Northern Ontario Plant Database
Major Collector and Former Curators
This page includes short, biographical sketches of the botanists and researchers who made major contributions to the herbaria of northern Ontario. Most of the people listed below are/were collectors, but a few were former curators of our partner herbaria, like Frank Bricault (SSMF) and Joan Crowe (LKHD). Click on a name to link to that biography or scroll down to view all the biographies.
W. Bakowsky - W.K.W. Baldwin - K. Baldwin - P. Barclay - B.Boivin - F. Bricault - R. Foster - S. Furr
R.E. Fye - C.E. Garton - A. Harris - J.K. Jeglum - S.T.B. Losee - M. Oldham - J.L. Riley - Dieter Ropke
Marlies Schoenefeld - R.A. Sims - P. Syme - S.Taylor - S. Walshe - K. Winterhalder
Wasyl Bakowsky is currently working as the NHIC's Community Ecologist. Wasyl's research is on determining the status of rare community types in southern Ontario. Wasyl studied vegetation community composition of common juniper communities near Thunder Bay, Ontario, for his undergraduate Honours Thesis. His Masters Thesis was entitled "Phytosociology of midwestern savannah communities in the Carolinian Zone". Upon graduation, Wasyl worked in the consulting field for a number of years, gaining experience in plant taxonomy, community description and mapping. His work has taken him to many parts of the province, including southern, central, and northern Ontario.
Ken Baldwin is currently employed at GLFC, working in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes thematic areas. His current research investigates forest succession within Ontario's boreal and tolerant hardwood ecosystems. He leads the Canadian Forest Ecosystem Classification project, which is developing a standardized classification of forest communities for Canada. Mr. Baldwin obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) in Biology, from McMaster University in 1975 and M.Sc., Plant Ecology, from the University of Western Ontario in 1982. He joined GLFC in 1990.
Born in 1910 in York Township (now Toronto), W.K.W. (Bill) Baldwin expressed an early interest in natural history and graduated with a B.A. (1931) and a Masters in Biology (1932) from the University of Toronto. After a stint in the Second World War, Baldwin returned to Canada, where he worked as an instructor at the University of Toronto and Dalhousie University before joining the National Herbarium of Canada (CAN) as a botanist in 1947. Baldwin's work with the Museum involved vegetation field surveys throughout boreal Canada. The destinations that are of most interest to this project are his work from Moosonee, Ontario, to Foxe Basin, NWT (1949), the Clay Belt in northern Ontario (1952-1955), Hudson Bay Lowlands (1956-1958), and the Upper English River area in western Ontario (1961). He was accompanied on these surveys by many important botanists, including A.E. Porsild, Ilmar Hustich, E. Lepage, I.J. Bassett, and H.J. Scoggan. He also worked with Fred Cowell, the northern Ontario naturalist responsible for protecting the Timmins Dactylorhiza, whom he hired to assist him with the field work for the Clay Belt surveys. Although he died before completing his publication on the Hudson Bay Lowlands, Bill Baldwin will long be remembered for his important 1958 publication Plants of the Clay Belt of Northern Ontario and Quebec. For more information on W.K.W. Baldwin, see J.H. Soper and E.L. Bousfield, 1982. A Tribute to William Kirwan Willcocks Baldwin, M.B.E. (1910-1979). The Canadian Field Naturalist 96: 92-97.
Dr. Paul Barclay
Paul Barclay-Estrup emigrated to Calgary, Alberta, from Denmark with his family when he was a boy. Paul received a B.A from the Univ. of British Columbia and his Ph.D. (Plant Ecology) from Aberdeen, Scotland, where he studied under Dr. Gimingham. Dr. Paul Barclay was a Professor of Biology at Lakehead University from 1966 to 1990. While on sabbatical in 1987, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Shortly there after, ill health forced him to take early disability retirement and he died in 1993. Born Paul Barclay-Estrup, he dropped the hypenated portion of his name in the early 1970s and became known simply as Dr. Paul Barclay. Over 1100 vascular plant specimens in the Claude E. Garton Herbarium were collected by Dr. Barclay. He also had a great interest in lichens and bryophytes, as well as naturalized populations of heather (Calluna and Erica) in North America.
