Dr. Alva P. Burkhalter was awarded honorary membership in the Aquatic Plant Management Society in 2002. He served the Society for several years as a Board Member, Treasurer, and President. Dr. Burkhalter was born in Glennville, Georgia, on February 16, 1943. His father was a school principal and science teacher, and the love of science followed from father to son. In 1965 he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of Georgia and in 1967 completed his Master of Science Degree in Genetics. Immediately thereafter, he enrolled in Auburn University and earned his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1971. His studies concentrated on Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, and his thesis work was in the agricultural herbicide area. In 1965 he married his college sweetheart, Myra, – and stated it was “the best decision I ever made”.
In 1971 Myra and he moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where he began work as Bureau Chief in the newly created Bureau of Aquatic Plant Research and Control. The Bureau’s primary functions were to conduct aquatic plant research and to coordinate statewide aquatic control activities. These goals were accomplished with in-house staff, contracts with other agencies, and state grants and consultation with state, federal, and local agencies. These efforts led to many improvements in the aquatic plant area through new chemical, biological, and mechanical controls. One of the accomplishments Dr. Burkhalter looks back on with the most pride is the beginning of extension schools to train and certify new applicators. He believes this work was one of the best things the Bureau did to advance the profession. While the Bureau was instrumental in bringing this about, it would not have been as successful without the assistance of personnel at the federal, state and local levels.
In 1981 Dr. Burkhalter left the Bureau for employment with Monsanto Company. His assignments were primarily in product development and research. His area of emphasis was in the adaptation of new herbicide products in the non-agricultural crop areas such as aquatics, forestry, and right-of-ways. He devoted many years seeking to move glyphosate into these areas throughout North America, and particularly the Southeast. In 1998 he retired from Monsanto but continued consultant work with them for several years. In 1999 Myra and he relocated to Bainbridge, Georgia, to be closer to the Tallahassee area and friends. Living next door to a Wildlife Management Area provides many days of hunting. Gardening, entertaining and fishing also keep him busy.