About Russell W. Johnson
The herbarium is named in memory of Associate Professor Russell W. Johnson (1911-2002) who donated his home teaching collection. The collection includes plants collected as early as 1944 and continuing on for over 40 years. Johnson’s collection serves as the nucleus of the college herbarium currently comprising about 75% of herbarium specimens.
Johnson received his MA in Forestry from the University of MN in 1935. His professional career began with six years with the US Forest Service in the Civilian Conservation Camps (CCC) in MN during the Great Depression. Johnson served as a U.S. Army Captain during WW II and married Margaret M. Torell (1941) from the Cambridge pioneer A.W. Torell clan.
A major love for Johnson was teaching and collecting which he did for over 53 years at Bethel College (now Bethel University) in the St. Paul, MN area. Johnson enjoyed sharing his love of nature with students through biology, botany, and geology courses.
During his time at Bethel, Johnson also served the U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots and ground troops in the 1960’s as a consulting biologist. His role was identifying plants for survival in the tropical forests for troops in Southeast Asia and the Far East.
Russell W. Johnson donated his entire personal collection to the college in 2001. College faculty and students as well as the community appreciate the use and value of the collection.