FBO holds about 20 field trips each year, typically from May to October. We also hold workshops which focus on specialized identification skills (e.g., winter twigs, etc.) or particularly vexing plant groups (there are many!). FBO conceives "field botany" in an expanded sense - many trips focus on bryophytes, lichens, and fungi.
We are happy to announce that members (and non-members) can now register for trips online. The full suite of trips offered in 2019 are described below with links to the relevant Eventbrite page. We will continue mailing hard copy registration forms to all members that prefer this approach.
If you are interested in leading a trip, know a botanically interesting place you would like the FBO to visit, or have any trip-related questions, please email our trip coordinators Sarah Mainguy, Jessica Consiglio, and Gwyneth Govers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 Field Trips
Glen Major Forest (near Claremont) Sunday May 5 (10:00AM)
Leader: Ron Myhr and Natasha Gonsalves
Glen Major Forest is part of the East Duffins Headwaters protected area, a 1500+ hectare TRCA property. Situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine north-east of Toronto, on the boundary between Uxbridge and Pickering, the Forest has widely varying terrain and botanical habitats. The glacial hills were once grazing land, now transitioning back to pine and mixed forest. The hills descend to marshy watercourses (including bubbling springs) shaded by mature first-regrowth woods. The wide variety of trees will be in the early stages of leaf-out, and we hope to see a range of spring ephemerals such as bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trilliums (Trillium spp.), hepatica (Anemone) early ferns and much more.
Spring Ephemerals & Wildflowers (near Strathroy) Saturday May 11 (09:50 AM)
Leader: Gwyneth Govers (maximum 10 people)
Strathroy Conservation Area, located in the heart of Strathroy Ontario, is part of a large trail network of wetland and floodplain forest on the Sydenham River. This property and the included reservoir are managed by the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority. Our walk will explore the skunk cabbage boardwalk, as well as the rich forest understory for spring wildflowers including violets, trilliums, spring beauty (Claytonia spp.), bloodroot, and trout lily (Erythronium americanum). We will discuss the life history and reproductive adaptations of these early flowering, charismatic species. There is a picnic area near the parking lot where we can eat lunch. The trail is rated as moderate difficulty, generally due to muddiness. We will be staying strictly on the trails. If water levels in the reservoir are high or there has been a lot of rain, some sections of the trails may be lightly flooded. If flooding is higher than acceptable levels, our backup site is Coldstream Conservation Area which also has excellent spring ephemerals.
Spring at the Bruce (near Wiarton) Saturday May 25 (9:50 A.M.)
Leader: Walter Muma
We will visit several sites on the Bruce, starting with Hope Bay Forest. Then some more northerly sites including Dorcas Bay, the “FON Alvar” and, time-permitting, one or two more. Spring wildflowers and some orchids should be at their peak (nature permitting).
Parkhill Conservation Area Woodland Sedges (near Parkhill) Saturday June 1 (9:00 A.M.)
Leader: Anton Reznicek
This is a very rich area for sedges, and between Parkhill and some nearby sites, we should be able to see a substantial complement of woodland sedges including uncommon southern species like Carey’s Sedge (Carex careyana), Drooping Sedge (C. prasina), Emory’s Sedge (C. emoryi), Hitchcock’s Sedge (C. hitchcockiana), etc., as well many more common species. Besides identification, we will also look at characteristics of sedge groups and sections, and field characters that will help identifications of living plants, as well as some of the ecological aspects of sedge occurrence. Of course, there will also be a nice assortment of rich deciduous forest understory flora, so we’ll see, in fruit, species such as Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla), and many more common ephemerals.
Upland Sedge/Grass/Rush Identification, near Newmarket, ON Sunday June 2 (9:50 AM) Leader: Steve Varga (maximum 10 people)
This workshop will point out techniques and characters for identifying these tricky groups that bloom early in upland forest habitat. Meeting place is at the York Region Forest, at the eastern edge of the Hollidge Tract. We will largely be following trails and boardwalks. Keys will be sent via email and hard copies will also be available at the beginning of the workshop. Will be doing a loop trail on the Oak Ridges Moraine through Sugar Maple forest, Eastern Hemlock-Sugar Maple mixed forest, conifer plantation and Eastern White Cedar - Eastern Hemlock conifer swamp. Last year we had 19 sedge species and 12 grass species.
Camden East Alvar (near Camden East and Odessa) Saturday June 8 (09:50 AM)
Leader: Amanda Tracey
The Camden East Alvar is located southeast of the town of Camden East. Loyalist township recently donated a parcel of land in this area to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect in perpetuity. The Camden East Alvar is part of the Napanee Plain, the Camden East Alvar Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and are considered a significant alvar by Catling and Brownwell (1995). Join NCC staff on a tour of this new and special property and hear about the interesting history and stewardship challenges, as well as restoration and improvement plans for the future. Fields of Prairie Smoke and Balsam Ragwort alive with Giant Swallowtails and other insects will take your breath away. Denser areas enclosed with red cedar offer a unique opportunity to see many species of lichen and moss among other unique alvar plants. The walk will be a slow pace with fairly moderate terrain, although localized flooding is likely to still occur on the site so rain boots are encouraged.
