The Collections in Support of Biological Research Program of the National Science Foundation awarded Dr. Jimmy Triplett a three year grant for $392,384. The funding will support a project entitled “A Hidden Treasure in Northeastern Alabama - Revitalizing the Jacksonville State University Herbarium.” The Herbarium of Jacksonville State University consists of more than 75,000 plant specimens, making it one of the largest (and most diverse) botanical collections in Alabama while also being largely unknown to the general scientific community. The three-year project will alleviate overcrowded storage, provide long-term collection security, and fully modernize access and educational outreach. Specific actions include (1) installation of new herbarium cases and a mobile storage system; (2) acquisition of digital documentation equipment; (3) curation and computerization of the entire JSU Herbarium collection; and (4) enhancement of visibility and synergy, utilizing new Internet resources and interdisciplinary initiatives.
The NSF-funded project represents a dynamic resource for science education in rural Alabama that will provide training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and long-lasting outreach in an underserved community. Backlog curation and full integration of the holdings will result in a fully functional, easy-to-use resource for natural history research, and computerization will make it broadly accessible to scientists, educators, students, and the general public alike. The JSU Herbarium project will add a vast diversity of new specimen records and digital images to Internet databases, including the Alabama Plant Atlas (http://www.floraofalabama.org/), thereby supporting collaborative efforts to create a comprehensive online database for the flora of Alabama.