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Monday, November 20, 2017

Series Two: BHL NDSR Webinars

Earlier this month, three of our BHL NDSR residents delivered webinars reporting on the results of their research and recommendations on how we might best improve the features and functionality of BHL to incorporate new technologies and evolving best practices for digital libraries and the larger biodiversity community.

You can view recordings of these past webinars:


BHL NDSR Webinar Schedule: Series One
Please mark your calendars and join us for the final two webinars in our BHL NDSR series:



November 27, 2017 at 2:00pm ET
Marissa Kings, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Biodiversity Heritage Library: Best Practices for Digital Libraries
Seminar Room: iDigBio Conference Room ( 500 )
URL: http://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/room/

December 5, 2017 at 2:00pm ET
Ariadne Rehbein, Missouri Botanical Garden
Biodiversity Heritage Library: Enabling Image Discovery
Seminar Room: iDigBio Conference Room ( 500 )
URL: http://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/room/

New to Adobe Connect? We recommend following the link to the webinar about 15-20 minutes before the start time to install any add-ins as needed and to run the Audio Wizard. Please note that sometimes after running the Audio Wizard, you may still need to click on the picture of the microphone to connect the microphone. Should you have any questions, we’ll also be monitoring the chat throughout. Hope you can join us!

Friday, November 17, 2017

TDWG 2017 Annual Conference: Data Integration in a Big Data Universe: Associating Occurrences with Genes, Phenotypes, and Environments


The Biodiversity Heritage Library is an institutional member of TDWG. TDWG was formed to:
establish international collaboration among biological database projects. TDWG promoted the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the World's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) now focuses on the development of standards for the exchange of biological/biodiversity data.

The TDWG 2017 Annual Conference, the theme of which was "Data Integration in a Big Data Universe: Associating Occurrences with Genes, Phenotypes, and Environments" (see the full program here),  provides the opportunity for bioinformatics professionals to meet and exchange a wide variety of ideas. Held in Ottawa, Ontario, the conference was hosted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature (a BHL Affiliate).

This year, The Biodiversity Heritage Library organized a symposium, "500 Years of Big Data from the Biodiversity Heritage Library", organized by BHL Program Director Martin R. Kalfatovic and BHL Program Manager Carolyn A. Sheffield. In addition to the BHL symposium, BHL web developer Mike Lichtenberg participated in the symposium "Using Big Data Techniques to Cross Dataset Boundaries - Integration and Analysis of Multiple Datasets", organized by Kalfatovic, Matthew Collins, and Robert Guralnick.

See details about the symposiums below:

BHL Symposium (abstracts found in the links below)


From left: Lewis, Orrell, Mozzherin, Mika, Sheffield

Symposium: Using Big Data Techniques to Cross Dataset Boundaries - Integration and Analysis of Multiple Datasets



Excursion


TDWG also offered the opportunity for excursions. The Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) provided an amazing tour of their collections facilities located just outside the city. The CMN library is also located at this facility and it was great to meet with the library staff and see their collections.





By Martin R. Kalfatovic
Program Director
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Thursday, November 16, 2017

John Forbes Royle: Materia Medica and Economic Botany

As part of the Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature project, an interesting title was added to BHL from Yale University’s Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library and the online Medical Heritage Library: An essay on the antiquity of Hindoo medicine, including an introductory lecture to the course of materia medica and therapeutics, delivered at King's College, by physician-botanist John Forbes Royle.

Title page of An essay on the antiquity of Hindoo medicine, including an introductory lecture to the course of materia medica and therapeutics, delivered at King's College, by Royle, J. Forbes (John Forbes), 1799-1858. London, Allen, 1837. Digitized by Yale University via the Medical Heritage Library. http://s.si.edu/2mtstTx.

This work from 1837 documents the materia medica (pharmacology) of India, and explores the historical exchange of medicinal knowledge between cultural groups of India, Arabia, Persia, Greece and China. Including details in botany, ecology, minerology and astronomy, it’s an intriguing interdisciplinary resource that can also be read for insights on its Western author and this period in time.