Bog and Fen in the Ottawa Valley (Near Ottawa) Saturday June 22 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Holly Bickerton and Dan Brunton
This excursion will visit two pristine examples of two very different peatland habitats located within separate Provincially Significant landscapes in the Ottawa Valley. The first is a small fen in Lanark County on the calcareous Burnt Lands Alvar. It features such elements as a Provincially/State Rare Sartwell’s Sedge (Carex sartwellii) meadow and a large population of Regionally rare Small Bladderwort (Utricularia minor), along with a number of other Regionally uncommon fen shrub and herbaceous species. The other small wetland is the recently discovered Crazy Horse Bog 15 km away on acidic Precambrian bedrock in the Carp Hills of Ottawa. It supports a totally different flora, including tens of thousands of Pogonia (Pogonia ophioglossoides) orchids which should be at their peak of bloom, the only locally known population of uncommon Humped Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) and over a dozen Regionally Rare species all told including a rich sedge flora. Both wetlands are challenging to visit (always wet and in late June, potentially very buggy!). Access will require walking along a rough trail about 1 km in (and out) to one site and travelling over uneven ground ca. 350 m to (and from) the other. Movement within either wetland may also be restricted to minimize our impact on the fragile vegetation.
Louth and Rockway Conservation Areas: Bryophytes and Lichens (near St. Catherine’s): Sunday June 23 (9:50 AM to 2:00 PM)
Leader: Roman Olszewski
The Niagara Region of Ontario currently hosts over 150 species of lichens. Many of these are located in the Niagara Escarpment area. On this trip we will be visiting two of the lesser known conservation areas which are outstanding for their beauty and richness of species: Rockway and Louth. The close proximity (ca. 2km) of these areas to each other allows us to visit both sites in less than a day.
They are located southwest of Jordan and west of St. Catharines. Both areas feature smooth dirt pathways, rugged, rocky trails, gorges and waterfalls, which may be spectacular during rainy weather. Dry weather allows the beds of the creeks to be examined easily for such aquatic moss species as Fissidens fontanus. Lichen species like Peltigera pop up irregularly along the paths. A few years back a huge thallus of the lichen was spotted on a trailside rock. Recent attempts at locating it have failed. Will we find it on our outing? Distinctive mosses such as Thamnobryum alleghaniense, Climacium americanum (Tree moss) and Rhodobryum ontariense (Rose moss) can be found in various locations.
Wetland Sedge and Grass Species, Holland Marsh Crown Land Area Saturday July 6 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Steve Varga (maximum 10 people)
This workshop aims to teach skills in identification of wetland graminoids. In the morning we will head east into the centre of the Crown Land Area. In the afternoon we will be exploring sedge fens. These are the largest public holdings in the Holland Marsh. This marsh was once the largest wetland in southern Ontario, but today only 35% of the wetland remains with the rest converted to market gardens. The crown lands support a wide variety of wetlands including deciduous and mixed swamps, thicket swamps, cattail marshes, open water marshes and provincially rare sedge fens. It has a good diversity of sedges, grasses and rushes. Last year we found 29 sedge species, 22 grass species and 5 rush species.
Wye Marsh Wetland (near Midland) Sunday July 7 (9:50 A.M.)
Leader: Sarah Mainguy
Wye Marsh is a 1200 ha wetland with a high diversity of communities, including aquatic, shallow marsh, meadow marsh and swamp. Forested uplands and recovering agricultural fields include a mixed forest area. The wetlands include small areas of fen. Aquatic communities occur along the Wye River. The purpose of this trip will be to use the extensive trail system to explore the marsh and collect information to contribute to information used to manage the marsh.
Orchids and Bogs of Grey County (near Town of Durham) Saturday July 13 (9:50 A.M.)
Leader: Walter Muma (maximum about 15 people)
We will explore a private bog on Walter & Julie’s property in the morning, and Moss Lake Bog in the afternoon. The orchids should be at their finest (nature permitting)! There is the potential to see as many as 14 species of orchids, many in bloom. Meeting place in Grey County, north of the town of Durham (NOT the Region of Durham).
Zincan Island Cove, Bruce County (near Lion’s Head) Sunday July 14 (9:50AM)
Leader: Bob Barnett, NANPS
Zinkan Island Cove is a 5 hectare property of the west shore of the Bruce Peninsula owned by the North American Native Plant Society, and is designated as an Area of Natural or Scientific Interest (ANSI). This trip is a joint venture for FBO and NANPS to explore and inventory the site. Most of the site is densely wooded with balsam fir, trembling aspen, white cedar, and white birch, with a diverse understory. The remainder of the property is a shoreline alvar dominated by Smooth Twig-rush (Cladium mariscoides), Canada Blue-joint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis), Slender Sedge and sweet gale (Myrica gale).
