Welcome to the

Michigan Botanical Club Spring Foray 2015
to Saginaw Bay

May 22-25, 2015

Hosted by the Southeastern Chapter




The 2015 Spring Foray

The Spring Foray, was hosted by the Southeastern Chapter May 22-25 at Four Points Sheraton-Saginaw. Field trips explored "the various habitats of the region, from Great Lakes marshes to lakeplain prairie, from floodplain forest to raised bog, and from dune and swale to horticultural garden" .  

Here are the foray attendees on the final evening. Thank you, Southeastern Chapter, for all your hard work in putting this fine event together!

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2015 Student Foray Awards: Callie Chappell (HVC), Emily Van Staalduinem (WPC), Cortney Benson (WPC), Katie Manning, Joseph Huston (WPC),  Jim Jensen (WPC), Mary Martin (SEC),  and Sabrina Mastroianni (SEC). (front row, not necessarily in order).


4960 Towne Centre Rd., Saginaw, MI 48604
(I-675, exit 6)
(989) 790-5050 

Many Michigan residents (particularly those in SE Michigan) tend to think of the Saginaw Bay region as an area to drive through to get to somewhere more interesting.

We hope to dispel that thinking with the 2015 Foray! Join your fellow plant enthusiasts from around the state in exploring this often ignored area. Yes, much of this watershed is agricultural land, but great natural areas can still be found. We have attempted to offer a selection of field trips that highlight the various habitats of the region, from Great Lakes marshes to lakeplain prairie, from floodplain forest to raised bog, and from dune and swale to horticultural garden. We’ll focus on rare plants and weeds, natives and aliens, “higher” and “lower” plants, and hopefully see a few birds, herps, insects and mammals as we discover the botanical riches of the greater Saginaw Bay region together.

General Information

Check-in and pick up of registration materials will be at the table in the lobby of the Four Points Sheraton - Saginaw. Your name tag and field trip assignments will be given to you when you check-in. Hotel check-in begins at 3 pm, check-out time is noon. Additional local tourist and visitor information will be provided by the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Lodging and Meals

Four Points Sheraton is a full service hotel with free high speed internet, a 24 hour fitness center, indoor/outdoor pools, whirlpool, sauna, and a restaurant and bar onsite. All guest rooms are smoke free.  You must make your own room reservations by calling the Four Points Sheraton - Saginaw at (989) 790-5050 or online.

Room availability at the special group rate of $89 is not guaranteed for reservations made after May 11, 2015.

Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet style in the Zen Ballroom with multiple options and vegetarian choices available. If you have other dietary restrictions, please indicate this on the registration form and we will work with the hotel chef to accommodate you. Box lunches with a variety of sandwich choices and a vegetarian option will be available for pick-up at breakfast. Please take them with you on all day trips. Coolers will be provided or you may bring your own.

For half day trips, you will be returning to the hotel and can eat your box lunch in your room or a common area.

Nearby Campgrounds:

  • Bay City State Rec Area, Bay City, Michigan (989) 684-3020
  • Valley Plaza Resort RV Park, Midland, Michigan (800) 262-0006

What to Bring

Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions and for walking in a range of habitats, some of which will be wet! Wear good walking boots or shoes and you may also need rubber boots for some trips. Other recommended items to bring include: a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, raingear, camera, binoculars, hand lens, field notebook, reference books, medications and a refillable water bottle. Plastic water bottles will not be provided. You may wish to bring a small cooler and/or daypack for your lunch and other essentials on the all day field trips.

Joan Robb Student Scholarships

Each chapter is responsible for arranging the hotel reservations and transportation for their own scholarship students. Each student should fill out and send in their own reservation form with their field trip selections as soon as possible, and each chapter should pay the required amount for registration and meals to the host chapter. The MBF will provide one student scholarship per chapter. Any student wishing to attend that does not have a scholarship may pay the reduced price for students with the proper ID. Chapters wishing to find roommates for their students may contact the Registrar.


