Peter Carrington, PhD

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Contributing Instructors

Peter Carrington, PhD


MSU W. J. Beal Botanical Garden


Peter was born in Toronto, Ontario, but as he grew up, his family moved further and further west, with him finally starting school and spending his childhood in St. Joseph, Michigan. From his earliest years, Peter was an avid insect collector, joining the Michigan Entomological Society in the seventh grade and dedicating himself to studying silverfish and their relatives. The family moved to East Grand Rapids for his high school years, and it was there that he started his first experiments in science illustration and art. In 1967 he began his undergraduate career at Michigan State University, finally graduating in 1992, in Zoology, although by then, he was already twenty years into a career in biological and medical illustration. As his career in scientific illustration began, he became interested in edible wild plants, becoming an edible plant instructor in 1975. He did become a biomedical illustrator, first with the MSU Department of Anatomy in 1972, later for the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Department of Fisheries at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 1975, and ultimately in the MSU College of Natural Science. In 1988 he combined science illustration with science writing to become the editor of Natural Science magazine at the MSU College of Natural Science. Peter has now moved on from his thirty-five year career in science illustration and science writing to pursue a PhD. in the Department of Plant Biology researching an ancient extinct Native American crop cultivar. He just retired from his thirty-six-year career as instructor of edible and toxic wild plants and wilderness survival techniques at Lansing Community College. Since 2008, he has been assistant curator at the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden; that he would describe to anyone as the ‘dream job,’ specializing in edible and toxic plants for people and animals. He is a consultant to the regional poison control center and to several zoos concerning plantings and food plants, and teaches toxic plants to vet school students.


VM 812 Food Safety Toxicology