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How a 19th Century President in Rural Ohio Helped me Learn to Love Plants

by Lizz Waring

Lizz shares the story of learning to love plants on a school field trip...


This is Lizz Waring from Texas Tech and she is going to tell us her plant love story.

This is my plant Love Story involving a 19th century president and how he made me fall in love love with plants.

So when I was in Middle School I lived in Northwestern Ohio in a little tiny town called Oak Harbor, which was near the city of Fremont, which you’ve also probably never heard of. But Fremont's most famous resident, at least at this point in time, was Rutherford B Hayes. He was the 19th president of the United States. I think he was a general during the Civil War and shortly after that became president.

He has a presidential museum in Freemont and we used to have to go there all the time for school and I just didn’t enjoy it. Just going and walking around the house -- old stuff is cool it just wasn’t for me when I was 13.

But when I was 13 we got to do a project looking at different leaf types and so I got to go outside the house at the Rutherford B Hayes presidential library and that’s when I learned that he had all these trees from all over the world that were not native to Northwestern Ohio. I got to learn cool things about deciduous conifers, like Bald Cypress, that I never knew existed before. And that was really the beginning of my love affair with plants, and now I am a botanist and have a PhD.

It all started with Rutherford B. Hayes and his museum and presidential library.

Lizz Waring is a postdoctoral researcher at Texas Tech University. Carex sedges are her favorite plants. Lizz shared this story at ESA 2018 in New Orleans, LA.

Rutherford B. Hayes Library photo from Library Postcards.

Bald Cypress photo from Wikimedia Commons.


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