My progress with the inventory of the Desert Collection at the Huntington Botanical Gardens taught me several tricks to helping one maintain proper records of their collection. Many hobbyists in the cactus and succulent trade have valuable material that many scientists would love to use in their research. Having proper records will make your collection more valuable to botanical institutions as well. Sadly, many do not keep proper accounts of the collection information and with time that knowledge is lost. This can be due to faded labels (if labeled at all) or memory loss. Also, once people landscape with the plants they tend to throw away the labels or they become lost. To help combat this problem, I wrote an article for the Cactus & Succulent Journal, which is published by the Cactus & Succulent Society of America, on the topic of keeping track of plants. I outlined basic steps one can take to maintain their records should someone one day request access to your collection, or you decide to donate your collection to a botanical institute. It received positive reviews and I know of several people who used the techniques I suggested, or modified them to fit their own needs. If you're interested in the article, you can find it here (Keeping track of plants).
Further down the road, as I started to gain more insight into the large gaps of knowledge on Ledebouria, I decided that I needed to begin real research. I wanted to add to our knowledge and hopefully discover new species. With a bit hard work, I finally had the chance to visit Namibia in order to begin making collections of this group within the country (see Research). After three endeavors to do field work I decided to share what I had learned with the public and I did so by writing an article for the Cactus & Succulent Journal, which is published by the Cactus & Succulent Society of America. They helped fund a portion of my research so it was only fitting that I return their generosity with an article. I wrote about all the different species of Ledebouria that I found in Namibia as well as other interesting species of interest (i.e., succulents). If you're interested in the article, you can find it here (In the shade of the Mopane).
Another group that helped fund my third excursion to Namibia was the Pacific Bulb Society. My proposed work was to further investigate the distribution of Ledebouria scabrida, a Namibian endemic. I was curious if it actually was an endemic and my findings (which are very preliminary) are that it may be. It occurs on calcareous soils, which can be easily seen using Google Earth (that's how I located potential populations). I wrote an article for their publication The Bulb Garden. If you're interested in this article, you can find it here (Ledebouria scabrida: a Namibian Endemic).
Now that I am at the Florida Museum of Natural History, I can continue to educate the public with an even greater impact! Being affiliated with the museum will allow me to create public displays, give presentations, and teach K-12 children about the wonders of evolution and the plant kingdom. Of course, I'll be a little focused on telling everyone about Ledebouria but I'll remember to mention some other plants too.