2012 Spring Foray Field Trips at a Glance
Saturday, May 26
Cedar Swamps with Tony Reznicek
Sturgeon Bay Dunes with Kathy Bricker
Ferns and Fern Allies of UP Karst with Connie Crancer & Steve Bak (Bridge Toll)
UM Biological Station Tour with Mark Paddock
Restoration of Early Successional Communities with Eric Ellis
Morels & More, Spring Fungi (UMBS) (Dep 9:00) with Marilynn Smith
Prehistoric Native American Sites, Grapevine Point with Kathryn Parker
Colonial Point with Robert Ayotte
Morels & More, Spring Fungi (UMBS) with Marilynn Smith
Sunday, May 27
Bois Blanc (Dep 7:45 + Ferry Fees) with Sylvia Taylor
Mackinaw Headlands with Bob Smith
Eastern Upper Peninsula Peatlands with Brad Slaughter (Bridge Toll)
Grass Bay Preserve with Judy Kelly
Birding the Straits (Dep. 7:30) with Harold and Artemis Eyster and Steve Baker
Reese’s Swamp with Bev Walters
Mud Lake Bog with Dave Dister
Grass Bay Preserve with Judy Kelly
Waugoshance Point, Wilderness State Park with Bev Walters
Field Trip Descriptions
(Saturday, all day)
Cedar Swamps of Northern Lower Michigan
Few botanical experiences can rival standing in a deep, dark, mature cedar swamp, amidst the cover of tiny jewels – the mosses, fine sedges, tiny ericaceous shrubs like Gautheria hispidula (creeping snowberry), and other small, often evergreen plants such as Linnaea borealis (twinflower), Mitella nuda, Orthilia secunda, Moneses uniflora, etc., as well as some of the more specialized orchids. We will try to visit a couple examples of high quality closed canopy cedar swamps, which are becoming increasingly rare due to logging, drainage, and other disturbances such as wind throw and invasion by coarse aliens. Notes: Difficulty: moderate; expect wet feet, some awkward walking through dense vegetation and over streams, and slow going. Special equipment or needs: Rubber boots or (better) wettable running shoes. Walking distance: a few miles over several sites.
Leader: Tony Reznicek, Assistant Director & Curator of Vascular Plants at the University of Michigan Herbarium and is co-author with Edward G. Voss of the new Field Manual of Michigan Flora.
(Saturday, all day)
Ferns and Fern Allies of Upper Peninsula Karst Terrain
The Straits region and Upper Peninsula possess about 60 species of ferns and “fern allies” (horsetails, club mosses, etc.) within a diversity of ecosystems. We will hunt for ferns and “fern allies” along the seeps, streams and limestone outcroppings of rich deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests. Although Connie and Steve will lead the group, they will depend on everyone’s eyes, ears, and plant identification skills to make this trip a group experience. Notes: some wet terrain; bring loupes, sturdy boots, a sense of adventure, and perhaps a walking stick, Moderate Difficulty - participants will be guided over mossy limestone ledges of karst terrain. Distance: 2 miles total, Children: OK
Leaders: Connie Crancer and Steve Baker. Connie Crancer, is a recent graduate, M.S. in Terrestrial Ecology from University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, . She is a staff member of the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where she is a Natural Areas team member specializing in native plant species horticulture. She manages several MBGNA native plant gardens and leads the native species propagation program. Steve Baker is a land steward for the MNA and the Nature Conservancy, and has a particular interest in calcareous ecosystems.
(Saturday, all day)
A day at the Beach: Sturgeon Bay Dunes
The mile-long stretch at Sturgeon Bay Dunes on northeast Lake Michigan exemplifies a Great Lakes dune ecosystem. Low foredunes are stabilized by grasses and sand cherry, while a backdrop of 100-foot high dunes overtakes the forest beyond. Targeted species include Houghton's goldenrod, Pitcher's thistle, Lake Huron tansy, sundews, and piping plovers. Besides casual walks with frequent stops along two stretches of dunes, separated by a lunch break, we will hike part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Terrain is gently rolling, with an optional climb to a high dune for vistas and forest overlook. Time permitting, we will visit a third lakeshore site. The 33-year tale of this area's addition to Wilderness State Park showcases the power of a dedicated group of volunteers. Notes: Dress for variable weather, since the beach can be windier, colder, and rainier than UMBS. Wear a sun hat and comfortable walking shoes that can get wet. Bring water, a change of socks, binoculars and field guides as desired.
