Scott's Botanical Links

Leigh's Links -- February 1998

Past Links:

February 27, 1998 - First International Virtual Conference on Mad Science
Here are some rather sophisticated funnies where successful candidates have published their work in "an international forum for the presentation, discussion and extension of research into these darkly powerful pseudosciences and dangerous technologies which fall beyond the scope of conventional science and good taste." This may include anything from Entomophagy as described in "Insects in the Human Diet," to "The Production of Greenhouse Gases in Academic Seminars." Co-chaired by such dignitaries as Andrew Morpheus Bulhak, unaffiliated freelance mad scientist, Pope Max Flax Beeblewax, 5-College Discordian Society of St. Rufus, Dr. C. Cat, CCHQ, and Dr. Ahmed Fishmonger, Institute for Parallel Studies, the Mad Masquerade doesn't exactly have an address or credits but its Absolutely Fabulous display of wit is nevertheless in the category of (****). -LF
February 26, 1998- SMILE- Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enhancement
Almost 800 elementary through high school level lesson plans for biology, chemistry, math , and physics are published here, generated by participants in the SMILE Program, designed to enhance learning through the phenomenological approach. Experiments in botany range from germinating a seed to measuring the rate of photosynthesis in Elodea, while of special note is an imaginative array of ideas for learning about human anatomy with various food items. Obtain complete instructions for organizing and administering  a science fair and find out more about SMILE at this site by Roy Coleman, Morgan Park High School, Porter Johnson and Ken Schug, IIT-Department of Biological, Chemical and Physical Sciences IIT Center, Chicago Illinois. (****) -LF
February 25, 1998 - The Impact of Federal Programs on Wetlands Vol. II
This lengthy document online is also available free in print- the March 1994 Report to Congress by the Secretary of the Interior identifying which federal programs and subsidies "directly or indirectly promote the conversion, destruction, and degradation of important wetland areas." A startling list of adverse government policies in the form of sudsidies, grants, loans, tax incentives, and other, for activities of agriculture, water development and water management, local development, housing, and extraction of resources, effectively aids and abets negative development practices, and it is a relief to know Congress has the report. The Everglades, Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay, Puerto Rico, California's Central Valley, Western Riparian Areas, Southeastern and Western Alaska, The Delmarva Peninsula, North Carolina, Northeastern New Jersey, Michigan, and Nebraska are covered in this Volume, each with characterization of the wetland, description of factors precipitating loss, identification of the federal culprit(s), present status, recommendations, and references. Authors of the  report are Joan R. Hartmann and Jon H. Goldstein, United States Department of the Interior, Washington , D.C. (****) -LF
February 24, 1998 - The Missouri Plant Page
The botanist who becomes as intrigued by the flora of literature as much as by its characters may now walk the path of The Shepherd of the Hills thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation. With an overall purpose to heighten public awareness and inspire individual responsibility in resource management, vegetation types of the  forests of the Ozarks, the swampy, lowland areas of the bootheel and the prairies and glades of southwest Missouri are represented in various features of the Department's Flora page with text, botanical illustrations and photographs. The mini-field guide Common Roadside Wildflowers by Ginny Wallace with illustrations by Donna Pasley works for many state roadsides, and those just passing through on their way to Branson for some good old country music will surely wish to first consult the maps of the state's beautiful public prairies at this site by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, Missouri.(****) -LF
February 23, 1998 - Fairchild Tropical Garden
Fairchild Tropical Garden has become a regional leader in botanical, horticultural, and environmental education, offering more than 150 courses annually for kids through scientists. This summer University of Florida is offering a short course in Tropical Botany for upper level students and professionals. Images throughout the website (including a gallery of free-for-non-commercial use tropical beauties) give a glimpse of the elegance and precision, if not the scale of what stems from the Golden Age of Garden Design in Florida. It was then men of vision engaged persons like collector Dr. David Fairchild and William Lyman Phillips, sometimes called the "Pioneer of Tropical Landscape Architecture," to create magnificent plant collections from the far reaches of the world, to dazzle the public and discover new plants useful to humanity. Read more of the fascinating history of the garden, and several informative articles including "What's That White Stuff on My Cycad?" at this site by Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami, Florida.(****) -LF
February 20, 1998 - Native Plant Conservation Iniative
Get your crayons out for the new feature at NPCI, "Celebrating Wildflowers Coloring Book," filled with Pacific Northwest wildflower drawings by Karl Urban of Umatilla National Forest in Oregon. Each drawing bears its scientific and common name and has a companion color guide. A good basic explanation of why common and scientific names are used is provided as well as an explanation of the terms "exotic" and "noxious weed." For the big kids, "Plant Invaders of Parks and Other Natural Areas" has lists and Fact Sheets, and other subject matter pertaining to "A Crisis in Our Own Backyards." Grant opportunities through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant Program and the Herb Society of America are also described at this site by Native Plant Conservation Initiative, Washington, DC.(****) -LF
February 19, 1998 - Rhododendrons
Exquisite photography, an illustrated glossary and an overview of the genus Rhododendron make this site an outstanding link for any discussion of the angiosperms or survey of plants in ornamental horticulture.The photographs were made at the 650-acre Tyler Arboretum in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, begun in the 1850s on the property of the Painter Brothers. "They Planted for Our Future"  by Elizabeth Appleby gives an inspiring portrayal of the two naturalists who created a  legacy on their land because, as Minshall Painter wrote, "There is something noble and pure in a taste for the beauty of vegetation." Focusing on Tyler Arboretum's noble collection to communicate information about Rhododendron is indeed a tasteful achievement of  this site by Robert J. McKenzie , Barbara McKenzie, Thomas E. Conover, and Homer E. Salley,  members of the American Rhododendron Society, USA. (****) -LF
February 18, 1998 - New at BSA !
