Northwest Lichenologists

New Tucker Curator at Jepson!

  • 19 Aug 2021 9:57 AM
    Message # 10941918

    Klara Scharnagl is the Tucker Curator at Jepson Herbarium. So exciting to have lichenologists now in so many western herbaria! And many thanks to Shirley Tucker, who funds some of them.

    I wanted to share this poem by Klara that describes my feelings so well.


    The Lichenarium

    A poem by Klara Scharnagl


    Thank you to all the places,

    That, knowingly or not, allowed

    Explorer’s trespass, whose eyes caught,

    While notes were furiously scribbled,

    Their cryptic quarry.

    The scraping of field knives

    The hammering of chisels

    The folding of paper packets at dusk

    Against the backdrop of frog and insect chorus


    Thank you to the border crossing

    That stopped plants, soil, dung, blood

    But not the lichens - 

    Air dried, considered benign

    Now safe in their cool dark cabinets


    Thank you to the rocks and trees

    The many substrates that supported

    These strange creatures

    Then, chipped and hewn,

    To collect the stories of

    The place that once had been


    Thanks to the signposts, recipes, lore

    Thanks to remaining mostly overlooked

    But to those who stopped to notice

    To, with hand lenses, illuminate

    Thanks to all who came before

    Who sought to understand

    These tough yet brittle forms

    These mysteries symbiotic


    To those forms most wonderful

    And those more deeply hidden

    To your ponderful slow growth

    And to your medicine

    The weaving of the hyphae

    The photosynthesis

    The lichen as a landscape

    And all who dwell within


    Behold the Lichenarium

    And the lichens waiting there

    Of your names and of your stories

    We will take the utmost care


    Before we step into this library

    We take pause our thanks to give

    To all that are of lichens

    That once did, and now still, live.

© Northwest Lichenologists
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