More than just the woods: Barbara Beaman

Barbara Beaman, Ph.D. comes from a nature-loving family. She grew up with her American family in Brazil, developing an early love for nature through helping tend her dad’s orchid collection. Her love of plants carried her to graduate school at UNC where she studied botany. Then, attracted by possibilities for research on the Duke Forest, Beaman completed her doctoral work at Duke in 1981 as one of Norm Christensen’s first graduate students. Christensen was the first Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and has been a major part of the history and research legacy of the Duke Forest. In her time here at Duke, Beaman studied White Oak regeneration, following seedlings over four years to determine their optimal growth conditions. Oak regeneration remains a topic of concern for the Forest today.  

Beaman went on to spend 35 years at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, sharing her love for the natural world with children and visitors from across North Carolina. Recently retired, Beaman is now an active participant in citizen science on the Duke Forest. She looks for reptiles and amphibians only paces away from her original research sites. She still has a deep love for White Oaks, saying that “they are just glorious.” We couldn’t agree more. And we are so glad to have Barb back on the Duke Forest, a place that has been so meaningful to her for 40 years.

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