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Posted by on Oct 23, 2011

Low-tech, high-impact storytelling with Flip cameras; experiences from the world of plant taxonomy

I rarely will pull over a post in its entirety from a work blog, but I love these videos and the nice collaborative spirit that went in to making them. These are from the Global Plants Initiative, a collection of over 220 botanical organizations worldwide dedicated to digitizing and making available plant type specimens (to the tune of over 2.2 million of the things). This particular GPI member is the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) in Kathmandu, Nepal and their recent expedition for plants collecting up into the Himalayas. It is all filmed with the now obsolete Flip camera and is a good example of low-tech, high-impact storytelling. This is footage I received direclt from the 40 person crew (complete with Sherpa guides and porters) and cobbled into these videos. To see the result of all this collaboration, check out the resource. Here is the post and the last two of four videos. 

I have learned quite a bit on drawing attention to developments in oft overlooked segments of academia with these folks and with these methods, lessons with real applicationt to future research in mobile learning and higher education. 


Pleased to bring you in the post the 3rd and 4th installments of the recent field expedition by the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) in Kathmandu, Nepal. In these two installments, we see the team ascending even further and higher up Bhairab Kund, deep in the mountains of Nepal. Through our gracious orator and director, we learn what happens to all those plants collected in Parts 1 and 2, how drying is critical to the process, and what a bathroom looks like at 3000 meters. We see the team collecting some alpine specimens, packing up camp, and trudging back  down the mountain. We also get to see the porters carrying their equipment, 30 in all, and two particularly strong women carrying quite a bit of equipment with the strength of their neck (and head and legs). We learn that porters can carry up to 100 kilos through some of the most unforgiving terrain imaginable. The team gets back into motorize transport and descends even further to Kathmandu and back to the KATH Herbarium, where the collections are analyzed, sorted, and given a preliminary analysis.

Part 3: High altitudes, collecting, & incredibly strong women


Part 4: Heading home and the beginnings of plant taxonomy

I, for one, have greatly enjoyed these videos and am particularly grateful to the KATH team for their willingness to participate in them and Dr. Mark Watson of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh (E), itself a GPI partner, for his enthusiasm for filming and orating the adventure the whole way. Quite a treat. I so hope some of these specimens make their way to JSTOR Plant Science in the near future, but for now consider taking a look at KATH’s contributions to date. Until our next adventure.

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  1. Taking stock of social media: lessons learned from a botanical database « Michael Sean Gallagher - [...] (E) and the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories of Nepal (KATH) to the Himalayas for a plant collecting expedition.…

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