Mid-summer greetings from N 38° 56.253’, W 77° 37.224’. Spring came late this year, and then rapidly transitioned to full-blown summer; this field-season has been particular productive. Green, growing and getting bigger is also a theme these days with SHC.
I am pleased to report that Society of Herbarium Curators membership has tripled since 2014. Our ranks now include 60 students, 193 regular members, 36 sustaining members, and 20 lifetime members across 18 countries. This rate of growth is truly phenomenal, and has been driven in large part by our increased visibility online and new membership renewal system. The majority of non-US members have joined this year. However, I also think our more numerous ranks reflect a growing sentiment worldwide that herbaria and herbarium-based re-search need greater support. The recent Nature article, “Plant collections left in the cold by cuts” [523: 16, doi:10.1038/523016a] summarizes what many members already know and want to reverse through community building, advocacy and education.
In this summer alone, we have made concrete progress toward fulfilling Society goals. The SHC Executive Board has approved a new research grant competition for undergraduate students, which was made possible by our increased member ranks. It has submitted two letters, directed to the US Department of the Interior and the State of Illinois, in opposition of policies that would negatively impact herbaria. We will also unveil our new promotional materials at Botany2015 in Canada in late July; SHC is a participating society in this international conference. In September, I will issue a general call to the membership for volunteers, both for elected and appointed positions, to help us continue this positive trend and to elicit new ideas about how SHC can serve its members’ interests most effectively. Please consider becoming involved – we welcome newcomers! Happy collecting!
– Andrea Weeks, George Mason University