Philadelphia Botanical Club

Field Trips and Workshops

Please feel free to provide feedback or comments that may enhance our offerings to our field trip coordinators, Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700, and Marion Holmes.

Field trip leaders can download instructions for trip reports.


February 9 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Sourland Mountain Preserve, Somerset County, NJ
The 4,000-acre Sourland Mountain Preserve is situated in central New Jersey's "mountainous" mature forest in the piedmont ecoregion. Set on diabase bedrock, rich upland forest communities here are commonly distinguished by tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), and a speciose herbaceous layer. Undisturbed areas of the preserve host many conservative species including nearly a dozen rare plants. While practicing general winter species identification, this trip will look especially for winter-perennial herbaceous species including virginia pennywort (Obolaria virginica) and crippled cranefly (Tipularia discolor). Hoping to cover two to three miles up through the forested ridge and back down the right-of-way at a relaxed pace, prepare with footwear and otherwise for moderately steep, rocky, and shallow-puddly sections. RSVP to trip leader.
Directions: Meet at the preserve parking lot: 421 East Mountain Road, Hillsborough Township, NJ 08844 (entrance driveway at 40.47504, -74.69268). PDF trail map.
Leader: Gemma Milly, or 609-455-7146 (cell).

April 25 (Thursday) at 1 PM: Haddington Woods, Philadelphia, PA
This site, formerly known as Bocce Woods, has seeps, a former quarry (presently a wetland), and an approximately 100-year-old stand of trees. This woodland is transitioning from an early successional stage with tulip poplar to oak-hickory. There is also floodplain habitat, a wetland that was reconstructed in the late 1990s, and an upland alder stand. It is approximately 23 acres and is part of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation system. A recent restoration project removed much of the invasive vegetation from the area. Directions: Meet at the parking lot of the Bocce Club at 6525 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Leader: David Hewitt,

April 26-29 (Friday to Monday): City Nature Challenge, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Botanical Club is a partner in this 4-day bioblitz to document biodiversity in Philadelphia. You can document plants and/or animals on your own, or you can join outings at various locations in and near Philadelphia. Some of these outings are led by botanical club members. Philadelphia competes against over 100 other cities around the world. In 2018, the winner was San Francisco, with 41,000 observations, 3200 species, and 1532 participants. Can we beat that? See the Philadelphia City Nature Challenge page for basic information and their Events page for a list of outings to join.

May 8 (Wednesday) at 1 PM: Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland
Druid Hill is an urban park in Baltimore, with wooded and open areas, and cultivated areas. In addition to the common suite of urban plants, we will be looking for Arthraxon hispidus.
Directions: Meet at the parking lot of the Rawlings Conservatory.
Leaders: David Hewitt, , and Stan Kemp,

May 15 (Wednesday) at 10 AM: Pennypack Park, Philadelphia, PA
Pennypack Park is part of the Fairmount Park system, managed by Philadelpha Parks and Recreation. We will see canopy trees such as Liriodendron tulipifera and Fagus grandifolia, shrubs such as Lindera benzoin, and herbaceous plants such as Polygonum virginianum.
Directions: Meet at the Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600 Verree Rd, Philadelphia, PA. PDF trail map
Leader: Tony Gordon,

June 5 (Wednesday) at 2 to 5 PM: Bartram's Garden, Philadelphia, PA
Bartram's Garden is the longest living botanical garden in the United States, a public park, and it has long been a place of sanctuary for humans, plants, and animals. The garden is situated on a south-facing slope that is bordered by the lower Schuylkill River. The land straddles coastal and piedmont soil types and harbors numerous ecological niches within its 45 acres. The plant collection is a reflection of the places the Bartrams traveled in their lifetimes and is therefore a reflection of the flora of eastern North America. It has long been a special place for botanists to study and enjoy a diverse collection of plants within the city of Philadelphia. We will continue the tradition; the Philadelphia Botanical Club will venture out to survey the cultivated plant collections of the lower historic garden at Bartram's Garden. We will go through sections of the garden focusing on systematically listing herbaceous plant material in order to update the long-term botanical record of the site. This will support Bartram's Garden's goal of creating and sharing a public record of their plant collection. We will be looking at cultivated and non-cultivated plants. There are hundreds of herbaceous species at Bartram's, ranging from spring ephemerals such as Sanguinaria canadensis, Erythronium americanum, and Mertensia virginica, which we may catch the tail end of bloom, to cultivated bog and aquatic plants such as Helonias bullata, Orontium aquaticum, Thalia dealbata and Dionaea muscipula, and eastern hardwood understory plants such as Actaea racemosa, Hydrastis canadensis, and Panax quinquefolium. We may be lucky to see "rare birds" such as Calydorea coelestina, Aletris farinosa, and Chamaelirium luteum and others such as Zephyranthes atamasco, Elephantopus carolinianus, several different species of Nicotiana, Monarda, and Digitalis each, and grasses such as Hierochloe odorata. We will also count wild herbaceous plants occurring in the gardens.
Directions: We will meet at the picnic tables at the top of the meadow at 2 p.m. Bartram's Garden is located at 5400 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19143.
Leaders: Mandy Katz, and David Hewitt,

