Allan Mere Award for 2012:

Cathy Jones

Cathy Jones, recipient of the Allan Mere Award for 2012.
Left: Cathy after the award presentation. Photo: © Anthony Wright.
Right: Cathy in 2019. Photo: © Catherine Beard.

“Cathy has provided an all-round contribution to botany in New Zealand as an artist, teacher conservationist and leader of regional botanical societies. She has contributed very broadly to mentoring botanical society members and DOC staff in plant identification and conservation. Her line drawings on the covers of NZBS newsletters are a real feature, making it look erudite and stylish. Her botanical illustrations have helped many people learn their plants.”

The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that Cathy Jones, formerly from DOC, Nelson, has been awarded the Allan Mere for 2012. Cathy receives the award for her all-round contribution to botany in New Zealand as an artist, teacher, conservationist and leader of regional botanical societies.

The Wellington Botanical Society nominated Cathy and the proposal was seconded by Nelson Botanical Society. In addition Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua Botanical Societies supported the nomination as did former DOC colleagues Martin Heine, Simon Moore, Shannel Courtney, Jan Clayton-Greene and Peter de Lange.

Cathy’s excellent plant illustrations have featured on the cover of almost a quarter of the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletters. Her striking paintings frequently feature endemic plants. She has been the President of Nelson Botanical Society for twelve years and on the committee of that Society as well as Waikato Botanical Society in the past. Since 1996, Cathy has led the Auckland Botanical Society summer camps in the South Island.

In addition, Cathy has contributed very broadly to teaching and mentoring botanical society members and DOC staff in plant identification and conservation. She has also led several threatened plant recovery groups. A selection of comments below from all who contributed to the nomination indicates the breadth of Cathy’s contribution to botany.

Cathy’s enthusiasm and obvious passion for plants made botany come to life for the “beginner botanists” while on field trips with the Society.
All botanists in New Zealand will be grateful to Cathy for the delightful and highly skilled drawings she has done on the covers of numerous issues of the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter. These beautifully illustrate many lesser-known species of native plant – many of them alpines and otherwise not illustrated in the literature – with accurate details of vegetative and reproductive parts.
Cathy’s work as a threatened plant ecologist with the department of Conservation has benefitted members of the Society immensely by imparting plant identification skills, nurturing an appreciation of the less spectacular elements of our natural heritage, highlighting the importance of habitat and habitat protection, threat mitigation and management.
Cathy also loves plants, she grows them, she paints them, and she draws them. Her art has graced many a cover of the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter – probably now more consistently so than any other contributing artist. Cathy is not paid to do this either, she does it because she wants to.
Administratively and in an advocacy sense, Cathy has contributed hugely to botany in New Zealand through her contribution to many botanical societies as President, committee member, field trip leader, summer camp organiser, guest speaker and teacher.
Cathy’s paintings are recognised not only by professional peers and native plant enthusiasts but as outstanding works within the art world.
Cathy may not have discovered new species, or named one, she may not have fought major environmental issues or published prestigious papers in internationally recognised journals, no, rather her contribution has been passive education, and so probably in the long run way more important in bringing in new people to the world of plants.
The breadth and depth of her expertise means that she consistently provides accurate advice and increases the skill level and knowledge of people that she works with, as well as providing and generating enthusiasm for flora amongst those she works with.
Cathy’s competent leadership and in-depth knowledge of the regional floras has inspired the members of the society and has been a significant contributor to increasing our membership to around 100 – no small feat for any provincial society these days.
Professionally, Cathy has contributed much to the knowledge and management of plant communities and threatened flora in New Zealand. In a private capacity, through Botanical Societies and other groups, she continues to work tirelessly to nurture an enthusiasm and knowledge of the New Zealand flora in others.

Cathy received the Allan Mere at a special potluck dinner in Nelson on 17th September 2012 attended by renowned guests from the botanical and conservation fields. These included Anthony Wright, Director of Canterbury Museum and president of the New Zealand Botanical Society; Dr Carol West, Department of Conservation Wellington, a committee member for the New Zealand Botanical Society and past president of Wellington Botanical Society; Dr Jessica Beever of Landcare Research and Auckland Botanical Society; Craig Potton, president of Nelson Forest and Bird and conservationist, publisher, photographer and film maker; Bill and Nancy Malcolm, long time conservationists, photographers and authors, and Jan Clayton-Greene, Department of Conservation Marlborough and long time colleague of Cathy’s.

Ewen Cameron, Secretary, New Zealand Botanical Society

Citation reproduced from the New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter, No. 109, Sept 2012 and No. 110, Dec 2012.