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1 December 2016 Presidential Message: Supporting the Next Generation of Botanists
Charles N. Horn
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This is a special time for me. And maybe for you too. I have just finished a twenty-year term as our society's Treasurer only to step into something new and different, being president. How exciting; and yet what a challenge. I hope you will support my work over the next two years and at the same time encourage others to be part of our organization, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (SABS).

As I started my term this spring I felt an important need to attend the joint national meeting of several botanical societies which met in Savannah, Georgia in late July. I had not been to a national meeting in quite a while. I had forgotten about what happens at the larger meetings. I had felt that our regional Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) conference was enough of an excitement and passion that the national meeting was not really needed. Yet, the meeting was a great time for me as I interacted with fellow botanists from all over North America and reconnected with botanists I had not seen in years. I also quickly got to meet numerous others individuals with that same passion I had, botany. What an exciting time it was; what an energy boost. Now I realized all those little research projects I had been putting off were really great stories waiting to be discovered and told to the world!

While at the meeting I also helped chair a session with oral presentations by applicants for the George Cooley Award. These were junior scientists competing for this prestigious award presented jointly by the Botanical Society of America and the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. It was such a joy to listen to these young botanists presenting on their systematic botany research. They had traveled to exotic areas of the world and followed that up with exciting laboratory research. For them to detail the mysteries of nature was such a joy to hear. This was the next generation of botanists; individuals that will continue the excitement and glory of a new set of botanical stories that have been written by the plants themselves and being revealed by these budding botanists.

Many botanists of SABS, including me, are equally interested in the research stories that graduate student members of our society are developing … new species, new genetic relationships, amazing ecological relationships, unheard of physiological processes, and many other botanical mysteries being uncovered. SABS wants to be part of revealing these spectacular natural stories. We are here to help! Toward that end we have several opportunities for assistance. If you are student, read ahead carefully; if you are a professor, spread the word to your students, both graduate and undergraduate.

We have special membership deals for students. Membership is only $20 per year. As you develop your research proposal you may need some funding to assist with travel, supplies, or lodging. SABS can help! We are proud of our Earl Core Research Awards available for you (check it out at: Maybe you are finishing up your research and would like to present at a meeting. We can help! We have student conference support awards (, and we recognize outstanding presentations, either as a poster or oral presentation at the annual ASB conference.

Along with your SABS membership any article ever published in our journal, Castanea (all the way back to 1936), is available to you on our journal website: Then, as you prepare to publish your findings, SABS will provide you with a reduction in page charges should you choose to publish in Castanea. We can help!

For our professional botanists who teach at a college or university, here's your opportunity to assist the future of botany. How about a gift membership for one or more students? And talk it up. Please get the word out; botany is a great discipline to study. There is so much to still learn about the botanical world on planet Earth. You can help!

We also have a large number of other botanists; individuals that work for federal, state, and local agencies as well as private companies. You are our other important mode of communication to the public. Get the word out as you talk to colleagues and the public. You are also an important part of our outreach, and we need your assistance. The world is an incredible place with plants. You can help!

And for everyone, pass the word. Botany is exciting! As I always say to my colleagues and students: I'm outstanding, maybe it is in a field, maybe it is in a forest; but I'm outstanding … and loving it, the great world of botany; it doesn't get any better than this! As the slogan reads on the back of our newest T-shirts, “Trust me, I'm a Botanist!”

Maybe you too can get a jolt of excitement by attending our next meeting which is in Montgomery, Alabama, March 29–April 1, 2017. I hope to see you there and hear about your botanical excitement! We are all outstanding in our field of botany!

Charles N. Horn "Presidential Message: Supporting the Next Generation of Botanists," Castanea 81(4), 255-256, (1 December 2016).
Published: 1 December 2016
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