Dutton Prairie, near Dutton Saturday August 3 (9:50AM)
Leader: Will Van Hemessen
The Dutton prairie occupies a narrow strip of land along the former CSX railway west of the town of Dutton in Elgin County. The significance of the site was recognized at least as early as the 1970s and the West Elgin Nature Club in partnership with the Elgin Stewardship Council leased 24 acres of the site in the 1990s. The site contains a high density of rare and significant prairie flora, including some species found in just a few other locations in Ontario. Charismatic species to be seen here include pale echinacea (Echinacea pallida), compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), field thistle (Cirsium discolor) and a vast meadow of dense blazingstar (Liatris spicata) and Ohio goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis). The trip will also have a focus on graminoids, including some rare species such as stiff panicgrass (Coleataenia rigidula). A controlled burn was conducted in 2000 but continued management is needed to reduce encroachment of willows (Salix spp.) and dogwoods (Cornus spp.) and invasion of Phragmites into this sensitive prairie remnant.
Native Plant Seed Production at St Williams Nursery: Saturday August 17 (10:00AM–2:00 PM)
Leader: Stephan Weber
This trip is a bit different than our usual outings. We will be visiting the seed orchards of St. Williams Nursery, where we will learn about commercial scale seed production for restoration and landscaping. The seed orchards are fields with blocks of parent plants for the harvest of large quantities of seed. As these are very large fields, we will discuss with interested attendees on preference for walking, carpooling, or cycling between fields – cycling would require attendees to b.y.o.-bike. On this trip, we will learn about the importance and process of native seed production, from seed collection and forecasting, to harvest, cleaning, and germination. The timing of our visit should allow us to see many late summer flowering species including asters and goldenrods blooming in large arrays.
Goodrich-Loomis CA (near Castleton) Saturday August 24 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Ewa Bednarczuk
The Goodrich-Loomis CA (178 ha) is located almost entirely within the Cold Creek Sensitive Natural Area, which was inventoried for plants and birds in 1995 by Vivian Brownell and Sean Blaney. The goal of this trip is to generate a species list with the Lower Trent Conservation Authority as a way of helping to update the 1995 inventory. LTCA are especially keen on locating New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) on the property, as an effort to assess habitat restoration needs for the Mottled Duskywing. The Cold Creek Silho Provincially Significant Wetland is also located on the property. Prairie & savannah restoration efforts are ongoing here as well. We have a nature center building which could be used as a home base, for presentations, for bathrooms and as a refuge from bad weather. There is ample parking.
Oak Ridges Moraine Mystery Tour Saturday August 24 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Steve Varga (Maximum 15 people)
Meeting place: to be determined. A mystery tour focussed on doing a botanical inventory of either a Nature Conservancy property or a Provincial Crown Land Area in the Greater Toronto Area. I will pick an interesting area that has been poorly botanized. You get to help do a botanical inventory of a critical natural area in the Greater Toronto Area. You will be given the location particulars at least a month before the visit date. Please bring a lunch, water and mosquito repellant. We may be walking in wetlands so bring old shoes and old pants that you don’t mind getting wet.
Niagara Falls Black Gum (Niagara Falls) - Tentative Saturday September 7 (10:00AM)
Leader: Albert Garofalo
We will visit the slough forests and red maple swamps of the Willoughby area in Niagara Falls. Here are found some of the oldest documented black gum trees in Canada - over 500 years. Note that details may change depending on landowner permission. Details will be provided as soon as they are available.
Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve (near Chatsworth) Sunday September 8 (10:00AM)
Leader: Stephanie Muckle
Come explore Ontario Nature’s Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve, located in Grey County approximately 20 km south of Chatsworth. This 371-hectare (916 acres) nature reserve in Grey County contains a remarkable, mature maple-beech forest that is a rare example of pre-settlement woodlands in southern Ontario. Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve is home to about 20 species of fern. Join Stephanie Muckle (Ontario Nature) to find many of these ferns and get a rare glimpse at Ontario’s natural past.
Beginner Mosses and Liverworts of Silver Creek Conservation Area (near Georgetown): Saturday September 14 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Leanne Wallis
Join us for a gorgeous hike through forest and wetland habitat on the Niagara Escarpment. We will learn the field identification of up to 20 distinctive species and genera, which may include the Hair-cap Mosses, Atrichum mosses, Broom Mosses, and Pocket Mosses, as well as Rose Moss, Corkscrew Moss, Fern Moss, Stairstep Moss, Tree Moss, Electrified Cat’s Tail Moss, Pincushion Moss, Snakeskin Liverwort, Umbrella Liverwort, Fuzzy Liverwort, and the Three-fingered Hunchback Liverwort. We may also see the provincially rare Big Crack Moss (Thamnobryum alleghaniense).
Acadian Forest in the Ottawa Valley (near Ottawa) Sunday September 29 (10:00AM)
Leader: Owen Clarkin
This hike will showcase the rich botanical "Acadian"-esque forest type environment of Ottawa's eastern Greenbelt with a focus on the regionally significant population of Red Spruce (Picea rubens), and associated flora. Located just south of the famous Mer Bleue bog, the 2nd-growth ~acidic mixed conifer forests of this area contain many regionally uncommon plants and can perhaps be seen as a similarly significant companion habitat to the nearby bog.