PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
VOLUME 2, NUMBER 3, JULY, 1956
HARRY J. FULLER, Editor, 203 Nat. Hist. Bldg., University of Illinois, Urbana,
Guest Editor of this issue: GEORGE S. AVERY, JR.
George S. Avery, Jr. - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Harlan P. Banks - Cornell University
Harriet Creighton - Wellesley College
Sydney S. Greenfield - Rutgers University
Paul B. Sears - Yale University
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Time For Another Look: A Point of View
Handbooks for use in botany courses--where there is an
accent on horticulture.
THIS ISSUE Editorial
How to get More Students into Science
Research and the Teacher of General Botany
Applied Botany in Liberal Arts Colleges
Some Thoughts on General Botany Courses. Another Way to Judge
Botany For Non-Botanists
SPECIMENS, SEEDS NEEDED
SUMMER INSTITUTES IN 1957
MENDEL MUSEUM NOW AT ILLINOIS
Future Textbook Writers Please Note
Open Land Around the Campus
AMERICAN MIDLAND NATURALIST
Time For Another Look: A Point of View
GEORGE S. AVERY, JR.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
When young in botanical teaching, I used to pride myself in not knowing plants.
In an occasional talk before a horticultural group or a garden club, I would
be asked about this plant or that. Could I tell someone how to grow a particular
garden gem? Or--could I identify a twig or leaf someone had brought in? Of course
I couldn't. Mine was the scientific end. I could speak learnedly of plant growth
and development and the "why" of things (I thought). But identify
or know how to grow a plant? Or how to control a few common plant pests and
diseases? No, this was not for me. Mine was an age of experimental science,
and I was determined to be part of it. To know plants, particularly cultivated
varieties, was for the amateurs, garden clubbers and the like. Unfortunately,
I was not alone, and judging from conversations with many younger (and older!)
colleagues in the botanical field, the same view is still commonly held. For
decades a feeling of aversion for cultivated plants has pervaded the botanical
atmosphere. We botanists seem to have abdicated to others any common knowledge
of everyday useful plants, while we knock about in the upper levels of the botanical
atmosphere. Just how sound is this from the standpoint of either student or
Registration in the colleges and universities, as a whole, is several fold
greater than it was 25 short years ago. Yet while this growth has occurred,
registration in botany courses has generally dwindled, or at best, little more
than held its own. Biology courses have sprung into seeming popularity but this
apparent success is misleading insofar as the emphasis on botany is concerned.
Is something the matter, or is it just the era we are living in?
While we have been little more than holding our own with numbers of students,
we might take a look at a purely volunteer movement that scarcely existed 25
years ago--the garden clubs. Today there are a half-million members, a significant
percentage of them men. We as botanists have neither taken advantage of this
enthusiastic movement, nor have we contributed to it. Some people hold the view
that the feminine contingent of garden clubbers is held together by tea parties.
This may be partly true. I don't decry it, for we have tea at our seminars.
Most people in the garden club movement are learning about plants, how to grow
them, and how to landscape their homes and dress up their towns with ornamental
plants. In how many introductory botany courses-the ones that too few students
take-are students even alerted to the world of ornamental plants, much less
what can be done with them at the home and community level.
A well-known automobile manufacturer used to advertise, "There's a Ford
in Your Future." My view is that there are plants in most people's futures,
but we botanists as a rule are not helping people get ready for the plants ahead,
much less the years ahead.
Take a quick look at contemporary culture in America. We have an industrial
society, with increasing leisure for everyone. Technical know-how has been in
a sharp uptrend for a long time. Indeed, mental capital has been growing on
a broad front. We are living in a surprisingly enlightened do-it-yourself era,
which can be enjoyed at all levels of talent from the not-so-bright on up to
the gifted. Aside from gadgetry, gardening is the universal interest of a great
number of people. Why can't we give more of the one-course botany students some
botany with a horticultural slant? Why shouldn't they know fifty or a hundred
ornamental plants and how to grow them? This would serve well as a starting
point for many who wish to satisfy their creative urge by growing plants. Courses
in art and music appreciation have prospered. There are Sunday painters and
amateur musicians whose original interest was stirred by the one appreciation
course that came their way. Why not a course in the appreciation and culture
of a hundred kinds of great ornamental plants--that have come from the Alps,
the Himalayas or the Atlas Mountains, from China, Tibet, or the Eastern Mediterranean
region. Or from Canada and the U. S. A.! Students who become familiar with these
will remember them and find pleasure in new discoveries as life goes along-for
there are many treasures in the world of ornamental plants. We might even enjoy
learning a few ourselves!
Handbooks for use in botany courses--where there is
an accent on horticulture.
For teachers who may not have made the discovery, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
publishes at low cost (as a public service) a quarterly called Plants &
Gardens. Three of the four yearly issues are on special subjects such as soils,
flowering trees, flowering shrubs, pruning, hormone control of growth, etc.,
and these are especially reprinted as 64- to 112-page paper bound HANDBOOKS.
They are profusely illustrated, printed on book paper, and are being effectively
used in many botany courses by teachers who feel that students should have access
to horticultural aspects of the subject. A postcard addressed to the Garden
at 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn 25, will bring a list of the hand- books
THIS ISSUE - Editorial
Much of this issue is devoted to the teaching of botany, and to an interesting
appraisal of us-who-teach-it. The subject is of vital and continuing interest
to most of us.
One hundred years ago botany courses, natural history, or whatever, were chiefly
of taxonomic content. A large proportion of the population lived in what we
now call "the country." In that different America it was a daily experience
for people to see and know wild plants. Today by far the most of us live in
cities or suburbs, and the old approach has become inadequate.
Over the century the development of subject matter in botany courses has naturally
paralleled scientific advances in the field. Course content has been built up
that is important to us botanists, but how does it apply to the life of urban
laymen? What are we giving them? What real guidance does the college catalog
offer? The textbook? How can most students know that we' as teachers can help
open the door to a life-enriching experience? Or can we? We speak grandly of
"world view." Superb! Let's continue. But what of our homes and the
communities we live in? What are our longer term objectives? What basic botanical
subject matter, ideas or inspiration do we want students to hold on to that
will make future life more rewarding? What can we give them that they can do
something about in later life, something related to their homes, their children
and their communities. Mightn't we reasonably set up a goal of know-how that
would be useful to alumni perhaps 5, 10, or 20 years after college?
In the America of today and the growing ever-changing America of the future,
botany faces a challenge. Whether we can meet it, or are to continue along the
old traditional paths that may lead to extinction--is the question. The articles
in this issue suggest that many teachers are thinking about ways of meeting
the challenge. But words alone are not enough, no matter how dynamic and thought-provoking
they may be. We need a program that will make general botany courses a more
central and vital part of the undergraduate curriculum.