Leader: Kathy Bricker, B.S. Bowling Green State University, Ohio, M.S., University of Michigan, recently retired from the Ocean Conservancy, and held various positions with the University of Michigan Biological Station, Little Traverse Conservancy, and Federation for American Immigration Reform. As a volunteer, she fought to protect Sturgeon Bay Dunes from mining and development, led the successful launch of recycling programs in both Emmet and Cheboygan Counties, and oversaw the growth of EarthWeekPlus in Cheboygan County to 50 varied events. Kathy is immediate past president of Straits Area Audubon Society. She and her husband Jim tour Michigan with their films Yellowknife Spring: Birds of the Far North and Caribou Summer: Secrets of the Tundra, and offer educational programs with their 23-year-old reticulated python.
Biological Station Facilities and Grounds Tour
The Tour will cover the grounds of the Biological Station, interesting and important teaching and support buildings, research facilities including the "Soil Biotron" and the new observation tower. Mark will talk about the 104 year history of UMBS, important teachers and scientists and some ecological discussion of the immediate landscape and Douglas Lake.
Leader: Mark Paddock. After 13 years with the Institute Of Arctic and Alpine Research in Colorado and six with the Missouri Botanical Garden, Mark came to the Biological Station in 1971 with David Gates to be Associate Director. He retired 20 years ago, but has kept closely associated with UMBS, which is easily done from his home nearby. He is a dedicated environmentalist/conservationist and is active in regional organizations protecting lands and waterways.
Restoration of Early Successional Communities
Alder swamps are an important wildlife habitat that benefit from disturbance. Conservation Resource Alliance, a private, not- for-profit corporation committed to "sensible stewardship of the land" has been conducting prescribed cutting at this private site west of UMBS in Emmet County since 2005. The project was featured last winter on an MSU Extension PBS special statewide. The restoration effort has focused mainly on woody plant removal. It will be interesting to see how the herbaceous flora has benefited. Eric will explain the benefits of young forests and, specifically, how and why woodcock (and a host of other species) need this habitat. Notes: moderate, difficulty, Walking distance: half mile No young children.
Leader: Eric Ellis, Biologist, Conservation Resource Alliance, Traverse City.
(Saturday morning, Departure 9:00, repeats Saturday afternoon)
Morels and More – The Spring Fungi
We will take a leisurely walk along Grape Vine Point Trail on the UMBS campus to look for Spring fungi. Notes: Bring a loupe if you have one, and bug repellant in case of insects. Difficulty: Easy, Distance: 2 miles, Children: OK
Leader: Marilynn Smith has a B.S. and M.S. in mycology from University of Iowa. She has taught high school and college biology and worked as a medical mycologist. She did graduate studies and research at both the University of Vermont and UMBS. Currently she teaches field courses at North Central Michigan College, Petoskey and Chippewa Nature Center, Midland.
Prehistoric Native American storage pits and community on Grapevine Point
We will take a short hike out the Grapevine Point trail on the University of Michigan Biological Station property to visit a group of prehistoric (approximately AD 1000) storage pits. We will learn what these storage facilities and nearby living sites may have to say about Native American settlement in the area of Douglas Lake. Notes: Easy walking. Sturdy shoes
Leader: Kathryn (Katie) Parker has spent the past 30 years in the identification and evaluation of botanical remains from archaeological sites. Her university education and training were in the field of North American anthropology/archaeology, and more specifically in Paleoethnobotany. Her research experience has been centered in the Midwest where she has studied plant materials from prehistoric archaeological sites 8,000 years in age as well as 1860 AD privy samples, and everything in between. Identification of archaeobotanical remains is only the first step in exploring larger questions of past human use of plant resources, and reconstruction of past ecosystems. The prehistoric pit groups on Grapevine Point represent an example of storage facilities that now total well above 100 at UMBS, with similar groups also located outside of UMBS. Archaeological testing of pits has yielded traces of charred wood, nutshell, and seeds (ancient plant materials are typically preserved through the process of carbonization). However, the actual function and relationship of storage pits to nearby Late Woodland living sites with abundant and taxonomically diverse remains of plant (and animal) resources continues to be enigmatic.
