With an early interest in teaching, Karen S. Haller earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Missouri in 1956, having been a member of the university organization Mortar Board in 1955. She has also been very interested in the outdoors from a young age and involved herself with the Sophie M. Sachs Butterfly House early on as well. Thus armed with an expertise in butterflies, botany and nature study, she began her career as an elementary school teacher in the Ladue School District following her graduation in 1956.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Haller also spent time in a number of additional roles, including as a hearing test technician for the Special School District of St. Louis County from 1975 to 1976. In 1984, she proffered her skills in photography as a contributing photographer for two books, “Sensitive Plants of St. Francis National Forests” and “Wildflowers of Arkansas.” She also contributed her photography to “Wildflowers of North America” in 1987.
Notably, Ms. Haller is the author of “Walking with Wildflowers,” which was published in 1994. She is incredibly proud of her work on this book, as it utilized her talents for both writing and photography and took a lot of time and hard work. Going on to serve as a volunteer with Earthwatch for the Bees and Orchids of Brazil Project in 1998, she was also a volunteer and interpreter with the Sophie M. Sachs Butterfly House from 1998 to 2002. Presently, she excels as an author and a teacher in the fields of botany and nature study.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Haller has maintained affiliation with a number of professional organizations as well. On the board of directors of the Missouri Parks Association since 2000, she previously served as the president of the Missouri Native Plant Society from 1991 to 1993; the awards chair and program chair of the National Audubon Society between 1987 and 1990; and the conservation chair and president of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society from 1983 to 1986 and 1978 to 1980, respectively. She is also a longtime member of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society’s botany group as well as the Sierra Club.
Ms. Haller has been active in her community as well, donating her time to the Jaycee Wives and the Naiads Swim Club. Additionally, she spent a number of years with both the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, where she was assistant leader and leader of a Junior Girl Scouts troop and a Brownie troop between 1969 and 1971, and the Boy Scouts of America, where she was the adviser for the Co-Ed Explorer Post from 1976 to 1980. Earlier, she spent time as a bus tour guide and the chair of the St. Louis Visitor Center from 1966 to 1970.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Haller was recognized for 20 years of outstanding service by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2018. She was also presented with the Erna R. Eisendrath Education Award from the Missouri Native Plant Society in 1994. Over the years, she also been the recipient of several scholarships, including two from the National Audubon Society: the Dorr scholarship in 1989 and the annual scholarship to the Wisconsin Audubon camp in 1958. In light of all her accomplishments, she has been honored with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Frank Michael Kratoville and Frieda Catherine Hartmann, Ms. Haller has been married to her husband, Albert John Haller, for many happy years. Together they have traveled to many different countries, including Peru and India. They even went boating on the Amazon River, a trip on which she also had the unique experience of getting to hold a sloth. Ms. Haller is the proud mother of two children, Christopher Karl and Debra, and her family also includes her daughter-in-law, Angela Haller, and three grandchildren, Stephanie, Jessica and Alexandra. In her free time, she enjoys hiking canoeing, camping, traveling and synchronized swimming.