melanie gisler cleaning seed smallerPhoto of Melanie Gisler cleaning seeds. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Gisler)The Gila Native Plant Society meeting on October 18, 2019, will feature a presentation by Melanie Gisler of the Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) on “State-wide Conservation Initiatives for New Mexico’s Native Plants.” 

IAE opened an office in Santa Fe in 2015 and has since initiated several new programs for native plants of New Mexico, many in partnership with the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. These programs include the Southwest Seed Partnership (a regional native plant materials project to increase the availability and diversity of native seed for large scale restoration projects), Forest Bound (a native plant outdoor education program for high school students), a large-scale dust mitigation restoration research project with New Mexico Department of Transportation, New Mexico Nature in Prisons (a horticultural training and native plant propagation program at the State Penitentiary), as well as new rare plant conservation strategies and seed banking. Collaboration with multiple local conservation organizations have been key to the story of success for these large-scale initiatives. 

In addition, IAE currently has a team based in Silver City scouting for and documenting populations of native species suitable for dust mitigation and collecting seed for this research. Her presentation will provide an overview of each of these conservation initiatives, as well as the Institute’s Gila-based work, and invite feedback on a vision for future native plant projects in New Mexico.  

Bio: Melanie Gisler is the Director for the Southwest Office of the Institute for Applied Ecology in Santa Fe. She received her Master of Science degree in Botany from the University of British Columbia and Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining IAE, Melanie worked in botany and restoration ecology for several public agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, NRCS Los Lunas Plant Materials Center, and the City of Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden. For the last 18 years at IAE she has led regional native plant materials development and restoration programs as well as recovery projects for rare plants and butterflies. Thanks to her hard work on behalf of native plants, Melanie was this year’s recipient of the Jack and Martha Carter Native Plant Conservation Award.

melanie with seeds in handPhoto of Melanie seed in hand. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Gisler)The Gila Native Plant Society will hold this month’s meeting at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 18, 2019, in Harlan Hall, Room 219, on the WNMU campus, corner of 12th and Alabama Streets in Silver City. Gila Native Plant Society meetings are free and open to the public. Refreshments following the program. For further information visit the programs page on our website:

The Gila Native Plant Society is committed to promoting education, research and appreciation of the native flora of the Southwest; encouraging the preservation of rare and endangered plant species; and supporting the use of suitable native plants in landscaping.  For information on programs, publications and membership, please visit

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