John Forbes Royle (1798-1858) traded his plan to join the British army for an unexpected interest in natural history. He was born at Kanpur, India, and would return to India after attending Edinburgh High School and the East India Company's military academy at Addiscombe. Inspired by the mentorship of physician Anthony Todd Thomson, Royle chose to pursue medicine as a means to further his study of botany. He became an assistant surgeon with the East India Company, and in the following years worked at several locations across northern India, where he studied medicines from bazaars, employed collectors to amass a collection of economic plants, and became superintendent of the garden at Saharanpur. He earned the titles of MD in 1833 and Professor of Materia Medica at King's College, London, in 1836.

An excerpt from Essay on the antiquity of Hindoo medicine demonstrates Royle’s interconnected thinking on medicine:

"There are, however, two branches of this extensive science [botany], respecting which I am desirous of making a few observations; one is the connexion between the Structure and Natural affinities of plants, and their Physical and Medical properties; and the other is the Geographical distribution, especially as connected with Climate. Both are important subjects, whether we consider them in a scientific or a practical point of view. The one teaches us the laws which influence the distribution of plants; points out the countries and climates which different families affect; and gives us principles for their cultivation, either as medicines, or as objects of agriculture: the other is no less valuable in affording us innumerable indications in every part of the world, for discovering the properties of new and unknown plants, whether as fitting them for food, for medicine, or for any of the arts of life[.]" [Royle, p. 3]
Cinchona, a South American genus. Its bark contains medicinal compounds including quinine, used to treat malaria. Royle recommended that Cinchona be grown in India. Image from BHL book: Icones plantarum medico-oeconomico-technologicarum cum earum fructus ususque descriptione. Wien:herausgegeben von Ignatz Albrecht und verlegt bey Phil. Jos. Schalbaecher, [1800]-1822. Digitized by Missouri Botanical Garden. http://s.si.edu/2iiHgMh.

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library of Yale University 


The copy of Royle’s text in BHL belonged to Edward Salisbury, a Yale graduate and professor who encouraged scholarship on West and South Asia. Salisbury donated his “Oriental Library,” a collection of hundreds of rare and early printed books and manuscripts, to the college in 1870. Salisbury’s Oriental Library is foundational to what is now the third-largest collection of Islamic manuscripts in the United States. Last year, Yale celebrated Salisbury’s 175th anniversary as the first professor of Arabic and Sanskrit languages and literature in the Americas.

Essay on the antiquity of Hindoo medicine is now held at the Medical Historical Library of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. The library was named for Yale graduates Harvey Cushing, known as the father of neurosurgery, and John Hay Whitney, Herald Tribune editor and patron of the arts. In 1935, Cushing and two other physicians, John F. Fulton and Arnold C. Klebs, donated their personal collections of medical texts to the medical library, beginning its Medical Historical Library. Its collections include materials ranging from the 16th to 20th century, with works from Robert Boyle, Galen, William Harvey, Hippocrates, and Andreas Vesalius. Additionally, the Historical Library also holds prints, a collection of weights and measures, and presents rotating exhibits.

The Cushing/Whitney Library is also home to the Cushing Center, a room in the stacks transformed to display the medical specimens of Cushing’s Brain Tumor Registry. Cushing meticulously documented over 2,200 case studies as he pioneered the field of neurosurgery, and his registry includes specimens preserved from human surgeries and autopsies as well as notes, journal excerpts, photos and negatives.

Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library Historical Library. Frank Poole, 2004.

Medical Heritage Library 


The Medical Heritage Library (MHL) is an online collection of materials that are free and openly accessible through the Internet Archive. Royle’s Essay on antiquity of Hindoo medicine came to BHL via the MHL.

Much like BHL, the MHL is a collaborative effort by medical libraries to promote access to resources (such as rare books, pamphlets, journals and films) that are useful across a spectrum of disciplines. The collection includes over 200,000 titles with fascinating variety - skimming the landing page, one can find herbals, medical dictionaries and papers, as well as video clips of 1960s tobacco commercials and Helen Keller’s autobiography.