July 14 (Sunday) at 9:30 AM: Ferns of Northwest Philadelphia
Northwest Philadelphia has a surprising abundance of ferns, including quite a few "epipetric" ferns: those that grow on rocks. Around six epipetric species have colonized the old stone walls that are common in northwest Philadelphia. We'll take a stroll to see these ferns. We start at the Mount Airy train station, which has a thriving population of Pellaea glabella (smooth cliffbrake). The fern has been growing at this site in at least since the 1930s, when it was reported by Edgar Wherry. We then carpool to Chestnut Hill, where a short walk will yield Pellaea atropurpurea (purple-stem cliffbrake), Woodsia obtusa (blunt-lobed Woodsia), Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort), and Cystopteris tennesseensis (Tennessee bladder fern). This last fern is endangered in Pennsylvania, but quite abundant in northwest Philadelphia. After the walk, everyone is invited to a picnic in the leader's garden. Also on offer is a tour of the garden, which is very much a botanist's garden, containing a high diversity of plants, many of them unusual.
Directions: Meet at the Mount Airy SEPTA station, 149 East Gowen Avenue in Philadelphia. The train is on the Chestnut Hill East line, and a train will arrive at 9:25 AM. (For a return trip by train, note that our ending point is within a 10-minute walk of the Wyndmoor Station on the Chestnut Hill East line and the St. Martins Station on the Chestnut Hill West line.)
Leader: Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700 (cell)

July 20 (Saturday): Hamburg Mountain WMA, Hardyston Township, Sussex County, NJ. Trip postponed to August 3 because of the heat wave.

July 27 (Saturday) at 10 AM to 3 PM: Franklin Parker Preserve, Chatsworth, NJ
The Franklin Parker Preserve is an 11,000-acre property in Chatsworth, NJ owned jointly by the NJ DEP and New Jersey Conservation Foundation and managed by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation. This area was once an active farm with cranberry bogs and blueberry fields. Here we will have an opportunity to identify many characteristic pine barren species in the preserve's uplands, cedar swamps, and aquatic habitats. We will spend time visiting parts of the preserve that were subject to a prescribed burn and document the plants we encounter in these areas. Plan to spend 5 hours outdoors and come prepared with lunch, boots, insect repellant, sunscreen and rain gear.
Directions: Meet at the Franklin Parker Preserve's Chatsworth Lake Entrance (Route 532). From Philadelphia: Take Route 70 to the Route 70/Route 206 circle (Red Lion Circle). Take Route 206 South approximately 2.8 miles to Medford Lakes-Tabernacle Road (CR-532) and TURN LEFT. Continue on CR-532 East through Tabernacle and toward Chatsworth for approximately 10.5 miles. Prior to a left-handed bend in the road (and your first glimpse of Chatsworth Lake) TURN RIGHT on to a sand road.
Leaders: Russell Juelg and Ryan Rebozo,

August 3 (Saturday) at 10 AM to 4 PM: Hamburg Mountain WMA, Hardyston Township, Sussex County, NJ (Postponed from July 20 due to the weather)
Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area is a 5,168 acre property managed by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. It contains rocky, wooded slopes with small pockets of wetlands. This trip will involve approximately 3 miles of hiking, much of it on steep and rocky terrain. We will hike through a Hemlock ravine, check out some wooded slopes, explore a few high(er) elevation glades, and visit a few other habitat types. Hiking boots recommended.
Directions (update): We will meet in a parking lot off Route 23 northwest of Lake Gerard with coordinates 41.10605, -74.55951. Copy those coordinates into google maps as you would any street address, or enter them into your navigation as latitude and longitude. Please register with the leader at the email below.
Leader: Jason Hafstad,

August 11-15 (Sunday to Thursday): Joint Field Meeting (BotSoc)
Prairies of Adams County, Ohio

