The E.C. Smith Herbarium and Irving Biodiversity Collection add hundreds of new specimens to their collection each year. The specimens are gathered in the field, identified, preserved for long term storage and entered into an online database. 

Preserving the plant specimens is an art that requires a lot of patience. Jean Timpa has been volunteering to help preserve plants in the E.C Smith Herbarium, located in the Irving Centre, for over 21 years. She has prepared thousands of plant specimens and trained dozens of students in the herbarium during her time as a volunteer. For the 21+ years before the COVID-19 pandemic it was typical to find Jean working in the Irving Centre at least once per week! This likely represents over 5000 hours of volunteer time!

Jean has a wealth of knowledge with an incredible memory for the Latin names of species of plants, insects, birds and mammals. Jean developed a love of nature at a young age and she continues to nurture her passions as a citizen scientist. Jean worked for many years as a school teacher and undoubtedly passed on her appreciation of the natural world to her students. 

On July 13th, a group of Irving Centre biologists celebrated Jean by giving her a plaque to thank her for the time she has dedicated over the years. The group included: Dr. David Kristie, retired Acadia Biology Professor and past Director of Research at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre; Dr. Allison Walker, Acadia Biology Professor and Director of the E.C. Smith Herbarium; Ruth Newell, retired E.C. Smith Herbarium Curator; Alain Belliveau, Irving Biodiversity and E.C. Smith Herbarium Collections Manager; Sarah Hines, Research and Irving Scholar Coordinator, and Jo Anne (Jo) Bishop, fellow Herbarium volunteer, citizen scientist, friend of Jean and the Irving Centre. 

When asked, Jean said she would be thrilled to return to the Irving Centre to pass on some of her plant preservation skills once campus opens to the public again. We will certainly take her up on that! 

For more information on volunteer opportunities click here

Back row, left to right: Dr. Allison Walker, Jo Bishop, Ruth Newell, Dr. David Krisite; Front row: Jean Timpa, Alain Belliveau.