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.
The trip list for the coming season is distributed to members by mail in mid-April or so. The maximum number of participants per trip ranges from 12 to 22, so make sure to send back your registration form as soon as possible to reserve a spot (otherwise you'll end up on the waiting list). The appropriate receiving address will be indicated on the trip registration form. Trips are usually $15, and cheques will be cashed unless you notify us of your cancellation at least 2 weeks in advance of the trip date. Our aim is to eliminate the need to refund cheques, and to allow members on the waiting list an opportunity to participate.
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, Natalie Dunn, and Jessica Consiglio at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a list of our 2018 field trips.
2018 Field Trips
Silver Creek Conservation Area, (near Halton Hills) Saturday May 26 (10:00AM)
Leader: Lisa Riederer
This trip will have a primary focus on spring ephemerals found in and around the Silver Creek and Terra Cotta area, but there will be plenty of other interesting things to see as well! This area is one of the best examples of deciduous escarpment forest in the Credit River watershed and contains many cliffs, talus slopes and mature trees. Interesting species may include: Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), Showy Orchis (Galearis spectabilis), Canada Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum canadense) and an assortment of violets, including Kidney-leaf Violet (Viola nephrophylla) and Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata). There are some steep trails in the area and some off-trail hiking may occur.
Clear Creek Forest Nature Preserve (east of Rondeau P.P.) Sunday May 27 (09:50 AM)
Leader: Graham Buck
Clear Creek Forest is a 403 hectare protected area (Ontario Parks nature Reserve) of meadows, thickets, upland forests, deciduous swamps, floodplain forests, shoreline bluffs, sandy beaches and open water (Lake Erie). It is situated in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, 20 kilometres southeast of Ridgetown on Talbot Trail (old Highway #3). A number of significant species are found at Clear Creek including Winged Monkeyflower (Mimulus alatus), Spring Avens (Geum vernum), Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium), Purple Twayblade (Liparis liliifolia) and Lizard’s Tail (Saururus cernuus). The focus of the outing will be the upland forest, floodplain forests and meadow located at the north end of the property, where some of these species are found.
Rosseau Lake College (near Huntsville) Saturday June 2 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Leslie Farooq
Rosseau Lake College is situated on a 50-acre tract of waterfront property along the northern shore of Lake Rosseau just north of the District Municipality of Muskoka. The RLC grounds feature a mature stand of white pine which towers over Lady Eaton's Bridle Path as it winds along the lakeshore. A second trail meanders through a deciduous forest featuring mature red oak and a wetland seep full of forget-me-nots. Lady Eaton's gardens have been restored in their original location, offering a glimpse into the area's horticultural and botanical past. There are many natural seeps on campus, so be sure to bring your wellingtons. Thanks to the efforts of RLC students the trails are clear, though a sturdy walking stick is always an asset. There are locations of steep stairs and rocky terrain along the planned route for this field trip so plan accordingly.
Upland Sedge and Grass Identification, near Newmarket, ON Sunday June 3 (9:50 AM) Leader: Steve Varga (maximum 10 people)
This field workshop will provide information on how to key out and identify a number of common upland sedge and grass species on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Meet at the York Region Forest (Hollidge Tract). It is located on the east side of Highway 48 just south of Vivian Road. Please wear long pants (there is poison-ivy present). Steve will provide copies of keys but bring a hand lens and a 15 cm, clear plastic ruler.
Ausable River / Camp Sylvan (near Sylvan, west of London) Sunday June 10 (09:50 AM)
Leaders: Brett Woodman, Pat Deacon, Andrew Dean
Nestled within the Ausable River Valley Life ANSI, we will spend the day exploring a portion of the Camp Sylvan property. Adjacent areas (Rock Glen, Joany’s Woods, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority lands) have been well-inventoried including extensive surveys by Vivian Brownell in 1984. However, our contact at Scouts Canada indicates that no botanical inventories have been completed on the camp property. Habitats present include a created tallgrass prairie (which we will see approximately 2 months after a prescribed burn), ravine forest, floodplain forest, swamp and riverbank. The goal for the day will be to compile a species list for the property. The group can expect a good diversity of wildflowers as well as sedges and grasses. Potential highlights could include Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), Eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), American Gromwell (Lithospermum latifolium), Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium), Carey’s Sedge (Carex careyana), and if we are lucky, Ovate Beakgrass (Diarrhena obovata) or Eastern False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum). The group can expect flat terrain (tableland and floodplain) as well as moderate slopes. Trails are limited within the property.
