The Fightin' IRIS Awards
The Fightin' IRIS Awards recognize people, businesses, and other organizations in Monroe County who have made a real difference in fighting invasive plants in the county. Each year, winners are chosen from among all those who are working to help reduce the impacts of invasive plants.
Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND), Doris Sims and Vickie Provine (Partnership Award)
Doris and Vickie have showed forward-thinking energy and open mindedness in supporting MC-IRIS. They quickly grasped the scope and the urgency of reducing invasive plants in Bloomington neighborhoods and partnered with us to do something about it.
Based on their suggestion and financial support to host a city park workshop, MC-IRIS was able to host an event to address Invasive plant ID and removal techniques, Native plant ID and Neighborhood Native Landscaping options, and to underscore how Neighborhoods can make a difference to increase our native plant base and buffer our forests. In addition, their creative thinking has opened the HAND Small and Simple Grant for neighborhoods to use for similar educational purposes.
Nancy Anderson (Action Award)
Nancy has been helping to organize her neighborhood, Park Ridge East, to take on invasive plants and plant native plants for the last few years. She organized getting her neighborhood entered into a Clean Water Indiana grant agreement to fund invasive control and native plantings. She helped coordinate the native plant exchange in her neighborhood this spring and has helped at just about every tabling and work day MC-IRIS has put on. When you need help, she is there! For all she has done to help MC-IRIS in so many ways, promote the invasive plant message in her neighborhood, and inspire other citizens to get involved, we are honored to give Nancy an Action Award.
Desirae and Nate Draluck (Action Award)
Desirae and Nate Draluck receive this Action award for the incredible amount of work they have put into removing invasive plants from their yard in Bryan Park neighborhood. (Hand out picture) They moved to Indiana from Florida where they had already learned about the threat that invasive plants pose. Once they learned about the invasive plants of Indiana they found out the house and yard they just bought had most of them. This summer they came to the Bryan Park neighborhood Invasive Control workshop, they borrowed a Weed Wrench from the tool loan program, and they went to work. By the time I did an invasive survey for them last month, they had already made phenomenal progress. In addition to doing all this work, they shared it on the INPAWS Facebook group, letting others know what they have accomplished and inspiring them. For their hard work on invasive control and serving as a positive example for other homeowners in Bloomington, we are pleased to award them this Action award.
Gillian Field (Action Award)
In December of 2016 MC-IRIS got an email from Gillian Field wanting to know if we could put on an invasive control workshop in her neighborhood, Grandview Hills. We had no idea that that request would be the spark that started a whole new chapter for MC-IRIS. Gillian is an unstoppable force filled with a creative energy and persistence. She has championed and pursued organizing neighborhoods around invasive plant control and native plantings and in the process has created a model for neighborhoods to follow that is still rippling through Bloomington. Just some of the things she has taken on:
Bloomington Playwrights Project Education (Partner Award)
BPP Education created and performed two original plays at SNAYL Day this year. The Director, Rachael Himsel, involved Boys & Girls Club children in the process of understanding invasive and native plants and the effect on our environment. The children were directly involved with interpreting the knowledge, script writing, acting and creating props with the sole purpose of performing at SNAYL Day. The Monroe County based plays added to our efforts of outreach, education and engagement.
We appreciate their time, talent and energy.
Joe Bailey and Kelly Higgins (Action Award)
Joe and Kelly moved into southern Monroe County just a few years ago, on 20 acres along Clear Creek. Since they moved in, they made managing their land for biodiversity – especially birds – a high priority. They had an invasive survey done in April 2017 and the progress made since then is inspiring, tackling a wide variety of invasives on their land. Joe even let MC-IRIS test different methods to treat lesser celandine on his land in spring 2019 and gather seeds from Japanese hops for research. For being excellent stewards of the land, and making invasive plant control a priority on their property, we award Joe and Kelly this Action Award.
Jack Cathcart (Action Award)
Jack Cathcart is a gentle warrior. He’s deceptively laid back – the invasives don’t even know what hit them. When informed of this nomination he said he would celebrate by eradicating two Japanese Barberry!
He wrote a delightful booklet entitled “Habitat Stewards Guide to the Universe.”
He was mentioned when the current Bloom magazine gave him a shout out about the Center for Sustainable Living series at the Monroe County Public Library – Resilient Together: Responding to Climate Change. (You should be able to see an amalgamation of these on CATS.)
Jack has willingly led invasive-identifying tours in my neighborhood (Elm Heights) as well as in Bryan Park.
I wonder what I would have to ask him for to get a negative response! Thanks, Jack, and congratulations!
Margaret Clements (Action Award)
In May of 2014, Margaret Clements asked for an invasive survey for the property she and her husband had recently acquired. Barb Seal volunteered to give the survey, and noted abundant Asian bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose, among other invasives. Margaret took it seriously and started work to improve their land, both on their own and with contractors. Six years later, she reached out for another invasive survey because of a new invasive that had shown up – Japanese stiltgrass. Ellen Jacquart did this survey, and what a difference! I had a hard time finding any invasives on her land, and even the Japanese stiltgrass had already been sprayed. Her focus is continuing to reduce Japanese stiltgrass on her property and adding native plants to increase the diversity of the woods. For all her work to improve her land, I’m proud to give Margaret Clements a Fightin’ IRIS Action Award.
Rush Ridge Road, Overlook, Shawnee Bluffs, and Land’s End Neighbors (Action Award)
Over half of the 50 property owners in the Rush Ridge, Overlook, Shawnee Bluffs, and Land's End neighborhoods receive this Action Award for leadership, awareness and education for identifying and taking action to remove Japanese stiltgrass on their properties and surrounding area. Working together has resulted in voluntary efforts to identify stiltgrass, learning methods of control, lending a hand to others and taking action. Your awareness of your goal to reduce infestations, improve erosion control, protect water quality and forest diversity makes us proud of all the ways you are making a difference and strengthening your community. We are honored to give Stephanie Richards, on behalf of all the neighbors, this well deserved Action Award.
Mary Welz (Partner Award)
Mary Welz is the Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) Regional Specialist for seven southern Indiana counties, manages the SICIM website, and does much of the media outreach for the Indiana Invasives Initiative. So she would be forgiven if she focused her efforts on starting CISMAs in the other southern Indiana counties since MC-IRIS is already up and running. But she has been one of our most consistent supporters, helping with graphic design, Weed Wrangles, sharing ideas and resources for potential projects, and so much more. We thank Mary for her incredible support for MC-IRIS and award her the Fightin’ IRIS Partner Award.