A bench inscribed simply “Dr. Elsie Quarterman, Plant Ecologist” sits
under cedar trees in the herb garden at Cheekwood Botanical Garden;
appropriately for a scientist whose specialty was cedar glades.
She was involved with Cheekwood for many years, and was its Acting Director from 1967 to 1968.
She helped establish the herb garden in which the bench sits.
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Dr. Quarterman was a longtime member of the Natural Areas Association, the professional organization representing the interests of natural area professionals in the US. She received the NAA George Fell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 at the 35th Annual Natural Areas Conference in Nashville. In receiving the award, she humbly said that there “is no greater honor than to be recognized by my peers.” Her most significant legacy will be the thousands of acres of natural areas she helped to protect in Tennessee including the cedar glades and the once endangered Tennessee Coneflower.
(Tennessee Natural Areas Program Administrator Brian Bowen works in
the Department of Environment and Conservation in Nashville.)