Peter Raven is a civic treasure. That’s probably an understatement to describe a person Time Magazine hailed a decade ago as a “Hero For The Planet.” He is the Albert Pujols of plant science; the Bob Costas of environmentalists - and still pretty much a Ted Drewes. Iconic, articulate, supremely competent, but identifiably St. Louis.
I thought of this today while I listened to Dr. Raven speak.
All of us know about the Missouri Botanical Garden: camellias, greenhouse, and bulbs. Hundreds of employees; tens of millions of budget; big visitor draw. We can recognize the Donald Danforth Plant Center building when we drive past it. Fewer of us know very much about the cutting-edge research and effective global advocacy that is the true work of Dr. Raven’s Garden. That was the Peter Raven I heard today.
Dr. Raven has already announced his retirement in 2011. His successor will have to be extraordinary.