Austin, TX—The American Botanical Council (ABC) is introducing the ABC Steven Foster Botanical Conservation and Sustainability Award, an annual award which will recognize excellence in conservation, sustainability, and regenerative farming efforts related to medicinal and aromatic plants, according to a press release.

The award is named in honor of botanist, author, and photographer Steven Foster, whopassed on January 15, 2022. Foster had more than 40 years of experience with sustainability and conservation in the botanical industry. He served as a founding member of the United Plant Savers advisory board, advocated for industry trade resolutions to protect threatened botanicals, and consulted for ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP).

Foster also served on the ABC Board of Trustees for 22 years, 10 of them as Board President. He wrote more than 100 articles for ABC’s peer-reviewed journalHerbalGram, and helped support the organization’s nonprofit research and educational mission. His photographs of medicinal plants have appeared in every issue ofHerbalGramsince issue 24 in 1991, and have been used for the covers of 59 issues.

Each year, the Foster Award will recognize an individual, nonprofit organization, or company that is committed to sustainable and regenerative practices in the botanical industry. Recipients will be taking action to address botanical sustainability issues and contributing to a broader understanding of cultural and biological diversity, soil health, climate change, and more. They will also be involved with collaboration and cooperation that transcend their discipline.

SHP Director Ann Armbrecht, Ph.D., said in the press release: “In creating the criteria for this award, we hope to celebrate not only a commitment to concrete action, but also Steven’s ability to bridge worlds and his appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, especially the beauty of plants. He was an herbalist, scientist, historian, photographer, writer, and much more. And he brought all those perspectives to his work with plants. I once asked Steven how he approached photographing plants. In his reply, he talked about awareness: ‘Being aware, I suppose, is simply approaching the world with awe…. It means experiencing the world with more than an open mind, but an open heart and believing in one’s own intuition, listening within, to move beyond the ordinary experience of the world.’”

ABC will posthumously award the 2022 ABC Champion Award to Foster. The award is given to individuals who have donated time and/or funds to support ABC’s nonprofit research, mission, publications, and programs.

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ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “It is quite clear that as much or more than anyone else, Steven gave his time, energy, writing, and photography to support and expand ABC’s unique nonprofit mission. Even though it has been our normal policy that members of the ABC Board of Trustees are exempt from consideration for any of ABC’s awards, in this case, we here at ABC are all in agreement that Steven is truly deserving of this award. This is in recognition of his invaluable and irreplaceable gifts to ABC.”

Former recipients of the ABC Champion Award are: former US Food and Drug Administration pharmacologist Jerry Cott, PhD (2021); herbal science expert Thomas Brendler, PhD (2019); NOW Foods CEO Jim Emme (2018); supplement industry insurance broker Dick Griffin (2017); botanical expert Josef Brinckmann (2016); Herb Pharm co-founder Ed Smith (2015); and EuroPharma founder Terry Lemerond (2014).