Rock Stars of the Escarpment: Ferns in Abundance (near Owen Sound) Saturday June 23 (9:00 A.M.)
Leader: Peter Middleton (Maximum 10 people)
Owen Sound is a rare place because it hosts a uniquely rich diversity of ferns, growing in association with the Niagara Escarpment. Remarkable plants, they have occupied the earth for aeons and still continue to survive. This outing will focus on three major aspects of the escarpment and fern species that are associated with each. Enjoy this outing in one of Ontario’s “gem" locations for ferns.
Thunder Bay Arctic-Alpine Disjunct Plants (Near Thunder Bay) Sunday June 24 (9:50 AM to 1:00 PM)
Leader: Lesley Ng
Lesley will take us on a hike to explore Middlebrun and Fork Bay located on the east side of Sibley Peninsula. We will be looking for orchids, wetland and arctic disjuncts which call Sleeping Giant Provincial Park home. The hike will take us to Fork Bay and the cold sphagnum poor fen at Middlebrun. Bring your rubber boots as it may be a bit wet. We hope this trip will receive your support for its northern focus!
Wetland Sedge and Grass Species, Holland Marsh Crown Land Area Saturday June 30 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Steve Varga (maximum 10 people)
Steve will lead a trip to 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. After the 3:00pm end to the sedge workshop there is an optional two hour survey of more fens to look for plant rarities during the early summer season. Steve will provide copies of keys but please bring a hand lens and a 15 cm, clear plastic ruler.
Mississagi Provincial Park (near Elliot Lake) Saturday July 7 to Sunday July 8 (9:00am to 5:00pm)
Depart Sunday July 8: but depending on weather may have a hike 9:00am to noon.
Leader: Will Kershaw
Will Kershaw will lead a comprehensive outing to this provincial gem that showcases the transition between the Boreal and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Ecoregion. Participants will travel as a group on Saturday walking in the campground, lake shore and park trails. We will then have a short drive to position ourselves off Highway 639 to see striking stream side bedrock outcrops and vegetation types from wetlands to uplands. We will look at bedrock geology: Huronian Supergroup, Southern Province in the Canadian Shield: Quartzite bedrock - sedimentary structures, lithified mud cracks and ‘fossil’ galleries of worm-like pathways; surficial geology - glacial deposits and bedrock weathering; Ecology: transition forest of Great Lakes and Boreal systems, wetland and upland habitats: orchids, other herbs, shrubs and trees; lichens - on rocks (e.g., Steriocolon) and on trees (Lobaria); birds and butterflies - ‘on the fly’ during the day at this advanced stage in the breeding season. Depending on weather and interest there would be a Friday / Saturday night owl prowl and visit campground light sources to view moths (Luna Moths (Actius luna) at peak). Again – we are trying to branch out and encourage trips to northern locations, and hope for your support!
Point Pelee National Park (near Leamington) Saturday July 21 (11:15AM)
Leader: Mike Oldham
Point Pelee National Park is celebrating 100 years as a national park in 2018 and is hosting a bioblitz on the weekend of July 21st and 22nd. This FBO hike will be in part a contribution to the park’s bioblitz and we will keep a list of the plants (and animals) observed on the hike to provide to the park. We will explore a variety of habitats in the park focusing on unusual habitats such as Red Cedar savanna and Common Hackberry forest and will learn about some of the parks ongoing habitat restoration and invasive species management activities. Expect to see a variety of rare species and species at risk including Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata), Common Hop-tree (Ptelea trifolia), Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia), Eastern Prickly-pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa), Golden Puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense), Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora), Hoary Tick-trefoil (Desmodium canescens), Red Mulberry (Morus rubra), and Swamp Rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos).
William Henry Marsh, Bruce Peninsula Saturday July 28 (10:00)
Leader: Walter Muma
We will spend the day exploring the area of William Henry Marsh, which is actually a lake. We will see a rare fern along with numerous typical Bruce Peninsula species. This will be a non-rushed outing along easy trails and a closed road through a variety of habitats. We’ll have lunch by the lake, and afterwards return to where we parked and then explore the other side of the area, with an entirely different mix of species.
