Fathers and Sons: A Journey with Famous Families in Western Botanical Science, Art, and Exploration”

2015-06-1William Jackson Hooker (by Thomas Herbert Maguire)John Bartram and his son, William Bartram, 2015-06-2Joseph Dalton Hooker (by Charles Henry Jeens)were among the first American botanists active throughout the Revolutionary era, and the focus of a recent traveling exhibit of botanical art. John (1699–1777) was an indefatigable collector of plants and seeds during his travels across eastern North America, eventually establishing the first botanic garden in the New World. William (1739–1823) was similarly well traveled, an avid collector, and an extraordinary artist of both plants and birds.
The Bartrams were not the only father-son botanist duo that accomplished great things for plant science and botanical art in the western world.
At roughly the same time as the younger Bartram, William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865) became an intrepid English explorer, botanist, and the third director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His son, Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming one of the greatest British botanists of the 19th century, the fourth director of Kew, and Charles Darwin’s closest friend and confidant. Yet there are so many other fathers and sons in the history of western botanical exploration that should be appreciated. The intertwining of these multi-generational family pursuits, including botanical illustration and exploration into parts unknown, provides an interesting canvas upon which to explore the interplay among the broader themes of science, art, and individual legacy.

Peggy L. Fiedler has been the system-wide Director of the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS) since 2010. The NRS is the largest university-administered suite of protected areas in the world, and is dedicated to university-level research, teaching, and public service. Dr. Fiedler earned her BA from Harvard University in social anthropology/ethnobotany in 1976, then went on to receive an MS and a PhD from UC Berkeley in Wildland Resource Science, concentrating in the field of plant evolutionary biology. After completing her PhD, Dr. Fiedler joined the faculty at San Francisco State University, where she was promoted to full Professor in 1997. While at SF State, she initiated the first Conservation Biology master’s degree program of its kind in the United States.
In 2000, Dr. Fiedler left San Francisco State in order to become more directly involved in hands-on conservation, working as an environmental consultant in rare plant protection and ecosystem restoration. In this capacity, she led or co-led multidisciplinary teams in the design, permitting, and implementation of wetland ecosystem restoration projects.
Dr. Fiedler’s research on California species of Calochortus (Liliaceae) and her writings on the more theoretical aspects of conservation biology have earned her an international reputation as an authority in conservation biology and rare-plant ecology and management. She currently serves as a Senior Research Associate with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. Peggy is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Linnean Society, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar.