In 1966, when Wayne Dollase came to UCLA as an assistant professor of geology, he bought a 48-page guide to all the plants on campus, The University Garden, which had been co-authored by renowned horticulturist Mildred Mathias. Once the guide went out of print, however, Dollase saw the need for an electronic database to track the constant changes among the 550 different plant species on campus (excluding those in the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden).

He took on the challenge of creating that database — and 50 years later, the professor emeritus of earth, planetary and space sciences continues to update the data by walking the campus every two weeks, taking note of what’s there and what’s not.

To check out his database, go to

To read the entire story that appears in UCLA Magazine, see the April 2016 issue.