Mary Beth Prondzinski
Natural History Collections Manager
University of Alabama Museums
356 Mary Harmon Bryant
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
BS, University of Arizona, Tuscon
As Collection Manager of the Museum of Natural History, I’m always amazed by the eclectic mix of specimens and artifacts the museum maintains. The history of these collections is even more fascinating when examined in depth, much like solving a perplexing mystery with missing pieces that need to be discovered. It makes the job interesting and rewarding, especially when these mysteries are resolved.
I have been immersed in the Natural Sciences since college, where I fell in love with field biology and collecting specimens for research. Though I now resort to making observations rather than collecting, there still is much to discover and record in the world of nature, which is constantly changing from the impacts of climate, development, globalization and pollutants. Becoming aware of one’s surroundings is more important than ever, as technology increasingly pulls us away from what needs our full attention in order to maintain a foothold in this precarious world we’ve created: be it animals, plants, minerals or fossils. These are all part of the fabric that makes our place on earth livable and ultimately sustainable.
The natural history collections are a small representative of Alabama’s unique environmental largess … a time capsule for future generations to study, interpret and celebrate.