Montana’s Pioneer Botanists: Exploring the Mountains and Prairies
Available June 2017. Published by your Montana Native Plant Society. Containing 31 stories written by 17 different authors, and over 200 photos and botanical illustrations by 32 artists.
Nearly thirty years ago, Arthur Kruckeberg (1920-2016) envisioned a book of biographies of historical Northwest plant hunters, with essays written by botanists of today. He asked Peter Lesica to recruit authors for stories of Montana’s botanists, and a dozen or so essays were written or drafted. As the years went by and there was no sign of a Pacific Northwest book, Peter decided to publish the Montana essays and asked Rachel Potter to help. As this new book's editors, they recruited a few more authors and revised some essays to highlight Montana.
When the editors decided to add plant and landscape photos and art to portraits of dead white guys, the project flourished from the work of different authors into a vital community effort with many more people donating photos, artwork, and expertise. The majority of these contributors are members of the Montana Native Plant Society. The editors are immensely grateful to all contributors. Deb Dolan did meticulous restoration of the many historical photos. Dee Linnell Blank mastered the intricacies of prepress photo editing for the rest. The keen eyes of former Kelseya editors Jan Nixon and Kathy Lloyd can spot errors as well as count the stamens of a saxifrage, and we have them to thank for proofreading. Rachel got technical and style advice from more gracious volunteers for book design and layout.
Peter and Rachel thank all the generous individuals who contributed financially toward printing costs, mostly friends and family of Jerry DeSanto, author of three essays. We are grateful to the Board of Directors of the Montana Native Plant Society for funding the project and publishing the book, a fitting celebration for the 30th anniversary of the MNPS.
The book will be available at the 2017 Annual Meeting, and from MNPS chapters afterwards. Your MNPS Board decided to keep the cover price low, compared to the cost of producing the book: $29.95, $25.00 to MNPS members. If you have suggestions for retail outlets (historical societies, etc), please contact coeditor Rachel Potter.
For the back cover, Peter Lesica wrote: Montana is a large state with diverse vegetation from Great Plains prairie and deciduous forest in the east, to northern coniferous forest and alpine tundra in the west. Discovering the botanical secrets of this spectacular landscape began with indigenous peoples and continued through the 20th Century with early explorers, geographers and entrepreneurs followed by teachers, scientists and curious and dedicated lay persons. Montana’s multitude of rugged mountains and wide open spaces means that botanical discoveries which started with the Lewis and Clark Expedition continue to this day. Montana’s Pioneer Botanists brings together more than thirty biographies of these diverse people and traces the growth of botanical knowledge in this wild and beautiful state.