2011 inductee, Tennessee Botanists Hall of Fame, Elsie Quarterman,
Elsie Quarterman was born in 1910 in Georgia. She completed her undergraduate work at Georgia State Woman’s College in 1932. Post-graduate studies were done at Duke Univ. where she obtained her Ph.D. in 1949 under Henry J. Osting. She accepted a faculty position at Vanderbilt Univ. and later became the University’s first female department chair, heading the Biology Department in 1964.
Dr. Quarterman is best known for her work on the ecology and plant communities of the cedar glades of the Central Basin. She is widely recognized for the re-discovery of the Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis) in 1969, a plant once thought to be extinct and subsequently the first plant endemic to Tennessee to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. She has received many honors including our very own TNPS Conservation Award. The Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade State Natural Area was named in her honor in 1998.
Thanks to Kim Sadler for sending this.
Dr. Quarterman was a longtime member of the Natural Areas Association, the professional organization representing the interests of natural area professionals in the US. She received the NAA George Fell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 at the 35th Annual Natural Areas Conference in Nashville. In receiving the award, she humbly said that there “is no greater honor than to be recognized by my peers.” Her most significant legacy will be the thousands of acres of natural areas she helped to protect in Tennessee including the cedar glades and the once endangered Tennessee Coneflower.
(Tennessee Natural Areas Program Administrator Brian Bowen works in the Department of Environment and Conservation in Nashville.)
There’s much more in the article.
Jonathan Ertelt, Vanderbilt Magazine, Summer 2014 issue, Quarterman Was More Than a Biology Professor and Ecologist, Continue reading
Here’s a video about Elsie, A Crusader for Conservation, 19 September 2014, by Tennessee’s Wild Side, “The Emmy Award winning show produced through the generosity of the Jackson Foundation, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.” Lots of good pictures, some video snippets of Elsie, and some narration by her nephew Patrick and by Biologist Tom Hemmerly, who reminds us of Elsie’s work at Radner Lake, in addition to her cedar glades work. Ranger Buddy Ingram explains her biggest contribution may have been in getting numerous different segments of society to cooperate in saving whole ecologies. Botanist Kim Sadler and others explain how inspiring all that is to generations of students.
As Elsie said in 2006:
The general public needs to know what’s around them. They need to be learning that there’s a world that is not paved. There are lots of things that have life and function in the whole scheme, people as well as plants and animals. Not just dogs you’ve got on a leash, but animals that live out there, are part of the whole ecosystem.Continue reading
Posted with permission. I added the links. -jsq
Remembering Elsie Quarterman
by Paul Somers, Ph.D.
Retired State Botanist, Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
and former botanist, Tennessee Natural Heritage Program
Not wanting to miss a chance to pay tribute to my friend, the 103+ year old Dr. Elsie Quarterman, I’m sitting down to reflect on my remembrances of this wonderful woman who befriended me and many other botanical and conservation colleagues. It was the summer of 1976 when I moved to Nashville to join the young staff of the Tennessee Heritage Program as its first botanist. The program, now well established with the State Department of Environment and Conservation, benefited greatly from the prior work of Dr. Quarterman (Elsie) and many of her graduate students at Vanderbilt University who had done vegetation and rare plant studies in the Central Basin of Tennessee.
For help with understanding and conserving the best examples of cedar glades and their many endemic, nearly endemic, or otherwise rare Tennessee plant species, I and other colleagues frequently turned to Elsie and her Continue reading
From: J Richard Carter
To: Patrick Quarterman
I am very sorry to hear about Dr. Quarterman. She was a remarkable person. I started graduate school at Vanderbilt in 1978, a few years after Dr. Quarterman retired, so I didn’t have the privilege of taking her courses. However, she was still very much a presence in the department, attending seminars and interacting with faculty and students informally in the departmental conference room.
Emily Siner // Nashville Public Radio // WPLN 90.3 FM // Enterprise Reporter
And here’s WPLN’s text version of the same story.
The radio story draws on the video by MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies of the April 2008 dedication to Dr. Elsie Quarterman of the annual wildflower festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park east of Nashville, Tennessee.
A memorial service will be held 10AM this Saturday 21 June 2014 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3900 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, with a reception at the church following the service. See the Elsie blog page for many more stories and pictures of Aunt Elsie.
In the Tennesseean today, Elsie Quarterman (1910 – 2014)
Elsie Quarterman, Nashville, TN
A Memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 21, 2014 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3900 West End Avenue, with a reception at the church following the service. Guestbook crawfordservices.com.
Crawford Mortuary & Crematory, 615-254-8200.