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.

2024 SCHEDULE

February 24 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Pennypack Preserve, Montgomery County, PA
Postponed from February 17 because of the weather. This is a joint trip with the Delaware Valley Fern and Wildflower Society. The Pennypack Preserve, almost 900 acres, is owned by the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust. It has a range of habitats, making it a good site for wintertime botany. We will explore woods, restored grasslands, marsh, and pondside. Some of the woods is old growth, with oaks that date back as far as the 1760s. The grasslands offer sweeping views over Huntingdon Valley. The preserve has been designated as an Important Bird Area, so birding enthusiasts may want to bring binoculars. We will walk approximately 2.5 miles, including some moderate hills. Expect dry walking, though we may encounter some mud if it rains shortly before the trip. If there is deep snow or steady rain, the trip will be postponed. To learn about any postponement, register with the leader (botany@indri.org) or check this page after 7:30 AM on the day of the trip.
Registration: Registration is encouraged. Register by emailing the trip leader ()
Directions: Park in the main preserve parking lot at 2955 Edge Hill Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA. If you are using Google to navigate, enter the street address or "Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust Parking" or you may be sent to the wrong entrance.
Leader: Janet Novak, 215-534-6700 (cell) or

April 6 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Moss Identification at Mt. Cuba Center, DE
Join us for a walk discovering mosses of the mid-Atlantic region at Mt Cuba Center near Wilmington, Delaware. Mt Cuba is a botanical garden for native plants of the region and is especially known for its spring ephemerals. Our walk will be on dirt and paved paths within the gardens to search out mosses such as sphagnum moss near the pond and a large Leucobryum patch near the meadow area. We expect to see 10-15 moss species typically found in forests and near streams in the mid-Atlantic region. If time allows, we may walk the nature trail into the natural areas. We will meet at 10 AM at the ticket counter in Visitors Parking Lot. No fee required at entry. Bring a hand lens if you have one, a lunch and something for hydration during our walk. A phone camera is a useful substitute to zoom in on specimen structures. Any questions if the weather looks iffy, please email David Lauer before 5 PM the day before, April 5.
Registration: Please register ahead with David Lauer (). Maximum group size is 15.
Directions: Mt Cuba is nestled back in narrow Delaware country roads. GPS highly recommended if you are not familiar with the area. For directions see the Mt. Cuba Center visitors' page.
Leaders: Alice Waegel, a microbiologist who spent a sabbatical year at Mt Cuba inventorying their mosses and Alison Dame, a new moss enthusiast who maintains a labeled moss bed at Tyler Arboretum. Contact: (610) 550-6506.

April 20 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Pink Hill Serpentine Barrens, Tyler Arboretum, Delaware Co, PA. (Rain date: Saturday, May 18th)
Meeting time 10 AM. Please arrive by 9:40 if you're not a Tyler Arboretum member to pay for admission in time for the walk.
The Pink Hill Barrens are a model for stewardship: it is the only serpentine barren inside a deer exclosure fence; it includes the largest recent, highly successful serpentine grassland restoration--7 acres restored from encroaching forest; and it is the impetus for Tyler's escalation of its prescribed fire program to burn somewhere every year (we will see the aftermath of this spring's fire). There are populations of 19 plant species ranked as endangered, threatened, near threatened ("rare"), or that are watch-listed in the state. The site is historic: it was fire-maintained for centuries by the Lenape and for millennia by their predecessors; in the 1890s-1900s UPenn botany professor John Harshberger took his students there on field trips and focused a 1903 paper on it in Science. Tyler Arboretum has been a pioneer in the use of fire for biodiversity conservation; it began burning at Pink Hill in the 1970s, perhaps at the urging of Dr. Wherry. Besides 100 acres of display plantings, meadows, and mature forest inside the main deer fence, there are 550 acres of forest and meadows to explore, with healthy stands of native forest-floor plants, a Native American pictograph ("Indian Rock"), pristine small streams with boulders and cascades, and historic buildings and ruins from the colonial period. Attendees could pack a lunch and may explore on their own after the field trip.
Fee: Tyler has a daily entrance fee for nonmembers: adults (ages 18-64) $18; seniors (65+) $15; young people (ages 3-17), military, and students with valid ID $10. Pay at the visitor center or become a member beforehand online (tylerarboretum.org/membership).
Directions: Meet in the Tyler parking lot, 515 Painter Road, Media, PA, next to the visitor center (39.934701, -75.441573). To get to Pink Hill we have special permission to walk, as a group, a mile through the arboretum's collections (past the 168-year-old Sequoiadendron) and forest, partly on a trail that has been closed for dead ash removal and is not yet open to the general public. Don't be late or you might be left behind! Wear hiking footwear and spray against chiggers and ticks.
Leader: Roger Latham, ()

