Native Plant Trust Executive Director Debbi Edelstein receives Gold Medal in recognition for contribution to native plants, conservation 

Native Plant Trust, awarded Executive Director Debbi Edelstein an honorary Gold Medal on May 11. Presented by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, it continues a 192-year tradition of awarding medals to individuals and organizations for their contributions to excellence in horticulture for the public good.  

“Under Debbi’s leadership over the past 14 years Native Plant Trust has been transformed into a conservation powerhouse,” noted James Hearsum, President and Executive Director of Massachusetts Horticultural Society, who bestowed the award. “The organization has prioritized evidence-based interventions and has created and enhanced public data tools to enable professionals and the public alike to understand and intervene in support of native plant conservation. Debbi has cultivated and grown a vastly expanded audience for educational and public participation for native plants both in the wild and in gardens. Debbi believes in taking action, and has shaped an organization single-mindedly focused on its mission to save native plants in the wild, grow them for gardens and restorations, and educate others on their value and use. The Gold Medal is awarded for the exceptional positive impact for native plants Debbi has had through her leadership of Native Plant Trust and the legacy she passes on for future generations.”

The Gold Medal was first awarded in 1846. Designed by Francis Napoleon Mitchell in 1848, it was designated for “gardens showing unusual skill in arrangement and management; garden superintendents who have done eminent service in the promotion of horticulture; other persons or entities for eminent horticultural accomplishments or outstanding service to this Society.” Later, the criteria for the award was changed to “for eminent horticultural accomplishments or for outstanding service to the Society.”

Massachusetts Horticultural Society seeks to help people change their lives and communities for the better through growing plants. As America’s first established horticultural society, MHS has been practicing horticulture for the public good since 1829.

Native Plant Trust is the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants. We save native plants in the wild, grow them for gardens and restorations, and educate others on their value and use. We are based at Garden in the Woods, a renowned native plant botanic garden that attracts visitors from all over the world. From this flagship property in Framingham, Massachusetts, 30 staff and many of our 2,000 trained volunteers work throughout New England each year to monitor and protect rare and endangered plants, collect and preserve seeds to ensure biological diversity, detect and control invasive species, conduct research, and offer a range of educational programs. Native Plant Trust also operates a nursery at Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts and manages six sanctuaries in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont that are open to the public. Native Plant Trust is among the first organizations worldwide to receive Advanced Conservation Practitioner accreditation by London-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), which included an endorsement by an International Advisory Council representing six continents. Please visit

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