MBC Spring Foray 2010 Field Trips
Island (Saturday ALL DAY)
Join Dr. Tony Reznicek of the University of Michigan for a trip to Kelley’s Island, a short ferry ride from the Ohio mainland. It is the most botanically diverse of the American Erie islands, and has the best remaining natural areas, including such treasures as the North Shore Alvar State Nature Preserve, Kelley’s Island State Park, North Pond State Nature Preserve, and of course, the famous Glacial Grooves State Memorial. In the midst of the matrix of plants typical of the Erie island uplands, like open forests of Hackberry and Red cedar, we will see Ohio’s most intact alvar community, with specialties of the limestone shores, such as the northern bog violet, (Viola nephrophylla) which may still be in bloom. We will also see the best remaining connected wetland pond on the Lake Erie island. Though we will be too late for the peak flush of the spring flora, we should see some Lake Erie specialties in bloom, hopefully including such plants as the wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) and Miami mist (Phacelia purshii). We will also stop to see, hopefully in flower, the population of the Lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea) that has been introduced onto Kelley’s Island from the Ohio mainland as a safeguard in case anything should happen to the colonies on the Marblehead Peninsula. Limit 15 participants. Ferry rates are $18 per person round-trip ($14 for seniors) plus a $15 per vehicle charge, so carpooling is encouraged. Be prepared to pay your fare at the ferry dock.
Irwin Prairie and Goll Woods (Saturday ALL DAY)
Walk through a treeless, wet sedge meadow with Irwin Prairie preserve manager Ryan Schroeder. More than 26 state-listed species of plants occur here including red baneberry, Sartwell's sedge, fringed gentian, Kalm's St. John's-wort, Riddell's goldenrod and grass-leaf arrowhead. The preserve has a handicapped accessible boardwalk which provides access through the Prairie, so the degree of walking is easy. We’ll also see some of the largest trees remaining in the state at Goll Woods. Highlights are old-growth woods reminiscent of the Great Black Swamp and excellent spring wildflowers. A rich variety of native shrubs and wildflowers occur in the woods including spotted coral-root and three-birds-orchid. Mosquitoes are a possibility and at times, while groomed and degree of walking is easy, the trail can be muddy.
Oak Openings Region (Saturday AM and Sunday ALL DAY)
Meet with Dr. Tim Walters, botanical expert of the Oak Openings Region, to focus on sedges & rushes and all that grows in between. Tim will take you across the region to visit his choice honey spots. The degree of walking will be more challenging, potentially muddy/wet as he will take you off trail at various preserves. The all day trip will include Kitty Todd Preserve. This is your chance to see the Oak Openings Region with the leader who knows it all.
Birding in the Oak Openings Region (Saturday AM)
Come take a walk through the Oak Openings Metropark Preserve with master naturalist and birder Dr. Elliot Tramer. He is hoping for Cerulean Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher and Lark Sparrow along the way, and will visit one of the best Red-headed Woodpecker populations in the region. The walk will also pass patches of blue lupine, puccoon, and yellow lady slipper orchids. Degree of walking is easy.
Kitty Todd Nature Preserve (Saturday AM and Sunday AM)
Visit the region’s most continuous and spectacular display of blue lupine and restored Oak Savanna ecotones with expert birder and orchid seeker Eric Durbin, nature nut Todd Crail, and Rick Bryan. Rick is involved with a number of natural resource organizations with an emphasis on habitat protection and watershed restoration. As a wholesale nursery owner he raised oak openings native plants in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy and the Metroparks of the Toledo Area. There is a good chance for viewing the Federally Endangered Karner blue butterfly and the preserve hosts hundreds of species of plants including more than 70 state listed rare plants within its 850 acre boundaries. Degree of walking will be moderate, with some potential for moist soils.
Nature Photography Workshop at Secor Metropark (Saturday AM)
Secor Metropark is home to the National Center for Nature Photography, a unique facility featuring the work of some of the world’s best photographers. Join Jim Hagan, Toledo Camera Club member, for a nature photography workshop at the Metropark featuring lessons on composition, lighting, etc. including the use of digital equipment. Following our outdoor lessons participants will have a guided tour of the Center’s galleries with Jim. Limit 10 participants.
