IPPS Eastern Region awards announced

IPPS Eastern Region awards announced

The International Plant Propagators' Society honored Peggy Walsh Craig and Mark Brand at the Eastern Region's annual meeting.


Left: Peggy Walsh Craig accepts the Award of Merit from IPPS Eastern Region past president Dale Pierson. Right: Mark Brand. Photos provided by IPPS.

Peggy Walsh Craig recently received the 2018 Award of Merit from the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators’ Society at their annual meeting in Newark, Delaware. The Award of Merit is the Region’s highest award - given for exceptional service to the Society and to the advancement of the field of propagation and production. She was previously elected as a Fellow of the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators’ Society at its 2009 conference in Cleveland, OH.

At the same meeting, Mark Brand was elected as a Fellow of the IPPS - Eastern Region. The Fellow Award is an honor the Region awards to its members for exceptional service to the Society and to the advancement of the field of propagation and production.

An IPPS member since 1979, Walsh Craig has contributed unselfishly to IPPS. She served as a director on the Eastern Region board from 2007-2010 and as president of the region in 2015. She has served on numerous committees over the years, most notably Long-Range Planning and as chair of the Publicity Committee. She is currently completing a two-year term as Eastern Region alternate delegate to the IPPS International Board of Directors. The Eastern Region has benefited from Peggy’s keen editorial eye which she turns towards the newsletter monthly and towards the Society’s Constitution and Operations Manual where she has spearheaded reviews and revisions. She has assisted in arranging area meetings, coordinated tours, and presented papers at annual meetings. Peggy served on the IPPS Eastern Region Foundation Board of Directors for three years and is currently the secretary of the foundation. Peggy is an advocate for IPPS, frequently telling growers, “You should belong to IPPS! It’s the very best organization in the business for production and propagation information.”

After graduating from the University of Guelph in horticulture in 1976, Walsh Craig worked for 10 years in wholesale nurseries in southern Ontario. She helped grow, sell and ship tens of thousands of trees and shrubs. She also worked at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario for a year as a Plant Records Technician. Walsh Craig has published over 100 articles in trade journals and gardening magazines. 

Walsh Craig was the managing director of the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation (COPF) from 1991-2011. COPF provided effective solutions in the management of propagation rights to growers and breeders for the benefit of the industry for 50 years. Peggy worked to educate the ornamentals industry both inside and outside Canada about plant patents and Plant Breeders’ Rights. Under Peggy’s direction of COPF, gross royalty income for ornamental plant breeders grew by 500 percent as she turned a fledgling entity into a world-class organization.

Since retiring from COPF Peggy has been working with the local Conservation Authority on a "Restore Your Shore" program to help prevent shoreline erosion and run off. She also enjoys spending time with her 2-year-old granddaughter, taking her swimming, to the library, or just exploring outdoors. She also enjoys kayaking, going to live music with her husband Georges, and gardening at home.

An IPPS member since 1995, Professor Brand was a director on the board from 2015-2018, and has served on the Local Site committee, Area Meeting Committee and has submitted five papers in the Combined Proceedings.

A native of Connecticut, Brand grew up next to the University of Connecticut campus. He received his B.S. in 1982 from Cornell University. In 1985 he received his master’s degree followed in 1988 by his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He has worked at UConn for 30 years. He currently teaches Woody Landscape Plants, Plant Propagation and Plant Tissue Culture.

Brand has focused his research efforts on invasive ornamental plants, evaluation of underused native shrubs, propagation and tissue culture. He is now focusing a significant amount of his effort on Aronia, as both an ornamental and nutraceutical fruit crop. Brand has 30 cultivar introductions and 14 plant patents resulting from his breeding program.  Mark is the creator of the UConn Plant Database. This busy man has found the time to write many scholarly articles.

Born in West Lafayette, Indiana, Mark got his start in plant breeding working summers with Gus Mehlquist. Mark's wife Jessica Lubell Brand is also a Horticulture professor at UConn. One of his three sons works in the industry at Prides Corner Farms. Mark enjoys boating, kayaking, keeping tropical fish and spending time at his family's cottage in Maine.

Mark was unable to accept his award in person but did share his thoughts on the award and on IPPS after being notified of the honor: 

I never expected to be viewed by my IPPS peers as being accomplished enough to be included with all the great people that have previously been named a Fellow. IPPS has been a wonderful group for me to be a part of since Dan Struve first brought me to a meeting as a graduate student back in the mid-1980s. To a great extent, I credit the successes I have had in plant breeding and in nursery production research to my membership in IPPS. IPPS and its members have helped this academic understand how the propagation and nursery industries function and what the real issues are that need to be addressed. In plant breeding, new plants that have value to the green industries can only be developed if you learn from the people who will end up propagating, growing and using your plant. The IPPS membership has been phenomenal as a resource to provide this kind of information through the oral presentations, poster presentations, informal discussions and, especially the tours. Hopefully, my presentations at IPPS over the years have given back to the Society in some small way?

As much as anything, I value my membership and participation in IPPS for the enduring relationships that form with people who share freely with others, eagerly mentor young propagators and nursery professionals and are generally just fun to be around.  Please accept my sincere apologies for not being there to accept an award that means a great deal to me.