Maggie Kolcon with illustrations based on samples found at UMBS.

What do a biological field station, a medieval Latin anthology, and a fine arts studio course have in common?

This past summer, the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) welcomed nine students for the first ever “Florilegium: Creating a Plant Compendium” course. This field extension, attached to the regular ARTDES 300.3 course on campus, was funded through a grant from the U-M Provost’s Transforming Learning for a Third Century Initiative.

Before the fall semester kicked off, students enrolled in the optional extension spent a week at UMBS learning about plant structures, habitats, and taxonomy, and collecting notes and botanical samples for their plant compendia (in Latin, “florilegium” means “a gathering of flowers”). Back on campus, they worked throughout the semester to compile their final illustrations and natural history notes.

LSA English student Maggie Kolcon was among the group who spent time at UMBS. Florilegium was the first art class Kolcon has taken at U-M. Her colorful compendium highlighted native plants and their uses in herbal teas.

“The amount of time we were able to spend both in the field and working hands-on in the classroom was unlike anything I’ve experienced on campus,” said Kolcon.

Instructor Cathy Barry invited UMBS staff to attend ARTDES 300’s final meeting of the semester last Friday. Students showed off their final florilegia, full of uniquely rendered samples from Northern Michigan and Ann Arbor.

The Florilegium course and its UMBS extension will return for late summer/fall 2018. Check out our course page, including a link to the Stamps course listing, for more information.