The Lasting Legacy of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

In just 10 days, USPS will issue a new sheet of 6 stamps honoring Lady Bird Johnson and her dedication to environmental and conservation projects. The First Day of Issue ceremony will take place at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Johnson—popularly known as “our environmental First Lady”—cofounded the center, then known as the National Wildflower Research Center, with her great friend, actress Helen Hayes, in 1982.

At that time, Hayes was one of the best-known actresses in the world. Like Johnson, she also had a lifelong passion for wildflowers and natural beauty. “Ever since I was very young,” she wrote in the forward to Betty Castro’s The Wildflower, “I liked to creep off to a field near my grandmother’s farm in Maryland, find a patch of wildflowers—red clover or field daises or such—curl up in it, and dream beautiful dreams.”

Proud of her role in the institution’s founding, Hayes noted in the Winter 1985 issue of the Center’s newsletter: “I joined Lady Bird Johnson . . . in the establishment of the much needed organization, based on my personal understanding and love for what we have been generously given by nature’s beauty . . . I am proud to be a part of this effort.”

Both women participated directly in the center’s work, attending countless fundraisers, benefits, and other events to raise contributions.

This keepsake features a sheet of 20 Helen Hayes stamps plus a First Day of Issue color postmark. Click for more info.

“Helen Hayes gave so generously of her talents and in the giving, brought joy into countless lives. I’m deeply grateful to have shared her life,” Johnson later wrote in the Center newsletter. “I will especially feel her spirit in the wildflower fields she loved and the legacy of native plants she championed through the work of the National Wildflower Research Center, which she co-founded with me. She will remain a national treasure in our hearts.”

Over the years, the center grew to be an international leader in research, education, and projects that encourage the use of wildflowers and native plants. Today it continues Johnson’s commitment to promote the beauty and sustainability of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes. It was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1997.

The Lady Bird Johnson (Forever) stamp sheet and other related philatelic products may be pre-ordered online. The First Day of Issue ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place Friday, November 30, at 11 a.m. CST. The 2011 Helen Hayes (Forever) stamp and related philatelic products are still available online.

Helen Hayes licensed by CMG Worldwide, Indianapolis, IN

This entry was posted in Activism, General Interest, History, Lady Bird Johnson, Special Event, Stamp Issuances and tagged by USPS Stamps. Bookmark the permalink.

About USPS Stamps

The Postal Service™ is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience through the issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery. Each year the Postal Service issues commemorative stamps reflecting subjects of national significance and appeal. More than 160 years of stamp development has yielded an incredible archive of imagery and commentary reflecting American culture and society. Even in this fast-changing world, stamps are still a versatile and convenient method of postage. And stamp collecting is a lifetime hobby that is fun and educational for all ages. Stamp collecting is easy to start without a big investment. It is also a great way to learn about the world and its many wonders, opening the door to an exciting universe of history, science, geography, the arts, technology, and sports. Our mission is to provide universal service that is prompt, reliable, efficient, affordable, and self-sustaining. Throughout its history the Postal Service has grown with the nation, binding it together by ensuring that everyone, everywhere, has the same ability to communicate regardless of technological change.