Left to Right: Dan Svrechek, V. Rev. John Dunlop, Doug Fadel, and Martha Payne.

Over 30 years later, the plant identification skills Martha Payne developed at the U-M Biological Station (UMBS) continue to prove useful. During the summers of 1986 and 1987, Payne took Boreal Flora, Mosses & Lichens and other classes that sparked her lifelong interest in plants.

Payne describes a recent experience that brought her back to her time at “Bug Camp”:

“I spent a week on Kodiak Island, Alaska on a mission trip for the Orthodox church, and I felt I was channeling both Dr. Crum with mosses and lichens and Dr. Voss and his boreal flora. Although I participated in a service project, I was also able to do some hiking in a fabulous Sitka spruce forest where lower tree branches are covered with epiphytic moss. I also saw many plants familiar from Bo Flo and I purchased a field guide to the plant life of Kodiak Island as a reference work for the seminarians at the St. Herman of Alaska seminary where the mission team was staying. The archivist of the seminary, Daria Safronova-Simeonoff, thought it would be a good idea to have a corner shelf made so people would have easy access to the book. Attached is a photo with me (in a Bug Camp sweatshirt), the two members of the team who made the shelf, and V. Rev. John Dunlop, who is the director of the seminary. Daria named the corner ‘Martha's Meadow.’”

Payne was able to identify epiphytic moss thanks to her UMBS education.

Although Payne now works in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, she credits her time at UMBS with “allowing [her] to include discussion of the scientific names of plants into Medical Terminology and Mythology classes.”

From the seminary to the Classics department, Payne exemplifies the sometimes surprising ways a UMBS education can continue to pay dividends throughout life.