The registration form accompanied by a check must be received by Friday May 8, 2015. Each individual attending must complete a separate form.  No refunds will be made after May 15.  Make checks payable to “Michigan Botanical Club. Download the registration form here.


Emily Nietering
231 Nash St.
Dearborn, MI 48124


Questions? Please call or e-mail the registrar. 

Native Plant Sale

Many of our members garden with native plants and often wish to share their extra plants with others. If you have some extra native plants in your garden, pot them up with a label to identify them and bring them along for our plant sale. For a nominal charge, you can take home a new plant or two from the Foray!

Schedule is Here>>>

Field Trips:

Field trips are only available to people who are registered for the Foray.

Minden Bog

(Saturday ALL DAY – Leader: Dr. Tony Reznicek) (Sunday ALL DAY – Leader: Bev Walters) 

This huge bog, west of the village of Palms, is a landscape scale system of ca. 7 – 8 square miles; rare in southern Michigan. Despite being somewhat disturbed, it is the only place in the southern Lower Peninsula where one can get the “feel” of a giant boreal bog. Bogs are acidic peatlands dominated by heaths (members of the plant family Ericaceae) and Sphagnum mosses. Peatlands this large are common in boreal Canada, but rare in Michigan. In theory, bogs are raised above the land surface (domes) and thus insulated from ground water influence, deriving their water from rain. Most bogs in Michigan are at least partly influenced by ground water, however, and are technically poor fens. But some parts of the Minden Bog are beyond the reach of groundwater influence, making it a true raised or domed bog. Like all true bogs, dominant vascular plants in the Minden Bog are shrubs in the Heath Family. This includes, of course, Leatherleaf, (Chamaedaphne calyculata), several Vaccinium species, Labrador-tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum, formerly Ledum) and, rare in southern Michigan, Sheep-laurel (Kalmia angustifolia). Several other Heath species are less common, including Bog Laurel (Kalmia polifolia) and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla). Other notable shrubs include Bog Birch (Betula pumila), Michigan Holly (Ilex verticillata) and Chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia). The bog is largely open, but there are scattered trees of Tamarack and White Birch, these denser towards the bog margins, as well as the introduced European White Birch. A notable feature is the southernmost native occurrence of Jack Pine in the eastern part of the state, which gives a distinctive look to the bog landscape. Naturally, there are also lots of smaller plants of boreal character including Cotton grasses (Eriophorum species), Bristly sarsaparilla (Aralia hispida), and False mayflower (Maianthemum trifolium, formerly Smilacina), among others. Dr. Tony Reznicek and Bev Walters, both of the University of Michigan Herbarium, will be our trip leaders. 

Walking will be relatively easy and level – over a distance of a little less than a mile – but a but a bit wet, and occasionally (when off trail) slow due to shrubs. 

Pine Haven Recreation Area

(Saturday ALL DAY – Leader: Glenn Vande Water) 

Located approximately 10 miles Northwest of Midland, Michigan, Pine Haven Recreation Area supports some of most diverse terrain in Midland County. Bordered by the Salt River to the South and US-10 to the North, this 325 acre site harbors a variety of habitats and associated vascular plant species. Possibly a more appropriate name for this preserve would be Fern Haven, as it harbors a rich fern and fern allies assemblage, with over 30 species. Some of the most interesting flora to be observed occurs within the terraced floodplain system of the Salt River and along Mud Creek that bisects the preserve. 