How to get More Students into Science
E. M. HILDEBRAND
Today proportionately few students are interested in courses in science in
the lower schools. One ultimate result: there are fewer science teachers, and
fewer people going into scientific careers. The shortage of teachers of science
leaves no one to encourage and help develop students with science potential.
This has led, in turn, to innumerable comments in the daily press, with all
sorts of remedies being suggested. For getting a quick increase in numbers of
students going into scientific fields, one bold commentator advocates . . .
" force the student to become an engineer or scientist."
It is my view that neither force nor persuasion are necessary to recruit future
teachers in science.
The general public is becoming aware of the plight (or is it a blight")
that the professional education people have imposed on the curriculums of our
elementary and secondary schools. In truth, courses in the lower schools have
been gradually emasculated of the basic cultural units of scholarship, including
science and the arts. Today's children in many elementary and secondary schools
are to a considerable extent prevented from doing basic work in English, mathematics
and science. This deficiency discourages them from electing science in high
school because it is "too hard."
A generous share of the blame rests with those responsible for teacher-training
courses. In general, teacher-training curricula are overloaded with courses
in methods and are deficient in courses with substance. Such science curricula
for education majors provide a year's course (6 hours credit) in the life sciences
(zoology and botany). These freshman life science courses are usually taught
as pre-professional, basically technical science courses with no practical or
interest-getting features. Hence, the inadequate preparation of grade school
teachers--even if they happen to possess a scientific bent. The same observation
is largely true for other non-science majors in colleges and universities. It
has been too widely assumed that science majors do not need anything practical,
anything they can use later as parents and citizens. It is unfortunate that
the conventional approach of college instructors in the life sciences today
is pre-professional and technical, with a minimum of practical interpretation
and almost no interest-getting qualities.
Technically, natural science is a tremendous field;
practically, it is as simple as a house plant or flower bed. The wise teacher
knows he must study nature with his students, and in that part of the curriculum
set aside for science.
For those who seriously want to stimulate the flow of students into scientific
fields, here is a suggestion. Help teachers of elementary and high schools seek
summer schools with one question uppermost in their minds: Where can I get a
course in natural science which has a practical and interest-getting slant?
In the whole country there must be at least a few such courses. Schools which
develop such courses will do more than anything else at this juncture to solve
the problem of interesting more students in science. The well-trained teacher
will take ideas back home and put them to work successfully. If the teacher-training
planners will take their cue from such examples, the future will almost certainly
produce its needed share of science personnel. Inspired and properly trained
teachers with a soundly thought out curriculum do not need newspaper-article-counsel
to help youths find their way into scientific careers. The point is that the
groundwork must be laid chiefly in elementary schools. High schools cannot be
quite as effective. The college years are definitely too late.
Research and the Teacher of general Botany
VICTOR A. GREULACH
University of North Carolina
There is some belief that a close correlation exists between research ability
and activity, and excellence as a teacher of general botany. In my view, this
is an opinion with little or no evidence to support it. An alternative opinion--that
there is no correlation between the two, appears to be at least equally tenable.
To insist that any good teacher of general botany must also be an active investigator
is equivalent, I think, to insisting that any good musician must also be a composer.
For the discussion presented here, teachers are classified into four intergrading
groups, with, of course. intragroup variations:
Groups 1 and 2 consist of individuals who have the abilities and personality
traits which make for a good teacher of introductory courses, the difference
being that the group 2 teachers do a little more than the minimum work necessary
to keep the course going. While this may be due to laziness it is perhaps more
likely to be due to excessive obligations of other types: too many other courses,
too much committee work or administrative duties, too much time devoted to scientific
societies, or too much time devoted to research. By working hard on his course,
a group 3 teacher may to a large extent make up for his personal deficiencies.
Both group 2 and group 3 teachers may give quite well-taught courses, and we
must rely on them since there are not enough group 1 teachers to go around.
The group 4 teachers are, of course, the really poor ones. They may have considerable
ability in other lines but are out of place as teachers of introductory courses.
Departmental associates and administrators should take all possible steps to
help group 2 teachers upgrade themselves to group 1, and group 4 to group 3.
Unfortunately, some individuals slip in the reverse direction, and some--through
no fault of their own--simply do not have the type of personality that is part
of a good teacher.
Research workers might be classified in a similar fashion with the four groups
labeled, however, a, b. c, and d. The group (a) investigators are responsible
for the major research contributions, while the equally capable group (b) investigators
for some reason or another contribute rarely if at all. The group (c) individuals
lack the abilities required for effective research and probably realize it,
but due to internal or external pressures continue to flood editors with manuscripts
which are at best mediocre. Unlike the group 4 teachers, the group (d) individuals
are to be commended for not attempting the impossible.
If there is, indeed, no correlation between teaching and research abilities
and activities, then there are-as set forth here, some 16 classes of individuals
as regards abilities and activities in both teaching and research. (1a, 1b,
1c, 1d, 2a, etc.) Space does not permit analysis of each group, but the reader
will easily do this for himself. If, in the process he is able to recognize
even one individual he knows who falls in each of the 16 classes, the validity
of the no-correlation hypothesis should receive a boost. While any department
head might prefer to staff his department entirely with class 1 a individuals,
any group 1 teacher should be equally acceptable as far as teaching the general
course is concerned.
Perhaps the most important point is that every effort should be made by departmental
and other administrators to give staff members assignments in line with their
abilities. For example, class 1c and 1d individuals should be associated with
the introductory course, or at least with undergraduate teaching, while class
3a or 4a individuals definitely belong in a research laboratory, or at least
in graduate courses (if one is willing to concede that teachers of graduate
students do not need the vital spark). The group 2c and 3b individuals should
be encouraged to drop activities in which their abilities are limited and advance
to groups 1d and 4a, respectively.
The group 4d individuals, who may be quite intelligent and possess quite marked
abilities along other lines,
1 Based on a presentation at the meeting of the Teaching Section of the Botanical
Society of America, East Lansing, Michigan, September 7, 1955.
are obviously in the wrong occupation. The fortunate ones are those who discovered
this soon enough (or were discharged early enough) to get into a more suit-
able line of work. Unfortunately, some such individuals have held on beyond
the point of no return. Such misfits need not represent a total loss to a department.
They may have considerable interest and ability in some of the more peripheral
departmental or institutional activities such as various maintenance operations,
committee work, or even administrative work. If so, the burden of such tasks
might well be placed upon them, relieving those staff members who have more
marked abilities as teachers or investigators.
