On 16 December 2014, Fred wrote to botanists and the NatureList, and posted on the Ottawa Field Naturalists and Ontario Field Botanists facebook pages:
“Botanists! After a field season spent exploring streams and pipelines from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Fort McMurray, Alberta, we've accumulated a 60 cm stack of plant specimens which seemed interesting to us at the time, some of which are are identified with stunning accuracy ("Pinus strobus L.") and others of which are denominated more laxly ("<mystery herb>"). So we've wondered if, over the holiday season, we could assemble a group of botanical identifiers to work through the stack. It would be nice to get a fair-sized group together in a party-like atmosphere, but it will be hard to synchronize schedules... I will print out labels for all the database entries labelled as plant specimens, and as the stack is worked through I'll crouch over the computer and sluice the identification and identifiers into the database. Authoritative identifications will improve the quality of our survey of the Energy East pipeline route.”
Owen Clarkin, Lis Allison, Clayton Shearer, Eleanor Thomson, Mathieu Bélisle, and Bettina Henkelman replied affirmatively, and the date was set for Saturday, 27 December.
Mathieu wasn't able to come, Bettina had the flu, but four would make a lively enough party so we set up tables in the