Greetings Friends and Colleagues,
It was a great pleasure to see many of you at our recent annual meeting in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was a tremendous success and we were honored to be the guests of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in such a beautiful setting. The meeting marked the first time that we have held a joint meeting with the Society of Ethnobiology and we look forward to doing so again in coming years. There were over 290 attendees from 25 countries at the 2014 conference which made for a collegial and truly international exchange of ideas and research.
Jan Salick was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Economic Botanist award and gave a memorable and inspiring talk. Sunshine Brosi was awarded the Charles B. Heiser, Jr Mentor Award. Other awardees include: Tegan McGillivray (University of Wisconsin-Madison) - Schultes Award, Michael McCampbell (Frostburg State University) - Fulling Award, Janessa Aneke, (Emory University) - Student Poster Award, and William Balée - Klinger Book Award for Cultural Forests of the Amazon: A Historical Ecology of People and Their Landscapes. Congratulations to all! I would like to personally extend my heartfelt thanks to the many people who made it happen, especially conference organizers Gail Wagner and Denise Glover.
I am excited to announce that our next SEB meeting in early July, 2015 (exact dates will be announced soon) will be held in Western Cape, South Africa in collaboration with the Indigenous Plant Use Forum. We have seen tremendous growth in the membership of our African chapters and a meeting in Africa is long overdue. It is also a very affordable location, with lodging at a fraction of the cost of an average location in North America or Europe. As many of you know, the Western Cape is a botanical paradise, with the greatest non-tropical concentration of vascular plant species in the world and home to an entire floral kingdom with 69% endemism. We will be meeting in the center of production for rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) and field trips are planned to meet farmers and producers. The area is also known for some of the most spectacular rock art and natural beauty in the world. For those of you unfamiliar with our partner, the Indigenous Plant Use Forum, they are an interdisciplinary society that was started to promote the cultural, socio-economic and scientific benefits to be derived from the sustainable use of the southern African flora. They are a dynamic group with many interests similar to our own. I will have additional details about the meeting in my next communication to the membership and information will be added to the website as it becomes available.
The latest issue of our journal, Economic Botany, is online. If you haven't explored the exciting new articles, I encourage you to do so. Just log in with your SEB log in at www.econbot.org to view current and past issues.
Dedicated members are the core of any society, and I greatly appreciate all of your support for SEB’s work and mission. SEB has strengthened its international profile during the last few years, and I am very happy to report that the number of members from outside the US is steadily increasing. Our journal's most recent Impact Factor is 1.925 which represents an over 2x increase in the last five years. We also have actively been supporting botanical education efforts through the Open Science Network and PlantingScience.
We are in particular need of increasing our student membership. Please continue to be ambassadors for our Society by encouraging students and other colleagues around the world to join us in our mission. You can provide a $10 gift membership to a student at any time.
The Society for Economic Botany is what we make of it and I encourage you to get involved: volunteer for a committee, submit news and notices to the newsletter, make suggestions for what you would like to see at future meetings and make yourself heard. Please do not hesitate to contact me or anyone else on council if we can be of assistance.
For the plants and the people, onwards!
Rick Stepp, President
Society for Economic Botany
Mission: To foster and encourage scientific research, education, and related activities on the past, present, and future uses of plants, and the relationship between plants and people, and to make the results of such research available to the scientific community and the general public through meetings and publications.
Society for Economic Botany
4475 Castleman Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Ph. 314-577-9566, Fx 314-577-9515