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Field Trips and Workshops
2017 ScheduleField trips arranged by Martha McLaud Tonucci, CBS Field Trip Chair
Field trips are a long-standing tradition of the Connecticut Botanical Society. They provide an opportunity to learn about Connecticut's plants and habitats from some of the area's most knowledgeable botanists -- and an opportunity to share your own knowledge with others. The trips also add to knowledge of the state's flora. On each field trip, we make a list of all plant species we have identified, and this list becomes part of the Society's records.
For the field trips, wear sturdy footwear and bring a lunch. Sunscreen and insect repellant are also recommended. For plant identification, you may want to bring field guide(s), a hand lens, and a small notebook. Familiarity with plant taxonomy is helpful, but not required.
We have labeled a few trips as “kid friendly,” based on the location and whether leaders thought inviting children was appropriate. This designation doesn’t mean that there is special programming for kids, only that it's okay to bring them if you think they might be interested.
Non-members are welcome to join our field trips. No registration is required, unless otherwise stated in the trip description.
Don't forget the Northeastern Natural History Conference from April 21-23.
April 29 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m. (Rain date, Sunday, April 30)
(PLEASE BE ON TIME. WE WILL CARPOOL TO TRIP SITE.)
Barkhamsted, American Legion State Forest, Henry Buck Trail
Members of the Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club will join us as we botanize along the Henry Buck Trail, known for its profusion of native spring wildflowers. The portion of the trail we'll visit involves some short, moderate climbs with lots to see along the way. Sunscreen and bug repellent are advised.
From route 44, take either route 181 (Ripley Hill Rd.) or route 318 (River Rd.) to where the two intersect at the bridge over the Farmington River (67 Ripley Hill Rd., Pleasant Valley, CT 06063). Cross the bridge and take the first right down into an unpaved parking area by the river. From there we will carpool 2.5 miles to a smaller parking area near the trailhead.
May 6 (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. (NOTE EARLY START TIME)
Killingworth, Regional Water Authority properties
Search for plants across several properties bought by the Regional Water Authority for watershed protection between 2001 and 2015. The terrain ranges from wetlands to small ledge outcroppings.
Meet at the end of Partridge Hollow Road. From Rte. 148 (Killingworth-Durham Road), take Little City Road to the north. Partridge Hollow Road is less than ¼ mile on the right. Park in the cul-de-sac and be sure to not block the end of neighbors’ driveways.
May 14 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m.
Wildflower Identification Class
This is a workshop on how to identify wildflowers. Wildflowers are often identified by flower form and color. Other useful characters are leaf form, growth pattern, and habitat. We'll begin with a session on using the keys in field guides such as in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Live specimens will be provided. Bring any guidebooks and hand lenses you may have. Then we will walk to the Arboretum Wildflower Collection. Please do not pick anything while in the Arboretum, and do not bring dogs or children. The workshop is co-sponsored by Connecticut College Arboretum. The workshop is free, but registration is required. To register, call 860-439-5020 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From I-95 North, take exit 82, (first New London exit). At light turn right onto Rte 85. At 2nd light turn left onto Rte 1, (Colman Street, automotive district). Continue on Colman going back over the highway. At next light just after Red Roof Inn turn right onto Bayonet St. At next light turn left on Briggs Street. At next light turn left onto Williams Street. Pass Lyman Allen Art Museum on right and continue a short distance to park near the main entrance of the Arboretum Native Plant Collection on your left, at blue sign. Connecticut College campus will be on your right. Parking is okay on Arboretum (west) side of Williams Street or on the campus. We will meet at the entrance to the Native Plant Collection and walk to Buck Lodge.
May 20 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m.
Ashford, Boston Hollow
Boston Hollow is part of the Yale-Myers Forest in Ashford. It’s a ravine about 100 feet deep that extends 1.3 miles in nearly a straight line. A dirt road established nearly 200 years ago runs the Hollow’s entire length. Despite its long use, the area appears unspoiled and quite scenic. Most of the Hollow is conifer/hardwood forest with a disposition on more northern climates. The dominant trees include hemlock, sugar maple and red oak. Smaller woody species include mountain and striped maples, hobblebush, American honeysuckle, red elderberry, and American yew. The display of spring wildflowers is impressive including foam flower, lance-leaved twisted stalk, red and painted trilliums, bunchberry, hepatica, clintonia and blue cohosh.
