The Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Herbarium is a collection of preserved specimens of plants found in the park. The Herbarium project began in the summer of 2014 and is ongoing. The Herbarium team consists of six stewards and three consulting botanists. The team collects specimens from May to September and processes the dried specimens during the other months. Two specimens of each plant are collected – one for display and the second for a reference collection that can be used for research. Each display specimen is mounted on foam core board along with a map of the plant’s distribution in Alberta, a photograph, a description of some of the features of the plant and a reference label that gives the GPS coordinates for where the plant was found, the date, collectors, and other species found in the same locale. The display specimen is then covered with clear plastic. Reference specimens are mounted on acid-free paper and placed in a cellophane sleeve and file folder along with a reference label. Each plant represents approximately 40 hours of work.
The display collection is intended to be an educational tool to introduce visitors to the biological richness and diversity in the park – an important step in understanding park ecosystems. It is hoped that the collection will eventually be housed in the Visitor Centre. Meanwhile, the Cochrane Museum will host a display of the herbarium specimens in the summer of 2017.