VNPS 2020 Annual Meeting [via Zoom]

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Friday, September 25, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


The VNPS 2020 Annual Meeting will be held via Zoom Video Conference on Friday evening, September 25, 2020 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. 

The Zoom Video Conference will open at 6:30pm for socializing and the Annual Meeting will start at 7:00pm.

The Meeting and Presentation are free and open to the public; donations are most welcome.

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Annual Meeting

Per the VNPS Bylaws, this meeting is held to elect officers and at-large members of the Board, to approve the budget for the following year, and to conduct such other business as may be appropriate.


A Virtual Tour of Virginia’s Natural Area Preserves with Chris Ludwig

Watch the Recorded Zoom Video Presentation

As most folks interested in the conservation of our native plants and animals know, Virginia has a vibrant system of Natural Area Preserves scattered throughout the Commonwealth from the far reaches of western Virginia all the way to the Eastern Shore. The beauty of these Preserves is that they were protected for their biodiversity by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program and they make up some of the most important protected conservation lands in Virginia.

Mount Joy Pond Natural Area Preserve
© DCR-DNH, Irvine Wilson used with permission

Further, many of these sites are open to the public and some of our best native plant displays can be found within them. This presentation provides a virtual tour of the Virginia Natural Area Preserve system. It is set up to take us to the preserves during prime viewing time. Along with the botanical highlights, we will learn about other special features such as the outstanding forest of the Crows Nest Natural Area Preserve, the rolling sand dunes of Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve, the labyrinthian rock formations of The Channels Natural Area Preserve, and the all-but-lost longleaf pine forest being brought back in the Natural Area Preserves of southeastern Virginia.

Chris Ludwig has explored the flora of Virginia for over 32 years. During his explorations, he has documented over 1,000 rare plant populations and has discovered or co-discovered 20 new plant species previously undocumented from the Commonwealth, two of which are new to science. Much of this work took place when Chris worked for the Virginia Natural Heritage Program within the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. There he served as Staff Botanist from 1988 to 1996 and Chief Biologist from 1997 until his retirement in 2019.

Chris Ludwig at Mt. Mansfield, VT

In 2000, Chris joined Marion Lobstein and Joslin Gallatin to form the Foundation of the Flora of Virginia Project and he worked over the next 12 years to produce the Flora of Virginia, a 1554-page illustrated manual that describes Virginia’s vascular plants with details on their taxonomy, morphology, ecology, biological status, and identification. Chris coauthored this work with Alan Weakley and Johnny Townsend. The volume was made available in Flora of Virginia app that is available on Android and iOS devices. The Flora app also enhances the original work with a graphic key that enables identification by less experienced naturalists. A major app update is scheduled in December of 2020.

Slate of Candidates for Election

The following members are proposed for election or reelection to the VNPS Board of Directors (2020 to 2023):

Sally Anderson
2nd Vice President (Term expires 2023)
Sally was elected as 2nd VP in 2012 following her VNPS presidency. She is also past president of the Piedmont Chapter and represents VNPS on the Flora of Virginia Board. She resides in the Winchester area and is also active with the State Arboretum (Blandy), Virginia Master Naturalists and a local watershed organization.

Alex Fisher
Conservation (Term expires 2023)
Alex was appointed in December 2018 to fill the Conservation term expiring in 2020 and is proposed for a full term. Alex is from the Richmond area and works for The Nature Conservancy as a wetland restoration ecologist. Please see his interview in the Summer issue of Sempervirens for more information.

Ashley Moulton
Publicity (Term expires 2022)
Ashley’s focus for VNPS will be social media, especially Instagram. She is from the Richmond area and belongs to the Pocahontas Chapter. She is interested in working in restoration. You can learn more about her from the interview in the Spring 2020 Sempervirens.