The principal reasons given by those who insist that research activity is essential
for superior teaching of introductory courses are that it keeps the teacher
from becoming stale and that it keeps him abreast of current developments. The
first is a better reason than the second, for as a research worker he is keeping
up with a limited field which probably receives little or no attention in the
general course. There are other, and perhaps often better, ways of achieving
these worthy aims.
One which is likely to be more valuable to the teacher than a comparable amount
of time devoted to research, and which is the sort of thing that would help
the teacher advance from group 2 to group 1, is the extensive reading of books,
review articles, abstracts, and a few outstanding papers relating to all phases
of the general course. A logical extension of such reading activity would be
of service as a communications link between research scientists and students
and the general public through the writing of textbooks, review papers for other
teachers of general courses, popular books and articles, or by participation
in radio and television programs. The teacher of the introductory course is
in a particularly favorable position for such service. Of course, the question
of abilities (and probably different ones than those required for either teaching
or research) again enters the picture.
Other things which can help to keep the teacher and his course alive are regular
attendance at scientific meetings, continuing interest and effort in improving
the objectives, methods, and testing program of the course, and research in
science teaching. Through such activities a teacher can help raise himself from
group 2 to group 1.
Teaching a general course with maximum effectiveness can be a full-time job
in itself, a job which can be stimulating and rewarding. There is always a need
for more teachers who are willing to devote their full efforts to good teaching
at the introductory level, or at least to undergraduate teaching. However, as
long as research productivity is the principal criterion involved in advancement
it will continue to be difficult to find people willing to center their efforts
on the general course.
The validity of the ideas presented here depends in part on the assumption
that the talents, abilities and personality traits making for a good teacher
or a good investigator are basically hereditary, or at least determined by early
environmental factors, and so are not developable by any amount of effort during
college days or later. The assumption is also made that such talents may be
quite distinct from intelligence as usually understood, although better than
average intelligence and a degree of judgment are certainly prerequisites in
the complex of required talents for either teaching or research. In short, while
any teacher may be able to provide students with the needed information, techniques,
and attitudes, we can never be really good teachers and investigators without
the essential native talents, just as an untalented music student can never
be made into a really good musician or composer.
The significance of the points discussed here appears to be great enough to
warrant more extensive studies, studies that might lead to the subsequent development
of more valid and reliable techniques for locating, training and using most
effectively the best available talent for both research and teaching.
R. W. SCHERY
Scotts, Marysville, O.
Cornell's E. L. Palmer has argued eloquently that teachers should take notice
of and analyze and instruct from the everyday surroundings of school grounds
and campus. Most of us who have taught botany at the university level have gone
little beyond trees and other woody campus plantings.
Every student has a speaking acquaintance with lawns, a familiarity providing
common ground for classroom discussion. Yet this ecological laboratory at everyone's
doorstep is often overlooked. The ebb and flow of species dominance, the rhythm
of the seasons and interplay of events, are often less obscured by subtle side
influences here than in so-called natural habitats. Consideration of the "universal"
lawn community can lead in almost any direction to biologic principles. It is
sufficiently refined as an ecologic system to underscore relationships, and
sufficiently responsive that months rather than years suffice to illustrate
cause and effect.
Why go long distances to point out simple ecological situations, unless it
be for the pleasure of the trip? Although advanced students and professional
researchers will make special efforts that call for miles of travel and some
expense, to reach isolated habitats where the impact of man has been little
felt, this is beyond practicality for large elementary groups.
But man is increasingly a part of the scene; and ecological principles, if
applicable in the majestic solitudes, are equally applicable in the prosaic
near-at-hand--wherever living things react to environment.
It seems to me that an invaluable teaching aid is by-passed, if students are
lectured and laboratoried, instructed with drawings, texts, isolated or preserved
specimens, while the dynamic system that is the lawn just outside the door is
ignored. Though classes can seldom get to the wilderness, the same vital responses
that one finds in natural areas (competition for space, light, and preferred
habitat) can be "discovered" in the lawn. The lawn is a microcosm
of sorts. With a
few leading clues, skill in assignments, and a simple schooling in plant identification,
even rank beginners sense and then come to appreciate the universal interplay
of species and environment.
In recent years I have looked at lawns (and certain lawn grasses) in many parts
of the country. These inspections have raised more questions than have been
answered. The commercial importance of lawn grasses has focused attention on
them and voluminous publications exist. I find we know much of the "how,"
but reasonably little of the "why."
The latter would seem the more fundamental educational desideratum, but its
exploration is achieved only when the lawn is regarded as a dynamic system,
not as a specialized crop on extremely expensive cropland. The beginner has
as much chance to learn here as has the "expert" with channelized
thinking. The excitement of discovery lurks in the nearby grass and weeds. Perhaps
a few browse-point suggestions will stimulate further ideas:
Species composition and density: under high vs. low cut (as fairway vs. rough
on golf course); south vs. north slope; tree shade vs. sun; slope vs. level;
fertilized vs. unfed; edges vs. continuous sod; aver buried pipes or other disturbances
vs. usual soil; clippings left vs. clippings removed; etc.
Species behavior seasonally: rhizoming vs. tillering related to season; low
vs. upright seasonal growth (photoperiod and temperature response); summer fadeout
from farcing and exhaustion of food reserves (timing of watering. fertilizing,
etc.); first appearance and growth progress (as crabgrass relationship to temperature
and light); reasons for certain weeds in certain places; stimulus for flowering
(for example, bluegrass inflorescence in June is determined about Christmas
before); threshold values for grass or weed germination, greening, flowering,
etc.; root growth vs. topgrowth; morphologic difference of seeding vs. vegetative
Competition between species or strains: apparent antibiotic effect of certain
species and compatibility of others (as ryegrass antagonism in critical environments);
adaptability and eventual dominance of certain races or phenotypes; soil building
and interplay (clover disappearance under high fertility); tree root competition;
annual vs. perennial "way of life"; self-elimination (matting and
Adaptation: how certain species exhibit flexibility in adapting to the (artificially)
close-mown lawn, while others fail; seeding mechanisms of annuals (Poa annua,
crabgrass, goosegrass, carpetweed, knotweed, etc.), and vegetative perpetuation
of perennials (stolons, rhizomes, prostrate growth); success of asexual reproduction
compared to sexual; apomixis, cleistogamy.
For travelers and vacationers: where and why certain species flourish or peter
out (bermuda-bluegrass boundary; southern and northern limits of onion or other
weeds; crabgrass, bermuda, Zoysia, dallis grass "belts" and "kingdoms");
regional climatic studies (middle latitudes have superimposed diurnal and seasonal
temperature maxima, making summer--for the grass--hotter than it appears); etc.
