Three Letters

[Notice: You may contact Dr. Bjorkman for additional information. See addresses below]

----Original Message-----
From: Alan W. Bjorkman Ph. D.
To: Humberto Jimenez Saa
Date: Jueves 24 de Agosto de 2000 09:55 AM
Subject: Re: Tropical Dendrology references


Greetings from Chicago. I hope all ...... I begin teaching next week as many .....

I am including some statements about the course you may use in any way you would like.
Please feel free to have anyone interested in the course to contact me via email or telephone
for a reference.

(Underlined was made by Humberto Jiménez Saa)

The course is an outstanding introduction and foundation to tropical dendrology. I would highly recommend it to any serious student or scientist who is interested in developing a comprehensive foundation and in advancing their knowledge of tropical forest systems.

There are three primary reasons the course is so outstanding and rewarding.
The first is the unique teaching methodology which allows the student to identify 60-85% of specimens encountered to the family level with only vegetative characteristics. I never thought this possible but the system of organization, the gradual and repetitive manner in which it is implemented, and the development of a comprehensive key or Matrix make this level of accuracy possible.
A second reason for the quality of the course is the support by several experts in the field of tropical botany who accompany the course. Typically representing top people from the University of Costa Rica and the National Herbarium they provide a depth of background and detail that makes identification more than an exercise in keying but one of depth and understanding.
The final, and possibly the most important reason, the course is such a benefit, is the leadership of the key instructor Dr. Humberto Jimenez Saa.
Dr. Saa (Humberto) is a true scientist, conservationist, and most of all an effective teacher whose patience and good humor go a long way in making a potentially complex and difficult subject come alive. His commitment to learning, the teaching methodology, sustainable use of tropical systems, and most of all people come through again and again as he brings together a diverse group of resources to effectively open up the complex world of tropical tree identification.

In addition, to the science, the course offers opportunities to see a wide range of life zones, ecosystems, the country of Costa Rica, and to interact with the people who are on the cutting edge
of sustainable use of the tropics at the Tropical Science Center the sponsoring institution.

>In summary, the Tropical Dendrology in Costa Rica course is a unique, efficient, well taught, scientifically valid means to understand further sustainable use of the tropics.

> > Dr. Alan W. Bjorkman
> (Associate Professor of Biology
> North Park University)
> 2470 Briarwood Drive
> Burlington, WI 53105
> abjorkman@northpark.edu
> Phone: 773-244-5781
> Fax: 262-248-2046

>Keep in touch Humberto if I can be of further help. >

>Vaya con Dios!


----- Original Message -----

[Notice: You may contact Sara for additional information. See addresses below]

From: Sara Rose
To: hjimenez@racsa.co.cr
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 6:07 PM
Subject: Hello

· Humberto,

> Heidi Hopper contacted me last week about your Dendrology course. We spoke on the phone, and I told her about my trip, and how much I learned.

> I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the class. I did not realize how much I learned until I returned home. You have exposed me to such a wide range of plant features, and given me terrific insight into plant identification and understanding plant families. I feel this has helped me become a better teacher.

I have also added many tropical plants to the greenhouse at my college so I can show the students a wide range of plant families, and different types of structures.

> This note is long over due: Thank you, your class was wonderful. I learned so much from you, Pablo, and Luis.

> > Sincerely,

Sara Rose

· Ms. Sara Rose
William Rainey Harper College
Plant Science Center 847-925-6411
1200 W. Algonquin Rd.
Palatine, Il. 60067
Phone: (773)275 6843


Evaluation of "Tropical Dendrology", a course offered by
the Tropical Science Center, San Jose, Costa Rica

[By Allan P. Drew, State University of New York]

[Notice: We were informed that Dr. Allan P. Drew passed away in 2011/>

I was a student in the course, "Tropical Dendrology", offered June 26-July 8, 2000 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Most of us in class were from the U.S., but with several students from Latin America. Instruction was in English by Dr. Humberto Jiménez Saa who was assisted by three other dendrology experts from Costa Rica. We met initially at the Tropical Science Center to cover some basic botanical characteristics using local species, then spent the remainder of the two weeks travelling around Costa Rica to other life zones: dry forest, cloud forest and rain forest. Since I teach dendrology (northern hardwoods) I was interested in the topic. Also, because my career is taking a turn towards tropical ecology with increasingly more time being spent in the tropics, I took the course to gain a greater understanding of tropical tree dendrology.

I was very pleased with the increased capability I gained in tropical tree identification and of the geography of the different life zones of Costa Rica. The course fully met my expectations in this regard. The quality of instruction was excellent, the course was well organized, the lodging was fully adequate or more so and the transportation was very dependable. Dr. Jiménez knows his material and one could not have come up with more qualified local dendrologists than Bill Haber, Luis Poveda and Pablo Sánchez, all of which have written books on plant identification. My only suggestion for improvement was to have included more ecological background as context relative to the various life zones visited. [Notice: This suggestion was taken into account by course coordinator for next courses]

. The course begins with a review of basic botany relative to key features used in tree identification such as types of stipules, branching and patterns of leaf arrangement and leaf venation. Species from different life zones are studied and a key to families of trees based on dendrological features is developed. Sketches were made in my notebook of tree species encountered along with other important information. I came away from the course with a wealth of information, organized in such a way that it is useable to me when working in tropical regions.

Based on the information I learned in "Tropical Dendrology", I recently developed a key to the 33 families of trees and shrubs found at the Springfield Centre for Environmental Protection, Research and Education (S.C.E.P.T.R.E.) in Dominica, W.I. where I regularly take students each year for a course of study in tropical ecology.

I expect to be spending more time in Latin America and this course will be of great benefit in my work with tropical ecosystems and their woody flora. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about tropical botany and tree identification.

Allan P. Drew, Ph. D.

State University of New York
College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, New York 13210
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