Left: Sir Alan Mark on Mt Burns. Photo taken by his daughter, and used in his book Above the Treeline.
Right: NZBS President Anthony Wright presenting the Allan Mere Award for 2015 to Sir Alan Mark. Photo: © Allison Knight.
The NZBS Committee is pleased to announce that this year’s award of the Allan Mere is to Sir Alan Mark, Emeritus Professor, University of Otago. Alan was proposed by Botanical Society of Otago and supported by five other botanical societies (Auckland, Canterbury, Nelson, Taranaki and Wellington), Forest and Bird (Dunedin Branch) and Jill Rapson. The proposers included:
Alan has enjoyed a lifetime of outstanding contributions to botany, both as an academic teacher and researcher in the Department of Botany at the University of Otago and as an ardent ecologist and conservationist, devoting much of his own time to these causes. He is one of New Zealand’s leading plant ecologists, specialising in the ecology of indigenous tussock grasslands, alpine lands, wetlands, shrublands, forests and lakeshores. He has published some 200 scientific papers. He belongs to several professional and conservation organisations and has served on the Manapouri-Te Anau Lake guardians (Chair for the first 26 years), NZ National and Reserves Authority, NZ Conservation Authority, Otago Conservation Board, Land Settlement Board, NZ Mountain land Committee, Fiordland Marine Guardians and the Mid Dome Wildling Tree Control Trust.
A selection of comments below from his supporters indicates the support for Alan and the wide range of botany he has been involved in over the last six decades:
Alan gave our Society a very enlightening lecture which summed up the extraordinary contribution he has made over his lifetime understanding the ecology of these tussock highlands, educating people about their ecology and actively campaigning to save them with sound scientific knowledge and copious data.
‘NZ Alpine Plants’, the beautifully illustrated field guide that he first published in 1973, has been a companion on many Botanical Society trips for decades. In 2013 it was completely revised with updated taxonomy and close-up photographs to help the next generation learn about and cherish our alpine flora and fauna.
He has always been a strong voice in conservation, particularly advocating for plants and plant communities.
...he has been involved in research on all aspects of the NZ flora and vegetation ... and is a valued and respected colleague for many, as well as an inspiring tutor and mentor for generations of research students.
The Allan Mere was presented to Sir Alan Mark at a special award evening hosted by the Botanical Society of Otago in the Benham Seminar Room, Zoology Department, University of Otago, on 10th December 2015 at 5pm. Amongst a great turnout of family, friends and Bot Soc members were two previous awardees of the Mere – Warwick Harris (1996) and Peter Johnson (2007).
Ewen Cameron, Secretary, New Zealand Botanical Society