Happy Trails Joe!

Joe Arnett, long-time rare plant botanist with the Washington Natural Heritage Program, retired at the end of July. Joe has worn many volunteer hats with the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS).

group of people on a hillside in eastern Washington

Joe Arnett weighs Hitchcock–and retirement–in the Wenatchee Foothills, June 2017.
Photo: Sarah Gage

Among the roles that I know he has played are: at-large board member, instructor in the Native Plant Stewardship Program, field trip leader, Editorial Committee member, writer for Douglasia and member newsletters, Study Weekend and Botany Washington trip leader, and guest speaker for chapter programs.

The man is tireless! And patient. And he has an endless enthusiasm for plants and the people who love them. A gifted writer, he has put down some of his thoughts in a collection of essays,  Walking in the Beauty of the World: Reflections of a Northwest Botanistavailable from WNPS.

Man sitting under palm tree strumming a guitar.

Joe Arnett, well on his way to enjoying retirement.
Photo: Washington Natural Heritage Program

So, what is he going to do now? At a retirement picnic in Olympia I heard about guitar camp, building a house in Port Townsend, a trip to Scotland, and sailing. At the picnic, he led the group in several songs, one of which you can see on this video.

But he’ll be back, he said.

Please join Botanical Rambles in wishing Joe a happy escape from the 9 to 5, and in encouraging him to join us in future botanical adventuring!

Limericks and song lyrics encouraged.

Man looking at camera

Joe Arnett looking up from his handlens.
Photo: Washington Natural Heritage Program


There once was a botanist name Joe
Who felt it was his time to go.
So he packed for P.T.
Carrying a guitar or three.
But please—to writing and plants don’t say no.