The Medical Heritage Library was launched in 2010 by founders The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University and Columbia University Libraries/Information Services; The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University; The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University; U.S. National Library of Medicine; and Wellcome Library in London, UK. (For more information about its content contributors, funding and support, please see MHL’s ‘About’ page.)

An essay on the antiquity of Hindoo Medicine is a welcome addition to BHL’s collection of works by John Forbes Royle, which include:



Thanks to Melissa Grafe, Ph.D, Head of the Medical Historical Library, and John R. Bumstead, Librarian for Medical History, who shared how this volume came to the Medical Historical Library.

By Elizabeth Meyer Library 
Project Assistant 
Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

Sources

Thursday, November 9, 2017

BHL Facilitates Research on Alfred Russel Wallace's Legacy

Alfred Russel Wallace in 1869. Copyright George Beccaloni.

In 1854, Alfred Russel Wallace began an eight year collecting trip to Southeast Asia, through the region he called the Malay Archipelago (now Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and East Timor). It was during this expedition, in the midst of a fever in 1858, that Wallace conceived (independently of Darwin) of the theory of natural selection. Wallace expanded his idea into a detailed article which he sent to Charles Darwin for comment, unaware that Darwin himself had come to the same conclusion, though he had yet to publish the theory.

At the suggestion of Darwin's friends Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker, Wallace's article, together with unpublished writings by Darwin on the subject of natural selection and evolution, were presented to the Linnean Society in 1858 and subsequently published in the Society's journal as "On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties; and On the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection," with Darwin and Wallace as co-authors.

While important for its link to the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, Wallace's Malay Archipelago expedition was also scientifically significant from a collecting standpoint.

Beccaloni (center) with the Patrons of his Wallace projects. Sir David Attenborough (left), Patron of the Wallace Correspondence Project, and Bill Bailey (right), Patron of the Wallace Memorial Fund. Photographed at London's Natural History Museum in 2012. Copyright Jan Beccaloni.

Dr. George Beccaloni, Director of the Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project (an open access archive of Wallace's manuscripts), is working to catalog the animal species collected by him during his expedition. Not surprisingly, given the sheer number of specimens and the passage of time, this is a challenging endeavor.

"We know Wallace collected nearly 126,000 specimens: about 110,000 insects, 7,500 shells, 8,050 bird skins, and 410 mammals and reptiles, which ranged from Orangutans to Birds of Paradise, from land snails to cockroaches, from Birdwing butterflies to tiny parasitic wasps," shares Beccaloni. "I have estimated that about 5,000 of them were new to science, but apart from the 295 species he described himself, there is no list of all the others - or the many species he collected which already had scientific names."

Scientific literature is a valuable source of information on Wallace's specimens, but locating the relevant publications is itself a challenge.

"I am collaborating with colleagues in Southeast Asia and at London's Natural History Museum to produce a detailed list of the species Wallace collected," explains Beccaloni. "It is a difficult task because the information about them is scattered through the scientific literature of the last 163 years, in an estimated 400 or more publications. To find these requires considerable detective work."

Fortunately, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is making it considerably easier for Beccaloni to access the publications he needs for this research.

"BHL is an absolutely fantastic resource which is very important to my work," affirms Beccaloni. "Locating mentions of Wallace specimens is tricky, but at least most of the articles are now available in the BHL. If they weren't, it would mean going to a specialist library and searching through the physical publications, which would take a lot more effort and be logistically difficult."

Once a catalog of Wallace's specimens is completed, it can be used to help track down the physical specimens in London's Natural History Museum and other museum collections, leading to increased global access to Wallace's specimens through digitization.

"The specimens can be digitized and the images and data made freely available on the Internet," says Beccaloni. "Colleagues in Southeast Asia view this as 'digital repatriation' of the material Wallace collected in their countries."

In addition to his work related to Alfred Russel Wallace (including the Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project, Wallace Letters Online and The Wallace Website), Beccaloni is also a specialist in the taxonomy and ecology of butterflies and orthopteroid insects (especially cockroaches). He is the founder and author of the Cockroach Species File, a world catalog of cockroaches. Again, BHL provides access to key resources.

