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, all 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, Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700.

Field trip leaders can download instructions for trip reports.

Field Trips and Coronavirus Safety

During the coronavirus epidemic, the Philadelphia Botanical Club is cognizant of the risk posed by public gatherings. Nevertheless, we value the opportunity to offer recreation during this difficult time. Health authorities say that walking outdoors poses only a small risk, as long as the groups are small and everyone wears a mask. Therefore, until further notice, all participants in PBC field trips will be required to wear a mask. In addition, some trips will limit the number of participants and require pre-registration (first come, first served). Registrants who change their mind are politely asked to notify the trip leader, so that someone else can be offered their slot.

If the risk of infection worsens or if the local authorities restrict gatherings, the size of trips may be further limited, or trips may be cancelled. We will attempt to provide at least 2 days' notice of cancellations. Whether or not you come on field trips, enjoy the outdoors and stay safe!

2021 SCHEDULE

The field trip schedule is still under development; below are the trips scheduled so far.

April 17 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Whittingham Wildlife Management Area, Sussex County, NJ
Whittingham WMA encompasses 2,000 acres of open fields, wetlands, lakes, vernal ponds, the 'Big Spring', and mesic hardwood forest (oak, hickory, tulip tree, red maple, witch hazel). Whittingham is home to several rare and uncommon species. We will look for some common ones: blood root, Dutchman's breeches, and sweet cicely but may see others less common. Plants not yet in bloom will include nodding trillium and an assortment of violets, yellow jewelweed, etc. Very easy flat trails although there will be some barberry, multiflora rose, and blackberry and maybe a few wet areas. The loop trail is only about 1.5 miles. Bring a lunch, especially if you want to explore this large area later on your own. There are some half dozen parking lots on the perimeter of the area so you can easily spend the day(s) exploring this park or any of the nearby preserves, which we can direct you to.
Registration (required) is limited to 15 people. To register, contact the trip leader.
Directions will be provided upon registration
Leader: Hubert Ling



April 30 to May 3: City Nature Challenge, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Botanical Club is a partner in this 4-day bioblitz to document biodiversity in Philadelphia and adjacent counties (Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Gloucester, Camden, and Burlington Counties). The goal is to observe and identify wild organisms, whether they are plants, animals, fungi, lichens, microorganisms. See the Philadelphia City Nature Challenge page for basic information on the event. To participate, use iNaturalist to document living organisms. To get started, sign up for a free iNaturalist account, then see their "getting started" page or their video tutorials. You can participate in the City Nature Challenge by documenting organisms or identifying organisms on your own, or you can participate with the botanical club on the following four events.

April 30 (Friday) at 10 AM: Fulshaw Craeg Preserve, Montgomery County, PA
Fulshaw Craeg is a preserve maintained by Natural Lands and located in Salford Township, Montgomery County, PA. Providing a variety of habitats—woods, a boulder field, and both wet and dry meadows—it is, in my opinion, the premier Montgomery County location for wildflowers throughout the seasons. On the walk, it will be necessary to cross the Ridge Valley Creek. Your choice is either to use a series of stepping stones aided by a wire cable for balance, or to wear waterproof wading/hiking boots and ford the creek with the aid of a walking stick.
Registration: Registration is required. Participation is limited to the first 15 people, with the option of increasing that number if the pandemic risk decreases significantly. Although we will be outdoors, a mask is required. Register with the trip leader (contact info below).
Directions will be provided upon registration.
Leader: Link Davis, or 610-316-0036

May 1 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia, PA
In conjunction with the City Nature Challenge, we will be documenting plant species in this 340-acre preserve in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. This preserve probably has Philadelphia's best display of spring wildflowers. Plants we will likely see in bloom include Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox), Mertensia virginica (bluebells), Stellaria pubera (star chickweed), Geranium maculatum (wild geranium), Packera aurea (golden ragwort), Thalictrum thalictroides (rue anemone), and Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders). Because the preserve is in Philadelphia, it also has a large number of non-native plant species. One of particular interest is Corydalis incisa, which is just beginning to appear the region's natural areas. Thus, the trip offers a chance to learn to recognize this emerging invasive. We will walk for approximately 2 miles (with some moderate hills) on good trails. If time permits, we will also visit Roxborough Reservoir.
Registration: Registration is required, and the trip is limited to 15 participants (though we may increase that number if the COVID-19 incidence drops). To register, contact the trip leader.
Directions will be provided upon registration.
Leader: Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700

