Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

For Immediate Release                                              

March 20, 2012

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Honors Colorado Rare Plants Conservation Initiative with Endangered Species
Partners-in-Mission Recovery Champion Award

Ellen Mayo, Service botanist; 970-243-2778 Ext. 14
Gina Glenne, Service botanist; 970-243-2778 Ext. 20
Leith Edgar, Service Public Affairs Specialist; 303-236-4588;

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the Colorado Rare Plants Conservation Initiative (RPCI) earned a 2011 Recovery Champion award for its conservation of imperiled plants native to the Centennial State. The annual Recovery Champions awards honor Service staff members and their partners-in-mission for conserving endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife, and plants.

There are 15 threatened and endangered rare plant species in Colorado; the RPCI team plays a role in recovering all of these species. The RPCI worked to minimize threats to the species such as urban and rural development, oil and gas development, and recreational use among others. The team renewed an emphasis on rare plants, coordinated conservation efforts, maximized and leveraged funding for conservation and research efforts, enhanced and increased volunteer efforts for rare plant conservation, and increased awareness and education for these rare plants.

“The Rare Plant Conservation Initiative has been a boon for rare plant conservation in the State of Colorado. The work of the team is helping the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ensure the natural beauty of native Colorado plants endures for the enjoyment of future generations of Coloradans and out-of-state visitors,” said Mountain-Prairie Regional Director Steve Guertin.

One of the RPCI’s greatest accomplishments was the development of the Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy. This strategy represents a collective vision, emphasizing a proactive approach and prioritization system, with the goal of conserving Colorado’s rare plant species. The implementation of this Strategy will enable concerned partners to systematically and meaningfully advance urgently needed plant conservation in Colorado. This strategy provides a cohesive plan that is helping to facilitate the recovery of all listed plant species in Colorado.

Four specific members of the RPCI from four different organizations are scheduled to receive honorary plaques to signify the team’s collective conservation accomplishments. Recipients of the award include Betsy Neely of The Nature Conservancy, Susan Spackman-Panjabi of the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Brian Kurzel of the Colorado Natural Areas Program, and Jenny Neale of the Denver Botanic Gardens. The RPCI partnership includes a group of at least 22 partners from a wide array of backgrounds including universities, botanical gardens, conservation groups, consulting firms, and botanical artists, as well as State and Federal Agencies.  This award is intended for all the members.  Funding for the CRPCI during 2011 was secured through two National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grants.

For more RPCI information please go to:

For public domain pictures of the RPCI Recovery Champions Partners-in-Mission recipients please go to:

For information about the 2011 recovery champions, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Champion website at

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at
 - FWS -