WESTERN BIOLOGY PROFESSOR
WINS NATIVE PLANTS AWARD
CULLOWHEE – J. Dan Pittillo, professor of biology at Western Carolina University, is the 2004 recipient of the Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence, presented annually by the Cullowhee Conference on Native Plants in the Landscape.
The award, created in 1987, is presented annually by conference organizers in recognition of outstanding contributions in the conservation, understanding and promotion of native plants in the landscape.
Past recipients include Lady Bird Johnson, the former First Lady, and J.C. Raulston, former director of the N.C. State University Arboretum. The award was presented to an organization for the first time in 1993, when the National Park Service was honored for its excellence in the field of native plant conservation and promotion.
Pittillo, who holds the H.F. and Katherine P. Robinson Professorship in biology, received a N.C. Governor's Award for Excellence in 1992 in recognition of his work to preserve natural areas in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. A faculty member at Western since 1966, he is nationally known for his annual predictions of the quality of the fall color season and has been called “the Alan Greenspan of fall foliage forecasting.” Pittillo has written extensively on the subjects of the flora and vegetation of the Southern Appalachians, and has been involved with the Cullowhee Conference since its inception.
“He has served his profession and the public in myriad ways, from establishing a wildflower garden on his campus to serving multiple terms as president of the prestigious foundation that supports the work of the Highlands Biological Station,” Edward Clebsch, botany professor at the University of Tennessee, said in presenting the award. “Along the way, he has served the Bartram Trail Association, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, the Association of Southeastern Biologists and the N.C. Academy of Sciences.”