Micro-environment studies: cooling effect of turf, temperature differences
at soil depths and above-ground heights; leaf blanket and the sod; frost action;
earthworm activity; humidification; root response to insulation (clippings,
height of mowing, etc.).
Exploring these or similar avenues relates theory to reality, sets no bounds
to exploration. Any avenue could lead to advanced work in physiology, genetics,
anatomy, ecology, and so on--or could terminate with just a simple but better
understanding of the living world that is a part of everyday life.
There might even be practical carry-over into adulthood, making the task of
lawn-tending lighter, or at least understandable. Perhaps here's a facet of
botany that will "stick," after credits have been achieved, diploma
filed, and terminology forgotten.
Applied Botany in Liberal Arts Colleges
J. FISHER STANFIELD
Horticultural pursuits represent the greatest recreational activity in America.
With millions of dollars spent in this fashion each year, it is amazing that
more time is not devoted to this facet of Plant Science in the average college
curriculum. For many years I have been interested in this aspect of the subject
and have developed a one-semester, non-prerequisite course designed to meet
the needs of the average student who wants and/or needs to know something of
value economically and aesthetically in regard to plant life. Millions of homes
are being erected each year and yet the average person knows nothing about the
simplest approach to the planning and planting of the home grounds. It was the
aim in developing this course to offer suggestive rather than elaborate material.
It would be futile to teach the taxonomy of the farms used but it is surprising
what can be done with slides, illustrations, and a few observational walks.
Information thus obtained is shown to be worth much in the life of the individual
as well as providing recreation-potential for those so minded. A running account
of the course is offered here and details will be included in a syllabus to
be prepared later.
Each course would be different since it would depend upon the interest and
training of the instructor; far too many botanists know little of plants utilized
in the garden and landscape and are also deficient in the simple practicalities
of plant propagation. It takes same effort to build a course, but local materials
are usually ample for illustrative purposes. One opens doors and natural
curiosity and appreciation carries the student as needs dictate.
With the usual introduction outlining the aims and approach, one moves quickly
into a few basic ideas. A film may show the work of the plant as an entity and
its reaction to environmental factors. There is also included here a short discussion
of the principles of taxonomy, or the naming of plants, to remove the odium
of this part of Plant Science and bring some rudimentary understanding of the
meaning of a scientific name. Any gardener should know this and a homeowner
would be lost without some appreciation of it. The use of the genus name as
a common name is stressed since it is often used in this way; examples are given
and this procedure has worked out satisfactorily for students with no training
whatsoever in biological science.
At this time there is also introduced a simple treatment of reproduction in
plants, something which is omitted in the usual garden book. A film or two aid
in this sequence to show pollination and the development of new varieties; hybrid
seeds are explained and the work of the flower in general. This is followed
by a discussion of propagation of plants since this is so common a practice
in gardening; examples are presented of the various plant parts used and costs,
seasonal, availability, and storage are discussed. Budding and grafting are
introduced and one may well include an exercise on bench grafting; the writer
has had 80% success in this exercise; it requires considerable preparation and
time but is worth it. These grafted trees (usually flowering crabs) are available
to the students in May; the grafting is done in January or February since this
is a second-semester course.
Some knowledge of soils and fertilizers is most basic in gardening because
the entire procedure is futile if the grower knows nothing of simple principles.
While soil structure is discussed, much emphasis is placed on humus and the
development of the humus content. Commercial types of fertilizer are introduced,
including rate of application and the utilization of the three basic fertilizer
elements. Hydroponics is touched on, with the essential elements and some demonstrations.
General comments on soil preparation also enter the picture.
A natural development from this approach is a study of lawns, types of grasses
suitable for various situations and general elementary know-how in lawn making
and keeping. A unit intercalated here deals with shade plants and shady situations.
There is also some reference to terraces and a list of plants for both habitats
is given for the records kept by the students.
Trees are the next sequence and this involves a discussion of the place of trees
in the landscaping plan. These data are in various books on the subject. Points
in the selection of trees are stressed, and common trees are discussed with
good and bad points. Quite often catalogues are purchased and passed out to
the students since they cannot procure them easily with dormitory addresses;
most companies are cooperative and the cost is not prohibitive. At this point
a discussion of the different commonly planted evergreens is injected, with
demonstrations; students learn the major groups.
A discussion of factors in the selection of a site or a lot may be brought
in at this point--a very realistic presentation. The cost of lots and landscape
plantings is brought out for various localities.
A discussion of shrubs in the landscaping plan follows, with a treatment of
fundamental principles of foundation planting. Various sources and materials
may be utilized here as the background of the instructor permits. It is frequently
advantageous to ask a trained landscape architect to speak to the class at this
point--as availability and funds permit. This is one of the more difficult units
and requires much study by the average instructor; it grows with time. Various
plans are given out for completion by the students with all factors considered.
These are criticized and discussed.
Perennials may be discussed with slides to illustrate the plants. In this part
of the course, sequence of flowering is stressed and outlines of beds may be
used for filling in. Reference to catalogues helps here and some few plants
A film on annuals and gardens plus a listing of plants to start in June finishes
the semester if time permits. At least the student knows the types of plants
and how they are used. A collection of colored slides is at hand for use as
For presentation, as may have been gathered from the foregoing, the course
is divided into general units the development of which is definitely subjective.
There is no text as such and a laboratory fee of three dollars is charged. Routine
use is made of the library reserve shelf, as well as popular magazines, mimeographed
material, and various bulletins that are accumulated as the opportunity offers
(many companies are glad to send the requisite number on request). Motion pictures
are available from various sources and the current guides to free films is an
excellent place to begin. "Stenofax" stencils take care of any elaborate
plans and they last indefinitely; this approach is useful in the preparation
of landscaping materials. The instructor makes his own colored slides for general
use in each unit (the 3 7:4 x 4 slides have been found more useful for many
presentations). Hundreds of Kodachromes accumulated over a period of years,
often make it possible to show the same property in a developmental sequence
as growth proceeds; seasonal change pictures are also of value. Various demonstration
materials may be used as facilities dictate; there is no stereotyped pattern.
For example, a simple exhibit of flowering shrubs in May in sequence of flowering
is always of interest.
This barest of outlines will serve to illustrate the potentialities of such
a course; it might well be richened to cover two semesters and be quite effective.
Ten years have demonstrated the effectiveness of this offering as an elective
to complete non-laboratory science requirements. In open competition it has
stood the test. The title of Economic Botany has been used with a mention of
plants in relation to the home. The general approach is useful for extension
courses and also adult education. It is not an easy course to teach since a
general background, versatility, wide interests, and enthusiasm are necessary
requisites. It is amazing how
much useful and practical data may be included in three semester hours of work
presented to non-majors.
