Journal archives for January 2023

January 01, 2023

George L. Fisher and the Contributions of the Amateur Botanist
George L. Fisher (1868-1953)
by Lloyd H. Shinners

"George L. Fisher represented a type of vanishing American:
the amateur naturalist who makes contributions of
lasting value to the science of his avocation. Wholly without
technical training in the subject to which he devoted so much
of his time, his unselfish interest led to the enrichment of
scores of herbaria, large and small, and especially to the
increase of our still too meagre knowledge of the immense
and complex flora of Mexico. In a more sophisticated but
surely not more civilized age, there is no one to fill the niche
he occupied so usefully. "

In Ginsburg's Lloyd Herbert Shinners: By Himself:

"...he had already written an outline for a freshman course, which would include the history of botany, conservation, ecology, succession, evolution, genetics, and industrial microbiology... Shinners thought that this kind of survey text, relating modern botany to current life and affairs was especially needed in order to encourage amateur scientists. He regretted that the present emphasis on science careers, particularly pre-med, had resulted in a significant loss of students who might enjoy botany as an avocation. Wadmond, Schallert, and Fisher were notable examples of amateurs who had made fundamental contributions to botany."
Plant Systematics: Beginnings and Endings
Billie L. Turner on the future of plant systematics and the growth/role of the amateur botanist:

"Modern society, in America, Europe and parts of Asia, at
least, has seen the development of highly intelligent
amateur botanists with time on their hands and interest
in plants, this occasioned by increased wealth, early
retirement, or both. Such workers exist in large numbers,
not only in California, but Texas and elsewhere.
They are really a silent majority. But probably not for long!

With the development of the Web, e-mail, home
pages, etc., the "amateur" is likely to flood the world
networks with new observations, new records, new
species, etc., this all documented with localized maps,
ecological observations, colored photographs, flowers
dissected down to detail, even as to stereodepiction,
this all to be downloaded within moments by anyone
anywhere. The International Organization of Plant
Systematics must become aware of this prospect and
make plans accordingly. What will constitute legiti-
mate publication in the future, etc.? That international
body faces a daunting challenge, and I wish it well."

Posted on January 01, 2023 09:27 PM by arnanthescout arnanthescout | 0 comments | Leave a comment