People passionate about nature

Karen Johnson

Ernest Thompson Seton Medal recipient 1989

The prestigious Ernest Thompson Seton Medal was presented to Dr. Karen L. Johnson, Curator of Botany at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. She is a Past President and Honorary Life member of the Society. Her monthly contributions to the Rare Plant Alert column in the Bulletin keep members up to date on Manitoba’s rarer plant species.

Like Seton, who’s work the award recognizes, Dr. Johnson has dedicated her 20 years of work in Manitoba to the advancement of the science of botany and related disciplines. Through her exemplary work at the Museum, her many publications, workshops and active involvement in scientific committees, she has demonstrated an eagerness to share her knowledge, thus paralleling the memorable work of Seton. Culminating a number of years of work, she recently co-authored “Wildflowers of Churchill” with artist Linda Fairfield and photographer Robert Taylor.

Honorary Life Membership 1986

Karen Johnson’s interests as well as her career keep her closely in touch with the natural environment. She has committed herself to natural history as Curator of Higher and Lower Plants at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and through her association with the Manitoba Naturalists Society. She has been an active member for at least fourteen years, has served as Vice-President, and two years as President. She has given six-session workshops on plant identification to the Naturalists and has written a “Rare Plant Alert” for each issue of the Bulletin since 1980. Her work for preservation of the environment is evident in her commitment to Ecological Reserves Technical Advisory Committee, Camp Shilo Environmental Advisory Committee, and as Coordinator of the Manitoba Committee on Rare and Endangered Plant Species.

As Museum Curator, she has added a great deal of Manitobans’ knowledge of their natural heritage through her work in collections development and research, publication and exhibit development.
As a result of her efforts, the Museum’s botany collection has grown and is now representative of the many varied regions of Manitoba, and provides the basis for her own research as well as research for graduate students and other botanists. 

Dr. Johnson is the author of over a dozen publications on the plants and flowers of Manitoba. These include articles, reports, impact studies and several books.

From 1971-1980, Dr. Johnson was Chairperson of the Boreal Forest Gallery Planning Committee. As Chairperson, she coordinated the planning and development of the entire gallery and edited all the copy. This newest Museum Gallery has received international, national and local recognition and acclaim from other members of the museum profession and from the public. While gallery development and production is always a team effort, a major share of the credit belongs to Dr. Karen Johnson.