Lecture on why we love natural beauty

Photo by Sean MacEntee, via flickr

Laura Caldera/Contributing Writer 

The first week of the spring semester is behind us and we’ve all have so many things on our minds about classes, clubs, organizations, Greek life and events on campus to attract any and all students, faculty and staff – like the lecture on “Why We Love Natural Beauty” this very week sponsored by the Center for Humanities in an Urban Environment.

“We appreciate nature less because we are divorced from nature,” Emeritus Professor of Botany Dr. David Lee explained in a short interview last Thursday; he finished by explaining that more and more kids are stuck to some sort of screen than going out. With the advances in technology, as well as the crazy studying we have to do for our next class, we haven’t really buckled down to reconnect with nature.

The lecture discusses not just the science of nature, nor the art of nature, but rather art, nature and science all together. It’s an event that could entice those who want new inspiration to their art pieces, for those who are studying botany, the environment or even those who want to learn something new.

Lee, who earned his Ph.D. on the study of biochemical plant systematics at Rutgers University in 1970, researched tropical botany in tropical rainforests, and will be the main speaker at the event.

He was born in Wenatchee, Washington and grew up in Ephrata, which is on the Columbian Plateau of Eastern Washington State. He graduated from the Pacific Lutheran University with a degree Bachelor of Science in biology. He then went to Rutgers to do graduate work in botany, and later went on to receive his Master of Science in 1968.

Lee worked under Dr. David E. Fairbrothers, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Biological Sciences of Rutgers University, for his doctoral degree which he later received in 1970. Lee has done research in plant cell biology and tissue culture with Rod Sharp and Donald Dougall at The Ohio State University only to change his interests to functional ecology of tropical plants as he lectured in the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur from 1973 to 1976.

After his change in concentration, he had a few years of working with Francis Halle, a botanist and biologist with a specialty in tropical rainforests and tree architecture at the University of Montpellier, Lee went on to become a professor at FIU. Here, he strengthened the University’s take on tropical biology with the help of local institutions, particularly the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

He retired in 2009 with the honorary title of Emeritus Professor. Today, he resides in South Miami spending his time traveling, writing, hosting lectures and occasional talks as well as visiting the FIU Libraries and even meeting up with colleagues.

The lecture happens today in GL 220 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.


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