This award was established to recognize and to thank those persons whose contributions have advanced the Council's goal to promote the education and science of bromeliads, served the bromeliad community of Florida and enhanced the standing of the Council. No one exemplifies these standards better than Uncle Derek.
Many of you know Derek as the Cultivar Registrar of the Bromeliad Society International. Before that, however, Derek played (and continues to play) a pivotal role in the development of the Council's website. Through his efforts, the Council gained international standing and set the standards for bromeliad websites world wide.
The Council established its web site in 1997 under webmaster Michael Andreas. Originally the goal was to be a source for bromeliad pictures. Unfortunately, no one in Florida was contributing any! Derek had offered his extensive picture collection to one bromeliad web site that was not interested. He then turned to Michael and made the same offer - and a partnership was born. Derek has world-wide contacts with bromeliad enthusiasts willing and eager to share pictures. Soon Michael was posting pictures not only from Derek but from new international friends as well.
In addition to the photographs, Derek has also contributed an extensive list of articles about bromeliads and their taxonomy - including clarifying and unraveling the mysteries of bromeliad cultivars and bromeliad origins, discussing growing from seed, and nomenclature. He published An Amateur's Guide to the Greyish Leaved Tillandsioideae which is available on the Council site, and he maintains the Species Database and the Cultivar Databases, both of which are also online. His tireless efforts to promote, educate and improve bromeliads and the bromeliad world found an outlet on the Council site and we have all been the richer for it.
By the way, Derek lives in Australia! He has been a member of the Bromeliad Society of South Australia since 1977 and has been extremely active in the Australian bromeliad community, as a judge, speaker, editor and author, organizer, and grower of a comprehensive and well-grown bromeliad collection with perhaps the largest Tillandsia collection in Australia. "Uncle" Derek has a world-wide presence and bromeliad enthusiasts all over the world read what he says in his corner of the Council website.
Thanks to Derek's long-time contributions, in partnership with Michael Andreas, to the Florida Council website, the Council enjoys a world-wide presence as the place to go for bromeliad identification, pictures and information on the Internet. Derek's service to and influence in the bromeliad community extends far beyond Florida, and so we count ourselves lucky to have Derek Butcher as Friend to the Florida Council.