Each year the Botanical Society of America, the Torrey Botanical Society, and the Philadelphia Botanical Club sponsor a field meeting in the area of the northeastern United States. The 2019 meeting will explore Adams County, Ohio and will be housed at Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center. Adams County is located in the beautiful rolling hills of Southern Ohio. It is bounded on the southern side by the Ohio River. Adams County is noted for its fertile farmland, forests, wildlife, prairies and limestone deposits.
Field Trips:
ADAMS LAKE PRAIRIE STATE NATURE PRESERVE: This sparsely vegetated xeric, or dry, prairie is situated on a highly eroded slope of calcareous Estill Shale surrounded by a second-growth oak-hickory woodland. Red cedar, post oak and blackjack oak occur sporadically in the prairie opening. Prairie grasses are sparse, but Adams Lake Prairie supports diverse prairie forbs including a stand of prairie dock. Some of the interesting plants found growing at this cedar barren prairie include spider milkweed, shooting-star, green milkweed, Carolina buckthorn, American aloe, slender blazing-star and large summer bluets. (
CHAPARRAL PRAIRIE STATE NATURE PRESERVE: This is an outstanding xeric limestone prairie with post and blackjack oak. It supports the most extensive population of rattlesnake-master in the state. Prairie dock and spiked blazing-star are also unusually abundant at this site. Eleven state-listed species have been recorded at the preserve, including spider milkweed, prairie false indigo, pink milkwort and American bluehearts. Little bluestem is the dominant prairie grass. (
KA-MA-MA PRAIRIE: The region provides canvas for classic prairie open grasslands, cedar-dominated glades, light-shaded dry bluffs, and young forests composed of oaks, hickories and scrub pines. The grasslands have an unusual number of classic short-grass prairie species such as little bluestem, prairie dock, rattlesnake master, and false gromwell. The extremely rare prairie gentian was found here and is one of only two known locations in the entire state. (
CHALET NIVALE PRESERVE: The dolomite bedrock of Chalet Nivale creates a compelling karst-country landscape of springs, seeps, grottos, and sinkholes. These alkaline soils and bedrocks are renowned for producing a diverse assemblage of rare and endangered wildflowers, ferns and shrubs, including herbs with prairie-associations, such as climbing milkvine, stiff gentian and tall larkspur. Ancient white cedar trees, isolated hundreds of miles south of their normal range in the North Woods, cling to the bluffs of the cliffs. (
E. LUCY BRAUN LYNX PRAIRIE PRESERVE: Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967, Lynx Prairie was protected to save the best of the few remaining remnants of the once extensive prairies of this area. This preserve features a series of natural grassland openings that appear as islands in an otherwise forested area. These natural openings, called cedar barrens or glades, are prevalent throughout the preserve system. (
DAVIS MEMORIAL STATE NATURE PRESERVE: Geologic features include excellent Silurian dolomite cliffs. Both Greenfield dolomite and Peebles dolomite are exposed. Ohio black shale occurs on the tops of the knobs. An impressive fault, causing vertical displacement of 30 feet, exposes adjacent cliffs of Greenfield and Peebles dolomite. The preserve's dolomite cliffs provide habitat for white cedar and sullivantia. American aloe, dwarf hawthorn, hairy wing-stem, side-oats gramma grass and purple coneflower are found in the prairie openings. Other significant species include tall larkspur, limestone adder's-tongue fern, narrow-leaved bluecurls and Walter's violet. (
Evening Speakers: Sunday, Guy Denny; Monday, Allison Cusick; Tuesday, Martin McAllister; Wednesday, Rick Gardner
Facilities: We have access to a room that will likely be available for plant ID after hours.
Lodging: Housing will be at Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center, 4404B State Route 125, West Portsmouth, Ohio 45663. All lodge rooms are air-conditioned/heated and have satellite television, AM/FM alarm clock radios, telephones, iron and ironing boards, refrigerators, bathtubs, and a private balcony.
Dining: Breakfasts and dinners will be served at Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center. Lunch is box-style and will be picked up at breakfast. Shawnee Lodge requires that all food and beverages be purchased through the lodge.
Registration and additional information: Download the meeting invitation in PDF or Word format The registration deadline is June 1.

September 7 (Saturday) at 10 AM to 12 PM: North Brigantine Natural Area, Brigantine, NJ
The North Brigantine Natural Area was designated in 1967 and is approximately 2.5 miles of intact, protected beach habitat. This natural area is part of the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island beach in New Jersey and is home to several rare plant and bird species. On our beach walk we will be able to identify many of our characteristic dune and beach plant species that no longer exist in more heavily used beaches. Plan to spend at least two hours outdoors walking in soft sand and away from shade. Come prepared with lunch, boots, insect repellant, sunscreen and rain gear.
Directions: Please email the trip leader if you plan on attending. Meet at the North Brigantine Natural Area parking area by the observation deck. From Philadelphia: Take Route 676/US30 east to 42 South. From route 42 take the Atlantic City Expressway East to exit 1. Continue on Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector. Take Brigantine Blvd to West Brigantine Ave and continue east. Make a left on North 14th Street, take it to the end and make a right. The sand parking area will be on your left hand side.
Leader: Ryan Rebozo,

