CLARKSVILLE HORTICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION (Saturday AM)
The Clarksville Horticultural Experiment Station hosts research on small fruits and tree fruits for Michigan growers, as well as research on wheat scab and weed control in a variety of crops. Scientists at the 440-acre station in Ionia County are studying variety development, fruit thinning and growth regulators, dwarf rootstocks for fruit trees, weed control, integrated pest management, and new pruning and training practices. All the research is aimed at making agricultural production more profitable and efficient for growers, while offering environmentally responsible methods to control pests. The Clarksville station is home to several organic research plots as well. You will learn more about current research and the behind the scenes business of tree fruit breeding and Michigan fruit production on this tour. The station is located off of I-96 approximately 45 minutes from the MSU campus.
LEFGLEN NATURE SANCTUARY (Saturday AM)
Situated in a picturesque part of southern Jackson County, and embodying the best of its natural features, Lefglen is a collection of varied terrains which include wooded upland, cattail marshes, swales, lakes, tamarack bog, oak groves, flowering well, and prairie. Lefglen is one of the unusual places in Michigan where northern and southern flora intermingle; 690 native plant species from 116 plant families have been identified here. When visiting Lefglen, you can find rare wildflowers and nine species of native orchids. Over fifty kinds of birds nest at the sanctuary. A number of mammals and seven kinds of reptiles have been catalogued here. A mollusk study showed Lefglen has 26 species of gastropods. Eight different salamander species are found in the vernal ponds. Natalie Kent of MNA will be leading this tour. It is approximately an hour drive from the MSU campus.
ROSE LAKE STATE WILDLIFE AREA (Saturday AM)
Join Sherry Kovach in looking for sundews (Drosera rotundifolia) and other plants in a wildlife area located a short drive from MSU. This site contains a mixture of wetlands, lakes, old fields and forests. You’ll also see numerous songbirds and possibly sandhill cranes and great blue herons, which frequent this area. The walk is about one mile round-trip and the topography is flat to gently rolling. Be prepared to get your feet wet, so wear water-proof boots. Mosquitoes might be an issue too. Sherry, our guide, is a life-long nature enthusiast who likes to paint and photograph plants and nature scenes. By training she is a nurse and has a particular interest in medical plants. Sherry was the Vice-President of the Red Cedar Chapter for three years.
WELSCH PRAIRIE RESTORATION (Saturday AM) (Saturday PM) (Sunday AM) (Sunday PM)
Following his retirement from Michigan State University in medical research in 1995, Dr. Welsch has made prairies his passion. He has restored a full 20 acres of his property west of DeWitt (northwest of Lansing) to native forbs and grasses, one of the largest private restorations in the State. Knowledge he has required from visiting prairies throughout the Midwest and from his own successful restoration had made him an authority on prairie communities. He has led many tours of his prairie and he manages two small prairies in southwest Michigan for the Michigan Nature Association. The prairie has over 100 species and includes a wet swale and a natural pond with native sedges and shrubs. Much to see and learn even in May!
HAZEL RIDGE FARM (Saturday PM) (Sunday PM)
Gijsbert van Frankenhausen is a well-known Michigan artist, illustrator, and muralist of wildlife and pastoral scenes. For 17 years he was the Art Director and Illustrator for Michigan Natural Resources Magazine. He has illustrated many children’s books, some authored by his wife, Robbyn. He was one of four Michigan artists to contribute paintings for “The Birds of Michigan”. The van Frankenhausens’ studio and home is situated on 40 acres near Bath, Michigan, just north of Lansing, on which they have created a wildlife habitat with 3 miles of trails, 5 ponds, wetlands, woods, and fields. Robbyn and Gijsbert will lead a tour of their Hazel Ridge Farm and studio.
BEAL GARDEN TOUR (Saturday PM) (Sunday AM)
Tour and learn about the historical significance of the Beal Garden on the MSU campus. Known as "The Wild Garden" between 1873 thru 1924 because Professor Beal wanted to bring together all plants growing uninhibited at one place in Michigan. Only after his death was it renamed the Beal Garden. Today this outstanding botanical garden consists of over 5,000 species of plants on 5 acres and is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden of its kind in the country. Learn about this outdoor laboratory for the study by students and faculty in botany, horticulture, forestry, medicine, landscape architecture, anthropology, and art along with current and past research projects. Simply enjoy the beauty and solitude. Tour guide Stephen Davis holds a B.A. in Botany and is the Treasurer of the Red Cedar Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club.
