Archive for the ‘Field Trips’ category

Two Wildflower Walks at the Mohonk Preserve

April 3, 2012

Early Spring Wildflowers

April 22, 2012

Sunday, 2-5pm. As the earth begins to warm, the forest reawakens with beauty. Join Barbara Petersen and Roger Roloff, experienced field botanists and Preserve Volunteers, and learn to identify coltsfoot, bloodroot, hepatica, spring beauties and more! Ages 15 and up are welcome. Children must always be accompanied by an adult. This program includes an easy, 3-mile hike. No dogs allowed at this program, except for service dogs. Space is limited; for reservations and program location call 845-255-0919. This is a free program.

May 19, 2012

Saturday, 2-5pm. Join Roger Roloff and Barbara Petersen, Mohonk Preserve Volunteers, for this forest and ridge hike to search for the colorful blooms of later spring such as Canada Mayflower, Solomon’s Seal, Yellow Violets, Crowfoots, White Baneberry, and Pink Ladyslippers. Ages 15 and up are welcome. Children must always be accompanied by an adult. This program includes a moderate, 4-mile hike. Space is limited; for reservations and program location call 845-255-0919. There is no fee for this program. Service dogs only, please.

The 2012 NYFA Field Trip and Workshop Schedule is Now Available

March 28, 2012

A great lineup is in store for this summer. The fun starts May 19 with a field trip to the woods and wetlands of the Taconic Hills of Washington County. Workshops feature  sedges, lichens, rushes, marine algae, aquatic plants and goldenrods. The workshops are sure to fill up fast so register early.  For details see the field trip and workshop tab on the NYFA website.

Happy students at the goldenrod and aster workshop at the Niagara Gorge last year.

A Short Walk Finds Spring on the Way

March 18, 2012

A short walk through the Woodlawn Preserve in Schenectady today found a few plants in bloom in this unusually warm spring.  Here is a sample. – Steve Young

The long male catkins of speckled alder, Alnus incana ssp. rugosa, hang down below the drooping female catkins. Smooth alder, Alnus serrulata, has shorter male catkins and the female ones are more erect.

Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, has flowers in small tight clusters of black and red flowers. Slippery and American elms have flowers on longer pedicels and are not so compact.

These hairy catkins of quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides, with red anthers were waving in the wind.

A cluster of female flowers of red maple, Acer rubrum, shows off its very red styles.

Still some months from flowering, young leaves of common mullein, Verbascum thapsus, poke through the dirt.

Saratoga Springs Street Tree Inventory Needs Volunteers

February 13, 2012

Starting in May the Saratoga Springs Street Tree inventory is looking for volunteers to help complete the survey by the end of June. There is a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time and training on identification and recording will be provided. If you are interested contact Rick Fenton at 518-421-7098 or

A Day on Long Island

September 10, 2011

I made a trip to Long Island recently and had the opportunity to see some interesting natural areas. – Steve Young

The beach at Goldsmith's County Park on the Long Island Sound side of the North Fork. Looks like some sand management is going on.

Some of the common beach plants include clotbur . .

and sea rocket, whose fruits actually look like little rockets ready to blast off.

On the dunes, masses of Rosa rugosa were in fruit.

Sea lavender was fairly common and in full flower.

Sea lavender, Limonium carolinianum, is our only representative of the Leadwort Family, Plumbaginaceae, in New York.

Spikegrass, Distichlis spicata, is also a common representative of salt marsh vegetation.

Saltmarsh-elder, Iva frutescens, one of our shrubby composites, was releasing pollen from its ragweed-like flower clusters.

It was sprinked on the opposite, succulent leaves below.

Prickly pear cactus was in among the dune plants but I didn't see any flowers or fruits.

Gray's flatsedge forms a clump of stems in the dunes. It has many rays in the inflorescence and bulbous roots if you dig it up.

In the woods closer to the road was a stand of sweet pepper-bush, Clethra alnifolia, in flower and in fruit.

West of Riverhead, I walked to a rare coastal plain pond to see that the water levels were up to the top. In drought years these ponds drain down to reveal many more plant species that are waiting patiently to germinate when the water is low.

It was raining a lot of the time but on the way back the sun came out to shine across the leaves of the pitch pine oak forest.

Glistening water droplets hung from the ends of the pitch pine needles.

An oak gall had dropped from a tree to the sandy trail.

Scores of new mushrooms were arising out the the sand in the trail too.

On the firebreak between forest patches an exotic catalpa has managed to survive, the only one I saw.

Since this visit Hurricane Irene has paid a visit to the Island and these forests probably look a little different now.  I’ll have to go back and see how they fared.



Seven New Plants Added to the List for Whiteface Mountain

August 22, 2011

On July 30, 2011 the Adirondack Botanical Society had a field trip to Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY.  The day started out misty and cold but the clouds later lifted and it was a beautiful day.  A walk up to the top along the stairway and back down along the Wilmington trail to the road and parking lot resulted in the discovery of seven new plants not seen before at the top of the mountain.  They are listed below, some with photos.  To access the complete plant list CLICK HERE.  – Steve Young

Hypericum perforatum, Common St. John's-wort, here in bud, was seen along the roadside just below the parking lot.


One plant of Houstonia longifolia, pale bluets, in full flower, was also seen below the parking lot.

Aquilegia canadensis, Columbine, in fruit, was growing near an area of stonework with lots of mortar.


Euthamia graminifolia, grass-leaved goldenrod, was growing in the stonework area too.


Carum carvi, caraway, a possible invasive species, somehow got established up near the weather observatory.

The other two species, without photos, were Matricaria discoidea, pineapple weed, and Silene vulgaris, bladder campion. They were both found along the roadside near the parking lot.  For a complete set of photos from the trip CLICK HERE.



