Steve Marak samarak@gizmoworks.com
Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:19:37 PST

Do you have such a template for use with Excel or know where one might 
be found? Failing that, what information, from most critical to least, 
would you want to see kept for material in a private collection?



On 1/16/2014 4:57 PM, Boyce Tankersley wrote:
> Hi All:
> Several years ago (about 8 if memory serves) Jane McGary, Robert Pries, Jim
> Shields and I informally discussed the challenges of incorporating private
> plant collections into botanic gardens and/or the NAPCC. The challenges
> identified back then are still valid today - and they have done an
> excellent job of elucidating them.  The point that Dennis Kramb makes about
> the longevity of his collections related to their hardiness in his climate
> has corollaries in the botanic garden world as well. Non-hardy
> containerized plants are more susceptible to over/under watering and
> heating systems that break down in winter, as well as other environmental
> factors critical to survival, and for this reason Chicago Botanic Garden
> (and I believe most if not all of the other NAPCC collection holders) have
> avoided them (Paul Licht, can you think of any exceptions?).
> The American Public Gardens Association organized and maintains the North
> American Plant Collections Consortium.  It is the closest thing we have to
> the British National Collections in the USA and Canada.  An important part
> of the collection application requires the legal commitment of the Board of
> Directors to provide the resources needed to maintain the Collections
> indefinitely or until they can pass the collection onto another
> institution.  The absence of the equivalent of a Board of Directors for
> private collection holders is not an issue that can be easily overcome.
> As a result of the discussions with Jane, Rob and Jim, I mentored several
> private collection holders in an effort to create the kind of documentation
> that needs to be passed onto future care holders.  Most of them did not
> have the resources (time, interest and/or knowledge of computer
> databases/spreadsheets) necessary to create these records. The missing
> piece of the puzzle wasn't the scientific or biological value of the
> collections or the knowledge of the critical information about each
> accession but rather an individual who was interested and able to work with
> the collection holder over a period of time to get all of the information
> recorded on their behalf.
> A database for this purpose doesn't have to be fancy. In fact, for most
> private collections, I would recommend using a spreadsheet application like
> Excel.  From my perspective, the *critical* point is that all private
> collection holders must utilize a template that incorporates the names for
> the fields (columns) that is current usage in the botanic garden/biological
> collections world.  This insures that if an opportunity presents itself in
> the future to more formally recognize these collections and make their data
> available to the scientific community the information would be easily
> transmissible.
> Best wishes to all from a very snowy and cold Chicago.
> Boyce Tankersley
> Director of Living Plant Documentation
> Chicago Botanic Garden
> On Wed, Jan 15, 2014 at 6:06 PM, Jane McGary <janemcgary@earthlink.net>wrote:
>> Robert Pries wrote
>>> There is a new initiative occurring in the American Public Gardens
>>> Association. It is a system of National Collections similar to the
>>> British System. These collections are meant to preserve the genetic
>>> diversity within the nation. The USA is far behind in this effort,
>>> compared to the British. A major component of the system is a will
>>> that allows for the transfer of a collection to another new or
>>> existing National Collection Holder. Many years ago I tried to talk
>>> with the Association of Botanic Gardens and Arboretums. They were
>>> not interested in working with private plantsmen. I believe this is
>>> partly due to a vocal scam artist who was milking plantsman at the
>>> time for plants he could sell in his nursery by claiming to run a
>>> National Collection System.
>> The aforementioned person also contacted me, but I found him so
>> annoying that I turned him away.
>> I'm sure our British members will have things to say about the
>> National Collections program. I've heard a lot about it and also have
>> a book on it. I know that some of the British National Collections
>> are wonderful, well-curated resources, but I've also encountered
>> people who had, or wanted to have, a National Collection but seemed
>> not to know enough about what they were collecting. Such a program is
>> vulnerable to various kinds of conflict.
>> On the other hand, the idea of a database of private collections has
>> been discussed previously on this forum. I wouldn't mind contributing
>> my data to a project like that.
>> Jane McGary
>> Portland, Oregon, USA
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