Linnaeus Symposium Will Celebrate Swedish Botanist

Posted on March 30th, 2007 by

Linnaeus scultpure created by Paul T. Granlund

Linnaeus scultpure created by Paul T. Granlund

Gustavus Adolphus College will hold its second Linnaeus Symposium on April 25. This year’s event, titled “Linnaeus @ 300,” was planned to correspond with the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist for whom the Gustavus arboretum is named. The event at Gustavus will coincide with several other similar events held around the world — most notably in Sweden.

Linnaeus is most well known for shortening the long Latin names of plant species to two names, genus and species. Linnaeus’ system of naming organisms has been in use for over 250 years. Linnaeus was also a doctor, author, teacher, and ethnobotanist.

Symposium attendees will have the opportunity to listen, learn, and dialogue with well known ethnobotanists and Linnaean scholars. Events include arboretum tours, formal public presentations, a garden dance, and a Swedish buffet. In addition, a Linnaeus photography exhibition by Anders Björling will open with a reception at 7 p.m. April 11 in the Melva Lind Interpretive Center. Björling’s photographs will be shown in the Interpretive Center and at the Arts Center of St. Peter during the month of April.

All educational events are open to the public at no charge except for the buffet. Those wishing to attend are asked to make reservations; cost of the buffet is $20. Information on registering for the event can be obtained by contacting Shirley Mellema at or 507-933-6181. Click here for a printable registration form. The schedule of events on April 25 includes:

  • 9 a.m. — Registration in Linner Lounge
  • 10 a.m. — Homily by Professor Paul Alan Cox in Christ Chapel
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — Arboretum Tours; Photo Exhibit in the Melva Lind Interpretive Center
  • 2 p.m. — Pehr Kalm, a Linnaeus Apostle: North American Observers by Paula Robbins
  • 3-4 p.m. — Reception in Linner Lounge
  • 4 p.m. — Linnaeus, My Man by Mark Plotkin
  • 5:30 p.m. — Buffet Dinner in Jackson Campus Center ($20)
  • 7 p.m. — Unfinished Journey: Carl Linnaeus and the Creation of Ethnobotany by Paul Alan Cox and Hans Odöö
  • 8:15 p.m. — The State of Ethnobotany, Plant and Biodiversity Conservation, Panel Discussion moderated by Associate Professor of Biology Cindy Johnson-Groh

The event will bring many distinguished presenters to Gustavus:

Paul Alan Cox is Director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson, Wyo., and has served King Carl XVI Gustaf as Professor of Environmental Science in Sweden. He has written several books, including Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rain Forest, published numerous articles, and received several prestigious awards, such as the Rachel Carson Award and the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Hans Odöö has portrayed Linnaeus 2,600 times in front of school children, scientists, kings, and presidents on international radio and television. He has organized Linnaeus Week in Uppsala since 1994. Hans has also traveled as a writer and photographer in the footsteps of both Linnaeus and Linnaeus’s students all over the world.

Mark Plotkin is a renowned ethnobotanist, author of Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice and president of the Amazon Conservation Team. He has been recognized by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 35
individuals nationwide who is making a difference. Dr. Plotkin has spent 20 years working with the shamans in the rainforest of Central and South America and has written and lectured extensively about healing plants and shaman traditions.

Paula Robbins, Ph.D., is a freelance medical editor and writer, part-time garden guide at the North Carolina Arboretum, and active volunteer at the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement. She is an expert on Pehr Kalm, one of Linnaeus’s “apostles” to America, and has written four books and many articles. Dr. Robbins holds degrees from Vassar College, Boston University, and the University of Connecticut.

The Linnaeus Arboretum provides the Gustavus community with a living sanctuary of plants for education, environmental stewardship, reflection, and recreation. Since its inception in 1973, 55 acres of the 135-acre area have been planted. The arboretum features a prairie, wetlands ponds, a hardwood forest, and a coniferous forest, and formal gardens.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


Comments are closed.