We will meet on Boston Hollow Road in Ashford near the trail crossing for the Nipmuck Trail. From Rte. 44 (Ashford Center Road) in Ashford, turn north onto Rte. 89 (Westford Road). Go 4.0 miles to a stop sign at a “T” intersection. Turn right (east) onto Boston Hollow Road. Go 1.6 miles to a tiny parking area for the Nipmuck Trail. Park along the right (southeast) side of the road.
May 21 – 25 (Sunday – Thursday)
The Limestone Region of Northern New Jersey, near Johnsonburg
This is a joint field meeting of the Botanical Society of America, Torrey Botanical Society and Philadelphia Botanical Society. Included are three full days of field trips, evening programs, all meals, and four nights lodging at the Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center, Johnsonburg, New Jersey. For more information and registration contact: David Austin
June 3 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m. (Rain date: Sunday, June 4)
Tentative - Leader needed
Pound Ridge, NY, Westchester Wilderness Walk (Zonfass Family Preserve)
This is a joint field trip with the Torrey Botanical Society. The Westchester Wilderness covers over 150 acres of rocky woods, streams, lakes and wetlands. The trails and land have been assembled through the hard work of Paul Zofnass who offered the first contribution of land and then persuaded surrounding neighbors to also contribute land. The end result is a remarkably beautiful and protected wild wilderness. Wear footwear for use on rocky trails.
Exit 34 on the Merritt Parkway, to Long Ridge Road. Go north 5.4 miles on Long Ridge Road. Take a right onto Upper Shad road. Go about 1/4 mile and park on the pull-off on the left side of Upper Shad near the entrance to the Preserve.
June 13 (Tuesday) 3:00 p.m.
International Festival of Arts and Ideas
Frank Kaputa, co-chair of the Notable Trees Committee will lead a tour of notable trees of New Haven. Registration recommended. Details:
June 14 (Wednesday) 3:00 p.m.
International Festival of Arts and Ideas
Lauren Brown, CBS vice president, will lead a botanizing walk in East Rock Park. Registration recommended. Details:
June 17 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m. (Rain date: Sunday, June 18)
(PLEASE BE ON TIME. WE WILL CARPOOL TO THE BOTANIZING SITE)
Biehn Open Space and Highstead Arboretum
This 30-acre open space was recently acquired by the town of Redding with the cooperation of the State of Connecticut, the Redding Land Trust and the Aquarion Water Co. Abutting the Saugatuck River, it has yet to be thoroughly documented. Among its woods are some old-growth trees and two long ledge ravines caused by a geologic fault. There are also wetlands abutting the Saugatuck River. Those who wish may later visit the nearby Highstead Arboretum. Pack bug spray and a sandwich; we will find a spot to picnic and review our plant lists.
From Rte. 15 (Merritt Pkwy) take Exit 42. Go north on Rte. 57. Continue through Weston town center. Shortly thereafter, go onto Rte. 53 which veers slightly to the right when Rte. 57 turns left. Continue for 7 miles to 439 Redding Road on your left. From Rte. 84 take exit for Rte. 7 south. Go left on Starrs Plains Rd., left on West Redding Rd., right on Long Ridge Rd. (becomes Side Cut Rd.), right on Station Rd. At "T" jog left on Umpawaug and right onto Rte. 53/Redding Road. Continue 2 miles to #439 on your right just after the light at Diamond Hill Rd.
PARK FOR CARPOOLING at the Mark Twain Library, 439 Redding Road (Rte. 53).
June 24 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m.
