Photographs from the 12th Annual Tuckerman Lichen Workshop
Published ELN Flora Articles
ELN Address Book
Links to Other Lichen Web Sites

For a number of years, organismic lichenology in North America has seemed threatened. The current situation was perceived as a re-occurrence of a repeated trend in North American lichenology in which professional lichenology died out and the next generation was forced to learn field lichenology from scratch. The solution seemed to be a well trained amateur group which would carry on the knowledge of systematic lichenology until the next professional group of lichenologists would emerge. Thus, in May, 1994, Richard Harris organized the first Tuckerman Lichen Workshop, in the Catskill Mountains of New York. This first workshop was structured in a way which would become the standard for future workshops. Participants arrive on a Thursday afternoon and leave on a Tuesday morning, providing four full days to study lichens. About half of the time each day is spent in the field, both collecting and studying lichens, and the other half of the time is spent in the laboratory, studying the collections with microscopes. From the beginning the workshops were not meant for the very beginning lichenologist, but rather for those amateurs who already can use a key and microscope but need some assistance to proceed in their avocation. The first workshop had less than a dozen participants, but they were an enthusiastic group and clamored for future workshops. The following year three participants from the Boston area, Elizabeth Kneiper, Elisabeth Lay, and Philip May, organized the second Tuckerman Lichen Workshop in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. The following year it returned to the Catskills. By the time the third workshop came around, the number of participants had not increased significantly, but the level of knowledge and enthusiasm had. The group decided that it wanted a project and some way to communicate with each other between workshops. From this desire the Eastern Lichen Network evolved. It is a loosely organized group of individuals interested in the lichens of eastern North America, linked together by the workshops and a listserver administered by Marian Glenn at Seton Hall University. The project upon which the group decided is a lichen flora of our region of interest. Because of the loosely organized nature of the group, we realize that the flora will proceed slowly. However, we think any part of the flora that is completed is better than none. Also at the third workshop, it was recognized that John Thomson had not received the recognition that he deserved and that we would organize a volume of papers on North American lichenology to honor him. To date all these projects have at least begun.

 The listserver continues, but it is not very active. If anyone wishes to have their name added to the list, or to ask questions or solicit comments from the group, send an e-mail to Marian Glenn <>. The Thomson volume was published in 1998 as Lichenographia Thomsoniana: North American Lichenology in Honor of John W. Thomson. The first three genera for the eastern lichen flora appeared in this volume. From the beginning we hoped to have a website on which to post the flora treatments so that additional distribution data could be added and keys checked. We finally have that in the site you are now visiting.

 The Tuckerman Lichen Workshops continue. We have met from Florida to Nova Scotia, and as far west as the Missouri Ozarks. We have one or two workshops a year. We now have about 30-35 participants at each workshop. The workshops are by invitation only as a way to keep the professional to amateur ratio at a reasonable level and to insure that the participants are advanced enough. The informal criteria to participate have been either the ownership or ready access to dissecting and compound microscopes. This is necessary since for most workshops participants have to bring their own microscopes. We tend to meet in fairly nice accommodations so that we have a conference room that can be transformed into a laboratory. If you are not currently a participant in the workshops, and think that you might like to be, please contact Bill Buck <>, who organizes most of the workshops. Please provide some idea of where you are in your study of lichens. We have talked about having beginning courses in lichenology, kind of like a Tuckerman training ground. However, to date only Elizabeth Kneiper <> has given lectures designed primarily for the lichen novice.