From Plant Press, Vol. 19, No. 3, July 2016.
April was designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month at the National Museum of Natural History. The Department of Botany has many dedicated volunteers involved in all aspects of our work. From plant preparation to map curating and data entry, this extraordinary and talented group of volunteers deserves special recognition.
The museum held a special event in April to honor the volunteers and to give our thanks. During the event a number of Botany volunteers were recognized for their years of service: 5 years (Ann Cardoni, Deanna Crouse, Kathleen Griffin, Ardith Harle), 10 years (Cynthia Ford, Rosalie Elliott, Bayla White), 20 years (Larry Owens), 25 years (Margaret Schweitzer), and 30 years (Gwen Petitjean).
Volunteers from the Department of Botany: (left) Ardith and Jim Harle. We are fortunate to have both of the Harles volunteering in Botany. Jim manages the map project, which has expanded across the museum, and Ardith works on the plant mounting opportunity; (center) the Monday plant mounting crew (from top left): Kat Rankin (retired plant mounting coordinator), Irmgard Dugge, Carol Pihstrom, Gwen Petitjean, Jo Ann McCann, and Bayla White; (right) Larry and Alice Owens with Melinda Peters. Larry works on the plant mounting opportunity.
Mary Monsma was selected from the Department of Botany for the “Above and Beyond 2016” award. Monsma first worked in Botany in the early 1970s as a contract illustrator drawing ferns for David Lellinger and his publication, The Ferns and Fern-allies of Costa Rica, Panama, and the Choco: Part 1. In 30 years she completed 582 drawings for that publication, and another 596 drawings for the second volume. Part 2 was never published, as the classification of ferns had changed too much. In 2012 Monsma returned to Botany to begin a long term volunteer project to scan, inventory and organize her fern illustrations from her contract years. With her additional knowledge in Photoshop she has been able to reconstruct, label and optimize the illustrations for future inclusion in Botany’s public website.