FLBS Hosts Virtual OBFS Annual Meeting

FLBS Hosts Virtual OBFS Annual Meeting

In a typical year, FLBS hosts 20+ academic workshops and conferences. It is the primary way that we generate revenue to support our 80 acres and 60 buildings in Yellow Bay. The pandemic has greatly changed things, and most scientific meetings have pivoted to a virtual format since spring of 2019.

For the second year in a row, COVID prevented us from hosting an in-person Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) Annual Meeting, but last week we were honored and excited to virtually connect, engage, and collaborate with many amazingly brilliant teams representing field stations and marine laboratories from all over the world!

As one of its charter members, FLBS has been a proud participant of OBFS since its founding in 1966. The mission of OBFS is to help member stations increase their effectiveness in supporting critical research, education, and outreach programs. Scientists working at participating field stations and marine laboratories strive to share their understanding of natural processes from the molecular to the global, and collaborate on how to best address immediate and long term challenges facing our natural world. 

While there were many wonderful moments throughout the week-long meeting, there are three highlights that we want to share.  First of all, the opening night plenary “On Phosphorus and Field Stations” was delivered by FLBS Director Jim Elser. Jim’s talk featured the essential role played by field stations around the world where Jim (and others) have conducted groundbreaking research showing the ecological importance of the nutrient phosphorus.


FLBS Associate Director Tom Bansak presents the 2021 OBFS Mary Hufty Local Hero Awards to Lysbeth Anderson and John Working.


Next, OBFS presented the 2021 Mary Hufty Local Hero Award to Flathead Lake residents and FLBS Advisory Board Member Lysbeth Anderson Working and her husband John Working.  The OBFS Local Hero Award recognizes individuals who support research, education, and outreach through personal and professional actions, particularly in the areas of biology, conservation, and ecology. Lysbeth and John have been champions of field stations for decades, engaging and generously supporting both the Flathead Lake Biological Station and Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Avid naturalists, they have participated in numerous citizen science efforts, volunteered extensively for both organizations, and completed a Flathead Lake shoreline restoration project benefiting fish, wildlife, and water quality. FLBS and OBFS are extremely appreciative of our local heroes, Lybeth and John! 


FLBS Research Professor Art McKee accepts the inaugural OBFS Distinguished Service Award.


Finally, FLBS Research Professor Art McKee was named the recipient of the inaugural OBFS Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes an individual who has cultivated a lifetime of OBFS leadership, strategic visioning, and dedication to serve and benefit future field science students, staff, and leaders. As one of the longest-standing members of OBFS, Art spent much of his career playing important roles at two field stations: USFS and Oregon State University’s Andrews Experimental Forest and FLBS. Art has conducted extensive ecological research, has been an exceptional field station administrator, and is a tireless promoter of the value of field stations. He has a passion for connecting people of different backgrounds and disciplines, and sees field stations as the perfect settings where interdisciplinary endeavors can happen and thrive. He is a very fitting recipient of this inaugural honor, and our heartfelt congratulations go out to Art McKee for this well-deserved award!