We will spend the day traversing the many habitats of Pine Haven with the intent of observing as much of the floral diversity as possible. Within the floodplain system we will hopefully find in good condition populations of Muskingum sedge (Carex muskingumensis) and obovate beak grain grass (Diarrhena obovata), two species at their northern most range in Michigan. Ferns to be looked for in the floodplain include the narrow-leaved spleenwort (Homalosorus pycnocarpus), Goldie's fern (Dryopteris goldiana), and bulblet fern (Cystopteris bulbifera). The upland plateau north of the Salt River supports numerous habitats including upland and lowland hardwoods, pine, and alder thicket. We will explore these areas in search of numerous ferns such as spinulose, intermediate, Clinton’s and crested wood fern (Dryopteris carthusiana, D. intermedia, D. clintoniana, and D. cristata, respectively), and the hybrid wood fern (Dryopteris x triploidea). Hopefully the upland pine area will afford glimpses of ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron), daisy-leaved moonwort (Botrychium matricariifolium), cut-leaved and leather grape fern (Sceptridium dissectum and S. multifidum, respectively), and northern adder’s-tongue (Ophioglossum pusillum). Though there are a lot of ferns to observe, we will certainly make this a general field botany excursion spending time looking at an assortment of evolutionarily higher plants. 

If time and access permit the group may cross US-10, to allow people to experience a historic borrow pit area. Sand was extracted from this site for fill material during the construction of US-10. This wet sand and open water area harbors some very interesting plant species. Interesting fern allies that historically occurred in this area include bog clubmoss (Lycopodiella inundata) and the running ground-pines (Lycopodium lagopus). The wet sands harbor numerous Cyperaceous plants, and assuming that portions of the pit are flooded at the time of our visit, we may be able to find a few remnant aquatics. Glenn Vande Water is an environmental consultant specializing in conducting biological/ecological field assessments; with particular emphasis on threatened and endangered species. Glenn lived immediately adjacent to the Pine Haven Recreation Area for a number of years while employed at Dow Corning Corporation, spending many many hours exploring and cataloging the flora of the numerous habitats present. 

To explore the breadth of the preserve will require a considerable amount of relatively easy walking. You may wish to carry a small rucksack or fanny-pack supplied with water, bug repellent (floodplains are great sites to botanize but they are also great sites for mosquitos), and possibly some snacks or your lunch, as we may be at the far back of the preserve when lunch time arrives. Long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and boots are suggested for this trip. 

Port Crescent State Park

(Saturday ALL DAY – Leader: Phyllis Higman) 

Join Phyllis Higman, Senior Conservation Scientist at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, in searching for Michigan’s southernmost Pitcher’s thistle occurrence at Port Crescent State Park, located near the tip of the Thumb, south of Port Austen. We’ll explore the ancient dune and swale complex and picnic on the beach. 

We’ll cover lots of ground, so come prepared for a long day in the field. Note: Michigan Recreation Passport required for entry to State Parks. If your car license plate does not have the designation, you must purchase a Recreation Passport window sticker for $11/year. There are no longer daily passes for Michigan residents. 

Chippewa Nature Center

(Saturday MORNING - Leader Jeanne Henderson) (Monday MORNING – self-guided) 

Join Interpretive Naturalist Jeanne Henderson for a leisurely walk looking for spring wildflowers at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland. We will start at the Wildflower Walkway garden, visit the butterfly and rain gardens next to the Visitor Center entrance, and walk a mile (round trip) to the Beech Maple Woods or the Meadow Mouse woods to find a wide variety of spring species. Afterwards, you may want to visit our store or relax in the River Overlook. Chippewa Nature Center is a 1200 acre haven of woodlands, wetlands, rivers and upland fields, with over 15 miles of hiking trails. You are invited to explore the property on your own on Monday morning; the Visitor’s Center will be open noon - 5:00 pm on Monday. Free admission. 

Come dressed for the outdoors. 

