Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Memorial service for Dr. Leslie Viereck

Leslie "Les" A. Viereck, respected botanist and forest ecologist, died this weekend. A memorial service will be held at the Georgeson Botanical Garden September 6, 3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations go to the botanical garden.

Viereck was a research professor of forest ecology with BECRU and an affiliate professor with SNRAS. He earned his PhD at the University of Colorado in 1962. He was the first president of the Alaska Conservation Society, the first statewide conservation organization in Alaska. Viereck founded the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest research program with Dr. Keith Van Cleve in the mid 1980s. He retired as principal plant ecologist from the U.S. Forest Service’s Institute of Northern Forestry in Fairbanks in 1996, but continued on as emeritus scientist. [amended 9/3/08]

Some information and links about Dr. Viereck:
• Viereck, with Elbert L. Little, Jr., was the coauthor of Alaska Trees and Shrubs, a popular and time-tested guide recently republished in an updated edition by the University of Alaska Press. He was coauthor on Alaska's Changing Boreal Forest, published by Oxford University Press in 2006, and Forest Ecosystems in the Alaskan Taiga, published in 1986 by Springer-Verlag, and authored numerous scientific book chapters, reports, and journal articles.
• "Alaska's Trailblazers for Academic Freedom," an article on the website of the American Federation of Teachers, describes Viereck's role (with William O. Pruitt) in the grassroots movement to prevent Project Chariot from going forward. The men later received honorary doctorates from the University of Alaska for their actions.
interview with Dave Krupa on climbing the South Buttress of Denali in 1954 (Denali National Park Jukebox Series)

9/3/08: An obituary and guest book for Dr. Viereck have been posted on the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's website.

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