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THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 54
IN THIS ISSUE
We are pleased to present this special issue of The Michigan Botanist as a tribute to Dr. Burton V. Barnes. Burt left an indelible legacy in Michigan and in the wider world with a career spanning half a century of outstanding and innov- ative teaching, research, and scholarship and the training of a long list of gradu- ate students. The idea for this issue was first broached in an email I received shortly after Burt’s death from one of his last undergraduate students, Susan Fawcett, who offered to write something about him as a teacher or to contribute to a larger effort. A few days later, I received another email from Larry Noodén, who, on behalf of himself and Tony Reznicek, suggested an obituary for Burt. The idea for an issue similar to the one we did a few years ago as a tribute to Ed Voss took shape during a follow-up flurry of emails. It was not until after a few more months, however, that, at Larry Noodén’s suggestion, I contacted Dan Kashian, a Master’s degree student of Burt’s from the 1990s, who enthusiasti- cally accepted my invitation to spearhead this special issue. Dan immediately set to work and commissioned an outstanding suite of colleagues and former stu- dents to submit articles about various aspects of Burt’s life and career. Dan also did the initial editing of these articles, located appropriate photographs to ac- company them, and remained in contact with Burt’s family to ensure accuracy, specifically in the initial article. I am especially grateful to Dan for his hard work, without which this issue would not have been possible, and to all of the contributors, who willingly took time out from their busy careers to search their memories and pen these very personal and illuminating essays.
This special issue of invited papers is designed to remember Burt Barnes, mostly through the eyes of his students and colleagues. Burt considered the fate of his legacy very seriously and worried about it in the latter years of his life. We therefore have chosen a subset of that legacy to represent him. Though a more technical, impersonal account of his career and accomplishments might have served, it became clear that stories, intertwined with the facts of his life, were the best way to capture who Burt was. With few exceptions the contributions that follow are therefore personal and passionate, without much regard for separating the organic nature of the authors’ emotions from the abiotic reality of his achievements and accomplishments. To Burt, life is Earth, Earth is life, and this is how he would have wanted it.