New software of ingenious invention will be coordinating this year's program for the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of America, 2-6 August in Baltimore, Maryland. For the convenience of all participants and program coordinators, the "Call for Papers" and "Abstract Submission" forms have been combined for electronic submission. Use of the new form  triggers an amazing sequence of events, resulting in a carefree submitting experience for the individual, and a gratifying conservation of paper, money, and time for all concerned. Abstracts are indexed instantly on the BSA site so don't delay finding out who's doing what. Deadline for Submission  is 1 March. Also new, The American Journal of Botany Abstracts and Table of Contents of 1998 are completed through February. Event -coordination programming and site by Scott Russell, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.(****) -LF
February 17, 1998 - The Chia Biology Page and Nathaniel Ward's Terrarium Page
The relationship of these pages by the same author is that both concern inventions which have inspired crazes in plant-growing amongst the general public and have also significantly enhanced some aspect of the commercial trade of plants. Though it is too soon to tell whether the ChiaPet will extend its plant pallette into other species,  the present need for clarification  is obvious- at least six species of Salvia are commonly called chia and the botanical name given on the ChiaPet box is Salvia columbariae though the species used is actually Salvia hispanica, an important food crop of the Aztecs. Use of chia in novelties has introduced seed sales to new markets beyond the garden center and hardware store. Likewise the Victorian invention of the Wardian Case, serendipitous discovery of a not very botanically precise surgeon,   paved the way for importation of plants by ship and became a popular means to grow plants in the home. Will the gardeners of the future one day find the ChiaPet in their encyclopedia along with the Wardian Case and instructions on planting a terrarium? Don't venture an answer without a trip first to this site by David Hershey, Prince George's Community College, Largo, Maryland.(****) -LF
February 16, 1998 - The Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall
Collectors and growers of succulents and cacti will find an array of facilities at the Mall to support their interest and to connect with like individuals. A page dealing with conservation of wild plants and the Code of Conduct for plant study in situ reprints a thought- provokng article from from the Cactus and Succulent Journal of America by Charles Glass entitled The Geohintonia Circus, describing the  problem of plant poaching and destructive tourism as it  impacts communities of highly "collectible" plants. Available in six languages, find also related Webrings, links to specialized homepages, clubs, societies, books, and events at this site by Tony and Suzanne Mace,  Ansty, West Sussex, United Kingdom. (****) -LF
February 13, 1998 - Science Explained
Dr. Love's science features for the "science-interested" high school and up deal with some of  today's frequently mentioned, seldom explained topics, or, as Dr. Love so well puts it, "You know the hype, now learn the science." Currently included are chicken flu, the cloning of Dolly (and possibly Bill Gates), Montserrat, martian fossils and the January and February night skies with astronomy lessons. The lectures are informal and well-illustrated, based on years of teaching, and are an excellent starting place for a school  report or project. Book and website reviews top off the fare at this site by Jamie Love, biochemist, molecular biologist, and teacher extraordinaire, United Kingdom. (****) -LF
February 12, 1998 - Restoration and Reclamation Review: An electronic student journal
Volumes I and II of the Journal feature ecological Restoration Case Studies and Restoration Techniques, in which several series of reviews are used to report events and findings in the field of environmental reclamation. Endangered Plant Mitigation is covered by Rachel Field, while essentially every article indicates which plant or plants play a significant role in natural resource recovery. A cool link for a wide range of  bio-eco-agro-hort courses, resource managers and phytoremediators alike can mine valuable information from this site by  Restoration and Reclamation Ecology: Horticultural Science 5015; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.(****) -LF
February 11, 1998 - WWW Sites by the University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology
A listing on this page of more than several significant web achievements by the Department's Extension Computer Laboratory includes the USDA Whitefly Knowledgebase, developed at the University of Florida, in cooperation with scientists at Texas A&M University, University of California and Cotton Incorporated,  and the comprehensive Mole Cricket Knowledgebase for the biology of the insect and alternative methods of control. The site Featured Creatures is an illustrated  guide to commonly encountered insects, with descriptive information on life cycle stages and methods of control on frequently damaged plants. School IPM, concerns itself with "Readin', writin', and riddin' of bugs" while reducing pesticide applications in and around the schoolyard. Also provided are  introductions to various sets of  insect, animal movement, and  pesticide safety software developed at the lab. For diversion try the award-winning I Hate Computers or Florida's Civil War Battle of Olustee! These amazing sites are designed and coordinated by Thomas R. Fasulo, University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology (Extension Computer Laboratory), Gainesville, Florida. (****) -LF
February 10, 1998 - Biodiversity and Conservation