Rare Plants of High Park, Toronto Saturday August 11 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Leader: Gavin Miller
Join Gavin Miller, biologist with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, on an exploration of High Park to help determine how the rare oak savannah communities and native plants are recovering after a couple of decades of restoration efforts. We will be looking for species like sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), bush-clovers (Lespedeza capitata and L. hirta) among others. If we are lucky, we may rediscover species that haven't been seen for decades such as fern-leaved false foxglove (Aureolaria pedicularia). Our findings will contribute to a comprehensive survey of this provincially-significant natural area which haven't been systematically updated in many years
Port Burwell Provincial Park (near Port Burwell) Sunday August 12 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Dave Jolly
This 247.6 ha recreational park, formerly known as Iroquois Beach Provincial Park, is considered one of Ontario's most biodiverse and scenic hidden gems. In 2001 and 2016 Dave surveyed the park and conducted Ecological Land Classification (ELC). Four hundred and twenty four vascular plant species were catalogued occupying 39 ELC communities ranging in diversity from sensitive sand dune ecosystems to upland forests. The list of 25 rare plants includes one of Ontario's populations of Common Hop-tree (Ptelea trifoliata), American Beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata), Hooker's Bugseed (Corispermum hookeri), Greater Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita), Soapberry (Shepherdia canadensis), and Virginia False Dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana).
Rockwood Conservation Area (near Guelph) Saturday August 25 (10:00AM)
Leader: Anton Reznicek
Rockwood Conservation Area contains towering limestone cliffs, caves and glacial potholes, including one of the world's largest potholes. Tony will lead a trip to find cliff ferns: Spleenworts (Asplenium) such as Walking Fern (A. rhizophyllum), Maidendair Fern (A. trichomanes), and Green Spleenwort (A. viride), as well as Smooth Cliffbrake (Pellaea glabella), Rock Polypody (Polypodium virginianum), and Bladder Ferns (Cystopteris spp.). We will also examine regular woodland ferns, of course, and hunt for other rarities like Climbing Fumitory (Adlumia fungosa) and Cut-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago arguta). There is an entrance fee to the park ($5-$7).
Holland Marsh Crown Land Area Botanical Inventory (near Newmarket) Sunday August 26 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Steve Varga (Maximum 15 people)
We will again visit 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. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry needs a detailed plant list and community descriptions for the Crown Land Area. Our FBO trips will help MNRF with managing this critical provincially significant wetland and its rare plant species and communities.
Ipperwash Beach forested dunes (near Port Franks). Saturday September 1 (10:00 AM)
Leader: Walter Muma
The area consists of Carolinian forest and sand dunes with moist calcareous swales in between, along easy trails. We will see a variety of flora and habitats, wet to dry, forest to meadows. The outing has been timed so we can observe a rare orchid.
Sharon Ravine and Delaware Oxbow (near London); Sunday September 2 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Leader: Will Van Hemessen
This trip will explore two sites in the Delaware area of Middlesex County. The Sharon Ravine is a steep, narrow ravine formed by Sharon Creek near its confluence with the Thames River. The ravine contains a beautiful and diverse Carolinian forest community containing abundant oaks and hickories and some unique herbaceous species. The highlights of the Sharon Ravine will include a recently-discovered population of Crooked-stem Aster (Symphyotrichum prenanthoides), Cream Violet (Viola striata), Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor), and a diversity of grasses and sedges. The Delaware Oxbow is a remnant arm of the Thames River located in the village of Delaware. The oxbow is ringed by steep forested slopes containing a variety of trees, most notably an abundance of Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata). Chinese Hemlock Parsley (Conioselinum chinense) grows in the oxbow near the edge of a White Cedar-Tamarack forest, a rare southern example of this typically northern forest type. Both walks will follow the Thames Valley Trail. There are some very rugged sections of trail which could be challenging for some hikers.
Mosses of Sheffield Conservation Area, near Kaladar Saturday September 22 (9:50 AM)
Leader: Jennifer Doubt
Autumn is one of the best seasons for bryophyte hunting, and Sheffield Conservation Area offers outcrops, wetlands and forests: plenty of different habitats in which to explore and discover resident bryophyte communities. We’ll review the main bryophyte structures and the difference between mosses and liverworts, and then head out to see what we can find. Many samples would need to be examined under a microscope to identify them to species, but when we can’t get to species with our hand lenses, we’ll be able to recognize the genera or families. Expect lots of hair cap mosses (Polytrichaceae), feather mosses, Grimmias, bloom mosses (Schistitium spp.), and peat mosses (Sphagnum spp.). By looking carefully at particular microhabitats, we’ll find fascinating non-dominant taxa, too. And when we happen to look up, we’ll get to know why hikers and outdoor enthusiasts love the vistas and Canadian Shield granite of this beautiful park.