Oak Openings Metropark Preserve (Saturday PM)
Visit some of the largest exposed dunes, seeping wetlands and natural recovery of mined sand with doctoral candidate and naturalist Todd Crail within the massive Oak Openings Metropark Preserve. Expect to see blue lupine, puccoon and other spring favorites such as wild columbine and marsh marigold. We will also examine some of the geologic aspects of the Oak Openings Region, including a look at the clay confining layer running below the sands. Degree of walking will be moderate, with some walking on non-groomed trails, and we will cover some distance.
Butterfly House (Saturday PM and Monday AM –opens at 10:00 am)
Located in nearby Whitehouse, OH, the Butterfly House features more than 60 species of butterflies housed in an indoor garden. No matter what the weather, the butterflies are always active as you walk among them here. Bring your camera as hundreds of freely fluttering butterflies beg for their photo to be taken. There is also an outdoor butterfly garden behind the House. If you enjoy a leisurely pace, this is the trip for you. Entrance fees are Adults (13-64) $7, Seniors (65+) $6, and Children (4-12) $5.50, payable at the Butterfly House.
“Lower” Plants Tour (Saturday PM)
There is nothing inferior about the so-called “lower” plants. They are fascinating in so many ways. Nature Conservancy volunteer leaders Jim Toppin and Janet Traub will take you to various locations in search of everything from hornworts to ferns. Don’t know what a hornwort is? Here is your chance to find out! Be prepared for muddy conditions because that is where many “lower” plants like to hang out.
Irwin Prairie and Secor Metropark (Sunday ALL DAY)
Caryle Spence, Huron Valley Chapter MBC member and long-time Toledo Camera Club member, will lead this trip to two of her favorite spots. The boardwalk at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve will lead you through the extensive sedge meadow, shrub swamp and tall-grass wet prairie with dry feet. With Caryle’s photographer’s eye, you’re sure to see some interesting insects, spiders, butterflies, and maybe a frog or two. Secor Metropark offers a number of trails through swamp forest, forested sand dunes, old fields and the popular woodland pond. Spring wildflowers and birds abound here. A visit to the National Center for Nature Photography located within the park is also planned. The forested areas at Secor may be muddy.
Ottawa and Sandusky Counties (Sunday ALL DAY)
Take a trip eastward with trip leader Todd Crail to examine limestone prairies and fens in Ottawa & Sandusky counties. We will stop at the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve to view the tail end of the Federally-listed plant’s bloom, examine the tufa lined prairies of the Resthaven Wildlife Area, and visit a blue hole and fen at the Blue Heron Preserve. Degree of walking will be easy to moderate, and will be dry.
Erie Marsh Preserve (Sunday AM)
This Nature Conservancy Preserve features a Great Lakes Marsh, an herbaceous wetland community restricted to the shoreline of the Great Lakes and their major connecting rivers. Lake Erie sites enjoy the most moderate climate of the Great Lakes region. As a result, the emergent marshes and wet meadows of Lake Erie feature a relatively southern flora with a high proportion of disturbance species. Later in the season both American Lotus and Swamp Rose Mallow can be seen here. Many dabbling ducks, shorebirds, and marsh-loving songbirds can be seen in the spring as they rest and refuel on their way to northern breeding grounds for the summer. They will return to this site in the fall on their way back to their Latin American and Caribbean winter homes. The marsh also provides a summer range for the great egret, great blue heron and black-crowned night heron. Dress warmly for spring visits to this preserve as the wind coming off Lake Erie can be brutally cold. Be prepared for muddy and uneven terrain walking along the series of dikes. Be sure to bring along binoculars or a spotting scope if you have one. Closure of certain trails is possible during eagle nesting periods, therefore watch for posted closure signs.
