What is it to be a botanist? As some of you know the Botanical Society of America has started a social media campaign to “reclaim the name.” I’ve checked out their Facebook page and saw a lot of familiar faces posting their mug shots along with what and where they study. I’ve noticed mostly academics sharing their interests in plant genetics, morphology, pollination ecology, etc. But where are all the federal botanists? I honestly only know of a handful of actual federal botanists, and the rest are range ecologists, wildlife biologists or weed specialists who got roped into doing T/E species monitoring. Does that make them botanists? In ways, I feel like ours is a dying art and we are at the forefront of the last charge. At the same time, I feel that’s what makes us unique and our work more critical, because not everyone has the desire nor the skill to be a botanist, roped in otherwise by charismatic megafauna. I’m curious to see what others think outside of academia. Especially working with the CLM program, we should be representing the botanical work that we do for the federal government, and that it’s not just about grazing or timber or oil and gas.
I am an ethnobotanist, amateur agronomist. Say it loud, say it proud!
Until next month. More plants. More dirt. #iamabotanist #reclaimthename
P.S. shout out to my counterpart Patrick in Las Cruces for actually taking his photo (because I can’t actually figure out my phone’s camera).