The Pitschel Prize

Essays on the topic of Natural California

By: Judith Taylor

Judith M Taylor, a retired Oxford-trained neurologist, now practices history without a license in San Francisco. She has published several…

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From left: Toni Torres, Zann Cannon Goff, Judith Taylor, Sandy Jungwirth

As head librarian of the Helen Crocker Russell Library at the San Francisco Botanical Garden for almost 30 years, Barbara Pitschel tirelessly worked to promote the beauty of nature and encourage young people to appreciate the natural world around them. In addition to her work at the library, Barbara was an active member and served as an officer of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries. She and her husband Roland also founded and ran the Yerba Buena chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Barbara’s death in 2010 made the world go a little darker for many of us. Her presence at the library, ensconced in her office surrounded by books and papers,  is missed. I developed the Pitschel Prize to commemorate Barbara’s life and work. The California Horticultural Society was quick to endorse the effort and make a grant toward the winning prize money.

This past spring, students at City College of San Francisco were invited to submit original essays on the topic of “Natural California.” Zann Cannon Goff, a Bay Area gardener certified in landscape design and maintenance, nursery operation, and cut flower production took home the top award with his essay entitled “Four Years on the Rock” about his volunteer efforts with the gardens on Alcatraz.  Second place was awarded to Toni Torres for her essay “Garden Envy” and Sandy Jungwirth’s piece “Un-manicured Garden” took third.

Follow the link below to read Zann’s essay that appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of Pacific Horticulture.