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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

 
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George Pegg

George Pegg was a pioneer botanist and taxonomist of west central Alberta. His family established a homestead, which George continued after his parents passed away. George was very interested in plants and birds from a young age, leading to major contributions primarily in Botany later in life. He made many first-time identifications of native Alberta plant species and amassed a tremendous plant collection over his lifetime.

George Pegg was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1910, the second of eight children. The Pegg family moved to Ontario in 1911, and later to Glenevis in 1913. George and his brothers spent their early childhood playing outdoors and developed an interest in birds. The boys kept migration records and every June 1st the Pegg boys would go on a bird count, comparing notes on what species they had seen that night when they got home. The boys also took a course in taxidermy through the mail and mounted several animals.

In 1929, the Peggs built a new house to live in on the same property. After this time, George spent a great deal of time traveling around North America in searching for a job and observing and identifying birds and plants.

In 1945, George became interested in the weather so he set up a weather station. He took daily high and low temperature readings, as well as precipitation.

George and his family kept identification and migration records of all birds sighted since the 1920's and had identified 180 species. In George's free time he would identify plants, taking the ones he could not identify to the University of Alberta. There he me Dr. Ezra H Moss. Dr. Moss took notice of George's tremendous collection of plant specimens. Most notably, George had discovered an area that had escaped the glacial scrubbing eradication of earlier plant life that took place during the last ice age. George continued to work with Dr. Moss and contributed more than 100 species to the Flora of Alberta, published in 1959. George's collection recorded in this paper also extended the known ranges of more than 50 species in Alberta.

George lived with the company of his plants and books in the homestead that was his home for nearly 70 years, shunning any technology more advanced than a wood-burning stove.

To learn more about George Pegg, please visit: www.pegggarden.org, www.historicplaces.ca and www.mayerthorpefreelancer.com

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