Dr. Mary Young Granted Honorary Degree

May 18, 2016: This morning Dr. Mary Young, a veteran volunteer at the Connell Memorial Herbarium, received a Doctor of Science degree at UNBs 187th Encaenia.

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May 18, 2016:  This morning Dr. Mary Young, a veteran volunteer at the Connell Memorial Herbarium, received a Doctor of Science degree at UNBs 187th Encaenia.  Congratulations, Mary, from all of us!

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Dr. Mary Young with President H.E.A. Campbell

First field trip of 2016: skunk cabbages

These are some of the earliest flowering plants I’ve encountered in this province.  They are called Skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus.    It occurs in wet areas and flowers really early in the season, then throws up big leaves later on.  It is not common in the province, in fact this is close to the northernmost part of it’s distribution.

 

Prompted by an inquiry by a botanist in Korea who is collecting tissue samples of this species from around the world, I checked the herbarium’s collection: we only have 8 specimens from New Brunswick in our cabinets and they were mainly collected about 50 years ago!

Time for an update, I thought, and time for a field trip too (it’s been a long winter!) So, last week, the first weekend of April, Liz, Bev and I went out on a hunt for the elusive skunk cabbage.  While quite large, the flower is a little hard to see at first because it occurs in marshy, wet areas full of dead grasses!

The occasion also gave us a chance to learn more about the ecology of this very odd plant, for example:  it makes scent and warmth to attract pollinating insects; it  buries itself deeper in the mud each year with it’s contractile roots; and it has separate male and female flowers.

Love learning about plants!

 

 

Thanks!

We have been so fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers !  I want to thank you all for showing up each week and helping us process all the piles of specimens that need work.   From species identification workshops through databasing, mounting and filing, their hours of effort maintain the herbarium as a useful scientific resource.

Thanks to  Elizabeth and Gart who organize our monthly plant identification workshops, Eileen and Karla  who make art out of science, and Beverly and Clay who have stuck with the databasing despite so many technical glitches!

It seems like the end of term just now, as Karla is off home to Mexico and Beverly is off to survey birds over the summer.  It looks like it will be fairly quiet here over the summer, but I hope to see familiar faces and new collections in the fall!

Feel free to drop by the herbarium on Wednesdays over the summer !

 

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2016 Plant ID meet-ups

Have a pressed plant you’d like to identify?

Want to learn how to use various wild flower guides or floras?

Join fellow plant enthusiasts at the Connell Herbarium in Fredericton in Room 13 of the Bailey Building at UNB — beginners and experts welcome. No costs involved.

We meet on the 3rd WEDNESDAY of each month from 11:00 – 3:00.

Here are the dates of our planned sessions for 2016:

  • Feb 17,March 16, April 20,
  • May 18, June 15,July 20,
  • Aug 17,Sept 21,Oct 19,
  • Nov16, Dec 21.

Plant ID Workshops

workshopDec16_2015Every third Wednesday of the month, the Friends of the Connell Memorial Herbarium host a plant identification workshop to encourage interest in local botany.  The sessions are held  in the Biology (Bailey) Building at UNB, starting at 11 am and running until 3 pm.     Attended by beginners and experts alike, these meet-ups are great places to learn about the plants in your own backyard, access resources such as our library and specimen collection, and scheme about botanical expeditions.  In addition, you may be able to help the Herbarium with specimens waiting to be accepted into our collections.

This month we’re tackling some difficult graminoides!

See you at the next meeting on January 20, 2017!

A great opportunity to learn or practice the art of plant identification. Everyone is welcome.
A great opportunity to learn or practice the art of plant identification. Everyone is welcome.

Algal Outing to Mace’s Bay, New Brunswick

  • Location: Mace’s Bay, NB
  • Date: Saturday, October 3 2015
  • Lead by:  Dr. Gary Saunders, UNB
  • Focus: Algae exposed by super low tides.
  • Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Mills

This was an exceptional opportunity to learn more about the underwater / intertidal flora of the Bay of Fundy.   In addition to serving as the herbarium’s Director, Dr. Gary Saunders (website) is a research professor at UNB interested in algal evolution, sytematics and biodiversity.

New Brunswick Museum behind the scenes

A while ago we had the opportunity to visit the herbarium and natural history storage facility for the New Brunswick Museum.  I appreciated the chance to observe staff preparing and mounting plants for the herbarium, and to see the scope of their plant collections.  In addition, we were shown some fabulous fossils and study skins.