Newington, Cedar Mountain
We'll start on the east side at the Humane Society, off Route 175, and hike westerly through diverse, mature forest, stopping at a vernal pool with a large population of endangered swamp cottonwood. We'll also botanize the nearby rock outcrop, which narrowly escaped flattening for a pad for high density Toll Brothers housing. We'll gradually climb up to the traprock ridge crest (a Critical Habitat, as defined by CT DEEP). We'll keep our eyes open for characteristic forbs and ferns of subacidic soils (derived from calcium-rich basalt). Views are outstanding! At the summit, activists will summarize the successful battle in 2013, to stop the Toll Bothers’ development, and preserve the eastern forested buffer of this trap ridge.
Set GPS for 701 Russell Rd, Newington, CT Coming from I-91 (north or south), take Exit 28 & follow signs for Rte. 15 & US 5 and Rte. 175 West. Follow Rte. 15 south for 3 miles, then turn right onto ramp for Rte. 175 West. But before actually getting on to Rte.175 (aka Cedar Road), take first right onto Russell Rd.
Coming from I 84: take Route 72 East to New Britain. Drive 9.2 miles and merge from right 2 lanes onto Route 9 North. Continue ~ 4 miles to Exit 29 onto Route 175 East. Drive 2.8 miles & make left on Russell Rd. Take first left to stay on Russell Rd. Go 400 feet. CT Humane Society is on left at #701.
June 25 (Sunday) 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Grasses Workshop, Branford Land Trust House, 26 School St., Branford
Many of us are intimidated by the grasses, but this is not necessary. Lauren Brown, author of Grasses: An Identification Guide, will provide a gentle introduction to these beautiful and abundant plants. She'll point out the macroscopic features that are easily recognizable in the field and show you a simplified system for identifying many grasses without having to worry about such technical terms as glumes, lemmas and paleas! The workshop will begin indoors and conclude with an outdoor identification session. Bring a copy of her book. Fee: $5 for CBS members, $10 for non-members. Advance registration required as space is limited. To register, email email@example.com.
From I-95, take Exit 56. From the east, go left off the exit, past the truck stop, then left onto Leete’s Island Road back over the highway. From the west, go right on Leete’s Island Road. At first stop sign (antique shop and liquor store), go left onto Route 146. School St. is third right. Park in lot just beyond building on other side of street.
July 8, (Saturday) 8:00 a.m. (NOTE EARLY START TIME)
Southbury, Bent of the River Audubon Center, 185 East Flat Hill Road, Southbury
This is a joint botany/birding trip with CBS and Connecticut Ornithological Association. Located along the Pomperaug River, Bent of the River contains a variety of habitats.
Take Exit 14 off of I-84 and go north on Rte. 172 for 1 mile into South Britain. At the General Store, turn left onto East Flat Hill Road. The Bent of the River entrance is on the left, 0.4 miles from Rte. 172. Look for a green mailbox.
July 15 (Saturday) 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (NOTE EARLY START TIME)
Haddam, Beaver Ledges Preserve, a new preserve of Haddam Land Trust
This newly acquired parcel is 136 acres of undisturbed and unfragmented hardwood forest that abuts Cockaponset State Forest on three sides in the Tylerville section of Haddam. Beaver Ledges contains the majority of an active beaver pond, ledges overlooking the pond, a great blue heron rookery, and vernal pools. The Haddam Land Trust began a preliminary plant list last spring and hopes to add to the list during this field trip. There are many ferns and sedges in addition to herbaceous and woody plants. The terrain can be challenging at times and areas can be muddy; wear appropriate foot gear. We will walk on woods roads and a preliminary trail but will also cross brooks and bushwhack. This will be a half-day trip, but some may want to bring a lunch and do a bit more exploring.
