International Association for Lichenology

Adriano Spielmann

Adriano Spielmann
Instituto de Botânica do Estado de São Paulo, São Paul (Brasil)

The International Association for Lichenology (IAL) first introduced and presented the Sylvia Sharnoff Education Award at the 5th International Congress of Lichenology held in Tartu (Estonia) in August 2004. The Award is dedicated to the memory of Sylvia Duran Sharnoff, a remarkable lichen photographer, who conceived of the idea of a colour-illustrated, popularized but scientifically accurate treatment of the lichens of North America and, with her husband, Stephen Sharnoff, took thousands of superb lichen photographs all over the continent. Over 900 of them were used in the book. Sylvia was, of course, a dear personal friend as well as a collaborator, and I was touched and delighted to see her honoured in this way.

As originally conceived and proposed by Pier Luigi Nimis and the previous IAL Council, the award was given to the best web page devoted to lichens, prepared by a class or a school at pre-university level. The present Council decided to increase the scope of the award to include any educational website designed to increase awareness and understanding of lichens. This is particularly appropriate for an award that is dedicated to Sylvia Sharnoff since she always adopted the broadest and most inclusive view of her prospective audience.

This year, here in California, we are especially delighted to be joined here by Steve Sharnoff, who, despite his modesty and desire to remain a background figure, agreed to present the award.

The winner of the Sylvia Sharnoff Award for 2008 is a remarkable Brazilian Ph.D. student, Adriano Spielmann. Adriano has assembled a truly amazing website for the benefit of students in Brazil and anyone else able to handle Portuguese. The webpage provides a 19-page introduction to lichens illustrated by marvelous colour photographs of mainly Brazilian lichens. The uses and importance of lichens are covered, and there are all sorts of well-labeled graphics as well, all organized and presented in a way that will help Brazilian students get a start on appreciating and naming their diverse lichen flora:

Irwin Brodo, Ottawa (18 July 2008)