Archive for the ‘Field Techniques’ category

First Test of Leafsnap Tree Identification App

May 15, 2011

In a recent post the new tree identification Apple app Leafsnap was featured. I collected 5 tree leaves today to see how well it worked.  Here are the results:

1. American elm – It had it listed as its 4th guess.

2. Witch hazel – It was not in the database. I guess it considers it a shrub.

3. Gray birch – Right on its first guess.

4. Cottonwood – Right on its first guess.

5. White ash – It was listed as its 10th guess.

There are quite a few exotic trees in the database which are very similar to our native leaves, especially the compound leaves.  It certainly was not perfect but we will test more leaves soon to see if it does better. – Steve Young

Leafsnap iPhone/iPod Touch App for Identifying Trees

May 8, 2011

Many years in development, the leaf identification app Leafsnap is finally available for the iPhone and iPod touch with camera and wifi connection. It will be interesting to see how it will be integrated into dendrology and other flora classes. See the YouTube video below to see how it works.  Are the graminoids next?

Find a Location on Bing, Google and USGS Topo Maps Using UTM, Lat-Long or MTM (Canada)

February 1, 2011

If you want to enter GPS coordinates in web-based maps it can be a hassle to convert the coordinate systems depending on how you record them.  There is a great website that does it for you and with one click will go to the web map you want.  It is called and can be found at For a UTM set of coordinates, for example, just fill in the yellow boxes with zone 18T and hit the display button.  It will take you directly to your location on the map, even in Bing Birds-eye view. This is a very simple and handy tool that I use all the time now to find locations that I record on my GPS. – Steve Young

A sample of page 1 of the website.

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.