Join Us to Honor John Egan, Recipient of HNPAT’s 2020 Prairie Volunteer Award

Published by Houston Chapter on

John Egan at Sheldon Lake SP, November, 2020

HNPAT (Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Texas) will be presenting its 2020 Prairie Volunteer Award to John Egan on Wednesday, December 2 (6:30 pm to 8:30 pm), at the annual Prairie Stampede via zoom this year (registration required at this link). (See flyer here)

John Egan mentoring volunteers at Sheldon Lake S.P.

The award is given to John especially for his work over the years at Sheldon Lake State Park as well as his other prairie volunteer work. In 2008, shortly after joining the Prairie Restoration Team at Sheldon Lake S.P. under the mentorship of Tom Solomon and Jim Duron, John became the leader of that Team. In that capacity he provided weekly planning for volunteers and served as the interface between Park Staff and the Prairie Team.

Sample of Report Documenting Results at Sheldon Lake S.P.

He also gathered and maintained detailed records of the Prairie Team efforts which included the names of volunteers and their hours, planting and propagation data by plant type, planting location information, and plant type inventory records. (Example Summary Report attached).

He also planned and lead Sheldon’s annual Prairie Plant-a-thons over the past decade which involved working with 100 or so volunteers and school groups to plant 1000-2000 new plants into the prairie.

Working closely with LyondellBasell Corporation and Park Staff, John has been the focal point for GCMN Chapter to receive grants supporting Sheldon activities. Grants to date now total $22,500.

John had become a Gulf Coast Master Naturalist in the Spring of 2008 and then served on the Chapter Board for 4 years as Secretary. He has participated in other prairie volunteer work. Periodically he participated as a team mentor at Armand Bayou Nature Center assisting volunteers for their annual Prairie Pandemonium event. He was also active at Jesse Jones helping to remove invasives off trail to allow native grasses and forbs room and sunlight to rebound. Also at Jesses Jones, with the help of GCMN volunteers, 100 native grasses and forbs were planted in the park’s pocket prairie. John is also a member of the Green Team at the Houston Parks Board. And when not involved in restoring native habitat, John spent several years at Sheldon trapping invasive beetles for a project sponsored by the USDA.

In 2016, John received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer service signed by President Barack Obama. In 2019, TPWD recognized John with the Stars in our Parks award for his work at Sheldon.  This year he will have achieved approximately 7500 volunteer hours much of which has been dedicated to prairie restoration. He continues to volunteer weekly at Sheldon as a member of the Prairie Team splitting his efforts to all the various activities. Going forward however he plans to spend more time on invasive management allowing the native prairie, now restored by restoration planting, to maintain a long and productive life.

John also sent the following thanks:

“Thank You From John Egan
2020 Prairie Stampede

I would like to thank HNPAT for this very valued recognition coming at a time in my life I can really
appreciate it. Special thanks to my wife Trish (an indoor girl), for her continued support to all my
outdoor adventures. Thanks to Tom Solomon for keeping the faith and to all the current members of the
Prairie Team at Sheldon consisting of Texas Master Naturalist and Park volunteers:
Gulf Coast Chapter – Paulette Pittman
Melinda Kincaid
Joan Ward
Jane Shaw
Chatt Smith
Galveston Bay Area Chapter – Lana Burkowitz
Tom Solomon
Lower Trinity Basin Chapter – Mindee Poldrack
TPWD Volunteers – Glenn Braden
Kaveh Moghadam
Gus Cei

And a final thanks to Sheldon Lake Superintendent Kelley Parker and Resource Ranger Matthew Moore
for providing the opportunity.”