Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award — 2013 Recipient: Stewart A. Ware


Gail S. Baker

Additional Authors:


Sept 2013



Dr. Stewart A. Ware, Emeritus Professor of Biology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, received the Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award on April 12th at the annual meeting of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (SABS) held in Charleston, West Virginia. This annual award honors the memory of Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew’s untiring and unselfish service to SABS, professional botanists, students and the public. The highest honor given by the Society, this award is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in professional and public service that advances our knowledge of the world of plants and their scientific, cultural, and aesthetic values.

Stewart Ware is a native of southeastern Mississippi and a 1960 graduate of Stringer High School. In 1964 he received a B. S. in Biology from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was mentored by plant ecologist Dr. Donald Caplenor. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1968, where he worked under Dr. Elsie Quarterman. His dissertation research focused on the adaptive strategies of a plant species to the unique habitat of the middle Tennessee cedar glades. In the course of ecological studies of Talinum (now called Phemeranthus) he described a new species, the cedar glade endemic Phemeranthus calcarius. In 1967 Dr. Ware joined the biology faculty of the College of William and Mary, where he remained until his retirement in 2009. His career at William and Mary included 6 years as chair of the Biology Department (1976-82). He directed 10 graduate students, and was granted three sabbaticals, two of which were spent at the University of Arkansas, where he studied rock outcrop plants of the Ozark Mountains. Stewart continues to live in Williamsburg with his wife, plant taxonomist Dr. Donna M. E. Ware, who received the Bartholomew Award in 1997.

Stewart’s teaching abilities are legendary. He taught several ecology and botany courses, including Community Ecology and Biogeography, both taught alternately for 40 years, and General Ecology, which he taught for 31 years. Because the primary focus of the College of William and Mary is undergraduate education, he mentored a large number of undergraduate students. Many did research projects, which resulted in over 20 papers in refereed journals and numerous presentations at meetings of the Association of Southeastern Biologists or the Virginia Academy of Science. Most of his master’s degree students did research projects that resulted in publications in refereed journals (including Castanea) and/or in presentations at ASB or VAS meetings. In 1987 he received the Meritorious Teaching Award from the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

About 70% of Stewart’s research has been in the broad field of forest ecology. He has researched and written on a variety of topics, including 1) the effects of hurricanes, ice storms, and deer browsing on forest composition and succession; 2) the distribution and roles of certain species—such as beech and hickory—in southern forests; 3) comparisons between piedmont and coastal plain forests; and 4) the effects of flooding, soil factors, and topography on forest composition and succession. He was invited to give presentations at three symposia on forest ecology between 1989 and 1995. All three were published, two in refereed publications and one as a book chapter. Their titles are indicative of the breadth of his work, and the fact that he was asked to participate is a tribute to his standing in the field. Stewart studied cedar glade endemics as a graduate student in the 1960s, and he has continued to research rock outcrops and their unique plants and soils, particularly in the Ozark Mountains. In 2011 he described another new species, Phemeranthus piedmontanus, from the piedmont outcrops of Virginia and North Carolina. Of his 100þ journal articles and contributed papers and presentations, about 25% deal with rock outcrop plant communities.

Stewart Ware has been a regular contributor to Castanea for over 30 years; his first paper was published in 1979 and his latest in 2011. He is the author or co-author of more than 50 papers in refereed journals, 15 of which are in Castanea. Because several of these papers were co-authored by students, he introduced them to the journal and to the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. Over the years, Stewart has reviewed dozens of manuscripts for Castanea. Audrey Mellichamp, retired editor of the journal, said this about Stewart as a reviewer: ‘‘Stewart was one of my earlier editors when I became Managing Editor of Castanea. Having been editing for ecology journals, Stewart knew what to do and how to help authors with their articles. He was thoughtful and helpful and prompt in his reviews.’’ He also served the SABS as Ecology Editor and Executive Committee member, and as both member and chair of the Nominations Committee and Editorial Committee. His editing and leadership skills extended to other organizations and journals, particularly those in Virginia. He founded and chaired the Botany Section of the Virginia Academy of Sciences in the early 1970’s, was the editor of the Virginia Journal of Science from 1979–1984 and president of the Virginia Academy of Sciences in 1989–1990. Early in his career he was the editor of Jeffersonia (a journal of Virginia botany) and in the mid-19900s he was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. In 2006 he was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Medal for Contributions to Natural Science in Virginia by the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Stewart has lived in Williamsburg, Virginia for 46 years, and over the decades has given dozens of educational talks to amateur and semi-professional groups, such as the John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society (JCC/VNPS), the Colonial Virginia Chapter of the American Holly Society, local Master Gardeners and Virginia Tree Stewards. Titles of talks given in 2012 were: ‘‘Identification and Assessment of Common Trees of the Virginia Coastal Plain,’’ ‘‘The J. T. Baldwin Memorial Plantings at the College of William and Mary,’’ and ‘‘Native Plants and Native Soils.’’ He is famous for his extremely popular ‘‘Nude Tree Walks’’ which he leads for the JCC/VNPS. Due in large part to Stewart’s sunny personality, over 50 people come out on frigid, windy Saturdays to learn and laugh with him! Stewart Ware’s many outstanding traits—great teaching and dedication to students, ongoing research in plant ecology, long service to professional organizations including SABS, and continuing support of local and state conservation groups—exemplify the qualities of Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew in whose memory the Society gives this award.

—Gail S. Baker, Emeritus Professor of Biology, Northwest Florida State College