Established in 1950

Wally Berg Award of Excellence

Photo of Wally & Dorothy
Wally and Dorothy Berg

Call for Nominations for the BSI Wally Berg Award of Excellence

Theresa M. Bert



The BSI Wally Berg Award of Excellence was initiated in 2001 to honor the late Wally Berg (1927-2000) of Sarasota, Florida. Wally and his wife Dorothy were extraordinary bromeliad growers. Their private collection was one of the most diversified and unique in the world. The garden-and-waterfall setting of their bromeliad gardens was magnificent and immaculate. Wally was an enthusiastic supporter of the BSI. He donated many rare plants for sales and auctions that benefited the BSI, the Bromeliad Research Center at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, research on the “Evil Weevil”, and other worthy causes. He volunteered many hours of service at Selby Gardens. He had a broad knowledge of bromeliad horticulture and science and frequently spoke to bromeliad societies on a variety of topics, especially about his adventures exploring and collecting bromeliads in Central and South America. Wally also served the Sarasota Bromeliad Society by holding many offices and donating plants for the society’s activities and sales. He introduced numerous bromeliad taxa into culture and created several hybrids. He frequently won top awards at World Bromeliad Conferences and at Florida local and regional bromeliad shows. For his contributions to the “bromeliad world,” a number of bromeliad species were named for him.

Award Recipient

Dorothy Berg, in honor of Wally Berg 2000
Dennis Cathcart 2002
John Anderson (posthumously) 2004
Harry Luther 2006
Grace Goode 2008
Elton Leme 2010
Derek Butcher 2012
Nat De Leon 2014
Odean Head 2016
Eric Gouda 2018
Jay Thurrott 2022

Following are the award criteria and procedures for nominations for the BSI Wally Berg Award of Excellence. Individuals, couples, or members deceased within the past two years, are eligible. Nominees must be past or present members of the BSI, and nominators must be present BSI members in good standing. The BSI Officers and Board of Directors will elect the winner from the cast of nominees.

Award Criteria

  1. Nominees must be past (if deceased) or present members of the BSI.
  2. Nominees should be bromeliad growers who are nationally or internationally recognized for diversity of species cultivated and excellence of cultivation.
  3. The individuals should actively pursue one of the following activities:
    • – Collecting and identifying bromeliads in natural environments, including collecting new species/varieties/cultivars; the members of the various bromeliad societies and organizations, including the BSI, should benefit from this activity;
    • – Promoting the appreciation and cultivation of bromeliads at the international level, including such activities as organizing and participating in collecting trips with international representation, giving presentations and seminars to national and international audiences, and writing manuscripts for publication in national or international books, journals, or other media (e.g., Internet, CD ROMS).
  4. The individuals should actively support efforts to further the scientific, taxonomic, or cultural understanding of bromeliads through donation of time, effort, or money to recognized organizations, institutions, or groups of individuals (e.g., the BSI, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, bromeliad clubs or councils).
  5. The individuals should be active in a local, regional, or national bromeliad society and be recognized by other members of that society for their contributions to the functioning of that society and its activities.
  6. If the individuals are bromeliad hybridizers, they should be internationally recognized for excellence in one or more of the following categories:
    • – Innovation in creating bromeliad hybrids,
    • – Success in cultivation of bromeliad hybrids,
    • – Promotion and distribution of bromeliad hybrids.
  7. The individuals should be generally recognized as experts in one or more of the following aspects of bromeliads:
    • – Ecology, evolution, or taxonomy,
    • – Cultivation or hybridization,
    • – Display or exhibition.
  8. The individuals should be generally recognized for their generous nature in sharing knowledge of bromeliads and for personal giving for the benefit of other people interested in bromeliads and for bromeliad organizations at all levels.


Procedures for Nomination

  1. Any BSI member in good standing (i.e., dues paid for current year) can nominate for this award. BSI Board members will elect the winner from the cast of nominees.
  2. The nominator should submit the nomination by email. The nominator should provide a brief resume of the accomplishments of the nominee(s) in bromeliad-related activities (e.g., service, offices held, major awards won), following the criteria listed above. The nominee(s) must meet at least four of Criteria 2-8 listed above.
  3. Past nominees may be re-nominated if they currently meet the award criteria. Previous award winners are ineligible for re-nomination.
  4. Please send nominations to the following email addresses: and Theresa Bert, the curator of the award, will prepare the nominations for submission to the BSI Board for voting. and conduct the voting activities.
  5. Nominations must be received before April 1, of the year of a WBC.


The winner’s name will be published in the BSI Journal and posted on the BSI website. The winner or his/her representative will receive the award at the BSI World Conference. One award is made every two years, at each BSI World Conference. The award is a rotating plaque with the current and all former winners’ names and year of award engraved on it. The BSI considers this award to be its highest honor.


Curator’s note: Dorothy Berg, the beloved wife of Wally Berg, passed away September 23, 2014. Dorothy was 84 years old.

Copyright 2024 | The Bromeliad Society International