Fla. Museum researcher wins award for excellence in tropical botany

May 5th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History botanist and herbarium curator Norris Williams has won the Smithsonian Institution’s prestigious José Cuatrecasas Medal for Excellence in Tropical Botany for his 40-year career studying orchids.

The award is given annually to a botanist and scholar of international stature who has made significant contributions to the field of tropical botany. Williams, who is author or co-author on nearly 100 academic papers, received the medal March 28.

His two primary areas of research are floral chemistry, which involves identifying floral fragrances that attract orchid pollinators, and molecular phylogenetics, which involves the study of evolutionary relationships among neotropical orchids. Williams did most of his field work in Panama and Ecuador and has studied orchids in the wild from Mexico to Bolivia.

Florida Museum director Douglas Jones said Williams’ colleagues and friends are thrilled he won the award. (more…)

Fla. Museum volunteer of year wins Work of Heart Award

April 29th, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History volunteer Libby Furlow was honored as Arts and Recreation Volunteer of the Year at the 38th annual Work of Heart Awards on Tuesday at the Paramount Plaza Hotel.

Furlow is also the recipient of the 2009 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year award for exhibits and public programs at the Florida Museum.

Furlow has volunteered at the Florida Museum for more than 36 years, logging more than 1,000 volunteer hours in the past nine years. She has served as a docent, naturalist, Butterfly Rainforest interpreter, and horticulture assistant, and has been instrumental in planning several education and outreach programs. In addition, Furlow has been an active member of the Museum Associates since 1972, and has served on the board two terms each as secretary and as president. She currently serves as an Emerita member. (more…)

Florida Museum names volunteers of year

April 2nd, 2009

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History honored Martha Cade and Libby Furlow with the 2009 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year award at its annual volunteer reception April 1.

The reception honors all volunteers who serve at Dickinson, Powell and McGuire halls in the museum’s collections and exhibits/ programs divisions.

Cade was recognized as the research and collections volunteer of the year for her work in the natural history and anthropology divisions, where she has served more than 3,000 hours over the past 13 years. She began as a curatorial assistant and has since moved into the equivalent of a full-time position as de facto collections manager for the ethnographic collection and assistant to the registrar of the anthropology division. (more…)

Fla. Museum researcher honored as Entomology Society of America fellow

November 12th, 2008

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History curator of Lepidoptera Jacqueline Y. Miller has been named a fellow of the Entomology Society of America. She will be inducted during the society’s annual meeting that begins Sunday in Reno, Nev.

Selection as an Entomology Society of America fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension or administration.

“Dr. Miller is certainly worthy of having been selected as a fellow by the Entomological Society of America,” said J.E. McPherson, past president of the society. “She has had an outstanding career, not only through her numerous research contributions to the science of entomology but to her dedicated service to the society.”

Miller is the Allyn Curator of Lepidoptera and associate director of the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity where she is actively engaged in research and fieldwork, particularly in the West Indies and Central and South America. Her research interests include the systematics, life history, biodiversity and biogeography of butterflies, with a special focus on the Castniidae, commonly known as butterfly moths. (more…)

Fla. Museum researcher receives $365,000 grant for butterfly conservation workshops

November 5th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Imperiled butterflies across the U.S. may benefit in the coming years from a series of innovative workshops designed by a Florida Museum of Natural History researcher with over a decade of experience working to recover the endangered Miami blue butterfly in south Florida.

Jaret Daniels, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, received $365,299 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in September. His winning grant proposes organizing and executing five training workshops over a three-year period through the Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management program.

“The intent of this program is to raise the bar for butterfly conservation,” Daniels said. “We’re targeting institutions that participate in butterfly conservation, or plan to do so in the future, but whose staff is limited by lack of information or experience; especially regarding techniques or methodologies for captive breeding and reintroduction of imperiled butterfly species.” (more…)

Fla. Museum announces 2008 winners of the Austin and Bullen awards

November 5th, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently announced the winners of the 2008 Austin Award and Ripley P. Bullen Award. Both are given annually by the Florida Museum’s university teaching committee to students conducting museum-based research.

