Archive for the ‘Happenings’ category

The NYFA Annual Meeting Was Fun For All

June 27, 2013

By Steve Young

On May fifth NYFA began their annual meeting and field trip with a visit to Nelson Swamp near Nelson, NY. We met on a beautiful sunny day just outside the village of Cazenovia and carpooled to a parking spot that provided easy access to the swamp.

Field trip participants walk into the swamp.

Field trip participants walk into the swamp.

The participants divided into two smaller groups so we would have less impact on sensitive areas. While some of us explored the mosaic of marsh and white cedar swamp to the west, the other group went into the swamp to take a look at spreading globeflower.



In one area we came across a beautiful expanse of false hellebore (Veratrum viride) in its early stages of growth as well as some nice meadows of Carex bromoides (“the other hummock sedge” as David Werier describes it). At the appointed time we exchanged places with the other group and listened to Dr. Sara Scanga talk about her work with Spreading globeflower (Trollius laxus) before heading into the swamp to look at the plant for real.


For some of the group it was the first time they had seen globeflower and Sara explained all of the interesting facets of its growth and ecology. You can learn more about her work HERE.

Group in Nelson

Fortunately the plants were in full flower and put on a real show for us.



You can learn more about spreading globeflower in New York at the NY Natural Heritage Conservation Guide.

After the field trip we drove to board member Ed Frantz’s house near Cazenovia and enjoyed a delicious and bountiful lunch provided by Ed and his family. After lunch came a short business meeting with a board member vote followed by the first annual botanical quiz given by yours truly from an iPhone app called “Angiosperms.” Even though there were a lot of groans at the questions, I think everyone enjoyed participating, especially the two groups that tied for the win!

Board members Rich Ring and Andy Nelson with wife Mary Anne enjoying the lunch at Ed's house.

Board members Rich Ring and Andy Nelson with wife Mary Anne enjoying the botanical quiz.

We finished off the day’s activities by voting for the 2014 Wildflower of the Year, a tradition that we will have every year to honor and publicize a member of our flora for the next calendar year. This year’s win went to cardinal flower, one of our most spectacular and well-known wildflowers.

Cardinal flower at Indian Lake in the Adirondacks.

Cardinal flower at Indian Lake in the Adirondacks.

Many thanks go to the organizers of the field trip and luncheon and to the record number of participants we had for the meeting.  It was one to remember.


The Adirondack Botanical Society Meets

December 8, 2012

The fall meeting of the Adirondack Botanical Society met on December first at the APA office in Ray Brook.  Fourteen people attended and discussed the future plans of the society, especially the field trips for the upcoming field season as well as some ID workshops that could be done in the winter.  Go to their website,, for more information when it is posted.  You can also join their Google Group by  sending an email to  adkbotsoc+subscribe(at) Write Join in the subject line. You can state why you would like to join in the body of the email. After the meeting the group walked to a nearby bog where they could still see the state rare pod grass, Scheuchzeria palustris, poking its fruits up through the snow.  We can’t wait for next year’s field trips!

 The group meeting in Ray Brook.  Pardon the focus.

The group meeting in Ray Brook. Pardon the focus.

Participants explore the bog looking for pod grass.

Participants explore the bog looking for pod grass.


2012 Pennsylvania Botany Symposium in November

October 10, 2012

Please join us for the inaugural Pennsylvania Botany Symposium at Powdermill Nature Reserve in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania! The symposium takes place November 9-10, 2012

Several plant conservation institutions have teamed up to initiate a biennial meeting that brings academic and amateur botanists together to share current research in the region.

Invited speakers will cover a variety of topics, including important recent field discoveries, early botany in North America, species interactions in a Pennsylvania forest, lichens of Pennsylvania, recovery of rare native plants after invasive species removal, and addressing the shortage of botanical capacity in academia and land management agencies.

Please join us for an informative program and opportunities to network with fellow plant enthusiasts.

Registration is limited!  Registration for the symposium is $75 and includes  lunch, snacks and beverages.  Please visit our website for more information and to register at .us/forestry/plants/index.htm.

Celebrate Peconic Estuary Community Day, June 2

May 24, 2012

Peconic Estuary Community Day Date/Time Saturday, June 2 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Long Island Science Center in Riverhead.

Twenty years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the Peconic Estuary as an Estuary of National Significance. Please join us to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this important designation as well as the formation of the Peconic Estuary Program. Learn about our work and accomplishments over the past 20 years of protecting and restoring our beautiful and unique local waterway. The event will include educational activities for both adults and children, along with opportunities to speak with Peconic Estuary Program staff, volunteers, and contractors. Free and open to the public!

Long Island Native Plant Initiative Plant Sale Coming Up In June

May 10, 2012

The LINPI plant sale will happen June 1-2 and 8-9 at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead.  For a species list and announcement CLICK HERE.

Below are photos of Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa, in flower and fruit and available at the sale.

