It's always nice to see our scientists getting recognition for the work they do: Dr Sandy Knapp, a Merit Researcher in the Botany Department, has received the American Society of Plant Taxonomists' Peter Raven Award for 'outstanding contributions to public education in systematic botany'.
The commendation was well-deserved, as Sandy regularly involves herself in a range of public outreach activities - from public lectures to radio interviews. Among other things, she has recently helped develop the stunning exhibitions in the Museum’s new Darwin Centre.
Sandy says the award means a lot to her as Peter Raven (of the Missouri Botanical Garden) has been one of her most valued mentors throughout her career in botany. She also feels it is particularly special to receive an award in the 'Darwin year'.
Here's a picture of Sandy with Professor David Spooner, who presented her with the award at the American Society of Plant Taxonomists' banquet during the 2009 Botany and Mycology Conference in Snowbird, Utah, USA:
As well as receiving her award, Sandy was there for the closing project meeting for Planetary Biodiversity Inventory (PBI) Solanum, which she co-led. You can find out more about the project on the Solanaceae Source website. Another of our botanists, Dr Maria Vorontsova, gave a presentation on ‘African spiny Solanum: a thorny taxonomic tangle’.
It sounds like the meeting was a lot of fun and apparently the scenery in Snowbird is spectacular - I've never been myself. But Sandy assures us the science was new and exciting enough to ensure the mind didn't wander. She's hoping more of our botanists can come and enjoy next year's meeting in Rhode Island - anyone who's interested should check out the Botany 2010 meeting website.