Wendy Zomlefer, Curator of the University of Georgia Herbarium, received NSF funding for a workshop on "Herbarium Specimen Curation and Best Practices." The workshop was held 19-21 May 2016 in the herbarium and we hosted 26 participants (including an NSF program officer) from 17 institutions in 7 southeastern U.S. states. The main thrust of the workshop was to educate curators about herbarium best practices -- mainly collecting, pressing, and mounting plants and what comes after with digitization efforts.
The justification for the funding: proper specimen preparation and curation is rapidly becoming a lost art as newly assigned curators are increasingly trained in laboratory-based programs rather than in traditional field work and collections management. David Giannasi (Emeritus), Steven Hughes (Collections Manager), Jason Comer (Post-bac), and Somer Rowe (undergrad PBio major) all assisted to make sure the workshop ran smoothly. Steven showed off our new data portal, and Somer provided hands-on plant mounting tips. Roland Roberts, NSF Program Officer (DBI), gave a well-received presentation on funding avenues for collections, which included pertinent advice on effective grant-writing. Overall, the successful workshop demonstrated a great need of curators (from various backgrounds) for reviewing/learning basic specimen preparation and management skills.
Image: Group photo of workshop participants in the Jaworski amphitheater.