The creator of this hypertext book covering "the origin, nature and value of biological diversity, the threats to its continued existence, and approaches to preserving what is left "is as well the instructor for Bio65, Biological Conservation (on campus) and Bio139, Biodiversity and Conservation (available for credit on line). The book can be navigated through its sixteen chapters or the Webliography, and is alive with links for a  world perspective on the topic of each lecture. Useful for geography, zoology, botany or general interest, Biodiversity and Conservation is a great adaptation of the internet to produce an important course for publishing on the web! Site by Peter J. Bryant, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, California. (****) -LF
February 9, 1998 - Computer-Enhanced Science Education: The Whole Frog Project
There must be rejoicing in many hallways over the advent of the Virtual Frog Dissection Kit which engaged a million visitors from 65 countries in its first year on the web. Freed of the conflict of torturing creatures for the sake of learning about them, interactive desktop biology in living color promises to replace the pallor of pickle jars and dingy slides for teaching. These pages link to the Kit as well as provide an Introductory Lecture and  a Summary paper describing the "pedagogical and technological" aspects of the project, of interest to all educators. Site by William Johnston and David Robertson, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA.(****) -LF
February 6, 1998 - Desert USA
Here's a snazzy little monthly magazine to keep up with what's happening on the desert, where Little El Nino is expected to have triggered a big, big bloom this year. Packed with features on desert wildlife and habitats, there's also Animal of the Month - The Common King Snake of the Desert Southwest,  Plant of the Month - Soaptree Yucca of the Chihuahuan Desert, and this month's featured Persons-  Apaches Cochise and Geronimo. This publication is great leisure reading for anyone with an interest in the wild west, wildlife, or botany! Site by Digital West Media, Inc., San Diego, California. (****) -LF
February 5, 1998 - Myko Web
Americans remembering the child cereal star "Mikey who'll eat anything" may now graduate to Mike's Mycological Museum, produced by past president of the Mycological Society of San
Francisco, Mike Woods and associates. The magnum opus of the site is Common Fungi of the San Francisco Bay Area by Michael Woods and Fred Stevens, describing over 220 species and  displaying 760 photographs, with a bibliography of mushroom books and a glossary of mycological terms. Another set of the author's photos   include unique shots of "Slug Mycophagy" and an Australian Mystery Fungus (?)  reminiscent of both slime mold and smut, and awaiting identification!   Truly the most amazing image is to be found on the page Treasure from the Kingdom of Fungi, which highlights selected photographic works of Taylor F. Lockwood, "one of the finest photographers of the fleshy fungi." A must for mushroomers, mycologists, natural historians and chefs, and a really cool link for Plant Diversity courses is this site by Michael Woods, San Francisco, California.(****) -LF
February 4, 1998 - The Malaysian Department of Agriculture
An excellent ethnobotanical link is the Malaysian Department of Agriculture Homepage, featuring several displays of economically important plants in Malaysia and displays of programs used to improve the incomes of Malaysian farmers. Cultural and general information on an assortment of tropical fruits, vegetables and flowers is provided and a number of plants can be seen in the developing Agricultural Garden, "a hypothetical garden designed specially for Internet Surfers where within the confine of a single park visitors can view, learn and marvel at the extraordinary beauty of plants commonly found in Malaysia."  Now if only the very appealing pictures of Malaysian foods prepared by farm women for the Agro Restaurant could be ordered for immediate consumption! Site by the Department of Agriculture Malaysia, Jalan Sultan Salahuddin, Kuala Lumpur. (****) -LF
February 3, 1998 - Welcome To Chris Halloran's Web Page
Chris's page "designed to link science students and educators to some exceptional resources on the World Wide Web "has four exceptional online syllabi used in his teaching at North Warren Regional High School (Home of the Patriots) and Warren Community College. AP and High School Biology, General Biology 162 and a course in Internet: Concept and Applications provide Lecture Outlines, Online Reading and Activities, Curriculum Links and Science links bound to generate enthusiasm in the user. At the same time, great use of color and layout show the work of an imaginative educator utilizing the internet to its fullest at this site by Chris Halloran, Warren County, New Jersey. (****) -LF
February 2, 1998 - Flora of China
This work is an English revision of Flora Republicae Popularis Sinicae which will  document  the vascular plants of China with brief descriptions, identification keys,  synonymy, phenology, distribution in China and elsewhere, and notes on problematic taxa. Nine research institutions and 600 scientists are contributing to this project covering China's 30,000 plant species which comprise one-eighth of the world's total, and nearly twice the number of species in the U.S.A. and Canada combined. China has 8,000 species of medicinal and economically important plants and about 7,500 species of trees and shrubs, hence the importance of this Flora. Currently online are a checklist with distribution maps and assorted image collections. A Newsletter provides updates to the progress of the work, as ethno- and economic botanists, taxonomists, and horticulturists will want to keep their eye on this site maintained by the Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, Massachussetts.(****) -LF

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