CHADRON – Chadron State College grounds lead Lucinda Mays was recognized Aug. 1 during the Dawes County Fair for her efforts to educate local youth and adults about plants. Mays received the Conservation Award for Natural Resources Education from the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resource District.
In her nomination letter, Robin Foulk, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Mays has designed college plantings and reached out to the community with workshops. Mays organized the CSC Campus Arboretum Volunteers in 2009 and leads the annual greenery swag day where cuttings from campus evergreens are used to make decor for the college. In Mays’ most recent tree care workshop, she gathered presenters from different organizations to educate the public on pruning techniques and soil supplements.
Mays has received multiple awards since joining the CSC grounds staff in 2006. The most recent was the 2016 Jim Kluck Award, in recognition of individuals who have made a difference to the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum or its affiliates. Mays received the award based on improvements to CSC’s green space and her efforts to educate community members and CSC employees.
In 2010, the Nebraska State Forest Service presented her with the Educator/School Award for leading more than 500 volunteers in a post-fire replanting of 12,000 conservation trees on C-Hill. The same year, CSC’s Arboretum received the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Affiliate Site Award to recognize public gardens demonstrating excellence in collection development, maintenance practice, and community engagement.
Prior to CSC, Mays’ experience included public horticulture positions at the Gardens of Coker College in South Carolina and the Callaway Gardens in Georgia. She created content for and hosted segments of the PBS television program The Victory Garden from 1990 through 1998. She co-authored Vegetable Gardening with David Chambers, gave regional and national lectures, contributed articles to Southern Living magazine, reviewed and recommended books for American Horticultural Society awards, and worked with Iowa Public Television to create gardening specials.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator