STA, 14 November 2019 - The likeness of Angela Piskernik, the first Slovenian woman with a PhD in natural sciences, who paved the way for women in a field dominated by men, can be now found on thematic postage stamps, part of a commemorative series launched by Pošta Slovenije to honour Slovenian women scientists.
Piskernik (1886-1967), a Carinthian Slovenian, pioneer environmentalist, political activist and resistance fighter, held a PhD in botany from the University of Vienna. After World War II, she became the head of the Ljubljana Museum of Natural History and served in this position until her retirement.
She is most famous for her academic work Key for the Identification of Flowering Plants and Ferns, a reference book in which she identified 2,222 species and whose two editions, in 1941 and 1951, were very popular among botanists.
During World War II, she was imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she compiled a book of recipes shared by fellow internees, which makes for a unique document today.
She was also a campaigner for the rights of Carinthian Slovenians and the first professional nature conservationist in Slovenia, having advocated setting up conservation areas, including the Triglav National Park, which she saw coming to life six years before her death.
After retiring, she cooperated with the national institute for cultural heritage protection and published numerous academic papers on nature conservationism at home and abroad.
On her 80th birthday, she was decorated at home with the Gold Star Order of Merit for her lifetime achievements.
At the end of her life, she was working on botanic entries for the Dictionary of the Standard Slovenian Language as well as drawing up a plan for the Slovenian section of the joint Yugoslav-Austrian transnational nature park in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and Karavanke mountain range.
Today, awards named after her are given out by the Commission for Mountain Nature Conservation at the Slovenian Alpine Association to deserved individuals for lifetime achievement in protection and conservation of the Alpine flora.
Her portrait can be now found on the first national postal operator's commemorative stamp honouring Slovenian women scientists. The special series was launched last week, with bacterial epidemiologist Amalija Šimec's stamp being next in line in 2020.