University of Vermont

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

She's the 'Defining Voice of Vermont's Natural Communities'

Liz Thompson Receives Fairbanks Award

Liz Thompson

One of the founders of Vermont's Natural Heritage Program, which identifies fragile natural areas of importance to the state’s biological diversity and creates strategies for their protection, Elizabeth "Liz" Thompson, of Jericho, was honored with the prestigious 2012 Franklin Fairbanks Award at a lecture and award ceremony on March 24 at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in St. Johnsbury.

The award recognized her as "a defining voice of Vermont’s natural communities and one of Vermont’s preeminent botanists and ecologists."

Thompson is the Director of Conservation Science for the Vermont Land Trust. She is a part-time plant biology instructor at the University of Vermont where she has taught field botany and plant ecology and works in the University's Pringle Herbarium. She is co-author with Eric Sorenson of "Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: a Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont," published in 2000.

"Since 2003, Liz Thompson has led a partnership between the Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy to identify and promote the protection of ecologically important features on the conserved lands of these organizations," the Fairbanks Museum website says in announcing the award. "As a key figure in another collaboration among local, regional, and national organizations, she has worked to protect the diverse threatened upland landscapes of Vermont’ s Chittenden County." She has advised many other Vermont communities on priorities for conservation planning as well.

The annual Franklin Fairbanks Award recognizes individuals for service that has enriched our awareness and understanding of the natural world through contributions in the arts, humanities and sciences; people whose vision, dedication and talents recall the spirit of Franklin Fairbanks’s vision. Fairbanks was a businessman, state representative, industrialist and philanthropist in the mid- to late 1800s. He worked his way to the presidency of his family business, Fairbanks Scales manufacturing. He donated to St. Johnsbury, the Victorian building and its contents, the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. He was trustee of St. Johnsbury Academy. He co-founded the city of Winter Park, Florida.

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