The R. Dale Thomas Collection (NLU) officially completed its journey to BRIT in August 2017. However, this was only the beginning! Follow the NLU rescue team for the next year as they work to make this priceless collection secure and accessible to researchers and the public.
Prior to its move to BRIT, the R. Dale Thomas Collection (NLU) was housed at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The herbarium acronym NLU comes from the University’s previous name—Northeast Louisiana University—when Dr. R. Dale Thomas took the collection from 250 specimens to over 400,000. Today, the NLU herbarium contains an estimated 472,000 specimens of vascular and nonvascular plants collected across the globe. The NLU collection has strengths in Louisiana flora and in the daisy family, Asteraceae.
The 300+-mile journey from Monroe, LA, to Fort Worth, TX, took place over two trips. Cabinets were packed into moving trucks registering temperatures of -29 degrees Celsius. Brrr! Now the 336 cabinets are securely located on BRIT’s second floor herbarium, ready to be explored.
Now that the collection (NLU) is at BRIT, herbarium staff and volunteers are charged with ensuring the security of the herbarium specimens and their accessibility. But what exactly is security? Herbarium specimens are vulnerable to a host of threats—water, insects, and light to name a few—so we must minimize their susceptibility through proper storage techniques. Herbarium specimens are kept in securely sealed metal cabinets at 64 degrees F and 50% relative humidity. Securing the collection from further damage is our first task.
If you’d like to learn more or be involved in saving this priceless scientific resource, contact the NLU Collections Assistants, Miranda (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ashley (email@example.com). And stay tuned for more updates from the BRIT-NLU team!