Some Thoughts on general Botany Courses. Another Way
to Judge Their Content
BETTY F. THOMSON
In my desk drawer I keep a folder into which go miscellaneous bits of paper
bearing notations of "Shocking sayings of colleagues," or "What
intelligent people should know about plants and don't." The purpose of
the collection is to keep me in focus on the things that a student ought to
learn from a general botany course, considering it as either a course about
plants or, more generally, a course about science. It points out clearly that
somewhere in these highly educated people's pasts someone has failed to teach
them the most fundamental facts of life in the plant world. For example, almost
every year along in March, someone says, "Spring is on the way because
look: the trees have buds on them now." Another one says in complete incredulity,
"But you can't make cuttings from tomatoes, can you?" They all go
on planting trees and shrubs too close together and setting out potential forest
giants directly under the telephone wire. They succumb to the organic gardening
mania ("chemical fertilizers are poisonous to plants and humans")
or wonder why their seedlings planted in pure vermiculite stop growing. These
are matters of fact that one may perhaps be forgiven for not knowing. But think
how many conversations you have had with even bright people that show a complete
ignorance of what it means to draw valid conclusions from limited evidence,
or even of the necessity of evidence as a check on the exercise of pure deductive
reasoning from generalizations that are shaky to begin with.
Cogitating on these notes has led me to certain conclusions about what ought
to be included in a general botany course, or in the general biology that includes
or supplants it, to warrant its place in the required curriculum. For this purpose
botany or biology should make a solid contribution to a student's world view,
become a part of his lifetime equipment for thinking intelligently about things
that may be far removed from the precise subject matter of a beginning botany
course. It seems to me that the contributions such a course can make fall into
The nature of science. What it is and how it operates.
Somewhere along the line there should be an explicit consideration of the
basic assumptions of science, and even of the fact that the scientific world
does make assumptions. For example, we rarely stop to state our beliefs that
natural phenomena have natural causes, and that the natural world is orderly
and is amenable to being comprehended by man.
The Scientific Method usually gets some attention, if only lip service. We
describe the cycle of observation,
inference, experiment, inference, hypothesis, experiment, etc. But then we drop
the subject and spend our time on a careful exposition of the current conclusions
of science. Without going to the extreme of the historical case study method,
we could place much more emphasis on the evidence for our conclusions, why we
believe what we do, and make it clear that conclusions are always tentative,
no matter how inescapable they may seem at the time. We should also be sure
to make clear what is meant by a "natural law."
Another means of conveying the true nature of experimental science would be
to devise more laboratory experiments that ask questions to which the student
has no preconceived answers. Still better, of course, are genuine research projects
where the answer is not known. This can absorb endless quantities of time, energy,
ingenuity, imagination, space and equipment if it is done in a thoroughgoing
way. But even including a few distractors in the more usual kinds of class experiment
can have a salutary and unsettling effect on the student who likes the security
of the known and predictable. For example, in the old stand-by to show the role
of chlorophyll in photosynthesis by using a variegated leaf, one can use a plant
that contains anthocyanin and ask what role this pigment plays in the process;
or in phototropism and geotropism experiments using oat coleoptiles, one can
put hoods on the geotropic and well as the phototropic group. In both cases
the student ordinarily has no idea what to expect and as a result has to look
closely and with an open mind to see what actually happens.
One elementary but profitable thing we can do is to be sure that class exercises
are formulated to "determine whether" rather than to "show that"--a
point of view that could well carryover into many other kinds of investigation!
Every researcher in pure science has repeatedly found himself in a tight corner
trying to explain briefly to non-scientist friends the "use" of what
he is doing. An adequate course in any science ought to convey the nature of
the relationship between pure research, leading to understanding, and technological
development, leading to utilization.
Biological concepts that permeate non-scientific areas of our culture.
These might center around evolution and heredity, with a consideration of
the complex nature of the interaction between heredity and environment. Such
ideas may be encountered in almost any area of thought that concerns itself
with man, and that includes all the social sciences and humanities.
Consequences of man's manipulation of the natural world.
Certainly everyone should have some understanding of the basically synthesizing
nature of green plants, the necessary decompositional as well as synthetic activities
of fungi, and the dependence of animals, with their relatively limited synthetic
capacities, on the plant world. To think intelligently about conservation, in
all the manifold ways that term is used, a responsible citizen should know what
resources are renewable and what non-renewable, wherein they differ and why
it matters. . He should understand as concretely as possible the interactions
of plants, animals and soil, and how much simpler and surer it is to work with
rather than against nature.
Understanding and enjoyment of one's surroundings.
Certainly one of the marks of a civilized person is the capacity to see and
enjoy the world around him. It is generally true that the more one knows of
what he is looking at, the more he sees in it; and in turn, the more he sees,
the greater his enjoyment, whether the subject is architecture and painting
or old-field succession or ornamental plantings. Judging by the contents of
textbooks, the field of ecology has at last got a foot in the door of most general
botany courses. But ornamental plants are still stepchildren in most botany
One kind of project that can at least sensitize students to the possibilities
and acquaint them with some of the more familiar ornamentals is a simple end-of-the-year
landscaping project. We do it by providing a mimeographed ground plan and simplified
elevation views, drawn to scale, of one or two houses or buildings on which
all existing plants are to be plotted, with their sizes, positions and identities.
Then the effectiveness of the planting is evaluated and suggestions made for
changes to improve it. The results are hardly masterpieces; but I am sure that
the people who have done a reasonably careful job on this project will never
again see a foundation planting as a green blur.
There is no subject in the spectrum of learning that offers greater possibilities
than botany for opening this kind of window and serving as a point of departure
for lifelong avocational pleasures; and we are foolish, if not irresponsible,
to ignore such potential by-products of our subject.
As every successful teacher knows, there is more than one way to kill a cat.
These thoughts are offered merely as a help toward deciding which cat it is
that we want to kill.
Botany For Non-Botanists
BENEDICT A. HALL
State University Teachers College, Cortland, New York
Most of us who teach elementary botany know that few of our students will ever
become professional botanists. This fact should lead us to reassess our teaching
in terms of its contribution to the education of non-botanists.
Much of the value of a botany course, to the general student, lies in its broad
concepts. Such concepts draw botany out of the pigeonholes into which so much
of our teaching retreats and help integrate it into the student's world view.
Here are a few such concepts.