From Route 9, take Exit 7, Route 82. At the end of the long exit, take a right onto Route 154 South. Take the first right on to Dudley Clark Road. At the end of Dudley Clark Road, take a right onto Old Chester Road. Old Chester Road becomes Ruth Hill Road. Continue on Ruth Hill Road. When you arrive at the Route 82 overpass and the pavement ends, find a place to park. We will meet here and walk about a tenth of a mile to reach the Beaver Ledges Preserve. From points east, take Route 82 across the Connecticut River. At the stop light, take a left onto Route 154 South to the first right onto Dudley Clark Road. Follow the italicized directions above. From Route 154 north of the area: Take exit 10 off of Rte. 9 (Airport Road) and follow Route 154 South for about 8 miles. Pass through the Route 154/Route 82 interchange (traffic light). After the Route 82/Route 9 connector entrance ramp, take the first right on to Dudley Clark Road. Follow the italicized directions as above. From Route 154 south of the area: Take Route 154 North. After entering Haddam from Chester, take the third left, on to Dudley Clark Road. Follow the italicized directions above.
Beaver Ledges Preserve Property Maps
July 23 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m. (Kid/Family Expedition)
Madison, Salt Meadow Park
Kids and their adults (no pets, please) are invited to explore this park on the site of the former Griswold Airport. We’ll look back in time to learn about the plants, animals and humans that have lived here for thousands of years. Maps and activity handouts will be provided. Bring your notebook, field guides, and camera to document our trip. The walking is fairly easy, but includes narrow shady forest paths as well as sunny open fields, so please dress accordingly. Rain or shine! After our expedition, you can continue the day’s adventure at Hammonasset State Park just a short distance away.
From I-95 take exit 62 (Hammonasset State Park) and go south on Rte. 450. Turn left (east) on Rte. 1. Meet at the end of the parking lot of Salt Meadow Park, 1362 Boston Post Road (Rte. 1), Madison.
July 30, (Sunday) 10:00 a.m. (Joint CBS/NEBC kayak/canoe trip)
East Haddam, Salmon River Cove, possibly parts of Machimoodus state Park
CBS will join with members of New England Botanical Club to survey the shores and fresh water tidal wetlands of the lower Salmon River. We will paddle upstream as far as Machimoodus State Park where there is a boat launch area to come ashore for lunch. This site was recently bulldozed and may offer interesting pioneer plants. There may be time to botanize other parts of Machimoodus as well. Several State listed species are known from this area. Bring binoculars; this is a great birding area too. Participants must provide their own canoes, kayaks, and PFDs, or arrange for a space in someone else’s boat. Attendees are requested to call or email Bryan in advance that you plan to attend, but especially contact if you want to attend but do not have a boat.
From Rte. 9 take Exit 7, Rte. 82. At the end of the 2 ½ mile connector, turn left. Go ¼ mile to traffic light. Take right (Rte. 82). Continue across the Connecticut River into town East Haddam. Stay left at the fork in the road onto Rte. 149. Continue about one mile. Look for a brown boat launch sign on your left. The launch site is diagonally across the large parking area. From Rte. 2 in Colchester, take either Exit 16 (Rte. 149 South) or Exit 18 (Rte. 16 West leads to Rte. 149, then go left on 149): Go ~7-8 miles from Rte. 2 to the center of Moodus where there are businesses on both sides of Rte. 149. Pass a 7Eleven on your left. Stay on Rte. 149 and go another 2.9 miles on a very curvy road. You will eventually see water and tidal flats on your right. Turn into the boat launch road on your right.
August 5, (Saturday) 10:00 a.m.
(PLEASE BE ON TIME. WE WILL CARPOOL TO THE SITE)
Killingly, Long Pond Preserve
Wyndham Land Trust recently acquired Long Pond Preserve, and CBS has been asked to explore and begin a plant inventory, including any critters that we might encounter too. There are two historical CBS field trip records from 1937 and 1947. State listed species are probable on this trip. The land is level with interesting wetlands including a 20-acre pond. One or two CBS members might consider bringing a canoe or kayak to explore the pond. Others can plan wet feet (or boots) to explore the flooded shrub wetlands or the edges of the pond. There is plenty of dry ground as well. Bring a bag lunch.
From Interstate 395, take exit 41 (the old exit 93). We’ll meet at the commuter lot on the south side of Rte. 101, just west of 395. We will be carpooling from there.
August 13 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m.