EATON COUNTY PARKS – FITZGERALD PARK (Saturday PM) (Sunday PM)
We’ll take a tour of “The Ledges”, a unique geological feature in central Michigan, situated about 10 miles west of the MSU campus. These 300 million year old sandstone outcrops are up to 60 feet high. In many places, the ledges are covered with liverworts, mosses, ferns, and algae. We’ll examine some of these primitive plants as well as the other flora and fauna of the area. Fitzgerald Park also has a wildflower trail we’ll try to visit if time permits. The walk will be on a gentle to moderate trail. Boots or hiking shoes are recommended as there are some tree roots and rocks. The temperature on the ledges can be much cooler than the surrounding area, so bring a jacket or sweater.
LAKE LANSING PARK NORTH (Saturday PM) (Sunday PM)
Lake Lansing Park North is a part of the Ingham County Park System. Originally an inaccessible area of swamps, Oak/Hickory, and White Pine forest, the park has seen many transformations. Logging in the late 1800's, creation and maintenance of a railroad, use as a dredge spoil, some human settlement, and failed development attempts have created the current diverse habitat that was destined to be a park almost since the first European settlement (see history below). Interesting features include, but are not limited to, wet ash-maple forests, upland oak/hickory forests, hazelnut & dogwood thickets, cattail and scrub marshes, and ephemeral pools. Long-mature spruce and pine plantations have allowed for development of interesting lichen communities. This walk will be mostly on established dirt walking trails of low to moderate difficulty. As many of the features are spaced apart from each other, total walking distance may exceed 4-5 miles, time permitting. Light hiking boots should be sufficient- be prepared for some soggy or wet grass. As wetlands comprise the majority of the park, MOSQUITOS will be present so bring insect repellant. Route maps will be distributed on-site. Trip Leader Mark Ledebuhr grew up in these woods, and originally aspired to be a botanist largely due to his experiences here. Sadly, all of his childhood forts have long since rotted away. He attended MSU, receiving a BS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. He and his wife Jennifer, their dog and 3(!) cats are currently Lansing residents. He is a founding partner in a local manufacturing company, a member of Red Cedar chapter of The Botanical Club for two years, a member of Capital Area Audubon Society, an avid gardener, and amateur herbalist.
CAMPUS WOODLOTS TOUR (Saturday and Sunday AM)
This woodlot is more or less characteristic of a beech-maple forest. It covers an area of 78 acres. Originally called South Woodlot, then Farm Lane Woodlot, it was finally named Baker Woodlot in 1941 in honor of two early foresters at Michigan State, James Fred Baker and Harry Lee Baker. H. L. Baker eventually became the first State Forester of Florida and J. F. Baker was appointed Professor of Forestry and Chairman of the Forestry Department on October 1, 1907.
Sanford Natural Area
The Sanford Natural Area a 34 acre floodplain forest which is part of the original 676.57 acres of forested land purchased in 1855 from A.R. Burr of Lansing for the original Michigan Agricultural College campus. It was originally called North Woodlot, Woodlot No. 1 and later River Woodlot. In 1941 Professor Paul A. Herbert, Head of the Forestry Department, renamed it Sanford Woodlot, after Frank Hobart Sanford (1880-1938; B.S., 1904; M.S., 1913 Forestry faculty, 1906-1920; the second full-time forester appointed by the college).
LICHENIZED FUNGI - A SURVEY OF FORM AND FUNCTION
This activity will begin with a slide show by Tom Trana covering basic lichen biology and structure, as well as the role of lichens in selected ecosystems and a brief overview of human uses of lichens. Afterward, lots of demonstration specimens will be available to look at, showing the diverse range of lichen growth forms, and structures important in lichen identification. Some hands-on activities, like how to do color spot tests to aid in species identification, will be available as well. Tom Trana has a Master of Science degree in Botany from Michigan State University. He has been “playing around with” lichens off and on since the early 1970’s, when he was an undergraduate at Minot State University in North Dakota. He has led several wildflower and lichen activities for MBC since moving to Michigan in 1980.