Dow Gardens

(Saturday AFTERNOON - Leader: Dow Gardens Docent)

(Monday MORNING – self-guided) 

The Trustees of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation along with the staff of Dow Gardens welcome you to 110 acres of Midland’s beauty and heritage. Five distinct areas: Stream Walk, the Estate Garden, the Color Garden, Pineside, and the Children’s Garden offer unique landscapes and observation opportunities. The Gardens were initially developed by Herbert H. Dow on the estate he shared with his wife, Grace, and their family. Famed architect, Alden B. Dow, son of Herbert and Grace, added many architectural elements to the Gardens. He believed, as did his father, in a philosophy that the entire beauty of the Garden should never be revealed in a single glance. That philosophy is still carried on in the Gardens today. A one hour guided tour of the Gardens will be available on Saturday afternoon. The trip on Monday morning will be self-guided. Trails in the Gardens are mostly paved, with some mulched pathways. There is a $5 admission fee per person. Admission 

to Dow Gardens also includes Whiting Forest, a 40 acre native plant forest with 2 miles of trails, located just . mile north of Dow Gardens. Dow Gardens are open daily 9:00 am to 8:30 pm, including Memorial Day. 

Tobico Marsh

(Sunday MORNING and AFTERNOON – Leader: Lisa Appel) 

We will explore Tobico Marsh, a part of the Bay City State Recreation Area just north of Bay City. It is one of the largest, remaining open-water coastal marshes on Saginaw Bay. Cattail marsh, shrub areas, and upland hardwood forest are found along a 3.5 mile loop. The trail traverses ancient shorelines of Lake Huron, with sandy dune ridges that were once at the water’s edge but left dry as the Bay receded over thousands of years. The trail includes a boardwalk and a 40-foot observation tower that provides spectacular views of the marsh. We will stop at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center to learn more about the history of the area through displays and dioramas. Lisa Appel is Watershed Education Coordinator for the Cranbrook Institute of Science. 

The terrain is flat and easy walking, but expect a good pace to cover the full loop (3.5 miles) with stops along the way to enjoy botanical highlights. Please plan for muddy trails with appropriate footwear. 

Mosses and Liverworts

(Sunday MORNING and AFTERNOON - Leaders: Janet Traub and Jim Toppin) 

Why are these small plants so interesting? First land plants (400 million years+), found nearly everywhere (sun, shade, bogs, barrens, underwater, trees, rocks, logs, soil, roofs, lawns, sidewalks…), both gametophytes and sporophytes readily visible, thriving year-round, rich diversity. We'll explore a wide variety of small habitats and enjoy a look at worlds that mostly go unnoticed. Ohio Nature Conservancy volunteers Jim and Janet are bryophyte enthusiasts and want you to be too! 

Tittabawassee River Forests

(Sunday MORNING - Leader: Suzan Campbell) 

Since 1996, The Little Forks Conservancy has partnered with private landowners in or near the Tittabawassee River Watershed to protect and preserve the unique natural features of this region. Join us to explore the floodplain forest along the river, where species such as state threatened beak grass (Diarrhena obovata), and state special concern broad-leaved puccoon (Lithospermum latifolium) are found. We will also pass through upland oak-hickory forest with scattered islands of hemlock and beech. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory completed an ecological assessment of several parcels in the area in 2014, but it would be nice to add additional species to their plant inventory. Suzan Campbell is a former MNFI employee. 

If there have been recent rains, portions of the trip may be very wet, including short stretches of shin-deep standing water. WEAR KNEE-HIGH RUBBER BOOTS (or old sneakers and make sure to have dry shoes/socks/pants for your afternoon field trip). 

Saginaw Wetlands

(Sunday AFTERNOON - Leader: Andy Bacon) 

Lakeplain prairies are limited in distribution to old Great Lakes glacial lakebeds and Michigan was one of the most important spots in the world for this unique habitat. The remnant prairies that occur at Saginaw Wetlands Nature Sanctuary rank as some of the best in the state. Join us as we tour this unique location and view the multitude of uncommon and rare species found there and discuss the ongoing management efforts to conserve the natural communities within. Andy Bacon is the Stewardship Coordinator for the Michigan Nature Association, owners of the Saginaw Wetlands preserve. Long pants and knee boots are recommended. 

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

(Monday MORNING – Leader: Steven Kahl) 

Refuge Manager Steven Kahl will take us on a tour of lakeplain prairie restoration sites at the Refuge. Along the trail we will see wet and mesic lakeplain prairie species such as prairie cordgrass, ironweed, swamp milkweed, Ohio goldenrod, and brown-eyed susan. The trail will be very flat, open and easy. 

