An enormous and valuable collection of plant specimens dating back to Iowa’s early days as a state may be moved from its longtime home at the University of Iowa — to Iowa State University. The collection’s future is subject of a forum Saturday. U-of-I biological sciences Professor Jeffry Schabilion says the collection of 250-thousand plants is an irreplaceable record of native Iowa’s prairie vegetation.This is a documentation of many plants that are now gone, rare or endangered. The U-of-I Herbarium was created in 1856 when the fledgling Iowa legislature established the Natural History cabinet at the Iowa City institution. Schabilion says it includes historic Iowa plants in addition to many exotic species gathered from around the globe. While some have said state budget problems may be responsible for the proposed move of the Herbarium, Schabilion says there would be -no- dollars saved by trucking the collection to Ames. Schabilion says the issue is less about money and more about how the biology department is “turning in a molecular direction. It’s not really interested in conservation. It’s not really interested in providing an outreach service to people that’re interested in native plants.” Schabilion says there is no set date for moving the Herbarium, at least that he’s heard. He says all of the decisions have been made “behind closed doors.” The forum is scheduled for Saturday at 1 P-M at the State Historical Society of Iowa office in Iowa City. Specimens from the collection will be on display. The public is invited to attend.
You are here: / / U-of-I trying to figure out what to do with special plants