September 8 (Sunday) at 10 AM: Spring Hill Fire Recovery Hike, Ocean County, NJ
This will be a short field trip to a section of pines that is having a robust recovery following the Spring Hill Fire in March of this year. We will see an incredible population of blooming Calamovilfa brevipilis, several species of healthy Rhynchospora, Gentiana autumnalis, Drosera spp., Agalinis, and Muhlenbergia torreyana and other interesting/rare flora that flourishes in post fire situations. Due to past fire occurrence, your clothes may get charred marks as you brush against vegetation, so older clothes are suggested. Boots recommended (wet walking towards the end). No difficult driving conditions. Bring snacks, lunch, water, bug spray. To join the trip, you must register (contact Terry via text 609-412-3394 or email ). Because the site is poorly suited to large groups, the trip is limited to the first 20 people who register.
Directions: Meet at 866 Route 72, Barnegat, NJ 08005 at the entrance of the wide dirt road across from the junk yard. (39.808502 -74.40303)
Leaders: Terry Schmidt and Mark Szutarski

September 21 (Saturday) at 10 AM to 3 PM: Aquatic Plant Primer, Spring Lake, Mercer County, NJ
All are welcome at this introduction to aquatic plants. In the morning, we will examine common wetland species in and around the lake, but Heteranthera multiflora and Wolffiella gladiata, NJ rare species, are likely. After lunch, we will visit a tidal marsh site, part of the northernmost tidal freshwater wetland on the Delaware River; access there is muddy, be prepared for wet walking. Knee high boots or VERY old footwear are recommended especially for the tidal site. Bring lunch and beverage; insect repellent is not usually needed. This is a joint trip with the Torrey Botanical Society and the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
Directions: Meet at Spring Lake at 10 AM, Roebling Park, Hamilton, NJ. (from South Broad St. (NJ Rt 206), turn onto Sewell Ave., at the end, turn left and drive down the hill to the parking lot).
Leader: Mary Leck,

September 22 (Sunday) at 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM: State Line Serpentine Barrens, Cecil County, MD, and Chester County, PA
The State Line serpentine barrens are a string of grasslands and oak-pine forests formed by exposures of serpentine bedrock on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, and form the largest serpentine area in Pennsylvania. Historically, these ecosystems were subject to regular fires, grazing, and mining; in the absence of disturbance, extensive management has become necessary to maintain grassland communities. We will begin at Pilot, a small barrens owned by The Nature Conservancy. Restoration efforts began in 1988 and it has since been subject to regular prescribed fire. We will then move east to the Goat Hill barrens, an approximately 600-acre tract owned by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and see some of the areas maintained by the BoF and the Friends of the State Line Serpentine Barrens. Time permitting, we will move east again and finish by examining a scraped area at TNC's Chrome Barrens. This deeper-soiled habitat hosts several species of Coastal Plain affinities otherwise rare in Pennsylvania, such as Lyonia mariana, Polygala curtissii, and Scleria triglomerata. The globally rare Symphyotrichum depauperatum should be in bloom at all sites, and we expect to find other state-listed serpentinophytes such as Ageratina aromatica, Aristida purpurascens, Asclepias verticillata, Minuartia michauxiana, Phemeranthus teretifolius, and others. Bring a lunch and plenty of water. Expect rocky hiking and be prepared for ticks and chiggers.
Directions: Meet at the Camp Shadow Brook parking lot on Pilot Town Road, Conowingo, MD. From Philadelphia: Take I-95 south to MD 272 north. Take the first left onto MD 274 north. Proceed to Rising Sun and turn left on MD 273 west. Turn left and proceed south where it joins US 1. Turn right on MD 222. Turn left on Old Conowingo Road and proceed straight across the next intersection (road becomes Pilot Town Road). After crossing Conowingo Creek on an S-curve, look for a gate and gravel parking lot on the left as you ascend the hill.
Leader: Chris Hoess,

September 28 (Saturday): Coastal Plain Seasonal Ponds of Blackbird State Forest, Delaware
We will be visiting a complex of Coastal Plain seasonal ponds within the Blackbird State Forest of southwestern New Castle Co., Delaware. Coastal Plain seasonal ponds are wetland depressions that occur in forested areas that are typically flooded in the winter and spring when the groundwater table is high, and are dry in late summer when the ground water table is low. Coastal Plain seasonal ponds often support a unique suite of plant species that are adapted to fluctuating groundwater levels. Based on conditions, uncommon species we hope to see include: Carex barratii, C. bullata, C. buxbaumii, C. gigantea, C. lupuliformis, Carex vesicaria, Fimbristylis perpusilla, Rhynchospora corniculata, Eragrostis hypnoides, Hottonia inflata and Ranunculus flabellaris.
Directions: We will be meeting at 10:00 at the Blackbird State Forest parking area, west of the town of Smyrna on Saw Mill Rd. (N 39 19 14.84 - W 75 45 3.93).
Leader: Bill McAvoy,

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.