The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, Inc., is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Rhode Island’s native plants and their habitats.

Board Meetings

The RIWPS Board of Trustees meets on the 2nd Thursday every other month (Mar-May-Jul-Sept-Nov-Jan).

Members are welcome to attend. Contact office@riwps.org for specific time and location of the meeting.

Our History

The Beginning

Excerpts from the History of RIWPS, 1987-1997 by Mary E. Finger

Sometime in the early spring of 1986 a congenial group gathered in the cook house at the Audubon Eppley Refuge for a workshop in wild-plant gardening offered by Lisa Gould and Doris Anthony. Those present that day were Marnie Lacouture, Nancy Magendantz, Martha Marshall, Betty Salomon, and Johnny Stone. In the course of the day’s conversation Lisa described the wildflower garden club to which her mother belonged in North Carolina. Her mother’s group, she explained, had three primary areas of interest: growing wild plants, working toward their conservation, and going on walks and trips to see natives in their native habitats. The Eppley group began to talk about starting a wild plant organization in Rhode Island. Several ideas emerged.

They did not want another garden club, a Rhode Island wild plant group should have a strong conservation component. It should have a broad enough base to interest many people, ranging from highly qualified professionals to those who simply liked to walk in the woods and fields and it should be fun for its members. Although Irene Stuckey and Millie House were not at the workshop, they encouraged and supported the forming group. The New England Wild flower Society also responded with interest, and a native plant sale sponsored by Betty Salomon’s generated even more enthusiasm. The seed had been planted and the ground was fertile,” Lisa Gould said, “people were ready for it.”

History-1987-1997

  • MARCH 1987 TO MARCH 1990
    Presidents: Lisa Gould 1987-1989, Gilbert George 1989-1990
  • MARCH 1990 TO MARCH 1993
    Presidents: Martha Marshall, 1990-1991, Kathleen Barton, 1991-1993
  • MARCH 1993 TO MARCH 1997
    Presidents: Joan Pilson, 1993-1995, Joan Pilson & Richard Hull, 1995-1996, Richard Hull & Sindy Hempstead, 1996-1997
Annual Grant

Grant Monies Available

The Rhode Island Wild Plant Society offers an annual grant to aid individuals in the study of wild plants and their habitats. To qualify you must be an educator, a member of a Rhode Island botanical or environmental association or a student in a field related to botany or environmental studies.

The grant is for up to $1000 and includes a one year membership to RIWPS. The project goal must involve environmental activities or research in any area of study related to wild plants and/or their habitats. These activities may involve such things as installation of gardens, invasive removal, or support for extracurricular activities. It can also be used for project materials, workshops or courses. The award is open to Rhode Island residents or non-residents at a Rhode Island educational institution.

Application Instructions

Applications must be received by February 29, 2016.

Recognitions

Annual Volunteer Award

The RI Wild Plant Society gives out awards to honor the good work of our volunteers. We value their contributions.

Volunteer of the Year Award
This award is given to a Rhode Island Wild Plant Society member who has unfailingly dedicated their efforts toward the betterment of the Society as a whole.

2005 – Garry Plunkett
2006 – Kim Bothelo & Barney Webster
2007 – Mary Lou Upham
2008 – Patricia Cahalan & Cynthia Gianfrancesco
2009 – Bob & Shirley Anderson
2010 – Christine Kalina
2011 – Marcia Pena
2012 – Graham Laird Gardner
2013 – Roy Jeffrey and Susan Marcus
2014 – Paula Morrissey
2015 – Kevin Alverson
2016 – Helen Drew

Lifetime Service Award

This award is given to a Rhode Island Wild Plant Society member who has unfailingly dedicated their efforts toward the betterment of the Society as a whole for a minimum of 10 years.

2005 – Betty Salomon, Betsy Keiffer & Dorothy Swift
2006 – Jerry Melaragno
2007 – Lisa Gould, Rick Enser & Jules Cohen
2008 – Dick Donnelly & Judith Ireland
2009 –
2010 – Mabel (Sindy) Hempstead
2011 – Joan Pilson
2012 – Karen Asher
2013 – Sandra Thompson
2014 – Frances Topping
2015 – Bob and Shirley Anderson
2016 – Doug McGrady

Awards to RIWPS

2016 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 1st Place

The Roger and Elizabeth Swain Award for Design and Execution

2015 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 2nd Place
People’s Choice: 2nd Place
Exhibitor’s Choice: 3rd Place

2014 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 1st Place

2013 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 1st Place

2012 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 4th Place
Elizabeth & Roger Swain Award
for Excellence

2011 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 1st Place
Best in Show – Non Profit: 3rd Place

2010 RI Flower Show
Mass. Horticultural Society: Silver Medal
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 3rd Place

2009 RI Flower Show
Mass. Horticultural Society: Gold Medal
Worcester County Horticultural Society: Special Award
Best in Show – Non Profit: 2nd Place
People’s Choice: 3rd Place

2008 RI Flower Show
Best in Show: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 3rd Place

2007 RI Flower Show
Best in Show – Non Profit: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 3rd Place

2006 RI Flower Show
Allen C. Haskell Award: 1st Place
People’s Choice: 3rd Place

2005 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 2nd Place

2004 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 1st Place

2001 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 1st Place

1999 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 1st Place

1996 RI Flower Show
People’s Choice: 1st Place

1995 NE Wildflower Society
Citation: Society Recognition

1994 RI Flower Show
Exhibitor’s Award: 1st Place

Newport Flower Show
Community Education: Appreciation Award

1991 State Garden Club
Education Exhibit: Special Exhibit

Board Members

Officers

Dick Fisher
President

Mary Lou Upham
Vice President

Diane Quigley
Treasurer

Mary O’Connor
Secretary

Trustees-at-Large

Samantha Best
Mark Carrison
Amanda Freitas
Graham L. Gardner
Tara Girshick
Jonathan Knight
Susan Shuster
Susan Marcus
Dorothy Swift
John Wilson