Barry Fugatt, director of horticulture at the Tulsa Garden Center in Tulsa, Okla., has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) Teaching Award, which is given to an individual whose ability to share his or her horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to a better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society.

The accolade is one of the Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American gardening. Each of the recipients has contributed significantly to fields such as scientific research, garden communication, landscape design, youth gardening, and conservation.

For more than 50 years, Fugatt has been educating people about plants. Deemed by a colleague “the spiritual leader of gardening,” Fugatt is known for his passionate and inspiring teaching style, which enables him to connect people with plants—even individuals without prior horticultural experience or enthusiasm. Early in his career, Fugatt was a county Extension agent in ornamental horticulture for Oklahoma State University, where he created its Master Gardener program. He went on to become Extension director before joining the educational nonprofit Tulsa Garden Center as director of horticulture. Shortly after assuming the position, he created the Linnaeus Teaching Garden and volunteer program; in the last 15 years, the program has graduated over 640 students and maintains 262 active volunteers.

Fugatt is also a skilled garden communicator, contributing regularly to local television programs, presenting at conferences, and writing newspaper articles.

On Thursday, June 18, the AHS will honor Fugatt and other award recipients during the Great American Gardeners Awards Ceremony and Banquet, held at the Society’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Va. For full descriptions of each award and brief biographies of this year’s recipients, please visit our 2020 Award Winners.