It was close, but a last-minute donation last Friday means a yellow, flowering plant commonly found in Military Reserve will be named Lomatium Andrusianum after the late Gov. Cecil Andrus.
Over the past couple of weeks, a group of 44 friends of Andrus had raised about half of the $10,000 needed. Scientists extended the deadline to help give them more time to reach their goal.
They say it’ll be great to memorialize the former governor in the Boise Foothills where he could often be seen walking his dogs.
"It was kind of great to see a lot of these people pull together and make a contribution and be able to honor Gov. Andrus in this way,” says Jim Smith, one of the researchers behind the project at Boise State University.
Now, Smith, his team at Boise State and partners at the College of Idaho, will submit their findings to be peer reviewed. He anticipates that approval to come just as spring comes into bloom.
“It could be very timely the way this is working that the plant may actually be up and flowering in early April and that may be about the time the official publication comes out,” says Smith.
He, along with his colleagues, recently discovered the flower was its own, unique species.
The $10,000 dollars raised will go toward further research of the plant and others like it found in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon. Smith says the teams at Boise State and C of I are also hoping to net a federal grant to help pay for those efforts.
Andrus's legacy might not be solely limited to this new flower.
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson (R) also wants to rename the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness after the four-time governor. Andrus campaigned in 1970 to preserve Castle Peak — the highest mountain in the central Idaho range.
Spearheaded by Simpson and backed by Andrus, it took another 45 years, but Congress eventually designated 275,000 acres of that land as wilderness.
It would be known as the Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness should federal lawmakers sign off on Simpson’s bill.
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