The Virginia Natural History Society (VNHS) was formed in 1992 to bring together persons interested in the natural history of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The VNHS defines natural history in a broad sense, from the study of plants, animals, and other organisms to the geology and ecology of the state, to the natural history of the native people who inhabit it. The goals of the VNHS are to promote research on the natural history of Virginia, educate the citizens of the Commonwealth on natural history topics, and to encourage the conservation of natural resources.
Dissemination of natural history information occurs through publication of the journal Banisteria, named for John Banister (1650-1692) who was the first university-trained naturalist to work in Virginia. The first issue was published in 1992, and until 2020, the journal was published twice per year in spring and fall. Beginning in 2020, the distribution of Banisteria was changed to “electronic only, Open Access,” and articles are published online as soon as they are accepted. Articles cover a wide array of subjects, and members of VNHS are encouraged to submit manuscripts on any aspect of natural history in Virginia; book reviews and biographies of relevance to natural history in Virginia are also welcomed. Manuscripts are peer-reviewed for suitability and edited for inclusion in the journal.