Gardening Etcetera: Feeling a connection strolling in Merriam’s footsteps | Home and Garden



A portrait of C. Hart Merriam taken in 1901, across the time he was a frequent customer to Northern Arizona.

Prepare to be shocked, however for as soon as I’m not going to put in writing about gardening. Instead, this text is a historical past lesson.

During graduate faculty, I used to be the Assistant Mammals Curator for Brigham Young University’s Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.

Working in there, I got here throughout the identify of Clinton Hart Merriam usually: Merriam’s kangaroo rat, Merriam’s floor squirrel, Merriam’s pocket mouse, Merriam’s elk, Merriam’s chipmunk, Merriam’s tapir, and Merriam’s shrew. He undoubtedly favored to separate species classifications, quite than lump them collectively. His identify was even present in different departments, just like the ornithology and herpetology wings.

But earlier than I labored within the museum, I used to be nonetheless no stranger to his identify. C. Hart Merriam is taken into account the “father of mammalogy” and to today, the best award supplied by the American Society of Mammalogy is the Merriam Award. And much more well-known to a younger, budding ecologist like me was his Life Zone Concept, the place he noticed the gradients of plant and animal life transferring alongside comparable elevational and latitudinal strains.

As a scholar of his work, one might think about my elation after I moved to Flagstaff in 2005 and knew I might be strolling in the identical forests and fields Merriam had whereas gathering information to assist his Life Zone Concept.

In 1855, Merriam was born in New York to a rich and privileged household. Soon after highschool, he attended medical faculty, opened a apply for a time, then went again to his true ardour—learning the pure world and ranging all around the woods.

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