Photo Kim Smith

Photo Steve Young

Saratoga Springs Tree Survey Off To a Great Start

May 1, 2012

Here is an update from Tom Denny on this important project:

On April 21, in celebration of Earth Day weekend, Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project launched our 2012 tree survey season.  The threatening weather held off and we had seventy-five passionate volunteers sign in, which doesn’t even include the nice turnout of kids who came with their families.  You can count ‘em in the attached photo, taken under one of Saratoga’s legacy American elms.  (A special thanks to Commissioners Michele Madigan and Chris Mathiesen, as well as Supervisor Joanne Yepsen, for their participation.)  It was festive, it was fun, it was gratifying, it was educational, and it was productive.  The energy was phenomenal and we accomplished a great deal in one day.  Many dedicated volunteers worked from 10 AM until the rain chased them in about 3 PM.  We followed that up with additional training sessions on the evenings of April 23 and 24, which placed nearly thirty additional volunteers into the field.  All in all, over 100 volunteers hit the streets counting trees this week, with an additional fifty having expressed willingness but not yet having attended a training session.  A huge thanks to all  !  This offers a strong sign of how greatly the citizens value our urban trees!

The tree survey is Sustainable Saratoga’s in-kind contribution to the City’s responsibilities under a DEC Urban Forestry grant it applied for a few years ago.  The DEC initially expected the City to pay $20,000 in matching funds to hire an external consultant to conduct the survey.  Sustainable Saratoga offered to organize the survey and analyze the data on a volunteer basis, and saved the taxpayers the $20,000.  The DEC grant enables the City to develop its first-ever Tree Master Plan.  Sustainable Saratoga will take the survey data, crunch its numbers through a forestry software called iTree, and produce a report that quantifies the economic and environmental  benefits of Saratoga’s urban forest.   This will provide the foundation for the City’s plan.

In addition to the survey work, we provided participants on April 21 with instructions for three tree-related activities:  a self-guided walking tour (with location and DBH) of seven majestic elm survivors in downtown Saratoga (and the survey has just turned up an eighth);  a self-guided walking tree hunt of the varied trees of Congress Park; and a call to the public to tell us their stories about Saratoga’s biggest, best, or just plain favorite trees (send your favorites to  The self-guided tours are available by request at the same email address.

Many hands do indeed make light work.  At the end of 2011, we had surveyed only about 23% of the survey area.  Early work done this spring had inched us up to almost exactly a quarter of the survey completed.  Since the April 21 launch event, the 100+ volunteers have already completed another 25% (we are now 50% finished) and have in their hands, actively being surveyed as I write, virtually all of the remaining 50%.  We expect to complete the original survey work by early May and have decided, given the enthusiastic response by the volunteers, to expand our survey area to include additional sections of the city.  Of course, completing the survey will not be the end of our efforts; it will really be more the beginning of an era of strong tree advocacy in Saratoga.    For more information, check our website or Like us on Facebook, at Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project (email:

What were some of the most interesting impressions that volunteer surveyors brought back from the streets?  Some great trees were noted, including a “new” legacy American elm on Nelson Avenue, some large basswood trees, some great oaks, and a beautiful slippery elm.  Many ventured into tree wastelands and returned to us shocked by the sheer number of treeless streets (or virtually treeless streets) in Saratoga.  Finally, the lack of tree diversity was a recurrent observation from the front lines.  In particular, volunteers noted the preponderance of recently planted Norway maples (green leaf and Crimson King) and Bradford pears, all of which are on the DEC interim Invasive Species List.

Happy Volunteers Ready to Survey Trees

Long Island Native Plant Initiative Plant Sale

April 30, 2012

There are 35 species of grasses, flowering plants, and shrubs native to Long Island up for sale.

 Dates: Fri. June 1st and Sat. June 2nd &

Fri. June 8th and Sat. June 9th

9am – 1pm or by appointment

Location: Suffolk County Community College, Eastern Campus Greenhouse

121 Speonk-Riverhead Road

Riverhead, NY 11901

For more information or to reserve plant material, contact / 631-727-2315 ext. 3

‘Like’ LINPI on facebook!!/pages/Long-Island-Native-Plant-Initiative-LINPI/112770918750630


SUNY ESF Alumni Sponsor the Return of the American Chestnut

February 18, 2012

On April 18, test trees of American chestnut produced by the Restoration Project at ESF will be planted at an event at the New York Botanical Garden, the place where chestnut blight was first discovered in 1904. The Research Project has more than 100 varieties either in field trials or waiting to be tested.  The event will include a lecture on chestnut trees at 3 p.m. followed by a planting of trees at 4:30 and a reception and dinner at 6:00 in the renovated  stone mill at the garden. Fees are $31 for the lecture and $100 for the dinner. Reservations are required and sponsorships are encouraged.  If you are interested contact the ESF alumni office at 315-470-6632 or Let’s hope this is the beginning of the return of the American chestnut tree to our eastern forests.

Botany Comes to New York City Theater

January 7, 2012

Theater artist Jim Findlay has created a new production entitled BOTANICA that examines the relationship between plants and humans. Please visit their website at for further information about the production and the artistic team.

They are  offering a $5 discount to NYFA blog readers for upcoming performances of BOTANICA from January 28 thru February 25, 2012 at 3LD Art & Technology Center in Lower Manhattan (

BOTANICA is a creepy futuristic black comedy that examines our complicated and interdependent relationship to plant life. Sealed in a human terrarium, two unorthodox botanists and a caretaker unleash a flood of unusual findings and overturn the constraints of science and social norms. The discount offer is valid for tickets purchased before 1/27/12.

Tickets can be purchased HERE. To get the $5 discount, tickets must be purchased before 1/27/12 with the discount code “Green.”

New York Natural History Conference Coming Next April in Syracuse

October 25, 2011

Next year’s conference, April 15-19, stands to be even better than the one in Albany last spring.  All you botanists out there should plan to participate.  See the information below. Click on it twice for a larger version.

CLICK HERE to go right to their conference website.