Editor’s Note: As reported in last week’s issue of the Times, the family of Fort St. James forester and biologist Randy Sulyma won a recent lichen-naming auction. Here is the story as it appeared in his hometown newspaper.
Fort St. James Caledonia Courier
Friends and family of Randy Sulyma had reason to celebrate on Thursday, Dec. 15. At five o’clock in the evening the online auction closed for the honor to name a newly discovered lichen, and the campaign to name the lichen after Sulyma was successful in securing the winning bid.
The winning bid was higher than the original goal of $10,000 set by the Randy Sulyma Lichen-Naming Campaign.
There was a flurry of bidding as the auction closed, and when the dust settled, the group put in a successful bid of $17,900.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Sandra Sulyma, Randy’s wife.
She said the group had some extra money they had kept in reserve, and they ended up needing every cent.
Randy’s mother Sylvia Sulyma almost lost hope the group would be successful when she learned the person bidding against them was a Lower Mainland lawyer.
However, she kept on top of the bidding as it came close to the end, and when Sylvia had to leave, Randy’s sister Cherie Henshaw took over, and the bid was furious, with raises coming every three minutes.
But when the dust settled, the family was successful.
“I think it’s still sinking in for all of us,” said Sandra.
She said the group received donations from people and groups from all over the map, including past employers of Randy’s, his coworkers and of course friends and family.
The lichen will now be named Parmelia sulymae in Randy’s honor.
The money will be used by The Land Conservancy of B.C. to purchase land for a wildlife corridor through Upper Clearwater.
The naming of the lichen was put up for sale thanks to the biologist who discovered it, Trevor Goward.
Goward decided to sell the rights to name the lichen (which normally goes to the person who discovered the new species) to raise money for The Land Trust Conservancy for their Clearwater Wetlands and Wildlife Corridor Campaign that would protect the area where the lichen grows.
“I believe that future auctions of this kind will garner even more support as Canadians awaken to the honor of being linked, if only in name, to other living species that share this planet with us” Goward said in a press release by The Land Conservancy.
Sulyma not only studied lichens professionally as a forester and biologist, but also spent family vacations in the Wells Grey Park and Clearwater areas with his wife Sandra and children Joel and Emily.