1) The unity of the world, and man's place in it. Despite his unique
characteristics, man is an animal, not sharply separated from the rest of the
animal kingdom. Likewise, the similarities between plants and animals are more
fundamental than the differences, although the differences are more readily
apparent. Few people realize how much men and plants have in common, in cellular
structure, for example, or reproductive mechanisms. This unity extends even
further, bridging the apparent gap between the living and inanimate worlds,
since the same physical processes underly both.
2) The continuity of the living world. The living world is continuous
within itself, as well as with the inanimate environment. There is genetical
continuity between cells, between organisms and, through evolution, between
species. The living world is part of a universe of everlasting change, in which
the basic reality is process, not immutable absolutes.
3) The relative importance of organism and environment. Arguments
on this subject are usually endless and often meaningless. The organism and
environment are as inseparable as the two faces of a coin. The phenomena that
we call Life consist in large part of interactions between organism and environment.
4) The predominance of interdependence over independence in the living
world. No organism lives to itself alone: each is dependent in various
ways upon other organisms and upon the non-living environment. Knowledge of
man's place in this scheme of interdependence is essential to an understanding
of many problems of conservation and of human sociology.
5) The role of energy. Energy changes play the same basic part in
life processes as they do in other physical and chemical processes. The study
of life processes in terms of the energy changes they involve lends coherence
to these processes and illustrates their relation to inorganic processes.
6) The nature of science. Botany can contribute to the student's understanding
of science as a major human activity. The teacher should propagandize against
popular misconceptions of science. The student should be shown how the diverse
scientific specialties are be- coming synthesized into an increasingly coherent
world view, science thus replacing in our minds a monstrous, chaotic world with
an intelligible, orderly one.
We succeed better in presenting science to our students as a body of information
than as a method of obtaining knowledge. Our students need less second-hand
scientific information, and more direct experience in observing and thinking
scientifically. They must be encouraged to practice scientific methods, not
merely be told about them. They need to experience the creative aspects of science.
This calls for imagination at its highest levels as well as precise logic and
undeviating conformity with the facts of experience.
We distinguish for convenience between the sciences and the humanities. Yet
in a real sense botany, like the other sciences, is a humanity: a product of
human needs and human effort; an enterprise highly individual yet at the same
time vastly cooperative. Botany, like other sciences, has weighty social implications.
The foregoing concepts cannot be restricted to definite places in a course
outline, but ought to be referred to repeatedly when the subject matter under
consideration illustrates them. Thus, for example, in dealing with reproduction
in plants, one could illustrate the far- reaching unity of the living world
by stressing the striking similarities between sexual reproduction in plants
and man. Instead of supplying the chapter headings of a botany course, then,
these concepts should serve rather as unifying threads woven through the entire
course, binding it together into a coherent whole.
There are less tangible values in botany, none the less valuable because they
are difficult to measure. These consist largely of attitudes that are better
communicated by the teacher's example than by precept. They are what might be
called the "overtones" of a good botany course. One of them is the
heightened awareness of what a well-known writer has called "the wonder
of the world." This awareness involves both intellectual comprehension
and an appreciation of the beauty that is so conspicuous an aspect of the plant
world. Another such attitude is enthusiasm, a contagious virus that can be transmitted
to students only by a teacher who is infected with it himself. Certain scientific
attitudes, such as intellectual integrity, are also best communicated by the
teacher's good example: by his readiness to say, "I don't know," or
the patience and objectivity with which he meets questions and objections.
Admittedly, it is easier to formulate a list of such concepts and values than
to establish them in the minds of students. Yet a teacher will fail to get them
across unless he himself has them clearly in mind as goals to aim toward.
SPECIMENS, SEEDS NEEDED
William Easterly needs flower buds, pressed specimens, and seeds of any of
the 6 species of Ptilimnium for a morphological study. He will pay for the material
on delivery. Write him for details at the Department of Biology, West Virginia
Messrs. Shutts and Wilson of the Botany Dept., Indiana University, seek the
For Thomas K. Wilson: Viable seeds, samples of mature wood, and preserved flowers
of any of the species of the Canellaceae.
For C. F. Shutts: Viable seeds of any of the species of the Lauraceae (except
avocado and sassafras), and the Hernandiaceae.
If anyone has these materials available, but finds them difficult to ship because
of prohibitive cost, lack of preservative, regulations, etc., please contact
Messrs. Shutts and Wilson.
Dr. Jack McCormick of the American Museum of Natural History, New York 24,
N. Y., is compiling a list of published bibliographies on all phases of botany.
Will anyone contact him who may have titles of bibliographies to add to this
J. S. Bubar, W. F. Grant, and E. O. Callen of the Depts. of Agronomy, Genetics,
and Plant Pathology, respectively, of Macdonald College of McGill University,
are compiling and extending information on the taxonomy, cytology, genetics,
geographical distribution and ecology of European and American species of the
genus Lotus (Birdsfoot Trefoil and Deervetch). If anyone can collect seed or
has any information they wish to contribute to this project, they are invited
to write to any of the above at Macdonald College, Provo Quebec, Canada.
Paul R. Burkholder goes on July 1st to his new post of Director
of Research at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Frederik Børgesen, eminent Danish phycologist and a
Corresponding Member of the Bot. Soc. died on March 22, 1956. Born in Copenhagen
January 1,1866, Børgesen received a Dr. phil. degree at the University
in 1904. His major professional post was that of Librarian of the Botanical
Garden Library, 1900- 1935. Of independent means he traveled extensively. During
his exceedingly long and productive career (he published to the end!), he established
himself as an authority on the marine algae of the Faeroes, the Danish West
Indies, the Canary Islands, Ceylon, India, and Mauritius. During his early years
he also worked on fresh-water algae.
Elmer D. Merrill, emeritus director of the Arnold Arboretum,
and earlier of the N. Y. Botanical Garden, died February 25, 1956. The latter
institution is raising a memorial fund to bear his name.
Howard E. Pulling, who taught plant physiology at Wellesley
from 1919 to his retirement in 1952, died April 25, 1956.
Edmund W. Sinnott, Graduate Dean at Yale, president of Bot.
Soc. in 1937, former Editor of Amer. Jour. Bot., president of AAAS in 1948,
etc., will retire from his post at Yale on June 30, 1956. Members of Bot. Soc.,
grateful to him for his active interest in and work for the Society, wish him
a long and happy period of retirement.
James Small, Professor of Botany, Queen's University of Belfast,
Belfast, North Ireland, died in late November, 1955.
Let's get the membership of the Society up to 2000 for the beginning of our
51st year. We gain members, we lose members, and we stay at about 1900. The
present make-up of the Membership Committee is listed below. From anyone of
its members or from the Secretary of the Society you can get application blanks
supplement your personal membership-invitation to fellow botanists.
