The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative with the 2012 Recovery Champion Award for its achievements in advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened plant species. Susan Spackman Panjabi, senior botanist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Natural Heritage Program, a unit of the Warner College of Natural Resources, was recognized for her leadership and contributions to the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative along with partners from The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Natural Areas Program and Denver Botanic Gardens.
Panjabi co-founded the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative in 2008, and it has grown to be a partnership of more than 22 federal and state agencies, universities, botanical gardens and non-governmental organizations. The initiative is dedicated to ensuring plant diversity and conserving Colorado’s most imperiled native plants and their habitats.
“Colorado has more than 100 plants that are extremely rare on a global scale and many of them (68) are known only to be found in Colorado,” said Panjabi. “These plants play significant roles in ecosystems, and could go extinct if we are not careful stewards. One of the biggest threats to these rare plants is a simple lack of awareness.”
As part of these efforts, the group developed the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy which outlines best management practices to reduce energy development impacts and focused strategies for the conservation of individual species at eight priority landscapes. The group has also worked to coordinate volunteer efforts for plant conservation across the state.
For more information on the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Initiative, visit http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/corareplantinitiative
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