Blossoming talent honoured

Botanical artist Ellen Hickman won the Wilderness Society’s Best Picture Book Award for Tuart Dwellers on 5 June 2009.

Hickman, who features in Brush With Gondwana: The Botanical Artists Group of Western Australia, said she found it hard to believe she and author Jan Ramage had won the national award.

“However it is great that the Tuart tree is getting recognition and that the five years work to do the illustrations is paying off,” said Hickman.

Tuart Dwellers also made the shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award and is listed as an Honour Book in the Picture Book of the Year Category.

To top off what has been a very big year for Hickman, she is on the shortlist for a Winston Churchill Fellowship Grant, which will be decided by a national panel on 24 June 2009.

“If I am successful the funds will be used for my travel expenses to Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Cuba and the UK,” said Hickman.

Hickman is currently collaborating with Professor Stephen Hopper, the Director of Kew Gardens, on a book about the family Haemodoraceae, relatives of the Kangaroo Paw. She said she has already completed studies of the Haemodoraceae in South Africa and North America.

“My aim is to locate and draw species … in their natural habitat and to study past collections housed in the herbarium at Kew in the UK,” said Hickman.

The Wilderness Society is a community-based environmental protection organisation. To be eligible for a Wilderness Society Award, a book must encourage caring for the natural environment.

Hickman lives in the South West of Western Australia where she works as a botanist and an artist.

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