Colonial Point Memorial Forest: Mesic Northern Hardwood Ecosystems
In the 1800s, Mesic Northern Hardwood Forests covered approximately 32% of Michigan. Due to logging, agriculture and development, only 0.4% of these forests remain. Colonial Point Forest, on Burt Lake, is an extraordinary example of the Mesic Northern Hardwood ecosystem. This forest was threatened by heavy logging in 1985, when a lumber company sought to harvest the exceptionally large, 150+ year old, red oaks. As a result of the dedicated work of UMBS alumna Wendy O’Neill, and contributions from a variety of conservation organizations, about 290 acres of mature hardwood, pine, and hemlock were preserved. Colonial Point Memorial Preserve is University of Michigan Biological Station property. We will, explore the trails, discuss the glacial history, examine the soils, and enjoy the abundant ferns and spring wildflowers. Expect to see oak fern, ostrich fern, large-flowered trillium, round-lobed hepatica, yellow trout lily, and herb Robert. We will also consider the activities of the native Chaboiganing Band, and how their historic practices influenced the forest structure and composition. Notes: Easy walking on gently rolling trails, ~ 2-3 miles.
Leader: Robert Ayotte, MS in Forest Sciences, University of Michigan (1983), attended UMBS in 1980 completing Boreal Flora and Byrophytes courses. He gained very local notoriety when he composed the song "Bryophyte Blues". He has served as a Naturalist and Forest Research Technician with a variety of organizations from Oregon to Rhode Island. In addition to serving on the Huron Valley Chapter board, Robert conducts forest ecosystem assessments for the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy, and the Huron River Watershed Council. He is a student of conservation history, and enjoys reading the old-school naturalists.
(Sunday, all day)
Bois Blanc Island (Departure 7:45 am, Additional fees apply)
The Ferry departs from 412 Water Street, in Cheboygan at 9 am. The Ferry begins loading at 8:30 am. The drive from Pellston is 14.05 miles and takes about 22 minutes. The fee for each car is $55.00, and the fee for each person is $16.00 (2011 prices). These fees are in addition to the Foray Registration and Program fees. Note on return ferry: The group will need to be at the dock before 3:30 pm when the ferry loads for the 4 pm departure (last). Arrival at the UMBS will be around 5:30.
Bois Blanc (Bob Lo) is a large (township sized) island in Lake Huron between Cheboygan and Mackinac Island. Although long settled by Europeans, beginning with the French, much of it remains in wilderness condition. This trip explores the low lying southeast coastline including Snow Beach, the Snake Island Natural area and the dry bedrock beach pools of Walker's Point. Carpets of Dwarf Lake Iris which cover beach ridges, may be in bloom. Lunch will be at the Taylor's small (but with modern facilities) cabin. Notes: Spring is quite wet in the coastal fens so wear boots or bring extra footwear. Birders may see migrating Warblers. Loons, Eagles, Terns and various waterfowl are resident.
Leader: Sylvia Taylor has a PhD Botany and is retired from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Positions there included District Wildlife Biologist, Non-game species program leader and Endangered Species Coordinator. Currently she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
(Sunday, all day)
This Emmet County Park on the Straits of Mackinac has 550 acres of pristine woodlands above more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. The trip will follow winding trails through an old growth Northern Hardwood- Conifer Forest and continue down to the shore of Lake Michigan. Notes: Easy-moderate walk of about 4 miles, Ok for children accompanied by parent.
Leader, Bob Smith is a botanist and major photo contributor to Michigan Flora Online.