C. Ritchie Bell
Richard K. Benjamin
Harold C. Bold
Theodore T. Kozlowski
Lora M. Shields
John A. Schmitt, Jr.
William L. Stern, Chairman
As this issue of the PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN comes from the press, the Summer
Institute of Botany for College Teachers will be under way at Cornell (July
Guest lecturers include: Herbert L. Mason, Plant Geography; Ernest C. Abbe,
Anatomy of Primary Body; Robert E. Emerson, Photosynthesis; David R. Goddard,
Respiration; Robert Bandurski, Nitrogen Metabolism; Gilbert M. Smith, The Algae;
D. S. Van Fleet, Histochemical Approach to Anatomy; Arthur Galston, Light Effects;
Harold Bold, The Algae, and Non Vascular Cryptogams; Ernest M. Gifford, Jr.,
Comparative Studies of Shoot Apices; Kenneth Thimann, Growth; Ernest Ball, Application
of Surgical Techniques in Anatomy.
Harlan P. Banks is Director of the Institute.
The University of Michigan will hold its Seventh Annual Summer Session Biological
Symposium, July 9-20, 1956. The theme of this year's Symposium is MODERN APPROACHES
TO SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY. The program is as follows: July 9-11, Alfred A. Emerson,
University of Chicago, on the overall picture of modern approaches to systematics;
July 11-13, R. D. Gibbs, McGill University, on the chemical approaches; July
16-18, Hampton L. Carson, Washington University, on the cytogenetic approaches;
and July 18-20, David D. Keck, New York Botanical Garden, experimental studies
on the nature of species.
All persons who are interested are welcome.
Dr. Warren H. Wagner, Jr. is Chairman of the Committee for the Symposium.
SUMMER INSTITUTES IN 1957
There is a good possibility that the National Science Foundation will be able
to support more summer institutes for teachers next summer than it has this
summer. The Foundation would like to receive plans from colleges and universities
willing to undertake such programs. Institutions desiring to run programs for
high school or for college teachers should submit proposals before September
1. 1956. From the Foundation can be obtained information needed for making the
application. It is hoped that several botany departments. either alone or in
conjunction with zoology departments, will make application for financial help
in running a summer institute to help improve the teaching of plant science
both in high schools and in colleges and universities. That there is a real
and wide spread interest in attending such sessions is clear from the number
of applications received by the Committee for the Institute run by the Botany
Department at Cornell this summer for the Society.
Darlington, C. D.--CHROMOSOME BOTANY. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London.
Hylander, Clarence J.--THE WORLD OF PLANT LIFE. 2nd ed. Macmillan Co., New York.
Johnson, Willis H., R. A. Laubengayer and L. E. DeLanney--GENERAL BIOLOGY. Henry
Co., New York.
Royal Horticultural Society--DICTIONARY OF GAR- DENING. 4 vols. 2nd ed. Oxford
Thomas, Meirion--PLANT PHYSIOLOGY. 4th ed. rev. Philosophical Library, New York.
Weaver, J. E. and F. W. Albertson-GRASSLANDS OF THE GREAT PLAINS; THEIR NATURE
AND USE. Johnsen Publishing Co., Lincoln, Nebraska.
MENDEL MUSEUM NOW AT ILLINOIS
The Univ. of Illinois has purchased the Mendel Museum located until recently
at Mary Washington College. This museum was organized by the late Hugo Iltis,
best known for his biography of Mendel, shortly after his arrival in the U.
S. A. from Czechoslovakia whence he fled in 1939 because of his opposition to
the Nazis. This museum contains Mendeliana which Iltis brought with him or later
assembled as well as additions illustrating developments in genetics. Among
some 160 different items in the museum is the large oil portrait of Mendel by
J. O. Flatter. The true Mendel relics, unquestionably the most valuable part
of the museum, include letters in his hand acknowledging the receipt of the
questions for his examination in geology (1850), for his examination in physics
(1850), and an order for several varieties of pear trees. There is also his
sketch of a trellis, a collection of pear leaves on which Mendel had written
the varietal names, and a work book page on which data are entered. Iltis had
assembled a more extensive collection of Mendeliana at the Brünn Museum
which he first organized, but the fate of this collection remains unknown and
it appears to have been lost or destroyed. It may be that, few though they are,
the Mendeliana of the present collection include the only extant manuscripts
in Mendel's hand.
It rarely happens that the foundation of a new scientific discipline comes
from the work of a single individual but it is undoubtedly true that Mendel's
discovery in 1865 of the laws of inheritance marked the birth of a new science.
Ignored and misunderstood, his epochal work was forgotten until his principles
were rediscovered in 1900 and by then most of his scientific records had been
Future Textbook Writers Please Note
HARRIET B. CREIGHTON
There have been and now are some admirable text- books in the botanical field.
I continue to enjoy using some of them as teaching tools in general botany,
even though many are heavy with terminology, are slanted almost entirely toward
preprofessional students, and have changed surprisingly little in the past 50
years (except as new discoveries have added subject matter here and there).
Textbook concepts need re-thinking if we botanists are willing to concede that
the world has changed around us. Our extra-marital union with the zoologists
in giving courses in biology can't be said to have enriched student experience
very much. It may have juggled subject matter, but has not appreciably affected
our goals for students, nor how we are getting students to work toward those
For a long time we seem to have relied on textbooks to point the way, yet in
their very makeup they are little more than cyclopedias of fact. A student once
referred to them as "a compass without a needle." Our teaching techniques
should doubtless supply the "needle"--but what I want to say here
applies not to teaching methods, but to textbooks.
First a point about the sins of omission in existing texts. Look back through
their prefaces and discover that "fundamental principles" are almost
invariably mentioned as something that will be set forth in the text. To the
consternation of students, some of whom later become teachers, it is well nigh
impossible to find clear statements of these principles in the text. Evidently,
botanists (or biologists) have not succeeded in making them understandable,
because faculty curriculum committees usually made up of people who have been
exposed to biology in their college days, are insistent that in the "improved"
courses they urge be given, the principles of botany (or biology) must be emphasized.
In what both students and faculty say, two suggestions are implicit. First,
principles should be labeled principles and discussed as such, and second, the
meaning and the implication of these principles should be made more clear.
The fundamental principles or laws of biology are the statements of general
truths about organisms, just as the principles of physics and chemistry are
general statements about the behavior of energy and matter. A collection of
all the biological principles would give us the epitome of our science!
