Armchair Botanist


Point of Contact

Tiana Franklin Rehman

Herbarium Collections Manager

The BRIT Armchair Botanist program is a collaboration between botanists, museum professionals, students, biodiversity informaticians, and you! 

The scientific specimens curated by BRIT are carefully stored in museum cabinets in a climate-controlled facility, making them difficult to access. It is the goal of this program to make all our specimens available online (images and data) to further research and education. A digitized specimen is a tool that allows access to scientific vouchers and observations that span hundreds of years – an essential component to biological research, as well as any research that deals with past environmental change and future models. Click here to access our digitized specimens.

This program includes activities such as presentations, transcription blitzes, and online community science activities, to help liberate the scientific specimens that are held in public trust, by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 

Scheduled Activities:

April 14, 2021: #TranscriptionWEDNESDAY at 12pm (central time) via Zoom. Zoom invitation: (Meeting ID: 830 9086 3689; Find your local number: 

          Please pre-watch the training video here:


Ongoing Activities:

Notes From Nature: This online community science platform presents users with scientific specimen images online, then prompts the user to transcribe information from their labels. This activity is done on your own time at your own pace. This platform groups images into "Expeditions" which are grouped into "Projects" (image tiles) on the main page; these involve many natural history collections, and we encourage you to explore them all!

To reach the Notes from Nature expeditions launched by BRIT, please click on the project links below, then scroll down to find expeditions listed:

  • In the Texas and Oklahoma Regional Consortium of Herbaria Project (the image tile with our two-states and their state flowers): 
    • Expedition: Texas Specimens from the NLU Collection at BRIT - Expedition 4
      • This collection of images represents specimens collected in Texas, it includes members of the Cyperaceae (sedge family), Juncaceae (rush family), as well as many other families tranditionally included in the Liliaceae (lily family). These specimens are from our R. Dale Thomas Collection (Herbarium Code: NLU) at BRIT.
  • In the Southeastern Regional Network of Expertise and Collections Project (the image tile with a dogwood inflorescence):
    • Expedition: Southeastern Forests - Expedition 2 - from the R. Dale Thomas Collection.
      • This collection of images represents specimens of tree genera collected in the Southeast USA that are in our R. Dale Thomas Collection (Herbarium Code: NLU) collection at BRIT.

Ways to engage (and ask questions): BRIT Facebook, BRIT Twitter, NotesfromNature talk,


Past Activities:

2021: January #TranscriptionWednesdays via Zoom (Jan. 7, 14, 21, 27); February #TranscriptionWednesdays via Zoom (Feb. 3, 10, 24); March #TranscriptionWednesdays via Zoom (Mar. 3, 17, 24, 31); April #WeDigBio2021 (April 8-11)

2020: December #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Dec. 3, 10, 17); November #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Nov. 5, 12, 19); October #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Oct. 1, 15, 22, 29); October 14: Private (virtual) Armchair Botanist event for registrants of the 2020 Texas Master Naturalist Virtual Annual Meeting; October 15: WeDigBio Online Transcription Blitz from 1-4pm (central time) via Zoom. Learn more about the effort: www.wedigbio.orgSeptember #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Sep. 3, 10, 17, 24); 2020: August #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27); July #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Jul. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30); June #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Jun. 4, 11, 18, 25); May #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (May 14, 21, 28); May 7: #TranscriptionThursday with guest host: BRIT Fern Curator Dr. Alejandra VascoApril #TranscriptionThursday via Zoom (Apr. 23, 30); April 16-20: WeDigBio Lite Online-only Transcription Blitz using the Notes From Nature platform (Zoom interaction with BRIT staff on Fri., Apr. 17 at 4pm CDT, and Sat., Apr. 18 at 11am CDT.