Toledo Botanical Gardens (docent-led Sunday PM, self-guided Monday AM))
A museum for plants, the Toledo Botanical Garden offers visitors the opportunity to share, discover and enjoy nature’s beauty. With over 60 acres of display gardens and relevant plant collections, TBG is full of beauty, tranquility and opportunities for exploration and reflection. An experienced TBG docent will lead us on an informative adventure through the Garden, including the shade, perennial, rose, herb, hosta, pioneer and vegetable gardens. The TBG takes great pride in being one of the few local propagators and the only retailer for the Oak Openings native plant genotype. The TBG greenhouse staff and volunteers annually supply over 10,000 native plants to local parks, landscapers, residential developers and other groups, creating and sustaining Oak Openings habitats. You will also learn the value the arts play in the Garden through its many sculptures and unique Artist Village. The TBG is handicapped accessible with many paved paths, but some gardens may only be enjoyed by traveling over dirt, grass or gravel paths. For the Sunday PM docent-led tour there will be a $5 tour fee per person, payable at the Garden. Entrance to the Garden is free.
Fossil Park (Sunday PM)
Travel back 375 million years ago when NW Ohio was a great sea teeming with life with Olander Park conservation manager Erika Buri. The Fossil Park is one of just a handful of its type in the nation and is one of only two prime Devonian Era fossil sites on the entire planet. Degree of walking is easy, trails leading to the shale piles are paved, and handicap accessible restrooms are available. For those wanting to go on a more moderate walk beyond the immediate park, you can expect to explore some of the successional plant communities growing on this recovering mine and actually go down into the quarry to look at the sedimentary layers and possibly find one of the world renowned Phacops trilobite fossils! Collecting is allowed and no special equipment is necessary.
IHM Motherhouse Sustainability Project (Monday AM)
The sustainable renovation of the Motherhouse of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, MI was called a “masterpiece of energy-efficiency” by the Detroit Free Press. Our tour will begin with a short video entitled “The Blue Nuns Go Green” featuring the sisters’ vision of sustainability and the story of the actual renovation of the 376,000 sq. foot Motherhouse. Next, visitors will take a guided tour of the sustainable features including the gray water system, geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficient lighting, water conserving fixtures, waste recycling and green products used for flooring, drywall and paint. After the indoor tour, we will explore the outdoor sustainable features such as the restored savanna, native trees and wildflowers, constructed wetland, vegetated swales, and organic garden. The IHM Sisters see the plight of the earth, its creatures, and its non-renewable resources and are pioneering the use of earth friendly, environmentally sustainable principles in their daily lives. There is a $10 charge per person for the 2 hour tour, payable at the door. Cash or checks only, no credit cards accepted.
A couple of general websites for Oak Openings Region information:
Friday evening program
The Geological and Botanical Context for the 2010 Michigan Botanical Club Foray
University of Toledo doctoral student, naturalist and photographer Todd Crail will pictorially guide us through the geologic context that set the stage for the brilliant plant communities we will witness through the weekend. He will also provide additional background information for each of the sites, and a photographic guide of what we should expect to see and what you would see at some of the sites during different times of the year.
Saturday evening program
Oak Openings Region – Past, Present and Future
Around the turn of last century, Edwin Moseley walked into this region and found immense wet prairies and lupine covered oak barrens. Thirty years later he published the Flora of the Oak Openings, west of Toledo. This flora contained 825 species and has remained the standard for the flora of the region. Since then, this region has been under immense pressure from the agricultural community from the west and the westward expansion of Toledo. Through all this, the Oak Openings Region has remained a highly diverse system and contains the most rare plant species per acre anywhere in Ohio. The efforts of several conservation agencies in the area have assisted in turning back the trend and have allowed these once endless communities to rebound in this now fractured landscape. Dr. Tim Walters will examine how these landscape changes, research and conservation efforts have changed the original flora first provided to us almost a century ago.
Sunday evening program
Orchids and Rumors of Orchids
The Oak Openings is home to about two dozen species of native orchids, plus one conspicuous interloper. The exact number however is difficult to establish, even though dedicated botanists have scoured the region's woods, meadows and swales for over a hundred years. Eric Durbin (a recovering birdwatcher and co-author of The Birds of the Toledo Area) has, for the last five years, been following in the footsteps of a long line of renowned Toledo Naturalists' Association members who were fascinated by wild orchids. He has been attempting to collate their published information, confirm in the field for himself the extant species and sites, and generally consolidate and update our knowledge of Oak Openings orchids. He will present the results thus far, an annotated list of species, past and present, possible and improbable, together with notes on the history of the hunt, the hunters and the hunted.