The Austin Award is given to recognize excellence in natural science research in honor of long-time Florida Museum ornithologist, Oliver Austin.

This year’s recipient, Christine Edwards, graduated from the University of Florida in 2007 with her Ph.D. in botany and now works as a postdoctoral research associate in botany at the University of Wyoming. Her graduate work focused on related species of mint plants found in the Southeastern United States under primary supervisor Pam Soltis, Florida Museum of Natural History curator of molecular systematics and evolutionary genetics. (more…)

Florida Museum announces 2008 volunteer of year

April 11th, 2008

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently recognized Annette Perry as its 2008 James Pope Cheney Volunteer of the Year.

Perry, a Florida Museum docent for 22 years, has received local and national recognition for her work. The museum honored her at its annual volunteer reception April 2.

“In so many ways, Annette has been a wonderful friend to the museum,” said Florida Museum Volunteer Coordinator Julie Crosby. “She is an excellent docent who is reliable, generous and helpful to visitors, staff and other volunteers. Annette continues to be a fine ambassador who promotes the museum in Alachua County and far beyond. We are thrilled to present her with this award.”

Perry implemented and edited the museum’s original docent newsletter and continues to assist with production of the current publication. She has recruited and mentored countless docents, and serves on the Florida Museum’s Docent Advisory Committee. (more…)

Fla. Museum scientist receives prestigious Order of La Florida award

September 24th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Museum of Natural History Distinguished Research Curator of Archaeology Kathleen Deagan was honored during a ceremony Tuesday (Sept. 18) in St. Augustine with the prestigious Order of La Florida award.

Considered the city’s highest honor, the Order of La Florida is awarded for outstanding community service to residents who have tirelessly devoted their time and talent over a long period of time. Created in 1975, the award may only be held by eight living people at any given time, and they must be at least 55 years old. Only 14 people precede Deagan in receiving the award.

University of Florida Distinguished Service Professor of History Michael Gannon also received the award. (more…)

UF graduate students recognized for Florida Museum research

June 26th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History recently announced the winner of the coveted 2007 Austin Award, given annually by the Museum’s University Teaching Committee to recognize excellence in natural science research, and the 2007 Ripley P. Bullen Award, named after an influential Florida Museum archaeologist of the 1940s and 1950s.

Recipient of the Austin Award, Ashley Morris, graduated from the University of Florida with her Ph.D. in Botany in December and now is a faculty member at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. Morris was nominated for the award by advisor Pamela Soltis, a curator at the Florida Museum.

“I was quite honored of course that she would consider the nomination, and even more surprised about winning given the quality of the work of my peers in the Florida Museum,” Morris said. (more…)

Florida Museum curators receive UF Faculty Achievement Recognition Award

May 7th, 2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two Florida Museum of Natural History researchers recently were recognized as recipients of the 2007 University of Florida Faculty Achievement Recognition Award. Curators Pamela Soltis and David Steadman were recognized, along with 50 other UF faculty, at a reception hosted by the Provost’s office in April at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art.

Soltis is a curator in the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics at the Florida Museum where she has published 30 papers in top-ranked journals in the past five years. She has garnered more than $3.6 million from National Science Foundation grants and has served as president of two national and international societies: the Society of Systematic Biologists (2005-07) and the Botanical Society of America (2006-09). Soltis’ work addresses evolutionary origins of flowers and the evolutionary relatedness of flowering plants, plant speciation and the conservation genetics of endangered plant species in Florida. She also was one of 13 academics to be selected nationally as a visiting scholar by the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa society. Working with the society, Soltis will deliver eight lectures over the next two years. She plans to discuss the origin of flowering plants with her undergraduate and graduate audiences. (more…)

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