It is with heavy hearts that we tell you of a great loss to the USA National Phenology Network. In May 2018 we lost Patty Guertin, our staff botanist who had been with us since the start of the USA-NPN. Taken from the world by cancer far too soon, she is sorely missed by her family, friends, and the coworkers who consider her family.
Patty saw the beauty in every environment she visited and called home, from the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest to the ever-changing Sonoran Desert. In addition to an exceptional eye for detail, Patty possessed genuine wonderment at the natural world and a deep knowledge of its plants and animals.
Patty loved to paint and had an eye for capturing the vibrant red of a desert flower and the softly illuminated spines of a cactus at sunset.
Patty was caring, humble, generous, and a devoted member of the USA-NPN team. She kept meticulous, detailed records to categorize and describe each species added to the Nature's Notebook system, and created the content for the Botany Primer, Phenophase Primer, and Nature's Notebook Nuggets. She always made time to write a carefully detailed response to an observer question or a help a fellow staff member puzzle out a species identification.
We will remember Patty as she lived, in a beautiful, quiet spot of nature with a paintbrush in her hand and love in her heart for the people and places surrounding her. In the staff here and among you, our partners and observers, we will carry on her legacy in the careful and loving study of our local plants and places.
The Staff of the USA-NPN National Coordinating Office
Ferocactus emoryi (Emory barrel cactus) in my front yard, by Patty Guertin
Patty is survived by her mother (Claire Pratt, Groton CT), husband (Phil Guertin, Tucson AZ), daughters (Elizabeth Guertin, Columbia, MD and Allyson Solar, Portland OR), sister (Peggy Grass, Rumney, NH), brother (Bill Pratt, Groton, CT), uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and many wonderful friends.
Information about a memorial service for Patty will be forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (https://www.communityfoodbank.org/) would be appreciated.