008.

Fairbrothers’ widely renowned accomplishments in
botany include publishing, in 1973, Rare
or Endangered Vascular Plants of New
New Jersey
was the first state in the United
States to have published such a manual,
which was reprinted in 1975. Fairbrothers was very involved in the formation of
the Pinelands National Reserve, declared in 1978 by an act of Congress. In
1983, the United Nations, through UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program,
identified the Pinelands Reserve as one of the world’s outstanding natural
areas. Currently Fairbrothers is involved with the Flora of New Jersey Project,
an organization that will produce the first botanical flora for the state.

"David has been an invaluable person for
native plant protection for the Garden
State," said Struwe,
current director of the Chrysler Herbarium. "Through his tireless and
collaborative work in endangered species research and legislation, plant
taxonomic research, and land preservation, he has permanently saved large
tracts of land and many native species for future generations. David's
botanical legacy in New Jersey
cannot be overstated, and he continues to set his mark as an advocate for
gardening and preservation of native plants, and protection of rare and
endangered species.”

“I was extremely pleased to receive this
recognition, including a standing ovation when I was given the Medal,” said

Fairbrothers joins an impressive list people given
this award by the GCNJ, a group of over five thousand members in 124 chapters
in New Jersey.
The Medal was most recently awarded to Patrick Cullina, a past associate
director of the Rutgers Gardens who was recognized for a national
award-winning design of a native plants garden he designed for the Rutgers Gardens. A few other notable recipients
of the medal include U. S.
Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; former Governor Thomas Kean; former
Rutgers University President Mason Gross; Rutgers professors Dr. Elwin Orton
and Dr. Bruce Hamilton; and former Rutgers
professors Dr. Norman F. Childers and Donald B. Lacey.

"Dr. David Fairbrothers has worked tirelessly for many
years to study and preserve the natural environments in New Jersey,” said Dr. Jim White, curator of
the Rutgers Mycological Herbarium at the Chrysler Herbarium and chair of the
Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at the Rutgers School of Environmental
and Biological Sciences. “David has really helped to preserve New
Jersey as the Garden
State.  I cannot
think of a better recipient for the 2008 Achievement Award.”

Media Contact: Michele Hujber
732-932-7000 ext. 4204