The RAS Herbarium is a collection of about 60,000 preserved plant specimens. These were collected by numerous botanists who were studying plants in New York State, other parts of North America, and from around the world. Each plant specimen is pressed and mounted on a large sheet of acid-free paper, along with details of what it is, who collected it and where. The entire collection is housed in about 30 large metal cabinets. Most of the plants were collected between 1860 and 1950. Because of the large number, and delicate nature of the specimens, accessing information for research and study is a slow process. Computerization would make this historic collection more easily accessible to research throughout the world.
Please help bring the Rochester Academy of Science Herbarium into the 21st Century!
The RAS Herbarium Group has been meeting over the past year, incorporating input from within the Academy and herbarium scientists in New York and other states into a plan for the future of the herbarium. The RAS Herbarium collection contains an estimated 60,000 specimens and is a significant record of the Rochester area ecology. Steven Clemants of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden said of this collection, "It has tremendous local and regional value." This is a valuable resource to both local and international scientists.
The initial stage of the plan is to put the collection on a computer database that will interface with other collections. This database will then become accessible through the growing system of information exchange between museums on the internet. What the RASHG needs to begin work, is money. Purchase of a state-of- the-art laptop computer, new cabinets, and preservation work are a few of the things this money will support. The projected costs are only about $10,000 since much of the work will be done by volunteers. We felt that it was appropriate to make our first appeal to RAS members who would like to join in supporting this project that will benefit the Academy as principal curator of the herbarium. Once a catalog has been completed, the RASHG plans to pursue larger grants to develop outreach activities and draw in younger scientists who could carry on with the study and further preservation of the herbarium collection.
Contributions should be sent to the RAS Herbarium Fund,
c/o William Hallahan, RAS Treasurer,