Dr. Bernard Boivin
Dr. Bernard Boivin was one of Canada's most knowledgeable and influential botanists during the latter part of the 20th century. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Bernard Boivin received a B.A. from College Sainte-Marie (1937) and an L.Sc. from the Universite de Montreal (1941), where he was a student of Frere Marie-Victorin, author of Flore Laurentianne. Boivin continued his studies at Harvard University and received his Ph.D. in 1944. His thesis was a monograph on the genus Thalictrum (Ranunculaceae). While at Harvard, Boivin studied under renowned Professor Merritt L. Fernald, author of the greatly expanded 1950 edition of Gray's Manual of Botany. Dr. Boivin worked as a botanist with the Dept. of Agriculture, mainly in Ottawa, from 1948-1981. Most of Boivin's field activities centred around the prairie provinces, culminating in the 5-volume Flora of the Prairie Provinces (1967-1981). He identified or annotated many of the specimens in northwestern Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. Bernard Boivin was a prolific researcher and writer, who published extensively in The Canadian Field-Naturalist, Le Naturaliste canadien, and Rhodora, as well as other journals. One of Boivin's most important contributions was his 1966-67 publication, "Enumeration des Plantes du Canada" (Le Naturaliste canadien v. 93-94), which was reprinted in Provencheria v. 6 (1968, 404 pages).
Frank A. Bricault
Frank A. Bricault served as curator of the Great Lakes Forestry Centre Herbarium from 1969 until his retirement in July of 1981, after 35 years of employment with the Canadian Forest Service. Mr. Bricault began his career as a FIDS (Forest Insect and Disease Survey) Ranger, but heart problems forced him to give up field work in exchange for curatorial duties of the plant and insect collections at GLFC. Mr. Bricault authored the Checklist of Vascular and Non-vascular Plants in the Herbarium of the Great Lakes Forestry Research Centre (Bricault 1981).
Dr. Rob Foster brings over a decade of research and work experience in boreal and tropical ecosystems to Northern Bioscience, which he cofounded. Rob played a lead role in the analysis and development of the ecosite and wetland ecosystem classifications for northwestern Ontario. There is an excellent biography of Dr. Foster on his company's website, which can be accessed by clicking here.
Dr. Steve Furr
Dr. Steve Furr was a Professor of Botany at Lake Superior State Univeristy (LSSU) from 1971 until his retirement in 2001. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in 1971. At LSSU, Steve taught a variety of courses, including Botany, Field Botany, and Environmental Biology. Steve is an avid botanist and an expert in the flora of Northern Michigan.
Dr. R.E. FyeDr. R.E. (Bob) Fye, came to the Canadian Forest Service from the United States and worked at GLFC from 1960 1964. Dr. Fye participated in studies on the spruce budworm at Black Sturgeon Lake Field Station; most of his vascular plant specimens were collected in 1961 from the Black Sturgeon site. An entomologist, Dr. Fye returned to the United States in 1964, where he joined the faculty of the University of Arizona, in Tuscon, Arizona.
Dr. Claude E. Garton
Dr. Claude Eugene Garton was born in 1907 near Aylmer, Ontario. In 1928, after Normal School, he accepted a public school teaching position in Port Arthur (formerly half of the present city of Thunder Bay). This career continued until his retirement in 1966. He obtained a degree, taken extramurally, in Chemistry and Biology from Queen's University in 1942. His summer plant collecting forays in northwestern Ontario began in the 1930s. This was the nucleus of a personal plant collection that eventually became a herbarium bearing his name. His specimens were always well prepared, with detailed label data. Often he collected duplicate specimens, which later were exchanged with other institutions. In 1967, Claude Garton donated his personal collection of 14,000 specimens to Lakehead University and became the curator of the herbarium. He was involved with various botany courses and field schools. In 1979, Lakehead University conferred an Honorary Doctor of Science degree upon him. He continued to spend his summer's plant collecting, often with student assistants. In the early 1980s, Claude Garton did extensive plant collecting on the islands and shores of Lake Nipigon on contract to Ottawa. Through the latter part of that decade, ill health started to limit his plant forays but he managed to build up the herbarium to over 98,000 specimens, partly through exchanges. Claude Garton was also an avid naturalist and was one of the founders of the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists in 1933. He had an active role in many conservation efforts in northwestern Ontario. However, his legacy is the Claude Garton Herbarium, a regional herbarium of northwestern Ontario, built upon nearly sixty years of plant collecting.
Mr. Allan Harris is a biologist with 15 years experience in northern Ontario. He is co-founder of Northern Bioscience, an ecological consulting company based in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Al played a lead role in the analysis and development of the ecosite and wetland ecosystem classifications for northwestern Ontario while with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. There is an excellent biography of Al Harris on his company's website, which can be accessed by clicking here.
