STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State University professor Dr. James Muir was presented this year’s Charles Leonard Weddle Memorial Award by the Native Plant Society of Texas for lifetime achievement in the field of Texas native plants.
In addition to his work in the Tarleton Wildlife, Sustainability and Ecosystems Science Department, Dr. Muir is a grassland ecologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Stephenville and a Regents Professor in Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
“Dr. Muir has been an active champion for native plants, and his research and scholarly activities have been incredible contributions for Texas grasslands and restoration efforts as well as having impacts across the world, in particular Africa and South America,” said Dr. Bill McCutchen, Director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Stephenville.
Muir said the Native Plant Society of Texas has been very important in “getting our prairies back, our native songbirds back and our quail back.” As for being recognized by the organization, he said he’s pleased, not just for himself but because “it means Texas A&M AgriLife is doing its job when our stakeholders and groups recognize that we are working on their behalf to restore native ecosystems with native plants.”
Muir earned his master’s degree and doctorate in agronomy from the University of Florida. His undergraduate work was at Wheaton College in Illinois where he studied biology and ecology. After college he worked as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique, and then as a visiting agronomist to Instituto de Produção Animal, Mozambique.
He worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique for a decade before moving his family to the U.S., where he joined Texas A&M as an assistant professor and member of AgriLife Research.
His professional research includes leading teams to collect, evaluate and release native herbaceous germ plasm in Texas, Mozambique and Brazil; studying the impact of condensed tannins of herbaceous legume origin on ruminant nutrition, health and the environment; and using native herbaceous germ plasm for grassland and roadside revegetation.