(Sunday, all day)
Eastern Upper Peninsula Peatlands
Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula supports vast areas of poorly drained sand lakeplain blanketed by peat deposits that have accumulated over the past several thousand years. Characteristic vegetative communities developed on these peatlands include muskeg, poor fen, northern fen, and patterned fen. These excessively interesting wetland communities support a diversity of plant species, including several boreal taxa that occur at the southern margin of their ranges in Upper Michigan. A group of adventurous souls will visit choice peatland sites in the eastern Upper Peninsula, including examples of acidic and alkaline peatlands. Specific sites will be selected based on this spring’s phenological particulars and ease of access. Notes: Moderate level of difficulty. Not suitable for children. Wear sturdy footwear for hummocky, uneven topography, wet soil (including deep muck and potential stream crossings), and insect repellant for the plethora of biting insects
Walking distance: several miles over several sites.
Leader: Brad Slaughter, botanist and ecologist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
Grass Bay Preserve
The trip to this parcel, owned by The Nature Conservancy, will take us along a wooded dune and swale complex on the shores of Lake Huron. Dwarf lake iris and pink lady's slippers should be in full bloom. It will be early for Lake Huron tansy and Pitcher’s thistle, but we may at least find some rosettes on the beach. Notes: Easy walking, a few low hills. Not strenuous. Children not recommended due to sensitive area. Walking distance: 2 miles round trip.
Leader: Judy Kelly, biology instructor, Henry Ford Community College
Birding the Straits (Departure Time: 7:30 am)
We will have a morning of birding along the south shore of the Mackinaw Straits in Wilderness State Park. Breeding birds should be in full song and some late migrating warblers may be lingering in the cedars along the shoreline. You will be permitted to cast a glance at a plant or two along the way. Target species may include Golden-winged Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Alder Flycatcher, and Wilson's Snipe. Notes: Bring binoculars, spotting scope if you have one, and repellent. Level of difficulty: moderate, OK for children: must be able to handle binocs. Walking distance: less than 1 mile
Leaders: Harold Eyster, Artemis Eyster, and Steve Baker. Harold and Artemis Eyster are accomplished ornithologists, especially attuned to bird song. These siblings are distinguished for their natural history illustrations (HVC artists), and have been active MBC-HVC members for many years. Harold, who will be attending Harvard in the fall, was the 2009 American Birding Association Young Birder of the Year. The trip will be jointly led by Steve Baker, who has been birding the Mackinaw Straits for 30 years. Steve is a land steward for the Michigan Nature Association (MNA) and The Nature Conservancy, and has a particular interest in orchids.
This trip will be an easy hike through a high quality northern white cedar wetland complex. Reeses Swamp is a large and diverse wetland forest well known for a wide variety of orchids, sedges, and other cedar swamp species. Notes: Fairly easy hiking of about 1.5 miles, some squishy, mucky ground. OK for children. Wear boots or shoes that can get wet.
Leader: Bev Walters, Collection Manager, University of Michigan Herbarium.
Mud Lake Bog
This is an easily accessible wet, open Northern sphagnum bog with great plant diversity. There are lots of sedges, including cotton grass, pitcher plants, sundews and the amazing Scheuchzeria palustris with an open pore at the tip of each leaf. Notes: Easy, less than 1 mile hike, but wet, OK for children. Rubber boots or (better) wettable running shoes.
Leader: David Dister, ecological consultant.
Grass Bay Preserve The trip to this parcel, owned by The Nature Conservancy, will take us along a wooded dune and swale complex on the shores of Lake Huron. Dwarf lake iris and pink lady's slippers should be in full bloom. It will be early for Lake Huron tansy and Pitcher’s thistle, but we may at least find some rosettes on the beach. On this trip, Judy will touch on some of the techniques of nature photography
Notes: Easy walking, a few low hills. Not strenuous. Children not recommended due to sensitive area. Walking distance: 2 miles round trip. Leader: Judy Kelly, biology instructor, Henry Ford Community College (Sunday Afternoon)
Waugoshance Point, Wilderness State Park.Waugoshance Point juts out into Lake Michigan creating a windswept and ice scoured landscape where only the best adapted plants can survive. Join in lakeshore explorations of cobble beaches, sandy beach pools with delicate bladderworts, and foredune ridges carpeted with Juniperus horizontalis. Notes: Level of difficulty: easy. Ok for children. Comfortable walking shoes. Walking distance ca. 2 miles. Park entry permit for each vehicle.
Leader: Bev Walters, Collection Manager, University of Michigan Herbarium