Since there is such general insistence in curriculum discussions that biological
principles be taught, one would expect to be able to find many concise expositions
of them in texts. Such is not the case, as a perusal of introductory texts will
make immediately evident. It seems strange that they are so buried in texts,
even those using "Principles of . . ." as their titles. In fact, nowadays
the beginning student would expect to find principles set up in bold-face type,
the way new terms are set out in many texts to make them inescapable. Even in
the summaries at the ends of chapters, statements of principles are hard to
find. In a once much-discussed Harvard Report there is not even an example of
a principle given in the paragraphs proposing "A course in the Principles
of Biological Science."
Among the principles that should be set forth as "principles" in
the texts-of-the-future, I humbly submit the following: * All organisms come
from preexisting organisms; all organisms grow; all organisms develop a characteristic
form; all organisms have a characteristic life history; all organisms inherit
certain potentialities from their progenitors and transmit certain potentialities
to their descendants; all organisms have the possibility of sudden change in
their hereditary potentialities; all organisms are sensitive to changes in their
In addition to sharpening and shortening their presentation of principles,
authors of future texts might well give attention to a second point-a comment
that many students in general botany make year after year: "I wanted (or
expected) something more practical." Textbooks can help us give it to them.
Other articles in this issue of the P. S. B. present points of view relative
to more practical subject matter that might profit- ably invade the minds of
In the future let us have texts that include both principles (a presentation
of botanical science, as science), and practice (how to use it in everyday life).
Such books students will keep and use throughout their lives. Isn't this a worthwhile
aim? Textbooks in any subject that quickly find their way to the second-hand
book shelf rarely achieve much influence in anyone's life.
Open Land Around the Campus
How to get it, How to Use it.
RICHARD H. GOODWIN
Everyone in the educational world is aware that rather serious shortages are
developing in our educational facilities. Too frequently the problems confronting
colleges and universities as a result of continuing growth, are of little concern
to the faculties of these institutions, although their happy solution may be
of the greatest importance.
One of the especially difficult phases of the expansion problem is "living
space." Many older institutions have become hemmed in on all sides by city.
In such instances the restful beauty of campuses has had to be sacrificed
* For more extended treatment, see Survey of Biological Progress,
Vol. 1, pages 8-12. Academic Press, New York, 1949.
for space for new buildings, or adjoining real estate has had to be acquired
at great expense and houses razed to make room for new buildings. The story
of what has happened at Connecticut College may be worth re- counting, if it
can be of some use in shaping the future of campuses still in the making.
Connecticut College, founded in 1911, was originally situated on farm land
at the northern edge of New London, a city today of some 35,000 inhabitants.
In 1931 the College established an arboretum on a 65 -acre portion of the original
land holdings. The administration of the arboretum was placed in the hands of
the botany department. An association was formed of lay groups and individuals
interested in supporting and developing the arboretum, and a special advisory
committee was also established.
It soon became evident to George Avery, then Director of the Arboretum, and
to members of the Advisory Committee that the acquisition of additional land
around the College was of the utmost importance to the development of the Arboretum
as a community institution and to the preservation of the College setting. So
in 1936 action was begun on the first of eleven separate land purchases, which
have totalled about 215 acres. This property, all immediately adjacent to the
College campus and adjoining it on three sides, was purchased with gifts large
and small, from hundreds of public spirited persons and organizations. Total
gifts exceed $50,000. A large share of this sum came from individuals who were
not so much interested in the academic objectives of the College.
This land purchase program, carried out over a period of 20 years, was consummated
in a nick of time. Within the past 10 years at least 65 new houses representing
a capital investment of approximately $1,000,000 have been constructed on the
immediate boundaries of the newly-acquired property. If one-half of the acreage
acquired by the Arboretum had been thus developed, over 800 homes could have
been built, raising the value of the property to at least $10,000,000. Obviously
the acquisition of land after such a building development would be financially
The dividends accruing to the College and also to the community from the addition
of this "undeveloped" land are scarcely to be measured by monetary
standards. How can an auditor assess the aesthetic values of natural beauty,
or the absence of a noisy and not always clean industry across the street The
Arboretum's acres are serving as a recreation ground for all sorts of people.
Miles of bridle trails make a riding program possible for the students and local
citizens. New London, like so many of our growing towns and cities, has neglected
to develop an adequate park system. The Arboretum is serving a large part of
the community in this capacity. Thousands of visitors find refreshment and inspiration
in the peace and quiet of its walks each year.
One of the most unusual tracts which has been acquired is Mamacoke Island,
a 40-acre rocky, wooded peninsula projecting into the Thames River and connected
to the mainland by a salt marsh. The terms of the gift of this piece of land
provide that the island be preserved in its natural state and that the College
hold this property in trust for the enjoyment of future generations.
From an educational standpoint, there are living collections of plants and
numerous wild habitats within a five-minute walk of the door of the laboratory
that provide the natural scientist with a teaching tool which is often difficult
of access in less fortunately situated colleges. One hundred acres of Arboretum
have been set aside as a Natural Area--which includes woodland, ledges, bog,
rovine, thicket and open field. Here various research projects have been initiated
in which students are participating. Detailed mapping of permanent vegetation
quadrats has been completed as the beginning of a long-range ecological investigation.
Paleoecological studies of pollen profiles in the bogs and breeding bird censuses
have also been undertaken. These projects, carried out by undergraduate students
under faculty guidance, have stimulated strong interest in and understanding
of basic research. Some of this work has been done during the summer months
on a full-time basis, financed by research grants.
Elsewhere in the Arboretum other types of experiments are going forward on
the effectiveness of herbicides in manipulating the native vegetation and on
the establishment of special types of ecological communities which may be especially
useful to man. For example, it may be possible by selective use of chemicals
to establish stable shrub cover suitable for power-line rights-of- way, which
will not only save the power companies maintenance expense but also provide
better wild life cover.
While present Arboretum programs are naturally tied in with the work of the
College, the future offers all sorts of possibilities for broader enterprises
that can include popular education for the larger community. This gives an opportunity
for College and community groups to work hand in hand, to their mutual advantage.
As conservation in all meanings of the word becomes increasingly urgent throughout
the world, our educational institutions must lead the way in taking constructive
action. We can at least set worthwhile and down-to-earth examples. It is my
hope, and that of many friends associated with the Arboretum, that what has
been accomplished at Connecticut College may provide stimulus and encouragement
to other institutions--or situations--where such development is still possible.
AMERICAN MIDLAND NATURALIST
The American Midland Naturalist (Arthur L. Schipper, Notre Dame, Editor) has
recently announced certain changes in policy. Subscription rate will be advanced
to $10 per year, and outside financial subsidy will be required for papers exceeding
20 pages, for tabular material in excess of two pages, and for illustrations
the cost of which exceeds $10.