The Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio Awards
The Gentian Award for 2014
The Native Plant Society created the Gentain Award in 2012 to honor those who made a significant contribution to our Society's mission of promoting the study, appreciation, and conservation of Ohio's native plants and plant communities. This year's recipient exemplifies the spirit of the Gentian Award by generously sharing his time, knowledge, and curiosity about nature in many ways through his volunteer and community services. We are proud that this year's Gentian Award goes to Mr. Fred Losi. He joins the fine company of previous award recipients:   Perry Peskin and Judy Semroc.
Like Perry, Fred's interest in nature is not his vocation. Fred graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Professionally, he currently handles technical and architectural aspects of projects especially in the telecommunications area. It is to the benefit of many that his technical training and background never quashed his love for the outdoors nor his thrill of experiencing the wonders of nature that exist right in our backyards. Being an avid hiker, Fred has covered much ground over the years by hiking through area woods of Bedford, Brecksville, North and South Chagrin, and much of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With his hiking experience and his respected knowledge of wildlife and plants, Charles Thomas and Carl Casavecchia could think of no better person to take the reins of the Cleveland Metroparks: Woodlands of Bedford program. "It does both Chuck and I a lot of good to know a program we started a long time ago is in the capable hands of Fred to carry on the discovery of the outdoor world."
In addition to his involvement as a volunteer naturalist with the Cleveland Metroparks, Fred's appreciation for nature is reflected by his active involvement with and contributions to many other conservation, nature, cultural, and citizen science organizations and programs:   Cleveland Museum of Natural History: NEON; Kirtland Birding Club; Ohio Ornithological Society; Cuyahoga Valley National Park; Brecksville Historical Association; Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio; and being an avid Boy Scout troop leader to name a few. He leads spring Audubon bird hikes and wildflower hikes, contributes real-time data from both his organized and personal hikes as well as from home, and he keeps a close eye on sensitive plants that may be disturbed by interaction and reports threats to flora and fauna.
Fred has a natural inclination to engage people to truly see all the wonders of nature. "Fred is able to get hardcore birders to stop and admire the blue forest floor created by blooming Virginia blue bells and he always will take time to point out a newly blooming spring wildflower and never hesitates to answer flora questions." And, just this past spring, "Fred was a great interpreter, leader, and friend to the Ohio Young Birders Club students." At the conclusion of one of their walks in the Cuahoga Valley National Park, "Fred pulled out his scope and did an impromptu night sky program."
On his hikes, you feel welcomed and appreciated for sharing your time experiencing and learning about nature because you genuinely are. This inclusive feeling of camaraderie is one of the things that makes his field trips so special. Regardless of knowledge or skill level, one feels comfortable to contribute knowledge and/or an observation, ask questions, take photographs, or do whatever furthers your knowledge and joy of nature.
Fred's volunteer and community services along with his readily shared hike summary write-ups and photographs exemplify the spirit of the Gentian Award: to further the education, appreciation, and conservation of native plants and plant communities of Ohio.
Please join us in thanking Fred for sharing his good humor and for all his selfless contributions over the years that have brought joy and understanding of our natural world to so many. It is with great delight and honor that we present Mr. Fred Losi with this year's Gentian Award for 2014.
For Dedication to the Native Plants of Ohio