Philadelphia Botanical Club

Field Trips and Workshops

Philadelphia Botanical Club field trips offer a way to become familiar with our region's plants and habitats, along with good places to see them. The trips are run by volunteers who know the site, and everyone on the trip can participate in spotting and identifying the plants.

Unless noted otherwise, trips start at 10 AM. Unless noted otherwise, trips are free and open to the public.

Please feel free to provide feedback or comments that may enhance our offerings to our field trip coordinator, David Lauer,

Field trip leaders can download instructions for trip reports.


The 2023 field trip schedule is under development. Below are the trips scheduled so far.

April 23-27, 2023 (Sunday to Thursday): Joint Field Meeting (BotSoc)
Mountains of Western North Carolina

Each year the Botanical Society of America NE section, the Torrey Botanical Society, and the Philadelphia Botanical Club sponsor a field meeting in eastern North America. The 2023 meeting will explore the mountains of western North Carolina and will be housed at the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center. Lake Junaluska is about 35 miles from the Asheville Regional Airport. The nearest town with amenities is Waynesville.
Field Trips:
Day 1: We traverse the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit Red Bank Cove, Graveyard Fields, and the Pink Beds. Red Bank Cove has a diverse flora of early spring blooming herbaceous species. Graveyard Fields has high-elevation species, rock outcrops, seep and waterfalls. The federally listed rock gnome lichen (Gymnoderma lineare) occurs at Graveyard Fields. The Pink Beds is a Southern Appalachian bog with federally listed swamp pinks (Helonias bullata).
Day 2: We will contrast a low-elevation site, Harmon Den (2000-2500 ft), with a high-elevation site, Waterrock Knob (6000 ft). Harmon Den has mountain catchfly (Silene ovata) and a large population of pirate bush (Buckleya distichophylla). Waterrock Knob is at the crest of the Pott Balsams along the Blue Ridge Parkway with Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) and scattered mountain wood fern (Dryopteris campyloptera).
Day 3: Highlights include a very rare serpentine barren with three endemic plants (serpentine ragwort, Rhiannon's aster, and Buck Creek heartleaf), a southern Appalachian Bog at Whiteoak Bottoms, and a rich cove forest along Waslick Poplar Trail. Buck Creek Serpentine Barren hosts nineteen state-listed rare plant species (three endemic) and four state-listed butterfly species.
Evening Speakers: Sunday: Josh Kelly, "Overview of Southern Appalachian Flora"; Monday: Dr. Charles Williams, "André Michaux Live"; Tuesday: Dr. Shane Schoepfer and Gary Kauffman, "Unique Geology within Southern Appalachians and Buck Creek Serpentine Barren Flora"; Wednesday: Brent Martin, "William Bartram Visits in the Southern Appalachians"
Lodging and Meals: Housing, breakfasts, and dinners will be at Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center, 689 N Lakeshore Dr., Lake Junaluska, NC. Lunches to take in the field will be provided at breakfast time.
Registration and additional information: Download in PDF or Word format. The registration deadline is February 24.

May 18 at 3 PM to May 19 at 3 PM (Thursday-Friday): Bioblitz at Croydon Woods, Bucks County, PA
Members of the Philadelphia Botanical Club are invited to participate in the bioblitz organized by the Heritage Conservancy. The goal of the bioblitz event is to document as many species as possible that are living or utilizing the preserve as habitat. This helps Heritage Conservancy better manage the preserve for people as well as limiting the impact to the habitat or sensitive species. The biodiversity surveys will consist of teams for each taxa that will be monitoring the property and recording every species encountered. The teams will consist of professionals and experienced volunteers. The organizers will have scheduled times for each team to survey particular taxa on both days. The bioblitz will conclude with a closing ceremony until 6PM. The ceremony will include some public programs, nature walks, food trucks, and some closing remarks from staff and sponsors. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering on the biological surveys, please reach out to Tyler Kovacs at to sign up. Please provide your name, phone number, and a brief description of your experience with biodiversity identification. (There are volunteer opportunities for all experience levels.)

June 2 (Friday): Fulshaw Craeg Preserve, Green Lane area, Montgomery County, PA
The 300-acre Fulshaw Craig Preserve, in Salford Township, is owned by the Natural Lands, supports a variety of habitats ranging from deciduous forest to wet meadows, floodplains and exposed rock. Over 400 species of plants have been documented on this diabase property which is split by the Ridge Valley Creek.
Accessibility: Mostly smooth trails, some ups and downs, and a creek that must be crossed by holding a wire as one steps upon rocks.
Directions: Meet at 124 King Road, Salford Township, Green Lane, PA 18054. Coordinates: 40.337673, -75.419428
Leader: Link Davis, 610-316-0036 or

June 4 (Sunday): Saint Peters/French Creek area, Chester County, PA
We'll explore a rich diabase forest along French Creek with an extensive industrial history. Attractions include many traces of past quarrying and other land use, habitats ranging from streamsides and seeps to upland forest, and a diverse herbaceous layer with a variety of parasitic and hemi-parasitic plants.
Accessibility: Mix of rugged terrain with large boulders and some smoother trails. Walking route can be determined based on the needs/interests of the group.
Directions: Meet at the trailhead off St Peters Road, just north of the Village Arcade (Google Maps lists it as "St. Peters Village Hiking Trails"). 40.179885, -75.732064
Leader: Marion Holmes