"For my work on the Cockroach Species File, I often need copies of old and often obscure taxonomic papers, which fortunately I am usually able to find in the BHL," says Beccaloni.

Homepage of the Cockroach Species File.

Beccaloni's favorite BHL feature is the ability to generate custom PDFs of relevant pages, eliminating the need to download an entire journal volume. To further improve the efficiency of his research, Beccaloni notes that the ability to search the full text of BHL's collections for specific search terms (e.g. "Wallace") would be of considerable value.

Full text search is a feature that BHL's users have long-requested, and we are happy to confirm that its development is currently underway! Through increased research efficiency, full text search will enhance BHL's ability to inspire discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge. Stay tuned for more information on this new service.

Alfred Russel Wallace was truly a pioneer who left behind a considerable scientific legacy. Thanks to the work of Dr. Beccaloni and others on the Wallace projects, this legacy is being documented and made more accessible to a worldwide audience. We are proud to know that BHL's collections are playing an important part in this valuable work.

Explore the Alfred Russel Wallace projects below:


By Grace Costantino 
Outreach and Communication Manager  
Biodiversity Heritage Library 

______________________________________

This post may contain the personal opinions of BHL users or affiliated staff and does not necessarily represent the official Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) position on these matters.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Access to the original record...wherever we now work": Highlights from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology field notes collection

The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) at the University of California Berkeley is a collaborative partner in the Biodiversity Heritage Library Field Notes Project. The MVZ has committed to digitizing 1,500 of its historic field notes as part of this collaborative undertaking.

The MVZ’s storied field notebook collection was a concept developed at the founding of the museum by Joseph Grinnell, the MVZ’s founding director. From its earliest moments, Grinnell and the museum’s benefactress Annie Alexander discussed methods and curatorial best practices for the specimen collections and research. These ideas and principles around the organization of data recorded around collecting events evolved into Grinnell’s methodology for recording field notes. Early letters between Alexander and Grinnell in the later months of 1907 document their thoughtfulness, excitement, and collegial concern for establishing a research museum which would document the land fauna in the Western United States. Grinnell recognized that field notes would be the lasting primary source material that would document the biodiversity of the rapidly changing environment of the west in the early 20th century and in the future. In 1910 Grinnell famously wrote:
"At this point I wish to emphasize what I believe will ultimately prove to be the greatest value of our museum. This value will not, however, be realized until the lapse of many years, possibly a century, assuming that our material is safely preserved. And this is that the student of the future will have access to the original record of faunal conditions in California and the west, wherever we now work." [1]
The MVZ’s digitized field note book collection is a testament to Grinnell’s enduring legacy. From Grinnell himself, to the life works of Wilbur Mayhew, it is impossible to cover all of the amazing personalities represented but the following selections highlight some of my favorite individuals and collecting efforts from the first 300 books digitized.

Arctic Research Laboratory
Frank A. Pitelka was a UC Berkeley Professor and MVZ Curator of Birds whose prolific career included collaborative research projects at the Arctic Research Laboratory from 1955-1973. Along with his students, Prof. Pitelka’s Barrow, Alaska field notes record distributional data, life histories and behavioral observations of shorebirds, brown lemmings, and other groups across the Alaskan North Slope Borough.

Thomas Custer, Barrow Alaska, circa 1970.
The MVZ Archives has received much interest around field notes from this area and are excited to be able to provide access to this important record of the biodiversity of the Barrow region. Resurvey efforts in Alaska will be greatly supported by the field notes of Richard T. Holmes and the other Pitelka students who participated in the Arctic Research Laboratory.

Richard T. Holmes, Alaska species accounts, part 1, v4220, 1959-1964.

Archivists read many obituaries over their careers and every once in awhile, someone’s life shines like a light emanating from the pages of their memoriams, correspondence and photos. Chester Barlow is one of those individuals. Barlow, a good friend and Stanford colleague of Joseph Grinnell, tragically died at the age of 28. Henry Reed Taylor’s published memoriam to Barlow begins with, “Words cannot tell, and the pen falters as a thing which is feeble-and futile in an effort to express all that is comprehended in the simple words, “Barlow is gone.” [2]

And when Walter E. Bryant died in 1905, Walter K. Fisher began his memoriam to Bryant by stating, “Not since the lamented Chester Barlow passed away, nearly three years ago, has the Society suffered so severe a loss as from the recent death of our esteemed honorary member, Walter E. Bryant. [3]


"Chester Barlow in woods."

