Public Botany Outreach
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The start of my career as a biologist was with identifying plants, and I’ve really never stopped. People are always interested in learning how to identify the plants around them, and this has become a nice avenue for me to engage with the public.
I’m involved in local bioblitzes and naturalist education and from time to time I lead plant walks. I’m also a curator and active contributor on iNaturalist, where I have logged thousands of observations of my own as well as using my plant identification expertise to curate and identify plant observations logged by the community from their photos.
I really enjoy mentoring, and to date I have helped 55 graduate and undergraduate students start their careers on scientific research. Many of them have moved on to bigger and better things now, but they have been very appreciative about the role I’ve been able to play for them. I view mentorship as a two-way street and believe that undergraduates need to get something back from the relationship beyond simple experience in order for it to be successful. I strive to instill confidence in their abilities and give them a push towards opportunities they might not normally take.