Linnaeus Symposium Set for April 22

Posted on April 18th, 2009 by

Margaret Lowman

Margaret Lowman

The 2009 Linnaeus Symposium at Gustavus Adolphus College will take place Wednesday, April 22, which happens to be Earth Day. This year’s symposium is titled “Global Trees: Releaf — Relief,” and will give attendees the opportunity to learn from and dialogue with some of the nation’s well known tree experts.

Margaret Lowman, professor of biology and environmental studies as well as director of environmental initiatives at the New College of Florida, will deliver the keynote address titled “Life in the Treetops.” Lowman will address conference attendees at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall, located in the College’s O.J. Johnson Student Union.

Lowman, who is referred to by many as “Canopy Meg,” pioneered the science of canopy ecology. For 30 years, she has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world’s forests. Lowman’s published works include “Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology” (1999), “Forest Canopies” (2004), and her most recent work “It’s a Jungle Up There: More Tales from the Treetops” (2006).

Patrick Hossay, associate professor of political science at Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J., will also speak at this year’s symposium. Hossay will pose the question, “Can Saving Trees Save Us?” at 2:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall. Hossay teaches international development and environmental politics at Richard Stockton. He is the author of the book “Unsustainable: A Primer for Global Environmental and Social Justice” (2006).

Along with this year’s two speakers, the Linnaeus Symposium will also feature a watercolor exhibition titled “In the Spirit of Trees,” by Gail Speckmann ’73. Speckmann is a wet-on-wet watercolor artist and has published a book titled “Wet-Into-Wet Watercolor: The Complete Guide to an Essential Watercolor Technique” (2001).

The Linnaeus Symposium is free and open to the public, with the exception of an optional $20 per person dinner at 5:30 p.m. in one of the banquet rooms of the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center. Advanced registration is encouraged for the symposium, but required by April 17 if you plan to attend the dinner. For information on registering, contact Shirley Mellema at 507-933-6181 or

The Linnaeus Symposium gets its name from the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), who devised the binomial nomenclature system used today. The 125-acre Linnaeus Arboretum, located on a southwestern end of the Gustavus campus, provides an environment to educate the mind, revive the spirit, exercise the heart, and delight in Minnesota’s natural history.

The arboretum was established in 1973 with the planting of tree seedlings on what had previously been agricultural land. The three major ecosystems found in Minnesota are represented in the arboretum, including the northern conifer forests, prairies of the south and west, and deciduous forests from central Minnesota. Formal gardens surround the Melva Lind Interpretive Center and include more the 100 species of cultivated trees introduced from other regions. A new 70-acre coneflower prairie is being developed on the west side of the arboretum.


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