May 11, 2024 (Saturday) Franklin Parker Preserve, Burlington County, NJ (Rain date Saturday, June 8)
Most of the Franklin Parker Preserve is co-owned by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the state of New Jersey. (The state has a 40% undivided interest in most portions of the property.) It includes almost 12,000 acres mostly in the Special Agricultural Production Area in the Pinelands Nations Reserve, which is surrounded by the Preservation Area. It was formerly owned by Garfield DeMarco, whose family did cranberry farming in portions of the property. We will explore former cranberry bogs, now restored to natural wetlands, a cedar swamp, and pitch pine lowlands recently treated with prescribed fire. Expect to carpool and caravan to various sites and walk approximately 3 miles, mostly in reasonably accessible terrain. You will want to have rubber boots for wet areas. The rain date is Saturday, June 8.
Registration: Please register by emailing the trip leader (russell@njconservation.org) () and also cc our field trip coordinator David Lauer ()
Directions: Meet at the Chatsworth Lake entrance to the Preserve. Directions can be found at https://www.njconservation.org/preserve/franklin-parker-preserve/.
Leader: G. Russell Juelg, 609-504-5180 (cell) or email as above

June 3-7, 2024 (Monday to Friday): Joint Field Meeting (BotSoc)
Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

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 2024 meeting will finally return (after delays due to Covid) to the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario and will be housed at the Evergreen Resort.
Field Trips: We will visit a number of fascinating areas and habitats, including alvars, sandy shorelines, marl fens, upland forest, forested dunes, marshland, and rocky forest. Just a few of the species highlights we expect to see are ram's head lady slipper, sticky tofieldia, dwarf lake iris, lakeside daisy, butterwort, Hooker's orchid, rare ferns, seaside arrowgrass, buckbean, paintbrush, tamarack, and bladderworts. Field trips are being organized and led by Walter Muma and Tyler Miller. Both are experienced field botanists with a focus on the Bruce Peninsula.
Evening Speakers: Evening presentations will include orchids of Grey-Bruce, parasitic and carnivorous plants of the Bruce, and more. These will be presented by Walter Muma, Tyler Miller, and others. Tuesday evening will feature "Orchid Quest," by Willy and Audrey Waterton, about their two-year quest to find and photograph all of the orchid species of Bruce and Grey Counties. The resultant book, Orchids of Grey-Bruce, will be available for purchase at this entertaining and informative presentation.
Lodging: Housing will be at Evergreen Resort. Cabins include all bedding linens and towels, and daily housekeeping. Evergreen is a rustic resort with the atmosphere of the 1930's. It is one of the long-standing "family" lodges located along the Lake Huron shoreline at the base of the Bruce Peninsula. The owners, the Bennett family, have always worked to maintain a natural setting as possible and to focus on the surrounding natural history.
Meals: Breakfasts and dinners will be served at Evergreen Resort. Lunch is box-style and will be picked up at breakfast each day.
Registration and additional information: Download in PDF or Word format. The registration deadline is April 12.