Assessing the Condition of Wetlands in New York

August 16, 2011

The NY Natural Heritage Program and environmental firm Tetra Tech are teaming up this summer to assess the condition of various wetlands across New York for the EPA.  The project began with wetlands in the Adirondacks, continues on to Western New York, and finishes on Long Island.  Below are some photos from the work in the Adirondacks. – Steve Young

Each site requires lots of equipment to sample the vegetation in five 100 meter square plots along with soil samples. Some sites are close to roads. Others require some bushwhacking with backpacks.

Chad Barbour and Elizabeth Spencer dig a soil pit near Louisville in St. Lawrence County. Dirty Jobs anyone?

Lots and lots of data and samples are taken at each site. It takes about 6-7 hours to complete the process.

Staff from DEC and TNC helped us access some of the more remote sites. Here Todd Dunham from TNC shows us a small waterfall near one of our sites.

So far we have sampled a variety of wetlands like this wet meadow near Louisville.

And a beautiful spruce-fir swamp southeast of the Carry Falls Reservoir.

As well as an alder shrub swamp along Moose Creek southwest of Follensby Pond.

We documented some beautiful examples of wetland flora like this Platanthera psycodes.

Virgin's-bower, Clematis virginiana, was a dominant in the alder swamp.

There is always a Carex species or two, or three, or four . . . This is Carex vesicaria in the shrub swamp.

Black elderberry, Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis, was also common in the shrub swamp.

Many tricolored bumble bees, Bombus ternarius, were feasting on the spotted joe-pye-weed.

In the spruce-fir swamp we saw the rough bark of red spruce, on the left, with the smoother bark (with resin blisters) of balsam fir on the right.

This northern white cedar had its bark damaged by a bear.

Future posts will document our work as it continues in other regions of the state. Elizabeth records data in the wet meadow.



A Rare Plant Survey in Ulster County

June 25, 2011

Steve Young and Kim Smith of the New York Natural Heritage Program surveyed a state park in Ulster County this week. Besides Kim finding a new population of Carex davisii, these are some of the other things we saw.

The hophornbeams really stood out with their beautiful fruit clusters in contrast to the dark green leaves.

Sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, has escaped here. The "atropurpurea" cultivar has purple undersides.

Just outside the park were some impressive walls of Japanese knotweed.

At one point we had an aerial view of the tops of red oak crowns.

The crowns of large sassafras trees were also really neat to see.

We updated the information for a population of Virginia snakeroot, Endodeca serpentaria, a state endangered plant. It grows in the forest herb layer.

We found the small dry fruits under the leaf litter where the flowers of this cousin to wild ginger grow.

The purple-veined basal leaves of rattlesnake hawkweek, Hieracium venosum, were common in the deer-decimated understory.

Our botanizing drew the attention of this young barred owl who didn't seem to mind our presence.

Adirondack Botanical Society Summer Field Trip Schedule Summer 2011

May 19, 2011

The Adirondack Botanical Society is pleased to announce its list of summer 2011 field trips. These trips are for everyone from interested enthusiasts to professional botanists. Contact information for each trip is below so please contact them before the trip. Some trips might have a size limit.

Sunday, June 5th 2011.  Crane Mt. Road, Johnsburg (near North Creek).  Mosses and liverworts, showy orchis, Goldie’s fern and some other high pH ferns.  Meet at 10 in the Johnsburg library/town hall parking lot on Main Street near the intersection of 28N.  Contact Evelyn Greene:

Sunday, June 12th, 2011. Jones Pond paddle. See some wetland orchids in the northern Adirondacks with a paddle into Jones Pond in Paul Smith’s, NY. Start from Jones Pond Road and Route 86 in Paul Smith’s at 10am. Canoe and PFD required. Contact Brian McAlister:

Saturday, June 18th, 2011. Wright Peak. Visit alpine vegetation at the summit of Wright Peak in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness area. This all day trip requires a rigorous hike up New York State’s 16th highest mountain. Start at the Adirondack Loj near Lake Placid at 9am. Contact Julia Goren: Group size is limited to 15 so you must register in advance.

Sunday, June 26th 2011.  “Ice meadows” along east side of Hudson River, near Warrensburg.  Meet at 10:30am in parking lot of Warren Co. /DEC Park north of Cronin’s Golf Course. Contact Evelyn Greene:

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011. Pyramid Lake, Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness Area, Essex County. A canoe paddle to see the swamp vegetation at this remote and hard to access lake south of Paradox, NY. Contact Jacqueline Donnelly: (518)584-6346. Group size is limited to 12 so you must register by June 27th.

Saturday, July 30th, 2011. Whiteface Mountain. Visit the alpine vegetation zone without the hike. Start from the Veteran’s memorial highway in Wilmington, NY at 10am. Contact: Julia Goren,

Saturday, August 6th 2011. Madawaska. Visit lowland boreal wetland communities in Franklin County via canoe. Contact: Lem Hegwood

To join the Google discussion group for the Adirondack Botanical Society send an email to Write Join in the subject line. You can state why you would like to join in the body of the email.

The Hudson River Ice Meadows in late April are still covered in ice. On June 26 you can learn about the unique plants that grow there after the ice melts.

ADK plant enthusiasts on a trip to see big trees after the ABS kickoff meeting on April 30, 2011

NY Capital District Friday Field Group Schedule Available

April 19, 2011

The Capital District Friday Field Group just released their schedule for the 2011 field season. The group meets every Friday at 5:30 PM at a location in the Capital District of New York to learn the flora and fauna of the area. The group is also on if you would like to register there. For a copy of the schedule CLICK HERE. See you in the field!

The first trip will be April 29th to Joralemon Park in Coeymans to see the early spring flora. If you don't know what this flower is come to the walk to find out.