|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 454 May 1, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
At 81 years of age, post recent surgery, Paul passed away in Waterdown on Feb. 23rd, 2012. Paul was born in Hamilton to Wilhelmina and John Maycock. He will forever be remembered by his loving wife Shizue Aoki, daughter Hilary Pyper (Alex), sons Peter and Tim, grandchildren Christina and Victoria Frank, Jenny and James Maycock, brother John, extended family members Irene Maycock, Rose Maycock, Julia Pyper, Ayaka and Masataka Aoki, and cat Ginger, as well as countless friends, students, and those associated with his various worldwide studies of plant ecology. He graduated from Delta Collegiate Hamilton, and pursued a lifetime of learning and teaching through Queen's University (undergrad), University of Wisconsin (post grad) and professorships at both McGill and Toronto Universities. Paul took great delight in diverse interests such as his Church, food, speaking another language, an intense debate, singing karaoke, building a stone wall at his Greek island home, or protecting a bog.
Paul did his undergraduate degree at Queen's University in Kingston and his Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, under the supervision of John Curtis. Curtis was the first researcher in North America to complete a data-based vegetation survey of a whole U.S. State, Wisconsin. This work was published as a ground-breaking book in 1959, which I studied in the UK well before thinking of coming to Canada. Paul Maycock was a true disciple of John Curtis in migrating a similar objective and field methods to Ontario and Quebec.
For decades Paul was a prominent plant community ecologist in Ontario with an emphasis on ground-based forest vegetation survey. The technique of data collection that he used was devised to be fast and to require only a couple of people, one of whom needed to be an expert field botanist. The method combined the best of the European emphasis on plant community diversity with a rapid North American forest resource inventory approach. Although improved methods have since been devised, Paul chose to stick to the same, consistent field technique throughout, with the result that his dataset is one of the largest, most thorough and extensive ground-based vegetation surveys, of its type, in the World and is much larger than that accumulated for Wisconsin by his mentor.
Geographically, Paul's survey covers the whole of the Province of Ontario and most of southern and western Quebec. Some of these data are now over 40 years old and have ecologically significant historical value. Indeed this past year a group of us were re-surveying stands along the Niagara Escarpment collected originally by Steve Varga, then a graduate student, and by Paul. Accompanying the field data in all his stands, voucher specimens of pressed plants were collected and these now comprise a mounted and accessioned collection of 30,000 sheets, lodged in a Special Collection Herbarium at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. In addition, to his work in central-eastern Canada Paul has conducted expert vegetation surveys in the Canadian arctic, the Appalachians, eastern and western Europe, a little in China, and most notably of all, throughout Japan.
My first exposure to Paul was as an accompanying graduate student, torn from the soft underbelly of the Province, and plunged into the damp, bug-ridden wilds of northeastern Ontario; camping wherever there was enough space to pitch a tent and living on a diet of ground beef, potatoes and cabbage (that's one for my resume). No-one could make a research grant go further than Paul in order to get the biggest bang for the buck. However, this was also the most efficient way to work as it was possible to stay at or near each of the study sites, as we travelled, and not to waste undue time commuting to and from stand locations. My own experiences with Paul have been almost universally positive. His wisdom and experience as an academic supervisor were invaluable and I am sure that this also applies to his other graduate students. Of his dozen or so graduate students three are university or college professors and the others have all found themselves in rewarding positions. Despite the hubbub of our times around the exciting future in biotechnology, genetic engineering and nanotechnology, when it comes to looking for a non-academic position after graduation, one simple fact prevails. From the geographical perspective, we reside in the second largest country in the World and it is mostly covered by native vegetation. This means that vegetation ecologists are going to be in demand for a very long time.
Unfortunately for undergraduate students, who took his field-based course that bore the modest title, "World Ecosystems", Paul adopted the same cavalier, relatively unplanned, approach that he used with his research field work. I can still recall the horror of a whole class of undergraduates who had to camp, three to a tent, on a grass verge along one of the streets in the town of Moosonee, with no obvious running water nor bathroom facilities available. When the whining complaints started, Paul's retort was, "We come in the field to work not to wash!". In retrospect, the prophetic words of Peter Ustinov come to mind, when he described his experiences as an army corporal in WWII, "I hated every minute of it and I wouldn't have missed it for the World!". Why does this apply to the class field experiences with Paul? Because no other course-based field trips, that followed on from his, came close in the breadth of first hand experience and in the depth of learning acheived in such a short space of time.
