What an honor and joy it has been to serve as President of the California Botanical Society for the past year! Thank you to all of you for making this such a great year.
First, we have made it through over 20 months of pandemic, and some elements of life are returning to normal. We hope you are all able to get back to the field, lab, herbarium, or wherever you most love to be! Let's keep our fingers crossed things keep heading in the right direction.
Because of the pandemic, the Graduate Student Symposium was online last year, and it was a brilliant success. It was organized by a creative and hard-working team of graduate students from San Diego State University and University of California Los Angeles: Alex Adame, Ioana Angel, Ryan Buck, Samantha Mihalic, Carlos Portillo, Niveditha Ramadoss, and Nelly Rodriguez with support from faculty coordinators Dr. Lluvia Flores-Rentería (SDSU) and Dr. Felipe Zapata (UCLA). The symposium took place over two days at the end of April, with 105 registered attendees, 23 full talks, nine lightning talks, ten posters, and a fascinating keynote presentation on an integrative approach to understanding the evolutionary ecology of California Jewelflowers by Dr. Ivalú Cacho (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). Information about award winners and their presentations can be found at https://calbotsoc.org/past-grad-student-meetings/. I am excited to announce that this year we will once again hold the Banquet in person in the spring of 2022 – stay tuned for details and registration!
This past year we also started the monthly California Botanical Society's Botany Speaker Series, featuring early career botanists whose research is centered on the flora and environment of western North America. These talks are held on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time and have covered a diversity of topics from restoration of coastal grasslands to moss survival in the desert to a vascular flora of the southern Inyo Mountains to the importance of biological soil crusts. The equally diverse speakers have included graduate students, faculty, and government scientists. The complete list of the ten talks to date, along with recordings, can be found at https://calbotsoc.org/previous-speakers/. Please join us for the next talk – all are welcome. Information is at https://calbotsoc.org/events/.
This year, as always, we had exceptional applications for the Paul Silva Student Research Grants. We awarded four, to three graduate students and one undergraduate student. Congratulations to these deserving students and their mentors:
Emma Fryer, Cal Poly: Community Assembly of Vertic Clay Endemic Annuals of the San Joaquin Desert
Kristy Snyder, Eastern Washington University, Analysis of the Role of Annual Seeds in Palouse Prairie Restoration
Riley Scaff, Pitzer (undergrad): A Plant Restoration Study on a Mojave Desert Burn Site
Annie Taylor, Boise State: Resolving taxonomic uncertainty and clarifying species boundaries in the Cymopterus terebinthinus (Hook.) Torr. & A.Gray species complex.
I am excited to welcome several new Council Members ( https://calbotsoc.org/about/), and for the first time since I started as President, we have a nearly full Council. I'd like to welcome and extend my most enthusiastic thanks to Mitchell Coleman as Membership Chair, Brianne Palmer as Outreach Coordinator, Susan Fawcett as Member-at-Large, Arnold Clifford as Member-at-Large, and returning members Nishi Rajakaruna as Member-at-Large, Brett Hall as Banquet Coordinator, and Ryan Buck as Student Representative. We all also owe thanks to returning Council Members Muriel Poston and Rachael Olliff Yang for assuming the mantles of Corresponding Secretary and Communications Specialist/Nemophila Editor, respectively. And it would be a grave oversight if I did not thank our returning and hard-working Council Members Susan Mazer (Past President), Josh Der (First Vice President), Nancy Morin (Recording Secretary), Treasurer (David Margolies), and Madroño Editor Justen Whittall. Finally, I must thank Lynn Yamashita, the Society's Administrator, who keeps things running on the right tracks. The Council Members, new and returning, and Lynn, have each contributed to making this past year productive, interesting, full of new knowledge, and fun.
I look forward to seeing you all in person at our spring Banquet! Until then, I hope to see you all at our monthly speaker series. Best wishes for a happy, peaceful, and healthy 2022.
Current President (2020-2024)
Professor of Botany
University of California, Riverside