|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 294 August 28, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
Nancy Turner and John Owens, both of the University of Victoria, were honoured at the joint meeting of several American botanical societies and the Canadian Botanical Association (CBA/ABC).
Nancy Turner received the George Lawson Medal, the highest award presented by the Canadian Botanical Association. This is the second time in a row that the Lawson Medal has gone to the Greater Victoria area: Bryce Kendrick received last year's award for his contribution to mycology (see BEN # 274).
A symposium on Conifer Reproductive Biology was held as a tribute to John Owens on the occasion of his retirement. John N. Owens' scientific career was entirely devoted to the advancement of our knowledge on the reproductive biology of conifers. At the University of Victoria he established the Centre for Forest Biology, a graduate program integrated into the Departments of Biology and Biochemistry & Microbiology (see http://web.uvic.ca/~forbiol/index.html).
And last but not least, the Webmaster of BEN, Scott D. Russell, became President of the Botanical Association of America. Let's hope he will still find time to look after the BEN web page.
Congratulations to you all!
[Here is the text of the citation I read in Madison, my last act as President of the Canadian Botanical Association. - JG]
The George Lawson Medal is presented this year in the category of lifetime contribution to Canadian botany to the person who is, no doubt, the foremost ethnobotanist in Canada: Nancy Jean Turner, Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Victoria.
Dr. Turner received her undergraduate education at the University of Victoria and her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia. She was associated with the Royal British Columbia Museum for many years prior to her appointment at the University of Victoria. During that time and up to the present, she has had an enormously active research program dealing with the taxonomic systems of First Nations people and the use of plants by these people. In the words of a person supporting this award, she has become "both a world-class botanist and a world-class anthropologist, who has devoted her career to understanding the cultural context of plant uses -- a rare combination, indeed".
She is regarded with high esteem by her colleagues, both within Canada and internationally, and was recognized by being elected President of the Society for Ethnobiology. She was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1999. Nancy has a huge list of publications, both scholarly and popular, and has also spread her knowledge widely through her many public lectures and workshops. I note that some of these presentations have been to First Nations youth who are trying to rediscover their heritage of plant use.
In bringing this citation to a close I think I can do no better than to quote a few passages from two more supporting letters. "Nancy Turner did not pursue a career in ethnobotany because it was trendy or likely to bring her recognition, riches or enhanced standing in academic circles. Her reputation comes not from self-promotion or aggrandisement, but from true merit. The passion that she embodies is of the deepest and purest form, and her dedication to this field and to the academic and aboriginal colleagues among whom she has worked is a striking beacon for others."
"At the beginning of the 21st century ethnobotany has important contributions to make to global and Canadian issues related to the environment, to aboriginal rights, to health and to other domains. Nancy Turner has been a promoter for this field and an able spokesperson on these and other issues for more than 30 years. She is an important ambassador for both her chosen discipline, for all botanical sciences and for the important issues that have formed her life work."
"She personifies the very epitome of why we established the Medal, namely to honour Canada's most distinguished botanists who have devoted their life to the research and effective dissemination of botanical knowledge. She is a role model for students pursuing careers in Canadian botany."
For me, it is a privilege and it gives me great pleasure, on behalf of l'Association botanique du Canada, to present the 2002 George Lawson Medal to Nancy Turner.
Joe Gerrath, President, CBA/ABC
[I wanted to produce a special issue of BEN for the International Bog Day (July 28) and I had asked British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell for an update of the BC Government's efforts to conserve Burns Bog. Here is Mr. Campbell's letter dated July 29, 2002. For more information on Burns Bog see http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/special/home.htm and http://www.burnsbog.org/ - AC]
Dear Mr. Ceska:
Thank you for your letter requesting an update on our efforts to protect Burns Bog.
Government committed to acquiring and preserving Burns Bog as part of its New Era promises. I can advise you that the negotiations between the owners of Burns Bog and the Province to acquire bog are continuing; the Ministry of Finance is leading those negotiations.
I have been advised that details of the negotiations cannot be released as both parties are operating under a confidential agreement.
I appreciate your sharing your interest in preserving the ecologically important area with me and wish you well with your Botanical electronic News.
Gordon Campbell, Premier
This week's Johannesburg summit makes an occasion (if one were needed) to think about BC's ecological reserves. They were Canada's chief contribution to the International Biological Programme of 1964-1974, attended by 58 nations. Indeed, BC outranked every other region in North America in establishing these specially chosen, carefully protected sites for conserving the biodiversity of our corner of this continent.