Paul's meticulously documented scientific publications, such as the one on the phytosociology of deciduous forests in extreme southern Ontario, have been regarded as authoritative since they first appeared. In addition to scientific journal articles, he also contributed entries on forests to the Canadian Encyclopedia and to the Worldbook Multimedia Encyclopedia. Although not yet published, he came within three pages of completing his book on the forests of southern Ontario, which we survivors will ensure does go to completion and publication, in his name. Paul Maycock established an academic discipline in Ontario that has influenced the Provincial system for forest site classification in the north and was a precursor for the ecological land classification in the south. He was a founding member of the Canadian Botanical Association and was active in it all of his working life. In 1988-1990 he was Secretary General to an international organization of ecologists (INTECOL) and helped to organize the fifth International Congress of Ecology in Japan.
In addition to his academic professional life, Paul was a lifelong conservationist. He was always willing to engage in any conservation issue where his information and expertise would help. He was very proud of his efforts in successfully conserving the Ojibway prairie, within the city limits of Windsor, and also the successful conservation of the Creditview bog in Mississauga, during the years of the McAllion-led development boom. Other successes included the Cawthra woods in Mississauga and the natural and naturalized sites on the campus of Erindale College. Throughout his retirement years Paul continued to work on the data gathered in his lab. Most of this time was taken up with work on his book of the forest vegetation of southern Ontario. Although the data are voluminous, Paul never quite made it into the computer-literate generation. This would have greatly facilitated his ability to cope with the database. Consequently, I stepped in some years ago and have helped with all of his analyses as well as the tabular and graphical summaries. We just finished the last three tables, representing the grand synthesis, three weeks ago. This work will be completed and brought to publication in his name. Furthermore, although Paul is now gone, his work will continue and I envisage a number of publications in which his name will appear, as a posthumous co-author, for several years to come. In the end, the body may have succumbed but the spirit was very strong and it lives on.
Our book [Small, E. and Catling, P.M. 1999. Canadian medicinal crops. NRC Press, Ottawa. 250 p., also published in French as Small, E. and Catling, P.M. 2000. Les cultures médicinales canadiennes. NRC Press, Ottawa. 291 p.] has been updated, and placed on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website:
This website is a comprehensive reference guide to important medicinal plants that are native to Canada. Chapters feature species such as ginseng, echinacea, Pacific yew, goldenseal, cascara, witch hazel, and kelp. The explosive interest in herbal products that provide medicinal or health benefits has resulted in a need for information. As well as being vitally important to the public and merchants, medicinal plant information is crucial to farmers, economists, teachers, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical arts professions. Canada has the potential to capitalize on tremendous global marketing opportunities. W are in an excellent position to take advantage of the rapidly expanding market for so-called "nutraceutical crops" (those that are used to produce substances that are both medicinal and nutritional), because many of these are native to Canada and grow well here. This website meets the need for an overview of available information. The user can quickly find details on a particular topic by examining the categories of information, which include: scientific, English and French names, description and classification, medicinal uses, non-medicinal uses, toxicity, chemistry, importance, ecology, agricultural and commercial aspects, human interest information, and selected key literature. All species are extensively illustrated and distribution maps are included. Introductory chapters address such topics as: the business of growing medicinal plants; the regulatory and legal framework in Canada for producing and marketing medicinal plants; and hazards associated with medicinal plants. Also provided are: an extensive glossary of medicinal and pharmacological terms; and extensive general list of books, review articles and research articles related to Canadian medicinal plants. The increased availability of this information is both important to the agriculture sector and of broad, general interest.
Late evening, on the first of May-
The twilit May-the time of love.
Meltingly called the turtle-dove,
Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay.
Whispered of love the mosses frail,
The flowering tree as sweetly lied,
The rose's fragrant sigh replied
To love-songs of the nightingale.
Karel Hynek MACHA (1810-1836)
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