Former Research Scientist Wayne McCully, who played a vital role in beautifying Texas highways — especially every spring — died recently after a long illness. He was 91 years old.
McCully was the manager of the Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Vegetation Management Program, a Texas A&M University faculty member in the Range Management Department and a researcher at the Institute for many decades beginning in 1948. Among his many honors, Dr. McCully received TTI’s Senior Researcher Award in 1997.
“Wayne McCully’s work has permanently changed the way Texans view their highways each spring,” Regents Fellow Dock Burke says. “He’s considered the founding father of the use of native plants, including bluebonnets and other wildflowers, to help beautify and manage the vegetation in highway rights-of-way.”
McCully’s research guided the development of the desired wildflower seed mixes for various soil conditions in the rights-of-way. And, most importantly, he encouraged reduced mowing operations during critical times of the plant growing cycles to facilitate natural, native plant sustainability.
“I join many others in thanking Dr. McCully for the contribution he made to Texas roadsides,” Executive Associate Agency Director Katie Turnbull said. “Every time we travel, we are reminded of him and his pioneering spirit.”