Kalaheo, Hawaii (May 18, 2020) — Charles “Chipper” Wichman, Jr., President of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Professional Award, which is given to a public garden administrator whose achievements throughout their career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture.
The accolade is one of the Great American Gardeners Awards presented annually by the AHS to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American gardening. Each of the recipients has contributed significantly to fields such as scientific research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, and conservation.
A leading authority in the discovery and conservation of tropical plants, Wichman has spent more than 40 years with NTBG, growing from an intern and apprentice gardener in the mid-1970s into his executive leadership role in the early 2000s. Over the course of his career, Wichman has helped discover or rediscover more than a dozen previously unknown plant species; led a successful conservation initiative at Limahuli Valley before donating the land to NTBG; raised NTBG’s profile as an influential conservation, research, and education center; helped found the International Center for Tropical Botany at Florida International University; and secured Hawaii as the host location of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.
In 2018, Wichman was awarded The Garden Club of America’s Medal of Honor for outstanding service to horticulture. Fluent in Hawaiian and Hawaiian Pidgin English, Wichman routinely gives talks on tropical plant conservation.
Because of the pandemic, the 2020 Great American Gardeners Awards ceremony, originally scheduled for June 18, has been cancelled. Alternately, AHS will honor award winners with video acceptance speeches to be posted on its website and social media starting in late May. View Chipper Wichman’s statement here. Descriptions of each award and biographies of this year’s recipients can be found on the AHS 2020 Award Winners page.
The American Horticultural Society is a nonprofit organization committed to modeling, educating about, and advocating for earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Founded in 1922, AHS’s mission is to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.
National Tropical Botanical Garden (www.ntbg.org) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental institution with nearly 2,000 acres of gardens and preserves in Hawai‘i and Florida. The institution’s mission is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions. NTBG is supported primarily through donations, grants, and memberships.
NTBG Media contact: Jon Letman (firstname.lastname@example.org) at NTBG Headquarters, Kalaheo, Hawaii