BLACK LIGHTS N’ BUGS (Saturday EVENING after speaker)
Mogens “Mo” Nielsen plans to black light at Rose Lake Wildlife Area owned by MDNR. This site is about 7 miles east of campus. Those people interested in participating may want to consider bringing the following items:
Camera (may see some rather spectacular animals, invertebrates and vertebrates)
Field cloths including jacket (as the evening cools)
Mosquito repellant (just in case)
Flashlight (or night vision goggles!)
Mogens “Mo” Nielsen is warmly known throughout the U.S.A. as Mr. Michigan Butterfly! Mo literally wrote the book on Michigan butterflies, Michigan Butterflies and Skippers. He is also very knowledgeable about our larger moths. Mo worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for 38 years, retiring in 1988. He is currently Adjunct Curator of Lepidoptera at MSU.
BARRY STATE GAME AREA (Saturday ALL DAY)
The Barry State Game Area (BSGA) is situated in a rolling landscape of coarse-textured end moraines and glacial outwash, pockmarked with kettleholes. The sandy uplands once supported significant acreage of black oak and oak-pine barrens. Fragments of these barrens still occur within the vast acreage of oak forest. We will explore a few of these remnant barrens and their interesting spring flora including showy species such as puccoon (Lithospermum spp.), wild lupine (Lupinus perennis), rockrose (Helianthemum canadense), as well as the more understated such as hairy pinweed (Lechea villosa) and bush clovers (Lespedeza spp.). BSGA lands are managed at the landscape level, and we will investigate the manner in which barrens are integrated with other plant communities, hints of which still exist. Terrain will be level, with easy hiking as most sites are adjacent to roads. Normal hiking boots will be fine. Travel time should be about 1 hour and 15 minutes one-way. Tyler Bassett is a Restoration Botanist with Native Connections. He conducted a floristic inventory of oak barrens and prairie fen remnants throughout BSGA in 2003 and has conducted numerous inventories before and since then.
GRAND RIVER FEN AND GOOSE CREEK NATURE SANCTUARY (Saturday ALL DAY)
Morning: Grand River Fen Preserve contains the second largest high-quality occurrence of cinquefoil-sedge fen in the North Central Tillplain Ecoregion. This 287-acre complex of high quality wetland communities also includes southern swamp and southern shrub-carr. This makes it critical habitat for special insects, including the blazing star borer, tamarack tree cricket, pine tree cricket, regal fern borer, angular spittlebug and red-legged spittlebug. One globally-rare plant, the bog bluegrass, is also found here, as well as a very high diversity of flowering plants, sedges, and grasses. Chris May, Stewardship Program Manager with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Michigan, will be leading us on a tour of this preserve and discuss some TNC’s goals and plans for the area. The walk will be moderately difficult and potentially wet. Due to the sensitive nature of the wetland habitats, each trip will be limited to 25 persons. Carpooling will be necessary as parking is very limited.
Afternoon: Located off Cement City Highway across from Goose Lake, the Michigan Nature Association’s Goose Creek Fen is a unique prairie fen wetland. Hydrological processes and fire play important roles in these habitats. Many rare plants and animals thrive here. These wetlands also provide a natural water filter for the local watershed.
PIERCE CEDAR CREEK INSTITUTE (Saturday ALL DAY) (Sunday ALL DAY)
Located in central Barry County, the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education is a 661-acre biological field station that encompasses several upland and wetland plant communities, including high-quality examples of rich tamarack swamp and rich conifer swamp associated with Cedar Creek. The rich conifer swamp contains one of the largest stands of northern white-cedar in southern Lower Michigan, situated at the base of a glacial ridge supporting a disturbed but scenic example of mesic southern forest dominated by American beech. Other plant communities represented at the Institute include southern wet meadow, prairie fen, and dry-mesic southern forest. RCC member Brad Slaughter will be joined by Institute staff to lead a day-long field trip through the varied habitats of the property, exploring the spring flora of this rich natural area. The trip will involve a moderately difficult hike of at least two miles on varied terrain, and may include off-trail exploration of the wetland areas. Prepare for deep muck soils, standing water, and mosquitoes. Due to the sensitive nature of the wetland habitats, each trip will be limited to 20 persons. Brad Slaughter is an ecologist with Michigan Natural Features Inventory, where his work has focused on classification, inventory, and ecological integrity assessments of natural communities throughout the state. Prior to his work at MNFI, Brad earned a B.A. in Biology at Albion College and an M.S. in Botany from Miami University. While a student at Albion College, Brad studied the flora and swamp forests of the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, and he will discuss his findings as we explore the property.
