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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sharing Botanical Field Trips

A new web site is now available which lists the botanically oriented field trips of a number of organizations in the Mid-Atlantic States. Botanical Field Trips is a great way to plan a weekend of botanizing in an area you are not familiar with. So take a look and plann your weekends and vacations!

The groups participating are: 

UPDATE: as of Feb 3, 2010 two more groups are participating.

the Torrey Botanical Society, New York City area

Muhlenberg Botanical Society Meetings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spring 2010

Meetings are held from 7:30 to 9:00 on the third Thursday of the month in the Fred Kinsey Room, North Museum (College and Buchanan Aves.). The Museum will be open at 7:00 p.m. Enter through the back door in the parking lot; knock loudly or ring the bell if the door is locked. Meetings will start propmtly at 7:30pm so please try to arrive before 730 to avoid disturbing the meeting while it is in progress. Meetings are open to the public, so feel free to invite guests! For cancellation information in case of snow or ice, contact President Mike Slater or Vice-President
Joan King. Any decision to cancel a meeting will be made 24 hours in advance so we can notify North Museum.

February 18: Members' Night Slide Sharing and show and tell.
This is a change from our normal course of meetings, but we won't have to be concerned about having a speaker cancel in the event of adverse weather. Many of you take digital pictures of plants and their flowers, and we want as many people as possible to bring photos to share, even if only a few. If you have technical questions about how to show the images or what format to bring them in, contact Mike Slater. He would appreciate hearing from you in advance so the meeting can be organized efficiently from an audio-visual perspective. If enough people don’t come forward, he will start twisting arms, so be prepared! If you have botanically related items you want to bring for "show and tell" or some exciting new information to discuss, please bring that.

March 18: Frank Plucinsky, "Tired of Winter? Think Spring!"
Dr. Plucinsky, an excellent photographer, is a retired physician with a life long interest in the natural sciences, photography, and fly fishing. He writes, "as winter lingers, our thoughts turn to the grandeur of spring. Take this photographic journey and experience the progress of favorite spring wildflowers from emerging shoots to fragile blossoms and fascinating fruits. Sweeping landscape shots contrast with macro photography close-ups that reveal intimate details of flowers that are difficult to see with the naked eye.".

April 15: Dr. Larry Klotz and Tim Draude, "Wild Flowers of the Cumberland Plateau"
Well known to our members, Dr. Larry Klotz is a recently retired Professor of Botany at Shippensburg University, and Tim Draude is the past President of the Muhlenberg Society. They will share stories and pictures of their trip to the Cumberland Plateau area of Tennessee last spring. The mixed mesophytic forests and the banks of the rivers that flow through the plateau are some of the richest wild flower areas of Eastern North America.

May 20: Dr. Roger Earl Latham, "All Grasslands and Meadows Aren’t Created Equal: Historical
Ecology as a Key to Successful Restoration and Reclamation"

Dr. Latham, who presented a program for us last year, is an ecologist and conservation biologist with Continental Conservation, Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. Studies of fossils and archaeological remains have painted a provocative picture of the evolution of grasslands over the past several million years in central and western North America, but comparatively little scientific inquiry on native grasslands has focused on the northeastern United States, where forests and wetlands attract far more attention. Dr. Latham has analyzed historical records, herbarium specimens, and indicator species and conducted fieldwork throughout Pennsylvania to identify trends in the extent and distribution of native grasslands and meadows before and after European settlement. Besides their prehistory and history, he will touch on the environmental conditions, ecological processes, and disturbance regimes that shape the species composition of a dozen long-lived native grassland/meadow types found in the state and elsewhere in the Northeast. The talk concludes with information on how lessons from historical ecology are pertinent to the creation or re-creation of native grasslands. Roger Latham has worked as a research ecologist, conservation biologist, and environmental planner for over 35 years. Since earning his Ph.D. in biology at the University of Pennsylvania, he has served as Pennsylvania Director of Science and Stewardship for The Nature Conservancy; post-doctoral researcher in biogeochemistry and fire ecology in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Geology; and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Swarthmore College. Since 2000 he has been a full-time consultant, conducting applied research and planning for the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Lands Trust, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, DCNR, and other organizations involved in wildland restoration and management.

Muhlenberg Field trips Spring 2010

Saturday, April 17: Reed Run, Lancaster, County, PA, 10:00 a.m.
Reed Run, in Martic Township, is a 148.7-acre nature preserve comprised of former cropland, early successional forested areas and mature forested areas. The majority of the preserve is forested, with three fields totaling about 40 acres that were in agricultural production at the time of the Conservancy's acquisition. There are two creeks that flow through the property: Reed Run parallels the inside of southern border of the preserve and Brubaker Run originates at the edge of the central field. Both creeks flow directly into the Susquehanna. Much of the forest that lies outside of the creek ravines is overrun with invasive plants, primarily ailanthus. The topography of the preserve includes 375' change in elevation from lowest to highest points (315' to 690' above sea level).