Barlow’s field notes and photographs are preserved in the MVZ Archives. His photos and field notes reveal a playful and eager bird enthusiast whose memory lived on in all who knew him. You can read Barlow’s entertaining Farallon Islands notebook on the Internet Archive.

Barlow, Chester. Ornithological Notebook of C. Barlow with Original Observations Only. (1892-1894).

Amelia S. Allen
The MVZ Archives featured Amelia S. Allen in its blog four years ago. Allen was one of the earliest women elected to the membership of the Cooper Ornithological Club. She served as Secretary of the Cooper Club’s Northern Division from 1916 to 1924. She then served as the group’s Vice President in 1925 and then elected President in 1926. Her field notes document the avifauna of the Berkeley region from 1901-1944 and include memoirs of life in Berkeley and membership in the Cooper Ornithological Club.

An example of Allen’s candid reflections from her 1930-1942 Memoir and Field notes volume.

Edward W. Gifford

Edward W. Gifford was the assistant curator of Ornithology at the California Academy of Sciences and later became a curator at the University of California's Museum of Anthropology. He kept an aviary at his Oakland home and donated his notes and birds to the MVZ throughout his life. But something very interesting caught my eye while prepping his volume for scanning. In his notes, he has a section recording his specimens that were burned in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Gifford was participating in the California Academy of Sciences’ Galapagos Expedition when the earthquake and fire destroyed much of San Francisco, including the California Academy of Sciences. The Galapagos specimens collected by Gifford and fellow expedition members would go on to establish the new specimen collections of the newly rebuilt California Academy of Sciences.

Gifford, Edward W. Bird Notes: Aviary birds of the San Francisco Bay Region, v4289. (1904-1911).

Paul Elias

Paul Elias’s Guatemala field catalog and journal is a small and unassuming volume but it recounts an amazing journey filled with discoveries and critical data. Elias made this trip alone in the summer of 1974. He was 18 years old and an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, working at the MVZ. He collected two new genera of salamanders, later named Nyctanolis pernix and Bradytriton silus during this trip. Findings from this trip and the research of Prof. David B. Wake were published in a seminal paper in 1983. [4] It is difficult to imagine a trip like this taking place today. This is really only the beginning of Elias’s work with salamanders. Robin Moore wrote an excellent piece recounting Paul Elias and Jeremy Jackson’s return to the Guatemala’s Cuchumatane mountain range.

Written by:
Christina Velazquez Fidler, Archivist
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley

The BHL Field Notes Project is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).



[1] Grinnell, Joseph (1910). "The Methods and Uses of a Research Museum," Popular Science Monthly, 77, 163–169. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/1809048

[2] Taylor, Henry Reed (1903). "In Memoriam: Chester Barlow (With Portrait)," The Condor, 5(1), 3-7. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/53586237

[3] Fisher, W. (1905). "In Memoriam: Walter E. Bryant. Born 14th January, 1861. Died 21st May, 1905," The Condor, 7(5), 129-131. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/53610508

[4] Elias, P., & Wake, D. B. (1983). Nyctanolis pernix, a new genus and species of plethodontid salamander from northwestern Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. In Advances in herpetology and evolutionary biology. Essays in honor of Ernest E. Williams. https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/37028275


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Announcing Five Webinars from BHL’s NDSR Residents!

We are pleased to announce five upcoming webinars from BHL’s NDSR residents! Each resident has spent the past 10 months or so working hard on individual—yet inter-related—research projects to explore how we might best improve the features and functionality of BHL to incorporate new technologies and evolving best practices for digital libraries and the larger biodiversity community. 

The BHL NDSR Cohort, from left to right: Ariadne Rehbein, Pam McClanahan, Marissa Kings, Katie Mika, and Alicia Esquivel.