May 2 (Sunday) at 10 am: Botany and Birds of the Pine Barrens, Burlington County, NJ
As part of the City Nature Challenge, the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and the Philadelphia Botanical Club are partnering to host a trip to the New Jersey Pine barrens. We'll find diverse plants, birds, fungi, insects and more—and have fun documenting them on iNaturalist! Our tentative agenda includes a start at the Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve (for possible prothonotary, hooded and of course prairie warblers—and others; some cedar swamp to explore), followed by a walk at the Franklin Parker Preserve (deservedly known as a place to see the classic pine barrens plants; we'll pick up some shorebirds, waders, and raptors). Species likely to be in bloom include Pyxidanthera barbulata (pixiemoss), Kalmia buxifolia (sandmyrtle), and Hudsonia ericoides (goldenheather). We may finish with a stop near the Carranza Memorial. The agenda may change a bit depending on reports closer to the date. Walk with us as long as you'd like, dress for ticks and don't forget to bring food and water.
Registration: The trip is now full. To get onto the wait list, contact Janet Novak (contact information below).
Directions will be provided upon registration.
Leaders: Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700 (cell), and Anne Bekker, or 215-586-0636

May 4 (Tuesday) at 7:10 PM: Online Plant Identification Gathering
Put your plant identification skills to use by identifying plants from their photographs in the citizen-scientist project iNaturalist. Over half the plants observed on iNaturalist in our region still lack confirmed IDs, so your identifications are much needed! During this event, you can identify plants while enjoying the company of others doing the same thing. By gathering on Zoom, we'll be able to chat, share interesting plants we come across, and ask each other for opinions on tough-to-identify plants. At 7:10 PM, I'll demonstrate how to identify plants on iNaturalist. Then at 7:30 PM, we'll start identifying. Our focus will be the plants observed in the greater Philadelphia region during this year's City Nature Challenge.
Registration: Sign up (free) at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrcOChrDgqHNYjTrR1eAgdHuN-mgUEr9Fe, and you'll receive the link to the Zoom meeting.
Organizer: Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700



May 13 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This is the first of a monthly series of walks to explore the plants of this park. We will walk along the Delaware River and Pennypack Creek. The site has new tree plantings and meadows that were seeded a few years ago. The site also has an eagle's nest, and we'll see whether it is occupied this year. No registration is required.
Directions: Enter the park at Rhawn Street and State Road in Philadelphia. Meet in the first parking lot.
Leader: Tony Gordon, or 267-240-0211 (cell)

May 29 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Jakes Branch County Park, Ocean County, NJ
Jakes Branch is a typical pinelands oak-pitch pine forest. If you usually just see turkey beard leaves and rarely the blooming plant, join us to search for dozens of blooming turkey beard hopefully all lined up in a small area. We will also look for star flower, toad flax, blue flag, and Hudsonia finishing up its flowering. Some of the area was burned in 2018 so you can assess the recovery. It is very easy walking on almost flat trails. Bring a lunch and water especially if you want to do a bit of exploring on your own. Masks and registration required.
Registration (required) is limited to 15 people. Contact Hubert Ling/Millie Ling, . Millie's cell phone: (908) 872-0617. Leave a cell phone number in your email if you want to be contacted in case cancelation due to rain.
Directions will be provided upon registration
Leaders: Hubert and Millie Ling

June 10 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.

July 8 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.

August 12 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.

September 9 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.

October 14 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.

November 11 (Thursday) at 10 AM: Pennypack on the Delaware, Philadelphia, PA
This trip is part of a monthly series of walks. See the May 13 trip for details.


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.