A committee created by the IBP initiated the establishment of a system of representative terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems around the world. In Canada, the National Research Council funded the work of identifying and describing nearly 1,000 biologically important sites in the country, on standard international check sheets. Many of the sites are in BC. The first Ecological Reserves were, for the most part, selected from the NRC list. In 1968, the then government of BC, encouraged by several BC scientists, notably the Late Dr Vladimir Krajina of UBC, agreed to form an Ecological Reserves Committee to advise on the choice of sites to be set aside as ecological reserves. In 1971, the Legislature unanimously approved the Ecological Reserves Act, making BC the first province to formalize and give permanently protected status to ERs. The first 29 reserves were officially protected, by Order-in-Council, on May 4, 1971. [For more details, see http://www.ecoreserves.bc.ca/]
When Krajina lobbied politicians to create ecological reserves, he estimated that about 100 of them should suffice, and that they should occupy 1% of the area (presumably the terrestrial, that is, the land-and- freshwater area) of BC. At present, we have 151 reserves occupying a total area of 166,918 ha. Of this area, 119,271 ha are in terrestrial reserves and 47,647 ha are in marine reserves. Therefore, the proportion of the province set aside in ecological reserves is only 0.126% of the total terrestrial area, far short of the area regarded by scientists as the minimum required. The unfortunate discrepancy between Krajina's two estimates of what's needed, namely, 100 reserves and 1% of BC's area, presumably arose because many of the reserves set aside have been exceedingly small. For example, 19 of them are smaller than 20 ha, and the smallest (the Ballingall Islets, with nesting colonies of glaucous-winged gulls, double-crested cormorants, and pigeon guillemots) is only 0.2 ha in size.
When it came to choosing whether to use 100 sites or 1% of the province's area as the criterion for ecological protection, the government's inclination can be guessed (go ahead and try).
The purpose of ecological reserves is to protect rare and endangered species, and rare and endangered communities; to maintain BC's biodiversity; to maintain representative examples of of our numerous, diverse, ecosystems; to provide a genetic "data bank"; to provide baseline data on the pristine state of our ecosystems; and to provide sites where long-term, non-disturbing ecological research can be done on and in natural communities, safe in the assurance that the work won't be prematurely terminated by removal of a site's protection. To ensure that ERs can serve these purposes, they are truly protected in a way provincial parks are not. Camping, camp fires, and the use of motorized vehicles are not allowed in them. They are closed to hunting, fishing, trapping, mining, logging, grazing, firewood, mushroom, and salal gathering, indeed to any interference. They are emphatically not created for outdoor recreation. But most of them are open to the public for non-consumptive use. Noise is a no-no, of course: it would disturb mammals and nesting birds. Trampling of the vegetation is obviously undesirable. Ecological Reserves are important sites for non-destructive scientific research. However, people who know the rules, such as naturalists, birders, nature photographers and, presumably, all readers of BEN, are welcome to visit and enjoy them.
Now there are reasons to worry about the future of our ERs. By 1985, the Ecological Reserves Committee had been dissolved and the Ecological Reserves Program had been moved to the jurisdiction of BC Parks, which currently administers it. Today's drastic cutbacks in Parks staff and funding put ERs at risk. I urge you to take notice of what is going on, and to support the Friends of Ecological Reserves in their efforts to protect ERs.
For anybody unfamiliar with ERs, here is a list of a baker's dozen of typical ones showing the kinds of things they protect; sites of geological interest are as much a part of the ER system as sites of biological/ecological interest. The ER's listed here are shown with their official number:
[Chris Pielou was the recipient of the George Lawson Medal in 1984 for her contributions in the field of mathematical ecology. For the review of her most recent book see BEN # 205. - AC]
Canadian Field-Naturalist Publications
Each of the four papers listed below describe the status of threatened or endangered, red-listed species found on southern Vancouver Island. The two Sanicula species are also found on adjacent islands.
This manual updates the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre's 1998 edition which included information gathered up until 1994. It treats a total of 617 vascular plant taxa, 60 of which were not previously treated.
This volume completes the eight volume set of the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia which first appeared in 1998. The flora treats 2993 flowering and non-flowering vascular plants within 139 families. Six hundred and seventy- seven of the plants are non-natives. Volume 8 includes a summary of the flora, a phytogeographic treatment , keys to all families, a key to aquatic/semi-aquatic plants, an addenda/errata for all volumes, maps for all species and an index to all volumes.