Jennifer’s Introduction

Hi – I’m delighted to be in class with all of you. I live and work in Alabama. I’ve spent most of my life in the South, though have camped, hiked, and paddled pretty extensively well to the north (including one journey to Fairbanks and its environs). My work and studies across the years have been varied – and I currently serve as a the pastor of a small, progressive, diverse church in Birmingham.

In a previous job, however, I worked for three years in education at our local botanical garden in a program that focused on the engagement between people and plants. It required me to have a broad, but not especially deep, knowledge of plants and the plant world. I developed particular interests in Ethnobotany and Ecological Restoration (particularly phytoremediation), but did not have the opportunity to engage more deeply with these subjects before I felt a call in a rather different direction.

With this and other courses, I’m making an effort to circle back to these areas of interest. The reasons range from the fact that plants make me happy to practical applications in greenspaces to which I can contribute to a meandering sense of my own ongoing work in the world.

It’s hard to pick a favorite plant, but these are a couple of them:

Southern Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum capillus-veneris

wild Blackberries – Rubus fruticosus – they are just starting to ripen here

Maypop/Passionflower – Passiflora incarnata – home to the Gulf Fritillary butterfly

This is my current plant lab set-up for this class, which includes the optivisor, the macrolens, and a hand lens I like to keep handy. I might be interested in a USB microscope too, but the link on the lecture wouldn’t open for me – and I’m not sure how to judge what’s a wise choice among the vast number of options out there. Any further suggestions?

Also – and I apologize for not asking this earlier in the week – how would you like me to handle the inaturalist posts, Dr. Ickert-Bond? I’m clearly not posting in or from Alaska, so would you prefer I post in an Alabama project? Or is there someway to post in the AK group but not make it part of the public record so I don’t confuse everybody?

It’s good to meet everybody and I look forward to our shared learning this month!

One comment

  1. Welcome Jennifer,
    wow Alabama! Clearly you your flora will be much more advanced in flowering and fruiting as compared to Alaska, and it will be so exciting to see what you document in your state. You do not need to join the Alaska Plants and Fungi project for the iNaturalist observations. Once you post something in iNaturalist, enthusiasts from your area will chime in on what you found, and sometimes folks comment on plants that they are familiar with from all across the globe, so it is fun either way. There is a flora of Alabama project on iNaturalist https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-alabama
    So maybe you can add your observations there. I think it looks like you have a very nice set-up already for the class, I would not worry about getting an additional item. I love the passionfruit flower, such an elaborate flower, and of course the fruits are heavenly too. They are hard to come by in Alaska, but once in a while you can find them in a grocery store.

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