Ed Ketchledge, NY Botanist and Educator, Dies at 85

From Steve Young – NY Natural Heritage Program

This link is to an obituary in the Watertown Daily Times:


I met Dr. Ketchledge in 1971 when I was his undergraduate student in dendrology at SUNY College of Forestry (as it was known back then) at Syracuse in the early 1970s. I remember him as a great teacher (he gave me an A) and I think his love of trees and plants probably rubbed off on me as I found my way to a botany career over the years. Little did I know back then that we would be friends and colleagues as we both worked to preserve the flora of the high peaks of the Adirondacks. When I started working with The Natural Heritage Program in the early 1990s I went on numerous field trips with Ketch to observe the Adirondack flora.  We both trained the summit stewards on Whiteface Mountain, a flora he spent many years refining (he was the first one to spot the invasive wild chervil on the Lake Placid turn). He was also especially fond of the plants at Bloomingdale Bog and some of the weird-looking lycopods in the sandy areas of nearby Vermontville. He was an excellent bryologist too and he never failed to point out the interesting mosses he saw along the way. He provided me with a treasure-trove of information about Adirondack alpine plants and I always enjoyed being out in the field and learning from him. In a 1999 letter to me he wrote, “As I reflect back over what I’ve done since surviving combat in WWII, my greatest pleasure and satisfaction is the many lasting friendships that I still enjoy from my years of sharing information with eager young people at ESF, each one a reflection in turn of my own quest for information and knowledge of the natural world from which we spring. I honestly believe I have learned and enjoyed that phase of my career more than any other effort/voyage I have have pursued.”

I will miss him.  Below is a photo of Ketch (on the far right) I took in June of 2001 on one of our trips together to Whiteface.

Ketch with the Summit Stewards on Whiteface

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One Comment on “Ed Ketchledge, NY Botanist and Educator, Dies at 85”

  1. mary taitt Says:

    I Loved Ed Kethledge, how sad to hear of his passing.

    I had an opportunity to do a PhD under him on mosses of sun and shade in the Adirondacks and to this day, on some levels, I regret not taking that opportunity. But I certainly enjoyed 3 semesters of dendro, and all the other courses I took from him.

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