Proposed plant resources center moves forward with fund-raising kick-off
Archived article from May 9, 2005
By Michele Hujber
Plant, herb and fungus specimens are destined for a new home at Rutgers. A new facility is to be named for D.E. Fairbrothers, professor emeritus of botany, who continues to work from an office on the Cook campus.
The proposed center will house specimens along with a collection of plant extracts gathered in New Jersey and worldwide. Plant extracts figure prominently in the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and health-promoting food additives.
Former students, colleagues and friends will honor the Fairbrothers legacy June 4 with a symposium on the future of plant biology research, and a banquet and kick-off event for a fund-raising campaign for the center. The event will be held in Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus.
The center, a joint venture between Cook and Douglass colleges, will provide research and educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, state departments and state bureaus. Cook and Douglass both offer undergraduate honors research programs that will benefit from the proximity of a centralized plant research center.
The center will comprise existing resources, including the Chrysler Herbarium, named after Professor Emeritus Mintin Asbury Chrysler, and the Rutgers Mycological Herbarium. The Chrysler Herbarium contains specimens collected over the past 200 years. The sole herbarium in the state, it is the only source of information on the flora of New Jersey and includes the 40,000 specimens of the Mycological Herbarium.
Fairbrothers was curator of the Chrysler Herbarium from 1954 to 1988. Under his leadership, the herbarium provided plant specimens that enabled New Jersey researchers in 1973 to produce the first published list of rare and endangered plants in the United States. This list was significant in moving Congress to enact the first Endangered Species Act.
The herbarium collections also provided important documentation of the Pinelands flora, essential to the establishment of the Pinelands National Reserve by Congress in 1978. For more information, see aesop.rutgers.edu/~herbarium/fprc.htm.
Return to the May 9, 2005 issue