There are many additional locations including preserves, parks and trails you may want to visit in the Saginaw Bay region before or after the Foray. These include: 

Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy 


Saginaw Basin Birding Trail 

MBC Spring Foray 2015 Evening Lectures 

Evening lectures are free and open to the public. They begin at 8 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at the Sheraton ballroom.

Friday evening: “An Introduction to the Saginaw Bay Region” by Kyle Bagnall 

People have thrived in the rich environments of the Saginaw Bay region for thousands of years. Join Kyle Bagnall, Manager of Historical Programs at Midland's Chippewa Nature Center, in an exploration of how people have used this region's natural resources through time. We'll look at the lives of Native Americans and fur traders, explorers and surveyors, lumbermen, farmers and more in an overview of a unique area of our state. 

Saturday evening: “Moving Beyond a Shotgun Approach to Address Invasive Plants” by Phyllis Higman 

Phyllis Higman, Senior Conservation Scientist of the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, will discuss how invasive plants are affecting natural systems in Michigan, provide a framework for thinking about the challenge, highlight exciting work going on statewide, and test your identification skills for species of concern that have been here a long time and some that you may not know about. 

Sunday evening: “Lakeplain Prairie Management at Saginaw Wetlands” by Andrew Bacon. 

Andrew Bacon, Stewardship Coordinator of the Michigan Nature Association, will discuss how MNA manages this high quality natural area in the face of daunting challenges from Phragmites, encroaching woody growth, and other threats. 

The Freshwater Forum at Cranbrook Institute of Science and The Nature Conservancy partnered to host the “What’s So Great about the Great Lakes?” lecture series at Cranbrook Institute of Science. This series featured Nature Conservancy scientists who cast new light on topics that affect everyone who lives in the Great Lakes’ unique ecosystem. 

Since we were unable to schedule a speaker from The Nature Conservancy for our Foray, you may want to view the archived lectures of the Freshwater Forum online. Each lecture lasts about an hour, and two of them are particularly relevant to Saginaw Bay: 

Is More Better? - Striking a Balance Between Farming & Freshwater - March 20, 2014 - Hear Saginaw Bay Project Director Mary Fales explain how science and academia are working with farmers to protect our freshwater resources as agricultural production increases and intensifies. 

Centers of Commerce, Culture and Conservation - Jan. 24, 2013 - Director of Science Dr. Scott Sowa discusses how the bays of the Great Lakes region have influenced our past and hold keys to our future. Included are Green Bay, Saginaw Bay and Maumee Bay. 

Find them at http://science.cranbrook.edu/find-program-event/lectures/lecture-archive. 

Readings of Interest in The Michigan Botanist:

Vegetational Patterns on the Tittabawasee Floodplain at the Goetz Grove Nature Center, Saginaw, Michgian, Wheeler, Richard A. and Kapp, Ronald O., TMB Vol. 17, No. 3 pp91-99, 1978.

The Vegetation Tension Zone Across Michigan's Thumb Area, Dodge, Sheridan L., TMB, Vol. 34, No.2, pp. 67-78, 1995.

Rediscovery of Plantago Cordata (Plantaginaceae) in Michigan, Parfitt, Bruce D., TMB, Vol 41, No.1, pp.3-4, 2002.

Prairie and Savanna in Southern Lower Michigan: History, Classification, Ecology, Chapman, Kim A. and Brewer, Richard, TMB Vol. 47, No.1, pp.1-48, 2008.

A Checklist of Vascular Plants of the Lapeer State Game Area, Lapeer Country, Michigan, USA, Springer, Joshua C. and Barfitt, Bruce D., TMB Vo. 49, No.2, pp. 41-72, 2010.

Book: "A Focus on Peatlands and Peat Mosses" by Howard Crum 1992.