THE GREEN GEM OF JEPSON DIGITALLY SHINES!
In the basement of Jepson, there is a hidden gem of the department – the University of Mary Washington Herbarium. This modest collection contains about 5000 plant specimens, mostly from Virginia, the eastern United States, and Jamaica, tucked inside cabinets in a cold room for preservation. Each specimen contains valuable information about the plant species and makes up the herbarium’s natural history collection, which has not been shared with the outside world…until now!
The Mary Washington Herbarium recently joined the Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC) consortium as part of a larger international initiative to digitize natural history collections. The consortium includes 230 herbaria in 14 states, but is only one example of such biodiversity collections that are now available online. As part of this project, efforts are underway to update taxonomy and restore each specimen, as well as to capture resolution image and identification data about each for compilation into the online database. All of this information will be shared with the campus and broader scientific communities and thereby become available to researchers and interested individuals for research and discovery.