Our association hosted its first annual Yosemite Botanical Symposium this weekend, with Dr. Peter Raven as our keynote speaker. Dr. Raven, who was named by Time Magazine in 1999 as one of the “Heroes for the Planet,” currently serves as the director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and as the Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University.
His presentation on “Sustainability and Our Common Future” proved to be both educational and inspirational (and funny—who says scientist’s don’t possess a sense of humor!). Dr. Alison Colwell’s program on “Managing Yosemite’s Rare Plants” and Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk’s session on “Some History of Fire Ecology and Management in Yosemite” were also highlights. All and all, I felt oddly invigorated by the enthusiasm the presenters possessed for vegetation, and even though terms like eukaryote and heterophyllous were being used frequently, I did not find myself too lost in botanical ignorance.