ISSN 1188-603X

No. 530 January 6, 2019 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6

I have dedicated this issue of BEN to my Charles University teacher and supervisor Prof. Ing. JAN JENÍK, CSc., on the occasion of his 90th birthday, January 6, 2019 See for the photographs!


From: [abbreviated]

Prof. Ing. Jan Jeník was born on January 6, 1929, in the Šumava region in the town of T?ebomyslice. In 1938, his family left the Sudetenland and moved to Pilsen. Here Jan and his friend Jaroslav Kubeš established a sports club, which later turned into the scout troop "Severka" (Northern Star). In 1948, he moved to Prague, where he studied forestry engineering and ecology. He got also partly involved in the activities of the illegal Scout organization "Kruh" (Circle). In his field of expertise, he soon became a well-established and recognized capacity. He lectured at Charles University, where he was in charge of the Department of Geobotany/Plant ecology. In the 1960s, he received teaching opportunities abroad: he first worked at the University of Kabul and then went with his wife and daughter for three years to teach in Ghana. After his return, he would disseminate among professionals and the public in Czechoslovakia the gained knowledge about the tropical regions. After the Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia in August 1968, he was dismissed from the Charles University teaching for political reasons and got a research position in the Botanical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, where he worked until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In spring 1990, he came back to the university, got back his full professorship and started teaching there again. At the same time, he became engaged in domestic and international commissions for the protection of the environment, for which he received numerous awards and honours, including the prestigious UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation in 1993.

Nowadays retired; he lives with his wife in Prague.


From: Adolf Ceska

Biology Faculty of the Charles University had passed through several teaching reforms, and one of them caught us when we started our study. We had to take practically all the imaginable basic courses in systematic zoology, botany, plant and animal physiology and human anatomy. Also, we had to take all the basic courses in chemistry. After the third year, we were supposed to choose our specialization, take special courses related to our selected field, and we had to work on our thesis as well.

I had a close friend in my schoolmate Václav V?tvi?ka, and we decided one day that we would go and investigate the Department of Geobotany for our specialization. It was when we were finishing our second year, two terms earlier than when we had to decide. Ing. Jeník was the head of the Geobotany Department. My friend Václav V?tvi?ka was originally interested in ornithology, but we both liked how we were accepted, and we immediately selected geobotany/plant ecology as our specialization.

It was just in the time when prof. Jeník was working on his Theory of Anemo-Orographic Systems (see BEN # 260 ) and he took me to his study area (Krkonoše - Giant Mountains) as a field assistant for his project (Jeník 1961). The main objective of that field work was to find elevational limits of typical lowland plants on the classical Giant Mountains botanical localities.

I had to take care of an expensive Swiss made altimeter. It was a small box, something like a small barrel organ that I had to carry around my neck and once-a-while record our elevation. I did not have money to buy proper hiking boots, and I had to borrow my father's work boots instead. Those were boots that my father used to wear when he was going to the forest to pick mushrooms or to clear windfalls. At one point I lost the heel on my right shoe and had to walk on a soft edge of a mountain path because the nails in my shoe were piercing my foot. As we were getting up to the ridge, the mist turned into a steady drizzle. Prof. Jeník was excited since this clearly illustrated the validity of his Anemo-Orographic Systems theory. "Do you still want to study geobotany?" he asked me several times before we hit the mountain hut.

During his teaching career at the Charles University, prof. Jeník brought up several good botanists and vegetation ecologist, and I am proud of being one of Jeník's students. "Koukej, aby's vid?l! [Watch out that you see!]," is the principal axiom that we, Jeník's students, should always remember.

For more on Krkonoše (Giant Mountains) and their importance for Central European phytogeography see Jeník's monograph & BEN 260 and the websites cited below:

Note to the plate

Jan Jeník always dreamt about visiting Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, USA, which is a classical botanical locality of many interesting NA alpine plants and the site of numerous botanical and geobotanical studies. His dream was finally realized in June 2005, when he visited this loco classico, guided by Prof. Garrett Crow. I am grateful to Prof. Crow for the photos I have posted in the attached plate.



Registration is now open for the 3rd Annual Washington Botanical Symposium, co-organized by the Herbarium, the UW Botanic Garden, Washington Natural Heritage Program, Washington Noxious Weed Control Board, U.S. BLM, and the Washington Native Plant Society. Information regarding the list of speakers and topics can be found here: Interest in the Symposium has been strong since its inception in 2017, with nearly 150 attendees each year from across Washington and adjacent Oregon and British Columbia. In 2018 the planning committee added a remote video participation option, and this will be available once again in 2019. The Herbarium sponsors four undergraduate scholarships each year that allow for free registration (see URL above for details). The Herbarium's Dick Olmstead and David Giblin are among this year's speakers.

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