Collector’s Stories: David McLeod

This month we want to celebrate the significant contributions David McLeod has made to botanical studies in New Brunswick. The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 823 specimens collected by David.

He is a superb botanist with an encyclopedic mind but that is not all. Since all things in the natural world fascinate him, he has an extensive collection of plant specimens, insects and arachnids and a truck-load of books on nature. He also is a very knowledgeable birder with a long list of “lifers”. David is an outstanding teacher and whenever one is on a field trip with him, you want to stand close to hear what he has to say.

David holds long-time memberships in many local and Canadian/US natural history organizations and clubs. He has been a member of the New Brunswick Botany Club since its inception in 1999.

Dave at the Dolan Woodlands Nature Preserve (NTNB). Photo Credit: Peter Gadd

David was born and raised in southwestern Ontario, to a family of natural history enthusiasts. His grandfather, J.R. McLeod was president of the McIlwraith Naturalists’ Club in the early 1920’s and his father, Robert McLeod, took him on many naturalist club outings.

He studied engineering and the sciences at the University of Western Ontario and graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 1967. In the following year, he received his Ontario Teacher’s Certificate from the London Teachers’ College. David taught school for seven years and as he became more interested in outdoor education, he left the formal classroom to join the YMCA’s Outdoor Centre as a co-ordinator of their educational programmes. For the next 20 years (1980- 1998) he worked as a biologist, botanist and ecological consultant for various governmental and non-governmental organisations. It should be noted that during his time working in Ontario, he also spent some summer months in the early 80’s botanizing around Alnwick Parish, Northumberland County, NB. In the Connell Memorial Herbarium there are over 250 specimens he collected during 1979 to 1982 in Alnwick Parish.

Dave at Spednic Lake. Photo Credit: Clay Merrithew

After retiring in the late 1990’s he moved from Ontario with his wife, Ena (McKnight) to New Jersey, New Brunswick and took up residence in the McKnight homestead. At this time he became an assistant to Hal Hinds, Botany instructor and curator of the UNB Herbarium, to work on the revision for the 2nd edition of the “Flora of New Brunswick”. He checked for current taxonomic and nomenclatural changes to scientific names, reformulating identification keys and proof-reading the text. Since then and to the present day, David has continued to work on botanical surveys and inventories for many local Miramichi organisations. In particular, he worked with Clay Merrithew (current volunteer with the herbarium) compiling botanical inventories in the French Fort Cove Nature Park for the City of Miramichi and on Beaubear’s Island for Parks Canada. More than 500 plant specimens from these surveys are in the Herbarium, and they can be found online in our database. Thank you David!

“ I spent three floristic seasons doing field work with Dave. He is a meticulous botanist with an all-encompassing knowledge of vascular plants. Despite the impediment of right-side weakness caused by a stroke, Dave had the iron will to spend long hours examining and collecting specimens in the field day after day.”

Clay Merrithew
Dave at French Fort Cove. Photo Credit: Clay Merrithew

Text: Clay Merrithew and Susan Belfry. Photos: Peter Gadd, Clay Merrithew.

Botanical Interest:

2022 Outings – Friends of CMH

In 2022, a small group of volunteers from the Connell Memorial Herbarium made some botanical explorations. These outings were usually spontaneous – from a need to get outside to discover and re-discover our native plants. The first outing was May 25th to Tower Lake, a small boggy area close to Fredericton. In the collection, there are 12 specimens of the Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica) of which two were collected near Tower Lake. As some of the volunteers have never seen this fern in NB we ventured out to re-locate the plant. The herbarium specimens, collected in 1977, had vague descriptions for the location (N. Side of Tower Lake) and unfortunately, after a long day of wading through a boggy habitat, we did not find it. We were blessed, however, with large swaths of Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense), in full bloom.

Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense) Photo: Liz Mills

Our second outing on June 11th, was to the Fred Tribe Forest near Lower Royalton. It is a preserve of the Nature Trust of NB and is now called the Sasokatokuk Nature Preserve. It is 90 acres of Appalachian Hardwood Forest with some calcareous cedar fen and abandoned farmland. A visit to the rich hardwoods forests of NB is always lovely – and we were not disappointed. Goldie’s fern (Dryopteris goldiana), Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), Silvery spleenwort fern (Deparia acrostichoides) and Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) were in abundance.

Goldie’s fern (Dryopteris goldiana) Photo: S.Belfry

The third site for a botany outing was the Lincoln Trail that runs from Hwy 102 near the Fredericton airport to the Saint John River. The property is co-owned by the Lincoln Elementary School and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This site was chosen by Gart Bishop because of its rich wetland and stands of Basswood and Butternut. A botanical survey has not been undertaken and thus with the permission of the Nature Conservancy, volunteers collected and documented the vegetation on two dates, July 9th and August 6th. This study will be continued in 2023.

