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University of Wyoming

National Herbarium of the U. S. Forest Service


The Forest Service Herbarium (USFS) was founded by William A. Dayton in 1910 in Washington, D.C. It has moved 11 or 12 times over the years. In 1970 it was transported to Ft. Collins, Colorado and housed at the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. In 1982, the 75 steel cases with specimens (20 tons) were moved to the Aven Nelson Memorial Building. Using a "cherry picker," each case was raised to a third-floor window and it was moved into place in the herbarium. The collection is on indefinite loan to the University. With over 120,000 accessions, it is rich in material from national forests throughout the country. It represent the efforts of hundreds of Forest Service employees over many decades. Each specimen has a seal indicating ownership and they are intercalated with those of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium. Type specimens were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution (US) prior to its move west. The main collections of the Costa Rica and Ecuador forest survey parties are deposited at the Field Museum (F). Subsequent curators of the USFS include Dr. Frederick J. Hermann (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1938; biography, Michigan Botanist 27: 59-73) and Dr. Charles Feddema (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1966).


1984 USFS Herbarium Dedication at RM

Photo: Botany Department Open House (15 Oct 1982) marked the transfer of the 120,000 specimen, U.S. Forest Service National Herbarium to the Rocky Mountain Herbarium. Examining grass specimens, among the 520,000 sheets then held by the RM, are (from left) Roger L. Williams, Distinguished Professor of History at UW who delivered the afternoon lecture "Aven Nelson of Wyoming;" Mrs. Ruth A. Nelson of Colorado Springs, widow of the noted UW Botanist who served as UW President from 1917-22; Ronald L. Hartman, RM Curator; Charles Loveless, Director of the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station at Fort Collins (former home of the USFS); Dennis Knight, Acting Head of UW's Botany Department; and Donald L. Veal, UW President.