Dr. John K. JeglumDr. John Jeglum worked as a research scientist with GLFC from 1968 to 1997, where he headed the Black Spruce Ecosystem Silviculture Project. Dr. Jeglum conducted studies on the natural regeneration of black spruce, vegetation succession, and wetland ecology and classification. He also conducted research on peatland forestry and drainage. Originally from Medford, Wisconsin, he obtained his B.Sc. in Botany (1960) and M.Sc. in Botany (1962) from the University of Wisconsin. In 1965-1966, he taught botany at East Illinois University, in Charleston, Illinois. Upon completion of his Ph.D. in Plant Ecology at the University of Saskatchewan (1968), Dr. Jeglum joined GLFC as a research scientist Work for his Ph.D. thesis, entitled Lowland vegetation at Candle Lake, Southern Boreal Forest Saskatchewan,' produced a substantial collection of Saskatchewan specimens, which reside at the GLFC (SSMF) herbarium, along with his collections from the Hudson Bay Lowlands and the northern boreal forest. Upon his retirement from GLFC in 1997, Dr. Jeglum accepted a position with the Department of Forest Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden; he currently hold the title of Professor of Forest Peatland Science.
S.T.B. (Stan) Losee was a leading-edge photogrammetrist and coordinator of slivicultural research for Abitibi. He was stationed at Abitibi's forestry department headquarters here in S.S.M.(now St. Mary's Paper). Stan Losee conducted silvicultural trials and research on modified harvesting of black spruce at the Abitibi Woodlands Laboratory in Raith, west of Thunder Bay, during the 1950s and 1960s. Together with Leo Vidlak, they pioneered strip cutting and several other European-derived techniques. Losee also had a keen interest in site classification and developed a classification for the Woodlands Lab. By all accounts, Stan Losee was a remarkable man who persisted in promoting better silvicuture and forestry practices. Prior to his employment with Abitibi, Losee worked with the Aerial Surveys Section of the Dominion Forest Service (now the Canadian Forest Service). His hobbies included plant collecting and photography. While living in the Sault, Losee and other local foresters, including Dieter Ropke and Dr. Walter Stanek founded the Sault Ste. Marie Botanical Society. This group was instrumental in preserving a botanically diverse tract of land in Sault Ste. Marie, now known as Wishart Park. Stan Losee retired from Abitibi in the early 1970s to become a professor in the Forestry Department at Lakehead University. His extensive plant collection from the Algoma District resides at Lakehead's Claude Garton Herbarium.
Mike Oldham is currently NHICs' Botanist/Herpetologist, has worked as an ecologist with MNR for the past 11 years, at offices in London, Aylmer, and now Peterborough. Prior to that Mr. Oldham was staff biologist for the Essex Region Conservation Authority for 5 years. Mr. Oldham has diverse interests in natural history and conservation biology, but particularly vascular plants, amphibians, reptiles, and molluscs. His fieldwork in previously unexplored areas of the province has led to the discovery of several new plant and animal species for the province, plus numerous new sites for rare species. Mr. Oldham sits on a number of provincial and national committees, such as COSSARO (Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario), COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Plants Subcommittee, and DAPCAN (Declining Amphibian Populations Canada), as well as on two RENEW (Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife) recovery teams for Blanchard's Cricket Frog and Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle.
John L. Riley
John L. Riley is the Director of Conservation Science and Stewardship for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). His role with the NCC is to deliver science and stewardship programs in support of direct conservation action. Mr. Riley studied botany at the University of Toronto, and was a botanist on staff at the Royal Ontario Museum for eight years. He also undertook graduate studies in geology at the University of Waterloo while working for the Ontario Geological Survey, where he ran the Ontario Peatland Inventory. Before joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Mr. Riley worked with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as the regional ecologist for southern and central Ontario. He also served as Director of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. John Riley has done extensive field work in northern Ontario, particularly in the Hudson Bay Lowlands. This work has culminated in the publication "Hudson Bay Lowlands" (Riley, in press, 2003).
Dieter Ropke was a Forest Research Technician with GLFC from 1965 to 1993. He developed an interest in Northern Ontario Flora while working in Timmins in the late Fifties. His work took him to remote areas of the Province like Dryden, Nipigon, Orient Bay, Chapleau and Cochrane. The search for, identification, collection and preparation of plant specimens was a source of much joy to him. He provided duplicates for the National Collection and donated the bulk of his own collection to Laurentian University which had an active interest in the material at that time.
Born in Thuringen, Germany in 1939, Marlies lived in London, England before coming to Canada in 1959 and Sudbury in 1968. A passionate hiker, canoeist and birder, over the years she has explored every ridge, lake and pathway of Killarney Provincial Park, and she established a Herbarium for Killarney Provincial Park in 1998. In 1974 she completed an undergraduate degree in Botany at Laurentian University and has volunteered for many years in the Laurentian University Herbarium. As well as collecting plants on Whitewater Canoe trips on the Thelon, the Bloodvein and French Rivers , she and her husband Dieter often travel to exotic locations to explore new life forms and scenery, including Colombia in 1971, Guatemala in 1975-78, and Baffin Island in 1984. She has been recognized for her contribution to the Canadian Breeding Bird Atlas, the Mammal Atlas and the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, and she is President of the Sudbury Naturalists. An accomplished artist, Marlies instructs watercolour sketching at Killarney Provincial Park and on "Paddle and Paint" trips in Georgian Bay and the North Channel during the summer months, and her paintings hang in private collections in Canada, the United States and Europe.
