Historic 1938 Colorado River Trip Featured Three UMBS Connections


Oct 28, 2013 Bookmark and Share

The Biological Station's Clover-Cutter Scholarship honors two UMBS women whose fearlessness in advancing science is as inspirational now as it was in 1938.  That was the year Dr. Elzada Clover, University of Michigan Professor, and her teaching assistant, Lois Jotter, became the first women to survive a boat trip down the Colorado River.

The new University of Michigan Heritage Project website retells their story in a striking slideshow.  With archive photos, journal entries, and newspaper accounts from the time, the daredevils' trip is set in its historical and scientific context.  Not only were they breaking gender barriers, they were collecting plant specimens from a previously undocumented ecosystem.

Later in her career, Dr. Clover became the Biological Station's Systematic Botany instructor and second female faculty member.  She taught at UMBS from 1953 to 1966. Lois Jotter had studied at the Station in 1934-1936, before becoming Clover's teaching assistant.  She went on to earn her PhD at Michigan, take the married name Jotter Cutter, and teach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  The Colorado River expedition had a second UMBS alumnus on board.  Eugene Atkinson, who took classes at the Biological Station in 1937, was Clover's other assistant for the historic trip.