Our final outing was a relaxing botanical foray along the Schribner Brook in the Oromocto River Watershed. Clay Merrithew chose this location as a matter of general interest in the area. We started at the Schribner Brook Falls trailhead on Hwy 785 near Central Blissville. It was October 16th and the fall colours were lovely as were the flowering Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Also in abundance was Hop-hornbeam or ironwood (Ostrya virginiana).

Photo: S.Belfry

Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Photo: S.Belfry

Text: Susan Belfry Photos: Susan Belfry, Liz Mills Map: Google Earth

Volunteer Profile: Dr. C. Mary Young

The success of the Connell Memorial Herbarium is due to many people who have donated their time and expertise. However, one person stands out: Mary Young is the herbarium’s most longstanding volunteer. Since 1975 she has spent countless hours in mounting, identifying and archiving plant specimens for the collection.

Born and educated in England, she has a B.Sc in zoology and botany and a PhD from London University. She met her future husband (Dr. Murray Young) in London and after some years, they settled in Fredericton where he taught history at UNB. They raised a family of three children in a beautiful home with a large garden filled with vegetables and native plants.

Mary concentrated on identifying plants in the herbarium’s special collections such as Dr. Taylor’s Arctic Study (1944), Dr. Wein’s Yukon and NWT Study (1972) and several other collections from Nova Scotia and PEI. For more on the challenging work with the Taylor Collection please see the previous Blog, posted June 29, 2016. She played an active role in the establishment of the Nature Trust of New Brunswick (an organization dedicated to the conservation of critical natural areas), serving as secretary, president, and past-president. With her interest in plant distribution and diversity, the conservation of plants was also of great importance. For her dedication to conservation and her role in the Connell Memorial Herbarium, Mary was recognized by an Honorary D.Sc. from UNB in 2016.

As a veteran of the herbarium, Mary knows a lot about its history and she wrote an excellent account in the booklet, “The Connell Memorial Herbarium, University of New Brunswick 1838-1985”. This document is reproduced on the CMH website under About/ History of the CMH.

Her interest in the historical aspect of the collection led her to research and write of our province’s early naturalists and botanists. Her book, “Nature’s Bounty: Four Centuries of Plant Exploration in New Brunswick” was published in 2015 by the UNB Library. The electronic version of this text is freely available from UNB:

Both of these publications have been illustrated with Mary’s botanical sketches and paintings. As an artist, self-taught, she has sharpened her observational skills in botany by drawing the native plants of New Brunswick.

As I write this, Mary still lives in her home surrounded by her lovely garden of perennials and native ferns. Equipped with a microscope, a dissecting kit, plant keys and access to online databases, Mary continues her work on plant identification from her home. She is currently identifying and annotating some sedges from the collection and is grateful for the online digital database and high-resolution images of the collection that help in the identification of New Brunswick plants.

This collection becomes more and more valuable as the data is available to anyone over the internet.”

Mary Young, email communication

Her thoughts on those giving their time as ‘Friends of the Herbarium’ reflect her appreciation for the many people who keep all the data, photos and specimens together:

“I think they are a remarkably dedicated group of people. It does not seem to matter whether it is field work, collecting specimens, or some routine lab job, they do it with alacrity and dedication.”

Mary Young, email communication

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 205 specimens collected by C. Mary Young.


Young, C. Mary. The Connell Memorial Herbarium, University of New Brunswick 1838-1985, University of New Brunswick, 1986.

Young, C. Mary. Nature’s Bounty: Four Centuries of Plant Exploration in New Brunswick. UNB Libraries, University of New Brunswick, 2015.

C.M. Young (personal communication, November 19, 2022)

Text: Susan Belfry. Illustrations: C. Mary Young. Photo: Roger Smith.

Volunteer Profile: Gart Bishop

 Meet Gart, a renowned botanist in New Brunswick and an advocate for getting outside to learn about plants.  

Gart is an active volunteer and member of the ‘Friends of the Herbarium’.  He  has a vast knowledge of the vascular plants including the challenging group of graminoids (grasses, sedges and rushes).   Gart acquired his scientific expertise by self-study over many years of working through the plant keys, botanical surveys, attending workshops and collaborating with botanists.   

He plays a vital role in the Herbarium, leading small groups of  volunteers out to unique sites in New Brunswick to identify and collect. As of November 2022, Gart  has collected over 3,370 specimens that reside in the Connell Memorial Herbarium. He also participates in the plant identification sessions held monthly called ‘Botany Blast’, which are open to the public. Often one can find Gart helping out a newcomer in working through the plant keys.  All agree that he is a gifted  teacher with experience developed during his years as Instructor of the UNB botany fieldcourse, “NB Plants”.   He finds it exciting to take an unknown plant specimen and compare it to a range of confirmed examples in a herbarium.  “It blows the buttons off your shirt!”, he says.