Kathleen O’Shea
Membership (Term expires 2021)
Kathleen began her career as an Archaeologist, which required an understanding of indigenous and anthropogenic plants in the interpretation of landscapes. Her fascination initially focused on edible and medicinal plants, but eventually she discovered the value of flora she couldn’t eat. She was immersed in the world of native plants during her five-plus years working at Huntley Meadows Park, a nature preserve in Alexandria. Her professional experience includes managing park operations, coordinating volunteers, marketing, and public outreach. And, of course, she is very skilled in the use of a wide variety of digging tools. Kathleen was raised in Burke in Northern Virginia and is an alumna of James Madison University. She and her husband live with their two young sons in the Richmond area. She believes in the mission of the VNPS and will focus her efforts on assisting local chapters engage and retain members through outreach and partnerships.

Rod Simmons
Co-Registry (Term expires 2023)
Rod has been a Registry co-chair since 2014 and will continue on the board with a new term in 2020. He is Natural Resource Manager and Plant Ecologist for the City of Alexandria, a member of Virginia Botanical Associates and the Botanical Society of Washington, and also serves on the board of the Maryland Native Plant Society.

Charles Smith
Co-Registry (Term expires 2023)
Charles has served as Registry co-chair since 2015. He is a native of Arlington and an Army veteran. He is a member and former board member of Prince William Wildflower Society and was also on the board of the Prince William Conservation Alliance. He teaches for several chapters of Virginia Master Naturalists. He has worked in resource management for Fairfax County in several departments, and is currently with the stormwater planning division focusing on stream and natural area restoration.

Kathleen Stasulis (Term expires 2023)
Kathleen was elected as treasurer in 2017 and is proposed for a second term. She lives in Virginia Beach and with her husband Steve and is active in the South Hampton Roads Chapter.

Joey Thompson
Education (Term expires 2023)
Joey is a Richmond native and a life-long nature lover. He began studying botany and floristics at the College of William & Mary, and he went on to study barrier island shrub ecology for his Master’s at Virginia Commonwealth University. Joey works as an Environmental Scientist for an engineering firm called VHB. At VHB, Joey conducts full floristic inventories and surveys for rare, threatened, and endangered plant species. He also surveys for a variety of other natural resources such as wetland and streams. In his three years at VHB, Joey has conducted floristic inventories in ten states from Vermont to Florida. Joey also has a love for teaching others about plants. He teaches an Introduction to Botany course at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and leads plant walks for a variety of audiences including the VNPS, VCU classes, the Richmond Garden Club, local high schools, and the Richmond Invasive Plant Task Force. Joey has an awe and fascination for wild plants that he wants to share with everyone. When he is not spending his spare time with friends and family, he is out searching for new sites to botanize and collecting specimens to identify at home.

Betty Truax
Secretary (Term expires 2023)
Betty is being elected for her second term, having served since her initial board appointment in 2016. She was executive assistant at TRW (now Northrop Grumman). She has been Vice President of both Prince William and Jefferson Chapters. She was part of core team that worked on the original version of the Piedmont Guide for regional native plants. In her spare time she gardens with natives and take pictures of bugs on native plants.

Proposed Bylaws Amendment

Our Bylaws permit VNPS Board meetings to be conducted electronically (Bylaws: Article VI. Board of Directors, Section 11. Telephonic Presence). However, Membership Meetings require “voting either in person or by proxy.” Voting by conference telephone or other electronic means are not mentioned (Handbook: III. Statewide Governance, A.VNPS Members, 2. Meetings).

Given the current pandemic health situation, the Executive Committee suggests an amendment to the VNPS Bylaws to explicitly permit Membership Meetings to be conducted electronically. The current Bylaws are available in the VNPS Administrative Handbook.

Add the following new Section 7 to Article V. Meetings of Membership:

Section 7. Telephonic Presence. Any or all Members may participate in a membership meeting by means of conference telephone or by any means of communication by which all persons participating in the meeting are able to hear one another, and such participation shall constitute presence in person at the meeting.

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