Cathy Mayes Memorial Fund

The Piedmont Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society invites you to join us in creating a Memorial Fund to honor Cathy Mayes, our extraordinary board member, treasurer, and friend. As you might know, Cathy was also a board member at the Clifton Institute, She played significant roles in many more environmental groups, including the American Chestnut Foundation, the Old Rag Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists, and the Virginia Working Landscapes program at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Cathy was also the Treasurer of VNPS at the state level for many years.

Cathy Mayes August 2020 Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Cathy was especially interested in research, helping to start the VNPS Research Grant Program using bequests. One of these grants was recently awarded to Clifton Institute to study the native grasslands of the northern Piedmont. Clifton Institute and the Piedmont Chapter of VNPS have a long relationship, working together on projects and field trips.

The Memorial Fund will support significant projects under the auspices of Clifton Institute. The first project will be to create a Cathy Mayes Memorial Pollinator Meadow. An area of the Clifton property around the pond and spillway, where no native seed bank remains in the disturbed soil, will be restored, using locally collected seeds of regionally appropriate native species. This Meadow will benefit pollinators and serve as a model for restoration and education. Several uncommon plants of the Piedmont grasslands will have a home there, among more common grassland natives. A bench and a plaque will name the Meadow after Cathy.

Clifton Institute has several research projects ongoing or waiting in the wings. The work there is very exciting to see. One project will survey plants to study the use of fire as a management tool in a special habitat called a greenstone barren. Another will use an insect survey to evaluate the effects of establishing native plants in an old field. If the Memorial Fund is sufficiently large, we will support students and interns on these and future projects.

We invite you to share in honoring Cathy’s life and environmental work by donating to our Cathy Mayes Memorial Fund. Send your tax-exempt donation to VNPS Piedmont Chapter, P.O. Box 336, The Plains, VA 20198.

A generous donor has offered to match up to $5000 in donations.