Hamden, Broken Arrow Nursery
Visit one of Connecticut's most unique nurseries, one that specializes in rare and unusual trees, shrubs, and perennials, in addition to many native plants. Among other things, this nursery has a plethora of Kalmia latifolia varieties, developed by Dick Jaynes, nursery owner and former researcher at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Bring your plastic; you won’t be able to resist a perfect plant that you’ve been looking for.
From I-91: Exit 10 to Rt. 10 (Whitney Avenue). Take right (north) on Rt. 10/Whitney Ave., go 1.5 miles to left onto Todd St (opposite head of Sleeping Giant Mountain in Mt. Carmel section). Take Todd St. to end, right on Shepard Ave., first left on West Todd to end, right on Gaylord Mt. Rd, next right is Broken Arrow Rd. From SW CT: Rt 15 (Merritt/Wilbur Cross) to exit 59. Take left (north) onto Rt. 69 for 7.5 miles, then right onto Gaylord Mt. Rd. Take Gaylord Mt. Rd for 2 miles east to Broken Arrow Rd on left.
August 19 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Meriden, North Shore of Hanover Pond
Hike through level, minimally disturbed sandy oak forest with some very large old trees along the north shore of Hanover Pond. We’ll botanize along the paved linear trail, which veers several hundred feet from the pond to avoid an eagle feeding area; then we’ll take a loop onto an old footpath near the lake. We’ll encounter riparian vegetation along Sodom & Harbor Brooks. Along an old utility corridor we’ll look for remaining native species of sandy, open habitats, among autumn olive shrubs. Since two high schools and one middle school are located very nearby, a goal for this field trip is to gain insights on the vegetation resources to help with educational programming.
Take Exit 4 off I-691. Head southeast on West Main St. into Meriden, passing Hubbard Park. After ~1 ¾ miles, turn right onto Centennial Avenue (becomes Oregon Road). Continue about 1.5 miles, turn left into large parking area by Hanover Pond. This park is about 300 feet before Oregon Road, crosses the river, and intersects with Route 70. Park at the left (northeast) end of parking lot, near trail head of the linear trail.
September 10 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m.
Farmington and Avon, Farmington River
This is botanizing canoe/kayak trip emphasizing the flora of the flat-water stretch of the Farmington River. Interesting habitats include riverbanks, low and high floodplain forests and meadows, and sandy/gravelly draw-down shores and bars. Anticipate doing a round trip of about 10 miles, first downstream, then back upstream (there is very little current to fight, going back upstream). Participants must provide their own canoes, kayaks, etc., or arrange for a space in someone else’s boat (leader has 2 spaces). Attendees must please call or email Bill in advance that you plan to attend, and also contact Bill if you want to attend but do not have a boat.
Meeting place and canoe launch is a parking lot 0.3 mi. west of the junction of Rte. 4 and Rte. 10, on the south side of Rte. 4, immediately west of the bridge over the Farmington River.
September 17 (Sunday) 12:00 noon
Annual Potluck Picnic, 43 Dean Street, Hartford
Welcome to a potluck lunch in the urban jungle! In keeping with a CBS tradition, you are encouraged (but not required) to bring a dish that incorporates wild foods. 43 Dean St. is a red house on the west side of the street. Park next to the house or on the opposite side of the street.
From 91 North take exit 27 and go left at the light onto Brainard Rd. Turn left at the next light onto Airport Rd. After the underpass, go up the hill and, at the top, turn right onto Wethersfield Ave. Go 0.9 mile and turn left on Annawan. The first right is Dean St. From 91 South take exit 27 and go right at light onto Airport Rd. Go up the hill and, at the top, turn right onto Wethersfield Ave. Go 0.9 mile and go left on Annawan St. The first right is Dean St. From Rte. 2 West take exit 2W for Downtown Hartford and go left at the light onto Columbus Blvd. After 0.5 mile, it becomes Wyllys St., curves right, and goes up a hill. At the top, turn left onto Wethersfield Ave. Go 0.4 mile and turn right on Annawan St. The first right is Dean St. From 84 West take exit 54 (Downtown Hartford) and go left at the light onto Columbus Blvd. Follow italicized directions above. From 84 East take exit 48A and bear right, following signs for Capitol Ave. At the light turn left onto Capitol Ave. and continue to its end at Main St. Go right on Main St. After a couple of blocks, fork to the left at the little park and continue onto Wethersfield Ave. Go 0.4 mile and turn right on Annawan St. The first right is Dean St.
