The Idaho Museum of Natural History is honored to present this year’s 2017 Natural History Hero award recipient-Dr. Karl E. Holte, Emeritus Professor of Botany. Dr. Holte began teaching at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho in the fall of 1965, both undergraduate and graduate level courses, including Plant Systematics, Dendrology, Agrostology, Spring Flora and Fall Flora. In addition, he was curator of the Ray J. Davis Herbarium. Many of his graduate advisee students conducted research for their theses on floristic studies of various regions, including one in Ecuador. In addition to Master of Science degrees, some of his advisees earned Doctor of Arts degrees, For three years he was department chairman of the Outdoor Recreation and Management program. During 21 summers he taught field botany courses at Malheur Field Station in southeastern Oregon.
Although officially retired at the end of the 1997-98 school year as Emeritus Professor of Botany, Dr. Holte continued to teach Spring and Fall Flora classes for several more years. He currently teaches a Friday morning class in the Museum on methods of identifying plants. He continued as Emeritus Curator of the Ray J. Davis Herbarium until 2008. Dr. Holte and two peers recently published a revised portion of Ray J. Davis’s book, Flora of Idaho.
Dr. Holte has frequently taught Elderhostel classes (now known as Road Scholar classes), New Knowledge Adventures classes, and various workshops; has done consultation work on plant communities, and conducts many Idaho Native Plant Society field trips.
Dr. Holte has served as president of numerous environmental groups, including the Idaho Wildlife Association, Citizens Environmental Council, Idaho Orchid Society, Idaho Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Sawabi chapter of Idaho Native Plant Society, as well as the state INPS, Southeastern Idaho Rod and Gun Club, and the Malheur Filed Station Consortium. He has also served on the boards of directors of these organizations as well as the Idaho Museum of Natural History and Idaho Academy of Science.