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

Because of the pandemic, participants in PBC field trips are required to wear a mask if they are not fully vaccinated. 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.


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, 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 [trip cancelled because of poor weather]
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.

June 13 (Sunday) at 10 AM: Goat Hill Barrens, Chester County, PA
Join us in exploring this large serpentine grassland and forest complex at the southwestern end of Chester County. We expect to see Small's ragwort (Packera anonyma), palespike lobelia (Lobelia spicata), and Michaux's stitchwort (Sabulina michauxii) in bloom in the grasslands. We will examine a grassland burned a few years ago, largely filled with natives, and look at some of the more unusual species on the site, such as fly-poison (Amianthium muscitoxicum) and glade spurge (Euphorbia purpurea), as well as many typical serpentinophytes. No registration is required. Expect hot, rocky conditions; bring water and be prepared for hills.
Directions Meet at the state forest parking lot on the west side of Red Pump Road, under the high-tension line about one-half mile north of the Maryland state line.
Leader: Chris Hoess, or 267-918-6803 (cell)

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.

July 24 (Saturday) at 10 AM: Henry Botanic Garden, Gladwynne, Montgomery County, PA
We'll visit the Henry Foundation for Botanical Research in Gladwyne Pa along with members of the Delaware Valley Fern and Wildflower Society and the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Rock Garden Society. The Henry Foundation is a wonderful gem in our very midst, and we welcome the opportunity to visit it with Susan Treadway, the director of the foundation (and granddaughter of the founder). Mary G. Henry was a lover of wilderness and America's native plants, and she saw her garden as a means of preserving those plants. The garden recreates diverse microhabitats to support the many plants she collected. Wear long pants, sturdy shoes with socks over your pant legs and appropriate insect repellent. (Many of the paths are grassy, and ticks are present.) Bring fluids and, if you like, a lunch, which can be eaten in a shaded pavilion. A $5 donation per person is requested.
Directions: The address is 801 Stony Lane, Gladwyne. Stony Lane is accessible only as an extension of Henry Lane, which is on the east side of Route 23 at a sharp turn. From either I-76 (the Schuylkill Expressway) or I-476 (the "Blue Route"), east or west, take the Conshohocken exits as listed on the overhead highway signs. From the bottom of the 476 exit, head east (right) on Matson Ford Road a short distance toward (but not into) Conshohocken. Turn right onto Crawford Ave. At the McDonalds the road takes a sharp left turn, heads uphill, and becomes Route 23 (Conshohocken State Rd.). In 2.1 miles from the McDonalds turn left (carefully) onto Henry Lane and follow the signs to Stony Lane and the Foundation. Heading west on I-76, at the bottom of the Conshohocken exit proceed a very short distance ahead to Crawford Ave, turn right and follow the previous directions. If you are confused, see the directions on the Henry Foundation web site.
Leader: David Lauer, or 215-357-2646

July 25 (Sunday) at 10 AM: Long Pond Preserve, Monroe County, PA
This unusual mesic till barrens ecosystems lies atop the Wisconsin end moraine on the southern Pocono Plateau. Frequent fires, now restored to the landscape by the Nature Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, have encouraged the persistence of normally xeric species in a mesic soil, intermixed with peaty wetlands. Expect pitch pine (Pinus rigida), scrub oaks, and ericaceous shrubs such as rhodora (Rhododendron canadense), with white fringed orchid (Platanthera blephariglottis), narrow-leaved gentian (Gentiana linearis), and fly-poison (Amianthium muscitoxicum) in wet open spaces. Many plants more typical of New England forests, such as starflower (Lysimachia borealis) and goldthread (Coptis trifolia) are present in the forest understory. No registration is required. Some wet walking is possible.
Directions: From the Philadelphia region, take I-476 north to Route 903 (EZ-Pass exit only), and proceed north (towards Lake Harmony). When Route 903 ends at Route 115, turn right (south). (You can also take I-476 to I-80 and go one exit east to go south on Route 115.) Proceed south 3 miles on Route 115 from the Route 903 junction, past the speedway. Turn left on the gravel driveway and park in the lot just off the road. The driveway is opposite the house at 4337 PA-115 in Blakeslee, at coordinates 41.0363, -75.50618.
Leaders: Chris Hoess, or 267-918-6803 (cell) and Janet Novak, or 215-534-6700

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.