September 24 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m.
North Haven, Quinnipiac River Tidal Marsh Trail
Target, Ruby Tuesday, BJ’s, Best Buy, Red Lobster. Hidden behind all of these emporia (and many others) with dead railroad cars mixed in, is an enchanting trail, created by the North Haven Trails Association, that follows the Quinnipiac River. Don’t expect a lot of diversity, but the plant communities are interesting and there are lovely views of the river. This walk is flat, one way in, same way out (and you can go shopping afterwards!)
From I-91 northbound, take Exit 9. Stay in the center lane. Turn left at bottom of ramp, then take immediate first right to go over bridge. Get into the left lane and turn left into shopping center, passing between Red Lobster and Ruby Tuesday. Go all the way to the south end, beyond the stores. From I-91 southbound, take Exit 9. Go right at base of ramp and straight over the bridge. Proceed as above. As of press time, there were several signs for Tidal Marsh Trail, which you should follow, but no promises. For GPS, try Universal Drive N., North Haven.
October 1 (Sunday) 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Family-friendly walk)
Burlington, Sessions Woods National Wildlife Area, 341 Milford St. Burlington, CT
Individuals, groups and families (no pets please) will explore this 764-acre State-owned property which is actively managed to improve wildlife habitat and biological diversity. You will see the results of active management of invasive non-natives and enhancements through the planting of native vegetation and creation of a young forest habitat. See small-scale habitat improvements such as a rain garden and large-scale improvements such as young forest creation. Bring your notebook, field guides and camera to document our trip. Mr. Picone has been working at Sessions Woods since 1990 and has a wealth of wildlife/habitat management knowledge to share. Walking is fairly easy on forest paths, open sunny fields and a boardwalk over a beaver swamp. Heavy rain cancels.
From Rte. 4 in Burlington: Take Rte. 69 south 4 miles to 341 Milford Street (Sessions Woods) in Burlington. From Rte. 6: Take Rte. 69 north 3.7 miles to 341 Milford Street.
October 8 (Sunday) 10 a.m. to Noon
Madison, Salt Meadow Park (Same location, different emphasis and different season as the July 23 field trip)
This new park, formerly the site of Griswold Airport, features a coastal forest remnant which contains a few surprises, as well as native grasses, etc. Restoration of vernal pools and native plant populations began in 2013 and we are returning to see the progress since our July 2016 visit. Trails are fairly flat.
From I-95 take exit 62 (Hammonasset State Park) and go south on Rte. 450. Turn left (east) on Rte. 1. Meet at the end of the parking lot of Salt Meadow Park, 1362 Boston Post Road (Rte. 1), Madison.
October 21 (Saturday) 10:00 a.m.
Storrs, UConn Biodiversity Education and Research Greenhouses
UConn's Biodiversity Education and Research Greenhouses house one of the most diverse plant collections in the northeastern United States. The collections include plants from every region of the planet and contain several thousand plants representing 1220 genera and 276 families. Among these are 39 species listed in the IUCN's global Red List as endangered, 17 listed as critically endangered, and 7 classified as extinct in the wild. Collections staff will provide us with an hour-long guided tour after which we will explore on our own. An RSVP to the leader is preferred, to help organize staffing. We have the option of finishing up with a trip to UConn's nearby award-winning dairy bar for ice cream.
From route 195 (Storrs Rd.) turn onto N. Eagleville Rd. into the UConn campus. Pass Swan Lake on the left and the cemetery on the right, and park in front of the Biology/Physics Building (91 N. Eagleville Road, Storrs CT 06269), which is on the left, just after the cemetery and just before the green-roofed bus stops.