Members Area

2016 Honorary Members

In keeping with its mission, The Garden Club of America annually recognizes extraordinary efforts in such fields as gardening, botany, conservation, education, and design through the extension of honorary memberships. With appreciation for their achievements, the GCA welcomes the following new Honorary Members for 2016:

Douglas Tallamy

Proposed by Guilford Garden Club, Zone VI
Seconded by Green Spring Valley Garden Club, Zone VI

Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, Doug Tallamy studies the behavioral ecology of insects, plant-insect interactions, insect parental care as well as the conservation of biodiversity and the impact of alien plants on native ecosystems. His current work focuses on the impact of invasive plants on populations of native insects and the animals that depend on them in their ecosystem, specifically studying lepidopteran use of native and alien ornamental plants. A prolific author, Dr. Tallamy is nationally recognized for his book, Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens. His most recent book, The Living Landscapes: Combining Beauty, Biodiversity and Functionality in Your Garden, an extension of his original thesis, is a practical guide to creating a beautiful garden that also maintains ecologically balanced wildlife communities. A consummate speaker, Dr. Tallamy  has lectured at over 30 universities nationwide, among which are Auburn University, Columbia University, Villanova University, University of Connecticut, James Madison University, University of Georgia, University of Richmond as well as at the American Association for Landscape Architects, the National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist  meetings, The Audubon Society, and The Garden Club of America. He serves on the advisory boards of the National Science Foundation’s Yard Map Project at Cornell University, the Natural Lands Trust , and New Directions in American Landscapes . He currently participates in the International Union for the Study of Social Insects, and the International Heteropterists Society. Dr. Tallamy is also a director of Wild Ones and is active in the Entomological Society of America and the Animal Behavior Society. Among the many honors he has received are the Karl Marmarosch Distinguished Achievement Award (2008), the Silver Medal of the Garden Writers’ Association (2008), the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators Outstanding Contribution to the Environmental Field Award (2010), a Gold Eddie from Folio Magazine (2010), the Rosalie Edge Conservation Award from the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, various USDA awards, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence (formerly the North American Native Plantsman Award) given annually at the Cullowhee Native Plants Conference (2013), and The Garden Club of America’s Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation (2013). 


Kris Jarantoski

Proposed by Garden Guild of Winnetka, Zone XI
Seconded by the Evanston Garden Club, Zone XI

Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden, Kris Jarantoski  has earned a national reputation for his pioneering work in American public gardens. Having joined the Chicago Botanic Garden in 1977 when it was just a fledgling garden, Mr. Jarantoski has played a significant role in shaping the campus of 26 distinct gardens and 4 natural areas over its 385 acres. Not only has he worked with a group of distinguished landscape designers to create these gardens as well as carrying out his administrative duties, he has guided the development of Chicagoland Grows to breed plants that are introduced and evaluated in the gardens. To date, over 32 plants, trees and shrubs have been presented in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum and Ornamental Growers of Illinois. In addition Mr. Jarantoski has been the guiding force in plant conservation at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. Today that program boasts 30 conservation, botany and ecology scientists working with 150 research assistants, volunteers, and graduate students from Northwestern University who study the effects of environmental plant biology and conservation. In recognition of his success, a new campus at the Chicago Botanic Garden has been dedicated as the Kris Jarantoski Campus whose goals include new plant production facilities and display gardens.  The focus of his research has been on the selection, hybridization, and adaptability of dieback shrubs to the Chicago region as herbaceous perennials. Among the many awards that Mr. Jarantoski has received are the Garden Writers of America Special Recognition Award (2003), the American Horticultural Society’s Professional Award for his significant contributions to the field of horticulture( 2007), The Garden Club of America’s Distinguished Service Medal for his outstanding service to horticulture (2011), American Public Gardens Association’s Honorary Life Member Award recognizing his leadership in the field of public gardens (2014), Swarthmore College’s Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal given to an individual who has made an outstanding national contribution to the science and art of gardening (2015), and recently, the George Robert White medal given by the Massachusetts Horticulture Society in recognition of  contributions to the enjoyment and appreciation of plants and the environment (2015). An active member of the American Public Gardens Association and its various committees, Kris Jarantoski has also written numerous articles for American Nurseryman, The Public Garden, The Herbalist and Museum News. In addition, he sits on the Horticultural Review Panel of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew; has been on the Screening Committee of The Garden Conservancy; and judges both at the Philadelphia International Flower Show and the Illinois Landscape  Contractors Association. 

Robert Grese

Proposed by The Garden Club of Michigan, Zone X
Seconded by Bay City Garden Club, Zone X

Director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and the Theodore Roosevelt Chair of Ecosystem Management, Robert Grese is a highly respected leader in the study of ecologically based landscape design

and management.  His particular focus has been on restoring urban wilds, specifically prairie and oak savanna ecosystems, integrating and connecting people to nature and fostering volunteer stewardship. Further, he has documented the work of early designers Jens Jensen and O.C. Simonds who pioneered the prairie style of landscape architecture and advocated the use of native plants.  A leading authority on Jens Jensen, Professor Grese has demonstrated how Jensen’s early work directly contributed to the fields of restoration ecology and conservation biology. His book, Jens Jensen: Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, is regarded as the seminal scholarly work on this important landscape designer. As a practical extension of his interest in historic ecological landscape design, Mr. Grese is considered a leader in the restoration of Midwestern landscapes and currently works on the restorations of Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s House and Henry Ford’s estate, Fair Lane. A prolific author and speaker, Mr. Grese holds positions on governing boards and committees such as the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, New Directions for the American Landscape, the Michigan Alliance for Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee, Committee on the Culture of Sustainability at the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission as well as the Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues, the Michigan Consortium of Botanists, Wild Ones, Tree Campus USA,  and the Stewardship Network of Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation. In 2002, the Ann Arbor chapter of Wild Ones named an award in Robert Grese’s honor, the Deep Roots Award, given to an individual who best exemplifies Mr. Grese’s leadership in advancing the stewardship of our natural resources. In 2006, Mr. Grese was named the University of Michigan’s Leadership ‘Advisor of the Year’ in honor of his helping to establish a student-run project called “Cultivating Community”. He was named a ‘Preservation Hero’ of the American Library of Landscape History (2010), and he has been a Michigan Road Scholar, a program of the University of Michigan that teaches communities within the state about its many diverse regions and issues (2013). He continues as an Honorary National Director of Wild Ones (2011-present).