Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Rediscovering Emma Cole’s 19th-Century Grand Rapids Flora

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Date(s) - 03/19/2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Bunker Interpretive Center at Calvin College 


Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Rediscovering Emma Cole’s 19th-Century Grand Rapids Flora

• Garrett E. Crow, Visiting Scholar, Calvin College
• Julie Stivers, Author

Program Description: In 1901 Emma J. Cole published Grand Rapids Flora, a catalogue of plants growing without cultivation in the vicinity of Kent County. Enormous changes have taken place since those “horse and buggy” days, yet her book remains the most complete account of plants specific to our area. Who was this remarkable high school teacher, world traveller and Kent Scientific Institute botanist? Where were her favorite spots for wildflowers? Do they still exist?

Julie Stivers will speak about the life of Emma Cole. Professor Crow will describe the work he and Dr. Warners are doing with Calvin students to rediscover Emma’s haunts and assess their natural quality today. There are interesting surprises as we don our “sleuthing” hats, grab our hand lenses, and observe the changes over more than 116 years.

Garrett E. Crowe

Bio: Garrett E. Crow
After completing a Master’s and PhD in Botany at Michigan State University, Garrett took a job at the University of New Hampshire where he taught Botany for 33 years as well as serving as Director of the UNH Herbarium. His last 6 years he was Chair of the Department of Plant Biology.

Ever a field botanist, his botanical research has allowed him to conduct research both in North America and abroad, with field work taking him to various regions including: Newfoundland, Siberia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and even to the “Uttermost part of the Earth” at the southern tip of South America—Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and Chile.

He retired from UNH in 2008 and returned to West Michigan where he is continuing his botanical interests, both at the Michigan State University Herbarium, and as a Visiting Scholar at Calvin College, working with Professor Dave Warners and Calvin students on the Emma Cole Grand Rapids Flora Project. In 2017 he became President of the Michigan Botanical Club—a statewide native plant society.

Julie Stivers, left, with Dr. Edward Voss, the late Director of the University of Michigan Herbarium and an Emma Cole enthusiast. Voss was assisting Julie with research at the Herbarium.

Bio: Julie Stivers
Julie Stivers is the author of The Presence of the Past: The Grand Rapids Public Museum at 150 and of a 50-year history of Grand Valley State University for the anniversary website. She was co-founder and editor of On the Town magazine for ten years and has served on many non-profit boards in Grand Rapids and Oceana County.

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