Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012 Goldie Award

Each year, the Field Botanists of Ontario try to recognize an individual (or organization) whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the advancement of field botany in Ontario. This is done annually by awarding the recipient with the John Goldie Award named in honor of John Goldie, one of the earliest field botanists in the province. The selected recipient for 2012 (sixth edition) of that Award was Peter Ball.

Peter Ball arrived to start work at the University of Toronto’s Erindale Campus in 1969. Prior to this, he was a student at the University of Leicester and later, during his post-doctoral years, was at the University of Liverpool. At Liverpool, he commenced working with the editorial board for the Flora Europaea. Flora Europaea is a 5-volume encyclopedia of plants published between 1964 and 1993 by the Cambridge University Press. The purpose of that project was to describe all the national floras of Europe in a single, authoritative publication covering all wild or commonly cultivated plants in that area. Peter was one of the editors of two of the early volumes that included Volume 2 published in 1969 covering the Rosaceae to Umbelliferae and Volume 3 published in 1973 covering Diapensiaceae to Myoporaceae. Peter worked extensively on several of the big families, especially Chenopodiaceae and Brassicaceae. During his work on Flora Europaea, he did a lot of work on tracking down and verifying records for Albania. Naturally, this prepared him for helping all of us accurately determine our invasive plants, as well as sedges.

After he arrived at Erindale, Peter was instrumental in advancing the importance of the herbarium there, building on Coventry's collections through his various students as well as his own collecting. The herbarium has served as a repository for vouchers from many of the ESA studies and life science inventories going on during the 1980s (Halton, Peel, Norfolk, SW Ont., etc.). As well, he served as the mentor to some especially notable botany students including Tony Reznicek, Bill Crins, Jocelyn Webber, and Bruce Ford.

Before and after his retirement to the status of Professor Emeritus, Peter generously helped out a great many people with determinations of large numbers of specimens, often in the very difficult plant groups. He has also been very generous with his time in reviewing lists, articles, etc. Very relevant to FBO, along with Bill Crins, Peter helped conduct a lab workshop on the identification of sedges at Erindale as well with as the follow-up field trip to the Turner-Mahon Tract near Campbellville.

 More recently, along with Tony Reznicek, he has been active in Flora North America (FNA) project as one of the Editors of Vol. 23 (the Cyperaceae) including treatments in Carex and Kobresia. He also authored treatments of Salicornia, Arthrocnemum, and Sarcocornia in the Chenopodiaceae. As well, he has additional treatments of various mints in preparation for that volume. In addition to the FNA, he authored the treatments of Eriophorum, Parnassia, and Salicornia in the Jepson Manual for California.

The Field Botanists of Ontario are therefore very pleased to award the 2012 edition of the Goldie Award to Peter Ball in recognition of his extensive contributions to the legacy of botany in Ontario and further away to all of North America and to Europe. We are truly fortunate to have someone of Peter’s abilities as a resource to resolve difficult plant identification problems in our own area.