Dr. Richard Sims
Dr. Richard Sims Dr. Richard Sims was a research scientist with the GLFC and the project leader of the Black Spruce Ecosystem Silviculture Project and for the NW Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) program. Dr. Sims research involved forest site classification and ecology, as well as GIS and various remote-sensing techniques. Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1952, he obtained his B.Sc. (Hon) in Biology from Lakehead University in 1974. Dr. Sims than obtained his M.Sc. in Botany from the University of Manitoba in 1976 and his Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in 1983. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled 'Use of remote sensing to study Rangifer winter rangeland'. Dr. Sims joined the GLFC in the early 1980's and left in 1996, he is now a private consultant in Vancouver.
Dr. Paul Syme
Dr. Paul Syme was an Insect Survey Officer with the Forest Insect and Disease Survey Unit. During his first 13 years at GLFRC, he worked on the biological control of European pine shoot moth. Field studies were carried out at the Elmira Field Station just north of Elmira in Waterloo Co. Study plots were set up from Niagara Falls to Cockburn Island at the northern end of Lake Huron. Many of the plant specimens collected during this 1960s study were made by student Kenneth Cawker, listed as K.B.C. on the herbarium sheet. While with the Forest Insect and Disease Survey Unit, he was responsible for identifying insects damaging Ontario forests and providing forest managers and other research agencies with information on these insects. Dr. Syme was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1932; he obtained his B.Sc. (Hon) in Biology from the University of Toronto in 1956. Dr. Syme moved back to his hometown for his M.Sc. in Entomology from McMaster University, then returned to the University of Toronto for his Ph.D., which he completed in 1962. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled 'The morphology of lepidopterous eggs with descriptions of two hundred and forty eight species'. Dr. Syme joined the then Forest Insect Laboratory in 1961 and retired from the Canadian Forest Service in 1993.
Steve TaylorSteve Taylor was a Silviculture Technician at GLFC in the Black Spruce Ecosystem Silviculture Project .His major work involved natural regeneration of black spruce, vegetation succession, wetland ecology and classification, studies of wetland forestry and drainage, as well as tree growth, productivity and physiology. Mr. Taylor obtained his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Toronto in 1980 and his M.Sc. in Plant Ecology from the same University in 1984.
Shan Walshe was the Quetico Park Naturalist from 1970 until his untimely death at the age of 55 in 1991. The majority of specimens in Quetico's herbarium were collected by Shan Walshe. Park Naturalist was not his first career. After receiving an honours degree in Languages in 1959, Shan took a year of teachers training and then taught at the secondary school level for seven years. He decided to return to school and changed to the study of science, receiving two degrees in just two years, a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Plant Ecology in 1968 from the University of Toronto. He worked in the International Biological Program as well as summer and short term jobs at various other Parks and Natural Resources programs. Shan's book "Plants of Quetico and the Ontario Shield" was published by the Quetico Foundation and the University of Toronto Press in 1980 (republished in 1998 by the Friends of Quetico Park). He identified and described the ecology of the 650 species of vascular plants found in Quetico Park. Shan, wife Margie, and four children lived in a log cabin on French Lake in Quetico's wilderness from 1974- 1991. He left behind a legacy of research, botanical slides, photographs, herbarium specimens, and many stories.
Professor Keith Winterhalder studied plant and soil ecology at the University of Wales, the University of New England (Australia) and the University of Liverpool (England). He taught botany, ecology, and soil science at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario from 1965-1999. On his arrival at Laurentian University, he took over as curator of the recently-founded herbarium, and since his retirement in 1999 has been Curator Emeritus. A plant ecologist by training, his research has centred on the ecology of nutrient-poor, saline and metal-contaminated soils, and the restoration of industrially-damaged lands. A keen field botanist, he has collected widely in northern Ontario and Manitoulin Island, as well as in Australia and other parts of the world. He is a founding member of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association, the American Society for Surface Mining and Reclamation, and the Society for Ecological Restoration, and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal (Restoration Ecology). He is past-President of the Canadian Botanical Association and the Canadian Land Reclamation Association, and a recipient of the Canadian Parks Service Heritage Award and the Noranda Mines Land Reclamation Award.