56th ANNUAL MEETING of the AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC AFFILIATION
Kansas State University,
July 20 - 23, 2001
THEME: CARING FOR GOD'S CREATION
Sir Ghillean Prance
Past Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens
at Kew, England
Director of the Land Institute
The 2001 ASA annual meeting at Kansas State University will be an event you will not want to miss. Held in the countryís heartland, the meeting has the appropriate theme, Caring for God's Creation. Two world-class scientists will deliver the keynote addresses: Sir Ghillean Prance, recently retired director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England, and renowned ethnobotanist, and Dr. Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas, and a leader in the international movement for a more sustainable agriculture. They will challenge us as we together consider our role as stewards of God's marvelous creation.
Although the theme for the 2001 ASA conference is Caring for God's Creation, there will be symposia and presentations addressing other interests and concerns of ASA members. Of particular importance will be presentations in a new symposium by young scientists within the ASA. This symposium will feature the work of current graduate and undergraduate students.
Come tour the Konza Prairie Preserve and see its reintroduced bison herd. The Konza Prairie Preserve, which is managed by Kansas State University, is one of the nation's last virgin tallgrass prairies and the site of extensive ecological research. There is an ongoing program of reintroducing native animal species such as bison to the prairie.
Although not connected to the university, nearby The Land Institute does research on sustainable agriculture. It also addresses the social, philosophical, and spiritual issues surrounding the preservation of rural communities.
Kansas State University is a land-grant institution with strong programs in biology, agronomy, landscape architecture, agriculture, agricultural economics, engineering, and veterinary medicine (especially exotic animals). The geology of the mid-continent is known internationally for its record of cyclic environmental change. Excellent rock exposures present in the Manhattan area provide good opportunities to discuss global change and Earth history. The physics department has a unique accelerator lab that will be open to tours, and the engineering college operates a research nuclear reactor facility open also to tours.
In addition to the Konza Prairie, there are several local points of interest for both scientists and history buffs. An ornamental garden and conservatory is presently under construction by the Department of Horticulture, and a butterfly house has already opened. The Sunset Zoo in Manhattan is very good for the size of the town, and is active in the breeding of endangered species. The newly built Kistler Beach Museum of Art on campus specializes in mid-Western art. In nearby Wamego, a one-hundred-year-old theater contains restored painted murals from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Abilene, 45 miles west of Manhattan, was Dwight Eisenhower's hometown and is the site of the Eisenhower Museum and Presidential Library. Located at Fort Riley, about 20 minutes from Kansas State University, is the U.S. Cavalry Museum that traces the 200-year history of the cavalry. Manhattan also lies close to the route of the Oregon Trail.
Within a few hours drive of Manhattan are some very worthwhile attractions. Kansas City and Wichita are the large metropolitan areas nearby; both offer all the usual big city amenities. Topeka is the state capital and home to several historical museums. The Omaha Zoo in Nebraska is a top-flight national zoo with a spectacular rainforest exhibit. Near Great Bend is Cheyenne Bottoms wetland and bird sanctuary, a site of international importance. The Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas, contains world-famous fossils recovered by the Sternberg family in western Kansas. The University of Kansas in Lawrence has its own Natural History Museum, displaying fossils and mounted specimens mostly from the Plains states. The Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, presents the history of space exploration with an IMAX theater planetarium, and restored spacecraft. Lindsborg, Kansas revels in its Scandinavian history, with Old-World crafts workshops and an art museum; it is also home to Bethany College.
Sir Ghillean T. Prance, a Fellow of the ASA, former Director of Research at the New York Botanical Garden, and former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, is a leader in the field of ethnobotany.
A plant taxonomist, Sir Prance has spent more than eight years in the rainforests of Brazil conducting fieldwork and botanical exploration and has lived with no less than sixteen Indian tribes. He has written thirteen books, edited nearly a dozen more, and published more than three hundred papers on plant systematics, plant ecology, ethnobotany, and conservation.
While serving as the former Director of Research at the New York Botanical Garden, he started the Institute of Economic Botany.
His scientific expertise in the field of classification brought him to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, in 1988. He served for eleven years as its dynamic and highly influential director before retiring in August 1999. See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk
for information regarding the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sir Ghillean T. Prance is widely known for his studies of the ethnobotany, ecology, and systematics of tropical plants. His outstanding personal contributions to these scientific developments have been rewarded by a growing list of honors, including the Distinguished Service Award of the New York Botanical Garden, the Linnean Medal for Botany, and the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographic Society. He also was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and was awarded the International Cosmos Prize for his environmental work in the Amazon. He received A Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1993, the prestigious International Prize in 1994, knighthood in 1995, and the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honor. He has been granted honorary degrees at eleven universities in Europe and the Americas, and most recently was presented the Dr. David Fairchild Medal at Kampong, Miami, by the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
Additional perspectives on his life and research can be found in a biography that appeared a few years ago written by C. Langmead entitled A Passion for Plants: from the Rainforest of Brazil to Kew Gardens (Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1995). This biographical material was obtained from a web page for the University of Florida, www.botany.ufl.edu/gprance.html
Dr. Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute, earned a BA in biology from Kansas Wesleyan, an MA in botany from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University.
He established one of the first U.S. environmental studies programs at California State University-Sacramento and served as its chairman. Then he returned to his native Kansas to found The Land Institute.
He is the author of several books including New Roots for Agriculture and Becoming Native to This Place. Dr. Jackson is widely recognized as a leader in the international movement for a more sustainable agriculture. He was a 1990 Pew Conservation Scholar and in 1992 received a MacArthur Fellowship.
The work of Wes Jackson and The Land Institute is highlighted at the following web site: http://www.landinstitute.org