June 10 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Nottingham County Park, Chester Co., PA
See the early summer flora of a mid-Atlantic serpentine barrens, a globally rare ecosystem, at this National Natural Landmark and discuss the ecology and restoration of serpentine barrens. In addition to the typical barrens flora such as Cerastium velutinum, Arabidopsis lyrata, Sabatia michauxii, Packera anonyma, and Lobelia spicata, we will seek out some less common species such as Lilium philadelphicum (budding), Chamaelirium luteum, and Sericocarpus linifolius. Graminoid fanciers are also encouraged to participate in identifying the many interesting Dichanthelium here (the leader's participation in this activity is not guaranteed).
Driections: Meet at the paved parking on the east side of the park, around the beginning of the Chrome Trail. Trail maps are available on the Nottingham County Park website.
Leader: Chris Hoess, or 267-918-6803

June 16 (Friday): Bear Creek Preserve: Postponed to August 15

June 17 (Saturday), 10 AM to noon: Schuylkill River Trail, Center City Philadelphia
We'll review the history the Schuylkill riverbank from Walnut to Christian Streets, starting from the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. We will consider degradation of the riverbank, remediation, conversion to recreational use, and "nature in the city." We will explore wild plants around manicured turf and ornamental plantings. Optional background reading (free access online): The Redemption of the Lower Schuylkill: The River As It Was, The River As It Is, The River As It Should Be by John Frederick Lewis, published in 1924.
Directions: Meet on the trail under the Walnut Street Bridge at 10 AM.
Leader: Ken Frank

July 22 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Pakim Pond, Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, Burlington County, NJ
An introduction to Pine Barrens flora. Contrast dry pitch pine forest and ericaceous scrub with Atlantic white-cedar swamp and wetlands in a former cranberry bog. See carnivorous plants (Sarracenia purpurea, three species of Drosera), the Coastal Plain endemic turkeybeard (Xerophyllum asphodeloides) (not flowering), and the unusual curly-grass fern (Schizaea pusilla). Initial trip will be dry walking on trail system around and near pond; possible extension afterwards with wet conditions in nearby cedar swamp, looking for Collins' sedge (Carex collinsii) and Massachusetts fern (Coryphopteris simulata).
Directions: Meet at the Pakim Pond parking area (39.88014, -74.53435). Coming from the Philadelphia area, take Route 72 southwest from Red Lion traffic circle and turn left onto Buzzard Hill Road about 1 mile from the circle. Cross Shinns Road and bear right at next intersection; parking lot is on the left just afterwards.
Leader: Chris Hoess, or cell 267-918-6803

August 12 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Haycock Mountain, Lake Nockamixon area, Bucks County, PA
Haycock Mountain, which lies within State Games Lands 157 in northern Bucks County, is a ridge of volcanic diabase. It offers a rich flora with some unusual species. Most of the walk will be through rocky woods, with abundant Actaea racemosa (black cohosh) and Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood). In a field of large boulders we will see Sambucus racemosa (red elder) and hope to find Adlumia fungosa (Allegheny vine) in bloom. The trail is not especially steep, but parts are quite rocky, so we recommend hiking boots or other sturdy footwear and perhaps a walking stick. Time permitting, we will botanize other interesting areas in the vicinity.
Directions: Top Rock Park parking lot; 40.493144, -75.207072. The parking lot is on the west side of Top Rock trail (a road), about ˝ mile north of Rte 563. The intersection of Top Rock Trail and Rte 563 is 1.2 miles west of the intersection of 563 and and Rte 212, north of Ottsville.
Leaders: Janet Novak or 215-534-6700 (cell) and David Lauer

August 18 (Friday) at 10:30 AM: Natural Lands' Bear Creek Preserve, Luzerne County, PA
The almost 4,000-acre Bear Creek Preserve is a vast expanse of forests and steep stream valleys in the Lehigh River Watershed. Larger than many state parks, the preserve is a mosaic of diverse, thriving habitats and plant communities, including several rare species. The land provides vital habitat for native wildlife, including black bear, coyote, Bald Eagle, and many species of migratory songbirds. Bear Creek Preserve is part of a larger landscape of protected lands and popular recreation areas, including state parks and gamelands, that spans more than 150,000 acres.
Registration: If you plan to attend, please register with David Lauer , providing your email address and phone number. In case of severe weather etc necessitating a change in schedule, we will be able to contact you before 8:15 AM.
Directions are on the Bear Creek Preserve website.
Leaders: Josh Saltmer, Preserve Manager, and David Lauer,

dwarf pitch pines (Pinus rigida)
Pygmy pine trees near Warren Grove, New Jersey. These pitch pines are less than 6' tall, thanks to dry, infertile soil and frequent fires. The botanical club visited the site on a field trip in late April, 2017. Photo © 2017 Terry Schmidt.