Jan. 9, 2017 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Educational outreach team members who helped incorporate fire resistance ratings into the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Earth-Kind® Plant Selector were awarded a Superior Service Award for a Team today, Jan. 9, at a ceremony in Bryan, Texas.

    Jonathan Motsinger, Program Leader at the Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery and Mylea Lovell, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist in Idalou, Texas, have been working with the Earth-Kind® Educational Outreach Team for more than a year to help provide science-based, environmentally responsible landscape management principles and practices to consumers and industry personnel.

    “Incorporating the Firewise Index into the Earth-Kind® Plant Selector provides information on a plant’s tolerance to wildfire,” said Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention Department Head. “Although no plant is completely fireproof, using plants in a Firewise design creates defensible space around the home.”

    In addition to Firewise landscaping, the Texas A&M Forest Service members on the Earth-Kind® team have worked on the proper planning and planting of living windbreaks. The use of strategically placed trees and shrubs as windbreaks has proven to reduce energy use and lower utility bills. According to the Earth-Kind® website, savings of up to 23 percent have been recorded when comparing completely exposed homes and those landscaped to minimize air infiltration.

    “The interesting thing about windbreaks is that they are possibly more applicable today than in the height of their use in the 1930s.  Agricultural top soil is important, but what we are finding out is that non-traditional applications such as energy savings, aesthetics and protection from wildfire are also important,” said Jim Rooni, Texas A&M Forest Service Central Texas Operations Department Head. “Every decade that goes by, a windbreak’s cost benefits become more valuable due to their direct benefits to our quality of life.”

    Congratulations to Motsinger and Lovell and thanks to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for this recognition.

    Learn more about the Earth-Kind® Plant Selector at and more about Firewise landscaping and the benefits of living windbreaks at

    Read the original news release about this award at



    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-458-6606,

    Dr. Steve George, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,