[Taxacom] Sad news: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Science Department and BKL Herbarium shutting down operations

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue Aug 27 23:17:22 CDT 2013


I predict that voicing concern to the BBG president will not make any
difference at all. Institutions that make decisions rarely (if at all?)
reverse themselves. This is just part of a national (and maybe
international although one tends to hear more about one's local situation)
trend in the decline of natural history sciences as an institutional
function and focus by museums or Gardens.

It remains to be seen whether the claim that the center will restore the
research program “with a refined focus (whatever that is supposed to mean)
and a means of sustained support,” will be more than rhetoric. Of course
one does not know from the announcements as to why things should be
different in the future if the governing board (or equivalent) could not
address sustained support now rather than later.

There are many natural history/science museums without science other than
as educational exhibit/program and that appears to be the order of the day
(I know of two natural history museums that are currently facing such
measures). The public cares about natural history entertainment, but not
for the science of natural history taxa itself and of course that is
reflected in natural history science funding. Spilled milk and all that.

John Grehan


On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM, Kobinah Abdul-Salim <
kobinah.abdulsalim at gmail.com> wrote:

> It is with great sadness that I report that operations of the Science
> Department of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden have been indefinitely suspended
> (I have been a research associate at the herbarium there for a little over
> a year, while teaching at nearby Medgar Evers College (CUNY)).  The
> department encompasses  the BKL Herbarium, the BBG Science Library, and
> associated research facilities. As of last Thursday, August 22, the entire
> senior research staff has been laid off, and we have been scrambling to
> process and return materials on loan. As of today, there are no concrete
> plans to restructure the department, nor is there any word as to what will
> become of the collection.
>
> Word of the closure is slowly filtering through news sources, who most
> major so far by the NY Daily News:
>
> http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/botanic-garden-prunes-science-staff-article-1.1438606
>
> Also local reporting by DNAInfo:
>
> http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130823/prospect-heights/brooklyn-botanic-garden-cuts-science-staff-weeks-after-native-garden-debut
>
> For those who care about herbaria and collections-based science, I would
> encourage you to voice your concern to BBG president Scot Medbury
> (scotmedbury
> at bbg dot org).
>
> A terrible loss to a great botanical institution, and botany!
>
> Kobinah Abdul-Salim
> Assistant Professor of Biology
> Medgar Evers College (CUNY)
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