Letter from the Director

A farewell to Nan Crystal Arens

by David R. Lindberg
Dave Lindberg; photo by Colleen Whitney
It is with sadness that I inform the UCMP community that Paleobotany Curator Nan Crystal Arens will be leaving UCMP in August to take a new position at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Nan Crystal ArensFor the past seven years, Nan has been a prominent and active member of UCMP. Under her guidance, paleobotany at UCMP was reinvigorated with a research agenda that was both multidisciplinary and integrative, including her initiatives on a study of the distribution of climate-sensitive conifers (with Y-j. Liu, China), research on the Cretaceous macroflora of eastern Montana, and on a Neogene climate-mapping project. Add to this her primary research work with Vertebrate Curator W.A. Clemens on documenting vegetation changes surrounding the K-T boundary and you have a very full UCMP-based research program. However, Nan’s contributions to UCMP did not stop with her research.
She was always there to help with other aspects of UCMP, serving on the UCMP Education Advisory Board and Outreach Committee, and acting as Chair of the UCMP Exhibits Committee. Thanks to her leadership, UCMP has general plans for all of our museum display spaces (see the September 1999 UCMP News). Along with representatives of the UC Herbarium and UC Botanical Garden, she also co-organized the installation of the wonderful Cretaceous live planter-box exhibits across from the T. rex in the Valley Life Sciences Building atrium. Nan gave tirelessly to UCMP’s educational outreach activities, at our teacher workshops and with web projects, including the development of our first on-line laboratory manual.
Nan has a vision for paleobotany in the 21st century and one we strongly support within the Museum of Paleontology. Our challenge is now to find a new Curator who will continue to develop UCMP’s great paleobotantical resources as Nan did. There are certainly some big shoes to fill. We wish Nan and her husband David Kendrick (who also served as a UCMP Research Associate) the very best in their new positions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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August, 2001