April 2009 Issue
Ohioan - Robert Henn
Lebanon wildflower expert
HOMETOWNS: Born and raised in Brookville, he lived in Trotwood for more than 50 years and moved two years ago to a retirement village near Lebanon.
PERSONAL: He and his wife, Marge, have two daughters and a son.
AUTHOR OF: Wildflowers of Ohio, a field guide he spent years writing and which was published by Indiana University Press in 1998. The second edition came out last year. Available on Amazon.com, it features 300 of his own photographs.
HOW HE CAME TO KNOW WILDFLOWERS: Henn fell in love with nature as a Boy Scout, and because his parents passed along an appreciation of the outdoors. He taught biology in the Dayton Public Schools for 14 years, and for 22 years at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. “It was wonderful to watch the students learn.”
AFTER RETIREMENT: He has stayed busy; he and Marge volunteered for 12 years at Dayton’s Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm, where he was a trail guide and curator of the herbarium, or plant collection, at the nature complex. Today he lectures frequently about Ohio’s wildflowers at nature centers and senior centers and to garden clubs. “I’m looking forward very much to getting started on dozens of lectures; spring is a very busy time.”
HIS FAVORITE WILDFLOWER: The state’s official wildflower, the Large White Trillium, which can be found in old-growth forests. “Not many people know we even have an official wildflower. Second would be the jack-in-the-pulpit.”
WHAT HE LOVES ABOUT OHIO: “It’s a beautiful state to live in. No matter where you live in Ohio, there are natural areas you can enjoy just a few minutes’ drive away.”