Gart was born in Toronto during the 1950’s.  After high school, his interest in forestry brought him to UNB, however it was a BSc in Geology that he acquired in 1976.   He became good friends with another geology student at the time, Bruce Bagnell.   Geological work in the private industry took him to the Yukon for 3 years.   In 1982 he returned to New Brunswick and worked in Sussex as a cabinet maker.  He joined many NB nature clubs and learned as much as he could from the expert naturalists in the province.  It was during this time that Gart fell in love with plants and with a local school teacher.  He married Allison McArthur.   

By 1988  his geology friend, Bruce Bagnell had returned to NB and was also interested in plants.    They spent two summers documenting the plants in the West Quaco area.   Their detailed botanical survey and acquired knowledge led them to meet members of the NB Museum, Stephen Clayden and Don McAlpine.   Gart found botanical work with DNR for two summers and Bruce was working with Stephen Clayden on bryophytes.  Later, he and Bruce Bagnell formed a botanical survey company,  B&B Botanicals.   This successful venture provided many important plant surveys for government departments and land trusts for the next 20 years.   

Gart gives credit to those who have helped him over the years, especially the three big ones: Hal Hinds, Jim Goltz and Stephen Clayden who offered their time so freely.   He also credits the wonderful nature groups of New Brunswick and is thankful for his own love of getting outside. 

Text: Susan Belfry Photos: Robyn Shortt Date: Nov 16, 2022

Collector’s Stories: Katharine M. Connell (1899-1973)

Dr. Katharine M. Connell

Dr. Katharine M. Connell (née Jarvis) was born in Toronto in 1899, one of five children to Edward W. Jarvis and Kate Agnes Harris. Mr. Jarvis worked with the Bank of Montreal and moved his family around Ontario and the Maritimes. In 1921, Katharine received a BA (Chemistry) from UNB and a PhD in 1928, at the University of Michigan.

She married Mr. Connell, a forest ecologist, (Yale, U of T) and eventually they settled near his family home in Woodstock, New Brunswick. They had four children. 1

In 1967, to mark Canada’s Centennial year, Dr. Katharine Connell decided to make a collection of the plants of Carleton County. She collected approximately one thousand plants, which were pressed and mounted with detailed documentation on herbarium sheets.2

Needing some assistance with collecting the plants, Jane Hadley (née Speer) spent two summers helping Dr. Connell collect and press plants.

“We collected plants in the afternoon and then went to her house for pressing. Areas with potential for plants were scouted out beforehand and she would bring a basket and a camera. The entire plant was collected and if she thought it was a rare plant – she would only take photographs. The plants were carefully laid out between newspaper and blotting sheets along with their identification cards and dried in plant presses. We mounted the specimens on the dining room table. She was very intelligent and always learning new things. She was patient, kind and wanted to share her knowledge of plants with others.“ 3

Katharine donated her plant collection to the UNB Herbarium in 1972. She died in 1973 and the UNB Herbarium was renamed the Connell Memorial Herbarium in 1976. A dedication plaque and a photograph of Katharine are located outside Room 17, Bailey Hall, UNB. The plaque inscription reads:

The University of New Brunswick Connell Memorial Herbarium. Dr. Katharine M. Connell, BA, MA, PhD. 1899-1973.

Dr. Connell’s collection of the plants of Carleton County, New Brunswick were housed in this herbarium by her family as a permanent tribute to an outstanding mother, educator and botanist. The University of New Brunswick Herbarium was renamed in her honor on this date October 13, 1976.

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 794 specimens collected by Katharine M. Connell.

By C. Susan Belfry, 2022


1 Verbal communication with Dr. Lucy Dyer (daughter) and Dr. Mark Connell (son), Aug-Sept, 2022.

2. Young, C. Mary. The Connell Memorial Herbarium, 1838-1985. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1986.

3 Verbal communication with Jane Hadley, Sept. 2022

Nature NB Festival of Nature 2022

The Festival of Nature is taking place in Fredericton this year, and we (UNB Herbarium) are taking part by opening our doors for a tour on Saturday June 4!

Tour of the Connell Memorial Herbarium in the Biology Department at UNB — The Herbarium is a collection of preserved botanical specimens dating from 1834 to present. The specimens were collected all across New Brunswick, with some from other parts of Canada and the world. It is a valuable resource in many scientific disciplines and touches on history and art as well. During the tour, participants will have an opportunity to explore the herbarium, use keys to identify common plants, and learn how to prepare botanical specimens for science or art.

