Archive for the ‘Field Techniques’ category

Collecting Milkweed Seed at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

January 23, 2011

Here is a video that features Dr. Gerry Moore demonstrating how they collect seed and press plants at the garden.

Upcoming bryology workshops

January 21, 2011

There are three upcoming bryological courses and excursions this spring! They’re not being held in our region, but many bryophytes are quite cosmopolitan so it’s likely that you’d encounter species that occur in New York. Certainly the lab skills and camaraderie would be worth the trip.

Intermediate Bryology will be offered by Dr. David Wagner on the University of Oregon campus on March 21-23. The objective of this workshop will be a fairly intensive practice using the contemporary keys pertinent to the area. Most of the time will be spent in the teaching lab, with an afternoon excursion on the first day for field experience. Time will be available for participants who bring personal collections to work on them under expert supervision. Tuition is $300. Contact Dr. Wagner for more information (541-344-3327 /

The 16th Annual SO BE FREE foray will be held in the lower elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains near Quincy, California on March 23-26.  The area offers great sites for montane coniferous, mixed coniferous-hardwood forests; canyon oak forests; rocky outcrops; and chaparral, all in the steep North Fork of the Feather River canyon.  There will be flat trails and roadside areas to visit for easy access.  Bryophyte diversity will span from California’s spring ephemerals, bryophytes of springs, streamlets, and rivers to the great diversity found on rocky outcrops.  Beginning bryologists are welcome, and they are planning some special activities for beginners, as well as serious fieldtrips  that will be exciting for the hard-core. CLICK HERE for more info.

An Introduction to Bryophytes will be offered by Dr. Stephen Timme in the botany lab on the Pittsburg (Kansas) State University campus on April 2-3. It is designed to provide an introduction to basic characteristics and techniques for identification of some of the more common species found in the prairie, oak/hickory forests, and rock outcrops in the central U.S.  Techniques will include the proper use of the microscope, free-hand sections, terminology, and making semi-permanent mounts. The workshop will be topped off with a field trip. Contact Dr. Timme for more information (417-658-5473 /

Smartphone App for Tracking Invasive Species

October 22, 2010

Learn about the new apps being developed to track invasive species. The New York iMap program is developing one for New York.


Center for Plant Conservation Reintroduction Registry

September 21, 2010

In October of 2009 the Center for Plant Conservation hosted a conference on evaluating plant reintroductions.  As a result they established a Reintroduction Registry to enter and view projects that have reintroduced native plants into known or new habitats.  There is an example of one New York State orchid, Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea, that was reintroduced into a restored prairie.  Maybe you have an example of a plant reintroduction that you could share with others on this site.

USA Topographic Map from ESRI on the Web

July 31, 2010

If you would like another option for looking at topo maps of New York or other places in the US you can use this new map from ESRI on  If you click on Basemaps on the top of the map you can look at different maps including aerials and USGS maps.  Its very helpful when planning botany trips.  Go to the map HERE.

Sample Map

The Decline of Newpapers and Pressing Plants

July 24, 2010

An unintended consequence of the decline of the newspaper business (our local newspaper is getting really thin now) is the loss of newsprint to press plants. Maybe we should press them between iPads! Any other suggestions? (an iPress?) – Steve Young

Botanist Using Apple iPad In The Field

July 23, 2010

Below is a photo of botanist David Werier using his iPad in the field to look at plant manuals he has stored on it.  David says it saves him a lot of weight and he can carry many references that would have been impossible to bring in the field in the past.  It has a protective case and a clear plastic cover over the glass.  We were puzzling over a plant in a gorge in the Finger Lakes and it only took a few seconds for David to find the key characters in a manual he has stored on it. He doesn’t use it to enter data and he hasn’t dropped it in the water yet! – Steve Young

Martin Jetpack a Boon to Botanists?

July 4, 2010

There have been many times in the field when I have seen botanists look across a large marsh or up a high cliff and say, “I wish I had a jetpack to fly out there and take a look.”  Well, the day has come and the first commercially available jetpack, the Martin Jetpack, will be  on sale soon.  Who needs a drone when you can fly out there and look yourself!  To see a demonstration of the jetpack click here.

OFF! Mosquito Fan. Good for field botanical field work?

July 4, 2010

I noticed the new mosquito fan by OFF! for sale and wondered if anyone has used it during botanical field work and how it performed.  Comments welcome.

Hudsonia – Woody Plant Identification and Natural History in Winter

June 24, 2010

November 5, 2010 — Woody Plant Identification and Natural History in Winter

  • Learn how to use keys to identify trees, shrubs, and woody vines in winter condition
  • Acquire identification skills that are useful for, e.g., wetland boundary delineation, surveys for rare species, habitat identification, reviews of land use proposals, and landscape design
  • Examine the identification characters of many species in the field
  • Browse a collection of books about the identification and ecology of northeastern woody plants
  • Learn how herbarium specimens can be used as reference for identification of new material
  • Discover facts about the natural history and human use of various species
  • Learn where some of the rare woody species occur, which woody plants are useful indicators of environmental conditions, and how certain invasive nonnative species are troublesome in our region.

This workshop is designed for biologists, environmental professionals, horticulturists, and students who already have some field experience with woody plants and want to develop their abilities to identify woody species in winter using twigs, buds, leaf scars, pith, bark, and other winter identification characters. The workshop emphasizes hands-on observation and practice with plants in the field, specimens, hand lens, keys, and field guides.

Course instructors Erik Kiviat PhD and Gretchen Stevens have 40 and 30 years of experience, respectively, with the northeastern woody flora in winter condition.

Lunch and snacks will be provided. Tentative location: Bard College Field Station, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Course materials (books, 10x hand lens) will be for sale at the site. We expect to use Muenscher’s Keys to Woody Plants revised by Cope (2001), and G. Petrides, A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs 2nd ed. Several binocular dissecting microscopes will be available.

Course fee $275 payable to Hudsonia Ltd by check or credit card (full fee due 15 October, early registration fee $250 by 1 September). Call Linda Spiciarich 845-758-0600 or email to register.