Fred Case Jr.
Today in 1942, the Michigan Botanical Club summer meeting was held at the University of Michigan Biological Station at Douglas lake.
It was a three-day meeting lasting through August 26, and it was held in conjunction with the Sullivant Moss Society, named in honor of William Starling Sullivant mentioned earlier in today’s episode. Happy coincidence.
During the meeting, there were daily field trips and evening discussions about mosses and lichens and liver warts.
This focus on mosses was something new to the members of the Wildflower Association who were in attendance. The records show that,
"they were apparently amazed and delighted at having found an entirely new world of nature."
It was reported that one of their members, Fred Case, Jr,had been stricken with polio and couldn’t attend the meeting. So, the members put together a dish garden containing: a seedling pitcher plant, a one-inch tall cedar, 25 or 30 mosses, and other woodland plants.
Fred was just 15 years old, and he had already written a treaty called Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region,which he had dedicated to the botanist Marjorie T. Bingham,who was his teacher and friend.
Fred had organized all of the members of the first junior chapter of the Michigan Wildflower Association in Saginaw. The group was really his Boy Scout Troop. They had started up wildflower sanctuary in his dad’s place. But, all of the junior members entered the armed services during World War II... except for Fred -thanks to his polio diagnosis. When the men returned from the war, they went on with their lives, and the junior chapter of the Saginaw Wildflower Association closed.