New Life Breathed Into Herbarium
Keene State College’s herbarium, a collection of dried plants labeled and arranged for scientific study, was recently retrieved from storage and installed in its own room in the new Science Center. The herbarium is now an important part of the plant systematics class taught by Kristen Porter-Utley, assistant professor of biology.
Keene State’s herbarium is one of five in the state, says Kristen. Many of the specimens were collected in the 1970s by David Gregory and David Boufford, who now runs Harvard University’s collection of Chinese flora. The herbarium contains many New England plant specimens, together with information about where each specimen was collected and descriptions of flowers and leaves.
As part of their course work, Kristen’s students are collecting and pressing their own samples, which will be added to the herbarium. This information will also be made available via a web site dedicated to the herbarium. The project, which is headed up by senior Peter Dumont, is designed to encourage students and teachers to use the herbarium as a research tool.