Each resident will be delivering a webinar, reporting on the results of their research to date along with their recommendations for BHL. The topics and schedule for the first three webinars are outlined below. Two more webinars will be announced shortly—stay tuned! At the end of this announcement, you can also see further information on joining the webinars.

Special thanks goes to iDigBio for generously granting the BHL NDSR residents use of their AdobeConnect system! 

BHL NDSR Webinar Schedule: Series One
Please mark your calendars and join us for the first three webinars:



November 7, 2017 at 2:00pm ET
Alicia Esquivel, Chicago Botanic Garden
Biodiversity Heritage Library: NDSR Collections Analysis
Seminar Room: iDigBio Conference Room ( 500 )
URL: http://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/room/

November 9, 2017 at 2:00pm ET
Katie Mika, Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Biodiversity Heritage Library: Transcriptions, Crowdsourcing and Metadata
Seminar Room: iDigBio Conference Room ( 500 )
URL: http://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/room/

November 15 at 2:00pm ET
Pam McClanahan, Smithsonian Libraries
Biodiversity Heritage Library: User Studies
Seminar Room: iDigBio Conference Room ( 500 )
URL: http://idigbio.adobeconnect.com/room/

Two more webinars will be offered with one in late November and the other in early December. Stay tuned for details on those as well!

New to Adobe Connect? We recommend following the link to the webinar about 15-20 minutes before the start time to install any add-ins as needed and to run the Audio Wizard. Please note that sometimes after running the Audio Wizard, you may still need to click on the picture of the microphone to connect the microphone. Should you have any questions, we’ll also be monitoring the chat throughout. Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Exporing Finnish biodiversity during GBIF 24

Biodiversity Excursions

BHL Chair Constance Rinaldo and BHL Program Director Martin Kalfatovic each took advantage of the opportunities provided by our Finnish hosts of GBIF 24 for excursions to explore Finnish biodiversity. Rinaldo explored Nuuksio National Park and Kalfatovic, Vallisaari and Suomenlinna.

Nuuksio National Park
FinBio organized a trip to Nuuksio National Park which is located on the border of an oak forest zone and the southern boreal forest zone. Prominent in the landscape are valleys and gorges formed by glaciers and barren rocky hills covered by lichen and sparse pine forest. At some places the hills reach 110 meters above sea level.  This beautiful park is less than an hour’s drive from Helsinki and has wild trails and many lakes.  We wandered the trails with our guide from Green Window and hunted mushrooms under the tutelage of Tea von Bonsdorff from the Finnish Natural History Museum.  


Along the way we foraged on bilberries (probablyVaccinium myrtillus and lingon berries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) while viewing the beautiful landscapes.  In the Helsinki market, bilberries were sold as “sour blueberries” alongside “sweet blueberries”.  While they were slightly more sour than a standard blueberry, they were delicious. The lingon berries were sweeter than the cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) we find in eastern North America but still had a bite.


After about 2 hours of mushroom hunting, we arrived at the Kattila Lappih Hut where we were treated to a lunch of salmon and potatoes cooked over an open fire.  Lunch was served at long wooden tables with candles and we sat on benches covered with reindeer furs.

  
Following the delicious lunch we set off on our own.  Some of us continued to hunt mushrooms on foot.  Others headed out in canoes to explore the lake near the Green Window conference facility.

Cortinarius rubellus (deadly webcap)
                                                   
Vallisaari and Suomenlinna
Vallisaari is just 20 minutes by boat from the Market Square in Helsinki. The island was opened for the public last year – before that it was decades abandoned and the nature took its place. Vallisaari is the most diverse nature destination in the metropolitan area. The island’s fortifications, buildings, and a record-breaking range of species tell a tale of coexistence between humans and wild nature. The other attraction, fortress of Suomenlinna, is one of Finland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Suomenlinna was built during the Swedish era as a maritime fortress and a base for the Archipelago Fleet.

Excursion to Vallisaari

By:
Martin Kalfatovic
BHL Program Director
and
Constance Rinaldo
Chair, BHL Members' Council
Librarian of the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University