MSU STUDENT ORGANIC FARM (Sunday AM)
The farm began in 1999, initiated by students intent on applying classroom knowledge in a field environment for the purpose of growing food organically. Also, Professor John Biernbaum wanted to research the possibility of growing vegetables year-round in Michigan in unheated hoop houses. Today the 10-acre operation is a successful model of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with over 50 weekly shares and offers an Organic Farming Certificate Program. The tour includes their Edible Forest Garden which has native wildflowers growing in harmony with fruit, nut, vegetable, and medicinal plants. Corie Pierce is Coordinator and Instructor of the Organic Farming Certificate Program and Farm Manager and will lead this tour.
FENNER NATURE CENTER (Sunday AM)
Jim McGrath, director of Fenner Nature Center, will lead us on a tour of the varied plant communities of the property. The Nature Center is fighting an influx of invasive plants and Jim will discuss methods of identifying and combating invasive species. This tour will be mostly on paved or smoothly-groomed trails suitable for those with difficulty walking long distances or walking on rough terrain. Children will also find the Nature Center enjoyable. There are several ponds with viewing platforms and an educational center for the kids.
LAKE LANSING NORTH LICHEN TOUR (Sunday PM)
Lichen diversity tends to be low in urban areas, due to habitat disturbance, lower humidity compared to many natural environments, and the sensitivity of many lichen species to some compounds in polluted air. Lake Lansing Park North has a surprisingly diverse lichen flora for an area located so close to a city the size of Lansing. Past visits have generated a list of at least 30 species and thorough study of the smaller and harder-to-identify taxa found there would probably yield a total of 40-50 species. Although some of the lichens spotted there were only seen once or twice, a walk along various trails through diverse habitats should find a nice range of lichens to see. If you have a hand lens or magnifier of at least 3 X magnification (though 5-10X is better), please bring it along. Entering the 'Forests of Lilliput' (phrase courtesy of John Bland, from a book of that title) is greatly enhanced with a larger-than-life view. If you have a copy of Julie Medlin's Michigan Lichens, bring it along too, as we will spend some time looking up those species found. Tom Trana, the trip leader, has been studying lichens off and on since the early 1970s when he was an undergraduate at Minot State University in North Dakota. He has led several lichen and wildflower activities for MBC since moving to Michigan in 1980. He also obtained a Master of Science degree in Botany from MSU, which enhanced his botanical training.
MSU WALKING GARDEN TOUR (Sunday PM)
Come and join us on a leisurely walking tour on the
beautiful grounds of the Michigan State University
campus. Bring the entire family and your camera. The tour will consist of
seeing a variety of horticulture gardens: the Children's garden with more that
56 different themes to the annual perennial, the rose and healing gardens and
more. You will also learn about the trees and landscape architecture on campus.
It is truly a place where people and plants grow together. Tour guide Stephen
Davis holds a B.A. in Botany and is the Treasurer of the Red Cedar Chapter of
the Michigan Botanical Club.
PORTLAND STATE GAME AREA (Sunday ALL DAY)
The rich, forested banks of the Grand River in the Portland State Game Area offer a diversity of rich forest habitats, both dry and mesic. We can expect to see at their northern limit such southern trees as blue ash (hopefully still living), red mulberry, and Kentucky coffee tree, as well as the more usual species of rich woods along rivers. The lush herbaceous understory will include great stands of twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla (unfortunately past bloom), Enemion (Isopyrum) biternatum, the false rue anemone (hopefully with a few flowers yet) and many other typical spring woodland plants, including a diversity of grasses and sedges. A special treat may be seeing the largest red cedar tree in Michigan. The trip is mostly an easy walk (except for brief ventures partway down the steep riverbank), but the distance will be considerable. We will be walking in a loop of nearly two miles. Tony Reznicek is Curator of Vascular Plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium. He is also a Director of the Michigan Natural Areas Council and Chairman of the Endangered Species Technical Committee for Plants, Michigan DNR.