See you then!

Collector’s Stories: George Upham Hay (1843-1913)

George Upham Hay, about 1910, © New Brunswick Museum

George Upham Hay was born in Norton Parish, New Brunswick on June 18th, 1843 to William Hay and Eliza Fahy. Hay’s father started out as a shoemaker and later became a farmer in Norton Parish. Hay went to local schools before becoming an apprentice in the printing trade. He worked alongside his brother for the St. Croix Herald, during a time of tension because of the American Civil War. This press was looted by a mob in December 1861. In the next month, Hay moved to Saint John to attend the Normal School and by 1867 he obtained his first-class teaching licence.

An article by James Fowler in the Stewart’s Quarterly in 1870 was titled, “Plea for the study of natural history,” and this may have peaked Hay’s interest in the subject. In the following year, Hay attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where he took courses in languages and botany. For a few years he worked as a reporter and night editor for the Saint John Daily News. In 1876, he returned to teaching and married Frances Annetta Hartt in Saint John, New Brunswick. By 1880, Hay was one of the leading members of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick. He was chair of its committee on botany for over 33 years, developed an herbarium and compiled catalogues of New Brunswick plants. Hay was also interested in marine algae and fungi. Hay taught until 1897, after which he focused on educational writing. He was president of prominent Canadian organizations: the Natural History Society of New Brunswick (1896-9), the Royal Society of Canada (1903-4), the Botanical Club of Canada (1904-6). He passed away in Saint John, New Brunswick on April 23rd, 1913 from heart failure.

“The Restigouche – with Notes Especially on its Flora” by G.U. Hay.
Bulletin of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick, 1906.

Written Works

He wrote many articles and books concerning botany, plants and history. Hay compiled a series of articles such as “Canadian History Readings,” but he also wrote textbooks of the histories of Canada and New Brunswick for school curriculum. Examples are, A History of New Brunswick: For Use in Public Schools. 1903 and Public School History of Canada, 1908.

As well as land plants, Hay published books on algae, “Marine Algae of New Brunswick,” and “Marine Algae of the Maritime Provinces.”

He wrote articles titled “Notes of a Wild Garden,” and “The Restigouche – with Notes Especially on its Flora.” for the Bulletin of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick and “John Goldie, Botanist” for the Royal Society of Canada.

By Jillian Richard, UNB 2017

* The Connell Memorial Herbarium holds 3 specimens collected by G. U. Hay and the New Brunswick Museum holds approximately 1,460 specimens.


Stephen R. Clayden, “HAY, GEORGE UPHAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 31, 2017.

New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Collector’s Stories: Loring Woart Bailey (1839-1925)

Specimen collected by L.W. Bailey in Fredericton in 1867.

Loring Woart Bailey (1839-1925)

L. W. Bailey was born in West Point, New York on September 28th, 1839 to Jacob Whitman Bailey and Maria Slaughter. His father was a professor of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy at the United States Military Academy, located in West Point. L.W. Bailey attended school in Maryland and Rhode Island previous to attending Harvard University and later on Brown University. He came to Kings College (UNB), in 1861 to take up the position of professor of chemistry and natural sciences after the death of his predecessor, James Robb. Two years later, he married Laurestine Marie Marshall d’Avray and they had seven children; five sons and two daughters.

While teaching at the university, Bailey took many trips around the province as well as in Maine. His 1864 article “Notes on the geology and botany of New Brunswick,” in the journal, The Canadian Naturalist, contains information from some of his trips as well as the names and location of what he found. When Bailey began teaching at the University of New Brunswick, he was responsible for teaching botany, chemistry, geology, physics, and zoology, but after 1900 he focused more on courses in biology and geology.

He was a very dedicated professor and taught at the University of New Brunswick for 46 years before retiring. After a long life, Bailey passed away at the age of 85. His final resting place is the Forest Hill Cemetery in Fredericton.

L. W. Bailey was not only the author of numerous articles, but textbooks as well. One textbook that he wrote was “Elementary Natural History: An Introduction to the Study of Minerals, Plants, and Animals with Special Reference to New Brunswick.” Clearly, it includes the subjects of minerals, plants, and animals, but it is also designed to cater to those who are not necessarily advanced scholars.

Natural History Textbook by L.W.Bailey, 1887

For further information regarding his life, refer to the book “Loring Woart Bailey: The Story of a Man of Science,” written by Joseph Whitman Bailey or to the Bailey Family collection as well as his own collection at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

    By Jillian Richard, UNB 2017

* The herbarium holds approximately 220 specimens collected by L.W. Bailey.