Botanizing with Marion

My 45 Years of Involvement in the Virginia Academy of Science

It was forty-five years ago this past spring that I attended my first VAS meeting in spring of 1977 at Virginia State University. That academic year was my first in my 35-year biology faculty career at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. When I attended this meeting, I did not know what to expect but I felt welcomed and stimulated by the members of the Botany section I met. As I continued to attend subsequent Academy Annual Meetings, I continued to make contacts with colleagues around the state. While earning my first master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, I had the pleasure of studying with Dr. Ritchie Bell and using the Manual of the Flora of the Carolinas (Bell was a co-author of this manual).

One of my first questions when I moved to Virginia, was “is there a Flora of Virginia” but, alas, discovered there had not been one since 1762, the Flora Virginia, second edition, by John Clayton and Johanne Gronovius. During VAS meetings, I began to hear about efforts to develop a modern flora of Virginia. These efforts dated back to 1926 with the establishment of the Virginia Flora Committee with one of its main goals to develop and publish such a flora.

I became active in Botany Section and served in the section officer positions including Councilor for many years. I also served the Academy as treasurer for three years and then vice-president for two years. In the late 1990’s there was an opportunity to move forward with the idea of a modern flora of Virginia. Through the Virginia Flora Committee, an Academy grant was awarded that allowed the initial steps in organizing an effort to establish a foundation to develop and published a modern flora.

In 2001, with the support of the Academy and other organizations, the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project (FFVP) was established. The Academy became an early partner of the project. I was one of the founding members of the FFVP and served on the Board of Directors for 20 years and acted as a liaison through the Virginia Flora Committee to VAS. In 2003 I was honored to become a Fellow of the Academy and have appreciated the financial support of the Fellows for the FFVP. The monetary and other types of support from the Academy and its Fellows were essential to the development and publishing of the Flora of Virginia in 2012 and the digital Flora of Virginia App in 2017. The 1926 VAS and the Virginia Flora Committee goal of developing and publishing a modern Flora of Virginia has been accomplished.

With continuing updates to the digital Flora of Virginia App, the FFVP moves into the next 100 years of knowledge supported by VAS.

Selected Articles In Virginia Academy of Science Publications

Flora of Virginia Update, Virginia Scientists, Fall 2021, Volume XXVII, Issue 2

Virginia Scientist in the Spotlight: Marion Lobstein, Virginia Scientists, Fall 2018, Volume XXIV, Issue 2

Marion Lobstein Elected VAS Fellow, Virginia Journal of Science, 2003