From Lancaster City, take PA Rt. 324 South (New Danville Pk.). It turns left at New Danville and joins Rt. 741 for a short distance. Where Rt. 741 turns left at a stop light, continue straight ahead and follow Rt. 324 over the Pequea Creek and through Marticville. At Pennsy Rd., turn right, continuing on Rt. 324 through a tunnel (use caution!). In less than a mile, turn left on River Rd., following it past Bridge Valley Rd. At Houserock Rd., angle off to the right. Follow it for .9 of a mile to a stop sign; turn left on Westview and quickly right again onto Houserock Road. Look to the left for the Conservancy sign on the grassy hillside. The parking area is on Houserock Road.

Leader: Joan King. Trail rating: moderate. Bring a bag lunch; the hike should take about 3 hours.

The Joint Field Trip of the Muhlenberg and the PA Native Plant Society is set for Saturday and Sunday, May 22 and 23.

Saturday, June 5: Unionville Barrens, Chester County, PA
This will be a joint field trip with the Philadelphia Botanical Club. One of Pennsylvania's highest-quality serpentine barrens, the Unionville Barrens finally received long-sought protection in 2008 from Natural Lands Trust as part of the nearly 1,100-acre ChesLen Preserve. The grasslands and blackjack oak/post oak woodlands are remnants of a landscape managed for centuries by American Indians using fire. With fire exclusion, the species-rich serpentine grasslands have shrunk from nearly 60 acres in 1937 to less than 9 acres today. That loss in area has led to species extirpation: 16 state-listed species occur there now, but 4 more seen historically are gone. The NLT plans to restore and maintain at least 40 acres of oak savanna. A 2005 report, "Protecting the Unionville Barrens" describes the site's history, flora and ecology (available at under Publications). Appendix A is a survey by Janet Ebert listing 174 vascular plant species. We will see the globally rare serpentine aster
(Symphyotrichum depauperatum) and many species in flower or fruit, likely including Carex bicknellii, C. richardsonii, Deschampsia cespitosa, Dichanthelium oligosanthes, D. villosissimum, Helianthemum bicknellii, Packera anonyma, Phemeranthus teretifolius, Quercus nigra and Scleria pauciflora.

Meet at 10 a.m. at the end of Oak School Road. Wear footgear suitable for wet walking.

For directions:
type in "Oak School Rd., Kennett Square, PA" at or, or see the
directions below. Leader: Roger Latham (office: 610-565-3405, ; cell phone to call only on the morning of the field trip: 484-682-9648).

From Lancaster area: from U.S. 30 at Gap, turn right on PA. 10 & go 2.1 mi.; turn left on PA 372 & go 1.3 mi.; bear right on Strasburg Rd. & go 2.5 mi.; turn right on PA 82 & go 8.0 mi.; turn left on PA 842 & go 1.9 mi.; turn left on Glen Hall Rd. & go 0.6 mi.; turn left on Oak School Rd. & go 0.2 mi.
From Philadelphia area: take U.S. 322 (from U.S. 1 or I-95) & U.S. 202 (from I-76) just south of West Chester; turn west on PA 926 & go 2.8 mi.; turn right on Creek Rd. & go 1.4 mi.; bear left on S. Creek Rd. & go 1.1 mi.; bear left on PA 842 & go 3.7 mi.; turn right on Glen Hall Rd. & go 0.6 mi.; turn left on Oak School Rd. & go 0.2 mi.

From northern suburbs or Pa. Turnpike, Downingtown Exit #312: go south on Pa. 100 just south of U.S. 30; bear right on Pottstown Pike & go 3.8 mi. (it becomes North High Street); turn right on W. Chestnut St. (U.S. 322 Business Rt. W.) & go 5 blocks; turn left on N. Brandywine St. & go 1 block; turn right on W. Gay St. & go 1 block; turn left on Everhart Ave. & go 2 blocks; turn right on PA 842 & go 6.8 mi.; turn right on Glen Hall Rd. & go 0.6 mi.; turn left on Oak School Rd. & go 0.2 mi.

From south: from U.S. 1 near Kennett Square, go north on PA 82 for 3.1 mi.; turn right on PA 842 & go 1.9 mi.; turn left on Glen Hall Rd. & go 0.6 mi.; turn left on Oak School Rd. & go 0.2 mi.

Muhlenberg Bulletin, January 2010

The January 2010 "Muhlenberg Bulletin" the newsletter of the Muhlenberg Botanical Society is now available in PDF format.