The Society for Economic Botany

Fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people.

SEB 2019 Ballot

Cast your BALLOT here

The Election Closes Friday, April 19, 2019

Candidates for President: Sonia Peter, Nanci Ross
Candidate for Secretary: Robbie Hart
Candidates for Council Members At-Large: Fred Jackson, Blair Orr, Anna Waldstein

Candidates for President

Sonia Peter (Ph.D. University of the West Indies, Barbados, 1997)

Positions Held:
Biocultural Education and Research Programme (Non-profit) Executive Director 2017 to present
Barbados Community College – Lecturer, Head of Department of Chemistry / Head of Department of Environmental Science 1999 – 2017
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados – Assistant Lecturer 1997-1999

Plants and Heritage; Writing; Arts

Significant Publications:
Peter, Sonia R., Peru, Kerry M., Fahlman, Brian, McMartin, Dena W., and Headley, John V., “The application of HPLC ESI MS in the investigation of the flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides of a Caribbean Lamiaceae plant with potential for bioaccumulation,” Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B, vol. 50, no. 11, pp. 819–826, 2015.

Peter S. (2013) Medicinal and Cooling Teas of Barbados. In: Voeks R., Rashford J. (eds) African Ethnobotany in the Americas. Springer, New York, NY

The Society for Economic Botany introduced me to its gut philosophy in Chicago 2007 at the 48th meeting, where Dr. Norman Farnsworth was the keynote speaker. The theme of the meeting was ’Plants in the service of human health’ and I was enthralled by the depth of research being conducted by members worldwide and the sensitivity and respect shown by the researchers for the custodians of the knowledge they were sharing. The importance of being on the ground unearthing the value of people and their traditions and demonstrating the oneness we share was glaring.

The society at large must continue to be a champion for nature, people and survival. Our voices must now stretch beyond the walls of our meetings and attain a more global and leading presence. We must explore strategies to strengthen our chapters and engage at the level of targeted projects. We must aim to be at the table where global decisions are being made on how to manage plant biodiversity to benefit all as we respond to climate change. Most of all we must reject intolerance as we demonstrate by our global outreach and stakeholder relationships. I pledge to uphold the dignity and humane platform of the society.

Nanci Ross (PhD University of Connecticut, 2008)

Positions Held:
Associate Professor (2016-present) Drake University
Assistant Professor (2010-2016) Drake University
Research Specialist (2008-2010) William L. Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden

Historical Ecology, cultural landscape management, plant ecology

Significant Publications:
Ross & Stevens (2019, in press) Placing human landscape legacies in a dynamic systems framework. American Journal of Botany 106(4)

Harkreader, I. and N. J. Ross. 2018. Nonnative honeybees function as pollinator for rare native lily (Lilium michiganense, Liliaceae) in fragmented tallgrass prairie. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 145(3): 195–201.

Ross, N. J., M. H. H. Stevens, A. Rupiper, I. Harkreader, and L. Leben. 2014. The ecological side of an ethnobotanical coin: legacies in historically managed trees. American Journal of Botany 101: 1618–1630.

The diversity and breadth of disciplines and perspectives in Ethnobotany is amazing. We are students, academics, industry professionals, and government/non-profit scientists that are all united in our fascination and joy in gaining a deeper understanding of the myriad relationships between people and the natural world. Yet, this diversity can be a both a strength and a challenge for us as a Society. Communication across disciplines and sub-populations can sometimes be challenging. As President, I will work to develop concrete approaches to improve the flow of information across SEB and to identify novel ways to build connections within and between SEB leadership and members. I have been an active member in SEB since I was a grad student. I have served on the Council as a Councilmember-at-large and, currently, as the SEB Secretary. Through SEB, I have found new ideas, career and research support, and lifelong friends. As SEB President, I will try to continue to “pay it forward” for our community and to help us remain a home for Ethnobotanists of all shapes and sizes.

Candidate for Secretary

Robbie Hart (PhD, University of Missouri – St. Louis, 2015)

Positions Held:
Asst Curator (2016-Pres) Missouri Botanical Garden
Research Specialist (2013-2015) Missouri Botanical Garden

Ethnobotany, Mountain Regions, Ecological Knowledge

Significant Publications:
Dynamic ecological knowledge systems amid changing place and climate: Mt. Yulong rhododendrons. R Hart and J Salick. Journal of Ethnobiology. 2017. 37: 21-36

Coping with Climate: Innovation and adaptation in Tibetan land use and agriculture. J Salick, A Byg, K Konchar and R Hart. In Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change. 2018. D Nakashima and J Rubin (eds), pp. 123 – 141. Cambridge University Press.

To list or not to list? The value and detriment of freelisting in ethnobotanical studies. NY Paniagua Zambrana, RW Bussmann, R Hart, AL Moya Huanca, GO Soria, MO Vaca, DO Álvarez, JS Morán, MS Morán, S Chávez, BC Moreno, GC Moreno, O Roca & E Siripi. Nature Plants. 2018. 4:201–204.

