Herbarium relief drive

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Fri Sep 9 15:27:36 CDT 2005

We are all aware of the tragic losses that have occurred as a result of
Hurricane Katrina.  Although our primary concerns are with those whose
lives have been so utterly devastated, and they must be the first to
benefit from relief efforts, there is another   important consequence of
this storm: the loss of significant herbarium collections.  These
collections are irreplaceable and their loss can have far-reaching
consequences.  We already know that the herbarium of the Gulf Coast
Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, has been
flooded and that many specimens may be damaged beyond repair.   Patrick
Biber reports that most cabinets were knocked on their sides by the
storm surge that flooded the building and nearly all the specimens have
been in standing water for about eight days.  The room is slowly
draining, but as of today (8 September 2005) there is standing water in
the herbarium.

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) has initiated a
campaign to raise funds to provide assistance for collection maintenance
and recovery and Lucinda McDade (Academy of Natural Sciences,
Philadelphia; mcdade at acnatsci.org) has agreed to head this effort.  The
details for allocation of these funds are being worked out in
consultation with those affected as well as their more fortunate
colleagues in neighboring locales.  We don’t know the full extent of the
losses, but we do know that our colleagues at GCRL and other herbaria in
the storm path will be hard-pressed to carry out even the most basic
curatorial tasks.  If nothing else, funds from ASPT could be used to
hire student assistants, purchase presses and blotters, or provide
access to freeze-dryers.

We are asking that all of you consider making a donation to the ASPT
Herbarium Emergency Fund.  If you would like to join us in this effort,
please send a check or money order, payable to “ASPT Herbarium Emergency
Fund”, to our business office at

     American Society of Plant Taxonomists
     University of Wyoming
     Department of Botany 3165
     1000 E University Avenue
     Laramie, WY 82071

 If you would prefer to make your donation by credit card, please visit
our online site at http://www.aspt.net and follow these directions for
making a donation:

     1)  Complete the First Name, Last Name, & City required fields.
     2)  Under “Membership Payment”, choose “None – Donation Only”
     3)     Enter the amount of your donation in the “ASPT Herbarium
Emergency Fund” box
     4)  Complete the four credit card information fields & submit the

Let me thank you in advance for considering this request.  I am
encouraging the ASPT Council to make this emergency fund a permanent
part of our normal operations.  If any funds donated for this immediate
request go unused, they will form the core of an ongoing effort to be
prepared to provide emergency support when needed.


Dick Jensen, President

Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Notre Dame, IN 46556    | http://www.saintmarys.edu/~rjensen

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