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WHO: Michael Eason, associate director of conservation and collections at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and a nationwide team of tree experts.WHAT: A missing oak species—the Quercus tardifolia—that was thought to be extinct, until nine botanical researchers scoured Big Bend in search of one last living tree.WHY IT’S SO GREAT: When the last known specimen of the Quercus tardifolia, better known as the Chisos Mountains oak or lateleaf oak, died or otherwise vanished (no one is quite sure what happened) in 2011, scientists thought it was extinct. That changed last May, when a single living tree was discovered in Big Bend National Park, giving researchers a chance to revive the species. Michael Eason played a critical role in that discovery as part of a team…
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