I'm absolutely thrilled to be nominated for Secretary of the Society for Economic Botany. As a plant ecologist with deep interests in ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge, I’ve approached the connections between biological and cultural diversities from both social science and natural science perspectives, and I value SEB as a society of scholars from diverse disciplines joined by a common passion for understanding plants, people and their interactions.

My own interest in this began with undergraduate training in linguistics and research on environmental knowledge packaged within endangered languages. In my graduate work, I crossed disciplines into biology, and my dissertation work explored how traditional ecological knowledge, natural history collections, and ecological monitoring and experimentation could validate and elaborate one another. Now, I continue this work on ethnobotany of climate change in mountain environments, especially the Himalaya. I have been pleased to present it at the last two SEB conferences and to publish and review on these topics in a number of journals in our field. More generally, my position in the William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden, allows me an inter-disciplinary set of colleagues, with whom I’m had the pleasure of collaborating to advance quantitative methods for analysis of local ecological knowledge.

As Secretary, I would bring this enthusiasm for multidisciplinary pursuits and values of efficiency and professionalism to advance the mission of SEB.

Candidates for Council Members At-Large

Fred Jackson (PhD, Brown University, 2017)

I am the Director of the Plant Environmental Center at Brown University as well as a Lecturer within the Biology department where I have worked since 1992. Before my current position I served as a Horticultural Instructor at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections from 1987 to 1992. I hold a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology from Brown University. I became a member of the Society of Economic Botany over 20 years ago after completing fieldwork in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Peru. My main research interests focus on medicinal plants, their secondary compounds, and the sustainability of these plants. Outside of work, my hobbies include music, sailing, skiing, hiking, biking, and traveling.

After participating in the many excellent conferences held by the Society, I feel now is the time to give something back and run for a council member seat. I think the experiences I have gained from teaching ethnobotany, working with students, researchers, and indigenous people will contribute much to the present and future goals of the Society.

Blair Orr (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988)

Positions Held:
Professor (2006-Pres) Michigan Technological University
Associate Professor, (1998-2006) Michigan Technological University
Assistant Professor, (1992-1998) Michigan Technological University
Assistant Professor, (1988-1992) The University of the South
Project Forester for Luuq Refugee Camps, (1982-1983) Lutheran World Relief, Luuq, Somalia

Human dimensions of natural resources, economics, cross-country skiing

Significant Publications:
Sterling, S.J., and B. Orr. 2014. Patterns of tree distribution in small communities of the Sudanian Savana-Sahel. Land 3(4):1284-1292

Jones, M.J., and B. Orr. 2007. Resin tapping and forest cooperatives in Honduras. J. of Sustainable Forestry 22(3/4):135-169

Ploetz, K., and B. Orr. 2004. Wild herb use in Bulgaria. Economic Botany 58(2):231-241.

I believe I can bring useful ideas and experience from other organizations that may, with appropriate modification, be of value to the Society for Economic Botany. I have served as US vice-president for the International Society of Tropical Foresters and was recently on its nominating committee. I am currently the editor of the International Forestry Working Group newsletter for the Society of American Foresters and have served as the working group chair. My outside interests have led me to positions such as treasurer, secretary, database manager, and board member for church groups, soccer leagues, and youth skiing programs. I was a founding member of a small low-income housing cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin. Through these experiences I have seen organizations thrive, die, and be reborn. Some groups missed opportunities while others were flexible and proactive and used intelligent foresight to manage their budgets, reorganize their structure, or set new priorities. The best organizations are thinking ahead; I would like to contribute my experience to the Society for Economic Botany.

Anna Waldstein (PhD, University of Georgia, 2004)

Positions Held:
Senior Lecturer (2018-Pres) University of Kent
Lecturer (2005-2018) University of Kent

Medicinal plants, medical anthropology, spiritual ecology

Significant Publications:
Living Well in Los Duplex: Critical Reflections on Medicalization, Migration and Health Sovereignty. Carolina Academic Press. 2017

Studying the Body in Rastafari Rituals: Spirituality, Embodiment and Ethnographic Knowledge. Journal for the Study of Religious Experience. 2016. 2: 71-86.

The Interface between Medical Anthropology and Medical Ethnobiology, with Cameron Adams. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2006. 12: 95-118.

Statement: It is an honor to be nominated for council member at large for the SEB. Back in 2000 when I was still a graduate student, the first conference I ever presented my work at was the 41st annual SEB meeting in Colombia, South Carolina. It was a very positive experience and I still remember the warm welcome and constructive criticism, which I received from senior colleagues who had inspired me to pursue ethnobotany. Although my move to England in 2004 meant that I became less active in academic societies based in the United States, I have kept in touch with colleagues and followed the work of the SEB online. However, while I was able to attend the 2013 meeting in Plymouth, I did not present my own work to the SEB again until the 2017 meeting in Braganca. The reception of my presentation was just as encouraging and constructive as the feedback I remembered from my first conference. Now that I have reached a point in my career when I am becoming a senior colleague, and a potential source of inspiration for the next generation of ethnobotanists, I would like to become more active in the SEB, and serving on the council would be an excellent way to do so.