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MidAmerica IAS chapter meeting

  • Subject: MidAmerica IAS chapter meeting
  • From: Steve Marak <samarak@gizmoworks.com>
  • Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2010 17:56:09 -0500 (CDT)

We're back from St. Louis and the 2nd meeting of the Mid-America chapter 
meeting, held at the Missouri Botanical Garden yesterday (Saturday, April 

Thanks to the team at MoBot who put everything together to host the 
meeting - Tom Croat, Carla Kostelac, and Emily Colletti, as well as 
several of Tom's volunteers and students (Polly, Susan, Steve, and at 
least one other whose name I never got) who devoted their Saturday to 
making it a great event for all of us (with unanticipated excitement in 
the afternoon just to keep everyone on their toes!).

We had attendees from an amazing range, including Phoenix, Arizona and 
Virginia (the Virginia attendees were actually visiting in Arkansas, but I 
think it still counts) and a sizable contingent from Chicago, Illinois. 

The highlights of the meeting proper were Tom's overview of the entire 
Araceae, as well as of the work going on with Araceae in the New World, 
and Joep Moonen's fascinating travelogue of aroids on a trip through 
Brazil and the Burle Marx Collection there. 

Then we went out to the gardens, where some combination of Tom, Carla, and 
Emily had managed to get permission to take us into the Climatron, even 
though it was closed for some maintenance work. Afterwards, we also got a 
tour of Tom's research greenhouses and a chance to see some examples of 
what he's working on up close.

To keep it exciting, the MoBot crew had somehow arranged a massive 
thunderstorm to come through just as we made the hike from the research 
greenhouses back to the Lehmann building. We arrived drenched to the skin, 
with the tornado sirens and massive thunder providing the musical score. 
(It was slightly unnerving to hear someone asking Zach DuFran, just ahead 
of me, why he was taking pictures of the clouds, and hear him reply "I'm a 
meteorologist, and it's really bad when the sky turns green like that.")

But once at Lehmann, we had time to dry off and get a look at the details 
of what Tom, Carla, and their volunteers are doing with the many specimen 
collections. Fascinating, and more than I can describe in a brief note, 
plus you really should hear it from Tom rather than me. 

A fun day, and thanks again to the crew at MoBot, staff and volunteers, 
for hosting us.

-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@gizmoworks.com
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