First awarded at the 1969 Annual Meeting, the Lawson Medal, the most prestigious award of the CBA/ABC, was established “to provide a collective, formal expression of the admiration and respect of botanists in Canada for excellence in the contribution of an individual to Canadian botany”. It is named in honour of Dr. George Lawson, who is generally regarded as Canada’s first professional botanist. Lawson was born in 1827 in Scotland and attended the University of Edinburgh. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Giessen in Germany in 1857, and accepted an appointment as Professor of Chemistry and Natural History at Queen’s College (now University) in Kingston, Ontario. He was instrumental in establishing Canada’s first botanical garden (1861) and the Botanical Society of Canada, which met from 1860 until 1862. In 1863 Lawson abruptly left Queen’s for Dalhousie (we do not know precisely why). At Dalhousie he was active in the Nova Scotia Institute of Science and was a founding fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. From 1885-1895 he was Secretary of Agriculture for Nova Scotia (equivalent to a modern Deputy Minister). In 1891 he helped to establish the short-lived (1891-1910) Botanical Club of Canada, and was its President until his death in 1895.
Lawson Medals may be awarded each year in two categories of eligibility:
(A) Recognition of a single outstanding contribution to botanical knowedge (monograph, book or series of papers) by a Canadian botanist at any stage of their career, and (B) Recognition of cumulative, lifetime contributions to Canadian botany by a senior researcher, teacher or administrator.
Nominations: Terms of reference for submitting nominations are published in the CBA/ABC Bulletin. Briefly, nominations may be in either category and should be sent to the current President of the Association. Nominations should include the Curriculum Vitae of the nominee, a statement by the nominator concerning the nominee’s contribution’s to Canadian Botany, and at least three supporting letters from botanists who are familiar with the achievements of the nominee. Nominations for the Lawson Medal to be awarded at the next Annual Meeting, should be submitted to the President of CBA/ABC before the end of January of the year in which the Award is to be presented.