July 13-14 (Saturday and Sunday) at 10 AM: Ricketts Glen State Park, Luzerne and Sullivan Counties, PA
Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. The park includes 13,193 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties. The park includes the Glens Natural Area, which is a National Natural Landmark. Quoting the park website: "Hike the Falls Trail System to explore the glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the beauty." We'll keep an eye out for the peak blooms of many summer-blooming plants. Dr. George P. Chamuris has put together a very useful flower phenology guide for the flora of RGSP. We will also try to track down Polystichum braunii (Braun's Holly Fern), a northern species that is listed as endangered in PA, and apparently found in a small population near or within the park. Bring good hiking shoes, rain gear, insect repellent, food and water. A compass and cell phone would be good, but don't wander too far from the group. We do not want to have to helicopter anyone out!!
Directions: We will meet at 10 AM at the park office on both days. GPS location: 41.33635 -76.30265.
Lodging: As of late April, there are about 30 tent sites available in the park for the night of July 13th. If you are planning to stay in a tent on either Friday or Saturday nights, The leaders recommends reserving a site as soon as possible. Another option is the Ricketts Glen Hotel, located close by.
Leader: Andrew Conboy
Updates: If you'd like to be kept up to date on developments for this trip, please email David at . Don't be shy.

July 31 (Wednesday) at 10:30 AM: Penrose Swamp/oak/pine barrens, Carbon Co PA. 10:30 AM
At the center of a newly protected 2,700-acre (> 4 sq. miles!) tract of land owned and managed by the PA Bureau of Forestry, near Hazleton and Weatherly, is roughly 100 acres of mesic scrub oak-heath-pitch pine barrens containing a dense stand of Lygodium palmatum, American climbing fern, likely the largest colony of its kind in the northeast US, or even world-wide. Areas of it are so thick that it gives the effect of walking on a trampoline (which, of course, we will not do!) Other interesting plants include fly-poison (Amianthium muscitoxicum), sheep-laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), black-fruited rice grass (Patis racemosa), roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), and other characteristic species characteristic of Pocono plateau barrens and forest. We hope to make new discoveries, possibly including several rare orchids known to occur elsewhere in the Hazleton area. Penrose also is renowned locally as habitat for black bear, deer, grouse, turkey, waterfowl and migratory songbirds. Hazle Creek, 10-15 ft wide, meanders through the northern and middle sections of the tract.
Registration is required: email David Lauer () and indicate the type of vehicle you will be driving and, if possible, how many additional folks it can accommodate. Please register by July 24th so that proper arrangements can be made. Also, indicate if you intend to camp at Hickory Run SP or another local site. It will be midweek, so hopefully the park will not be too crowded, but there may be construction related work stoppage on I 80 heading west toward Penrose, so you may need to budget additional time if you intend to do this. Unfortunately, access across the Lehigh River at this point in E/W travel is very limited and there are few other camping spots or motels west of the Lehigh River available. You could check the Hazleton area online.
Special instructions: Bring a lunch, water and waterproof boots or footwear that can get wet. Insect repellent, binoculars and a hand lens recommended. If you are interested in camping at Hickory Run State Park either the day before, or the day afterward, please indicate this at registration.
Directions: We will meet at 10:30 at the parking lot of the old Weatherly train station (40.941719, -75.829150) and carpool to the site. Cars going on to the site need to be 4WD, all-wheel drive, or high-clearance. Exit the PA Turnpike NE Extension (I-476) at Mahoning Valley (exit 74), take U.S. 209 south 9 miles, turn right on PA 93 north, in 6 miles turn right onto Brenkman Dr., and drive 2 miles to downtown Weatherly.
Leaders: Mike Gondell, Roger Latham, Tim Block and Ray Youngblood

August 10 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Abbot Marshlands, Mercer Co., New Jersey
Wetland plants of the northern-most freshwater tidal marsh of the Delaware River should be in full display for our visit to the Abbott Marshlands. In the morning, we will examine common wetland species in and around a human constructed lake as well as at the edge of the marsh. A multiyear project to reduce Phragmites in the marsh has opened up new areas for plant colonization. After lunch, depending on the interests of the group, we'll choose another area of the marshlands to explore. Bring lunch and beverage; insect repellent is not usually needed, but feel free to use it. Be prepared for wet walking.
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). Cosponsors: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands and Mercer County Park Commission.
Leader: Pat Coleman, 609-977-9573. Cosponsors: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands and Mercer County Park Commission.


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.