Botany

W.E. Buker Travel Award

The W.E. Buker Travel Award provides funds to persons at any level of training (students, professionals, botanists, and others) to utilize the botanical collections at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Awards are made on a yearly basis and applications are due by 31 March of each year. The number of persons supported and the amount of the awards may vary. Awards of up to $300 are presently available.

The application consists of a short letter (1-3 pages) outlining the overall project and reasons for visiting Carnegie Museum, with an attached budget. The Buker Travel Award supports costs for travel, food, lodging, and supplies. Stipends and salaries are not funded.

Send application by March 31 each year to:
Buker Travel Award
Section of Botany
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

For more information, contact Bonnie Isaac at 412.622.3253 or IsaacB@carnegiemnh.org.

W.E. Buker (1903–1997)

Werner E. Buker is a name well known to those involved in studying the plants of Pennsylvania. For more than four decades, Buker volunteered in the museum herbarium and also conducted extensive fieldwork in Pennsylvania. Buker's eye for rare species and his penchant for making lists led to many new discoveries as well as county records.

Buker was involved in the collection of 14,327 Pennsylvania plant specimens deposited in the museum herbarium as well as numerous other specimens from outside the state. He collected over 1,600 different plant species from 46 Pennsylvania counties. In terms of the number of Pennsylvania specimens, Buker is the third most prolific collector from the museum, behind only O.E. Jennings and L.K. Henry, both full-time professional botanists who spent their entire careers associated with the museum.

In 1950, Buker was appointed as a Research Associate of the museum, a position he held until his death. He received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Native Orchids Alliance in 1996 in recognition of his work on Pennsylvania orchids. Also in 1996, the section of Botany created the Buker Travel Award in his honor. This annual award provides travel support for study of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History botanical collections, including the many thousands of specimens collected by Buker.

In addition to his avocation as a botanist, Buker was a math teacher, principal, and associate director of mathematics for Pittsburgh Public Schools. He also found time to work as a real estate salesman, to collect antique bottles, and to raise a family.

Buker died of pneumonia on October 1, 1997, at the age of 94.

The Buker Award Fund, which supports the Buker Travel Award, was established as a museum endowment fund in 1996. More than 80 individuals and organizations from as close as Pittsburgh and as far away as Japan have contributed to this endowment. In order to increase the size of the award and to fund more projects, this endowment needs to grow. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Buker Award Fund.

Make checks payable to Carnegie Institute—Buker Fund, and mail to:
Buker Travel Award
Section of Botany
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA