Botany 2013 Field Trips
Field Trips are open to all registered attendees of Botany 2013 including spouses/companions and family members. (They must pay full trip registration fee.) All trips require pre-registration and are on a first-come and first-served basis. Fees include transportation, admission fees, field guides (if provided), water and where indicated, lunch. Schedule subject to change...you will be notified by email.
Fees for Scientific Field Trips are non-refundable if cancelled after July 1, 2013.
Participants should be aware that the region’s weather in July is unpredictable. Those attending outdoor trips should be prepared for hot, humid weather and both bright sun and potential rain showers. Travel to most sites in air-conditioned buses.
$120.00 - 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
This is a field trip (mostly by boat) into the active “birdfoot” delta of the MS River delta. We will drive (2 hours) following the river along LA 23 until it literally ends in Venice, LA. The drive goes through Plaquemines Parish which mostly exists as a strip of land 1-2 miles wide.
In Venice, we will board a couple of flatboats and launch where Grand Pass branches off of the main channel. We will motor 20 min down the main channel to the Head of Passes and take Main Pass to Brant Pass and ultimately out to the Gulf. Along the way we will make a stop at Pilottown to stretch our legs along the boardwalk and eat lunch. We will then venture into the interior marshes where the emergent vegetation is most diverse, but unfortunately experiencing invasion by the introduced Typha angustifolia and Phragmites australis (a variety of sublineages) which is the dominant vascular plant in the exterior marshes. These marshes are also sustaining damage by invasive species of the 4-legged variety – nutria and wild pig. Expect to see Sagittaria latifolia, S, platyphylla, Colocasia esculenta, Schoenoplectus deltarum, Spartina alternaflora, Zizaniopsis sp., and submerged aquatics like Potamogeton sp., Ceratophyllum sp. and others.
Birders will enjoy the variety of wildlife such as great egrets, snowy egrets, brown pelicans, great blue herons, numerous raptors, and maybe a roseate spoonbill. Alligator sightings are common.
Lunch and water will be provided
Boats will launch from the US Fish & Wildlife station in Venice, LA;
We will still go if there is rain in the forecast so monitor the weather and bring rain gear and change of clothes and towel. Bring boots or old athletic shoes you don’t mind getting muddy for trek in the marsh. Be aware of the heat/humidity which is no different from New Orleans except there’s no shade. Bring light clothes, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. If there is a tropical storm in the Gulf, trip will be cancelled and participants refunded.
Leaders: Don Hauber and Andy Nyman
FT # 1A - Ferns of the Atchafalaya Basin
The Atchafalaya Basin, located within the delta of the Atchafalaya River in south central Louisiana, contains the nation’s largest complex of bayous, forested wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests and swamps. Biodiversity of plants and animals in this region is extraordinary, with both native and non-native species struggling to survive.
We will head southwest of New Orleans towards Franklin, LA. Our first stop will be along LA Hwy 390 where bayous meander through the forested wetlands. Here we will see the floating antler fern, Ceratopteris pteridodies, along with other aquatic ferns such as Azolla caroliniana Salvinia minima and perhaps Salvinia molesta. Several Thelypteris species will also be encountered. From here we will continue on towards Franklin, where we will visit the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, where one of their main goals is habitat management for the Federally-endangered Louisiana Black Bear. The refuge contains a series of man-made levees that were constructed back in the early 1900’s to harvest Bald Cypress. These elevated land masses traverse cypress swamps and harbor an interesting flora, including several rare ferns and fern allies such as: Dryopteris ludoviciana, Psilotum nudum, and Thelypteris interrupta (the only known location outside of south Florida). In addition, we will see Asplenium platyneuron, Osmunda regalis, Thelypteris kunthii, and Woodwardia virginica to name a few.
Depending on recent weather conditions, we may be able to drive to these locations, or if it has been very wet, we many have to walk from the nearest parking areas.
Participates should expect hot-humid weather and should plan for sun or rain. Bring sunscreen, hat, raincoat, insect repellant, boots or shoes that you do not mind getting wet or muddy. It is also advised that you do not wear shorts or sandals. Water will be provided.
Lunch will be at Forest Restaurant in Franklin, where you can sample “real” cajun food. Prices range from $8.00-$20.00, depending on if you want a sandwich or meal.
Distance to Franklin is approximately 100 miles, travel by van about 2.5 hours.
Leaders: Garrie Landry and Patricia Cox
Enrollment limit: 25
$ 90.00 - 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Participants will be introduced to high biodiversity savannas of eastern Louisiana in the Coastal Plain Biodiversity Hotspot of North America. The trip will transition from loess plains pine savannas in upland rolling hills through low-lying seasonally-flooded pine and cypress flatwoods to frequently flooded coastal pine and cypress savannas and marshes located along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Highlights of the tour will include visits to frequently burned, restored longleaf and shortleaf pine savannas at Girl Scout Camp Whispering Pines in Tangipahoa Parish, ongoing flatwoods restoration at The Nature Conservancy Abita Creek Preserve in St. Tammany Parish, and loblolly-slash pine flatwoods along the north shore at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in St. Tammany Parish. All three sites promise a profusion of flowering plants and associated fauna in burned areas.
Some walking on fairly level terrain, with some areas being wet and muddy; temperatures will be very warm and insects will be abundant; bring water, insect repellent, and sun protection. Lunch and water will be provided.
Distance as crow flies to and from sites is about 80 miles; travel time by bus an hour plus. Supper will be at Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant between Lake Maurepas & Lake Pontchartrain; Supper cost are the participant’s responsibly.
Leaders: William “Bill” J. Platt and assistants
Enrollment Limit: 30
$65.00 - 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Natural stands of longleaf pine and exceptionally diverse coastal plain bogs will be the highlights of this field trip to the DeSoto National Forest of Mississippi. Two of the major stops include Buttercup Flats, one of the largest contiguous pitcher plant bogs in the World, and Mars Hill sandhill, a xeric site of longleaf pine and turkey oak. Species packing rates for the diverse bogs are among the highest of any vegetation type in North America, if not the World. The bogs are sprinkled with yellow trumpets, parrot pitcher plants, pink orchids, butterworts, red lilies, bright orange milkweeds, white bog buttons, sundews, and various meadowbeauties.
Some walking on level terrain, but some areas may be wet; please wear proper footgear and bring insect repellent, and sun protection. Water and Lunch will be provided.
Distance to the site about 100 miles; travel time 1 hour 50 minutes, by bus
Leaders: Mac H. Alford, Mike Davis, and Tate Thriffiley
Enrollment Limit: 40
$ 100.00 - 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Honey Island Swamp (Marais de l'Île-de-Miel) is a marshland, located on the Pearl River wildlife management area and managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The swamp is bordered on the south by Lake Borgne, on the east by the Pearl River and the west by the West Pearl River. It is one of the least-altered river swamps in the United States. Considered by many to be one of the most pristine swampland habitats in the United States, the Honey Island Swamp covers an area that is over 20 miles long and nearly 7 miles across, with much of its 70,000 acres are sanctioned as a permanently protected wildlife area. Travel by boat to see ancient cypress trees garlanded with Spanish moss and an abundance of plant and animal life including alligators.
Tour boat ride. (Box lunches and water provided).
Distance to launch site about 40 miles; travel time an hour by bus.
Leaders: Dr. Paul Wagner and associates
Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tours, 41490 Crawford Landing Rd. Slidell, LA 70461,
Enrollment Limit: 25.
$70.00 - 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Recognizing the threatened status of high-quality longleaf pine flatwoods savannas in Louisiana and the many unique native species the habitat supports, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries acquired this nearly 800 acre tract in 1992. The WMA is located in St. Tammany Parish about 7 miles northwest of Covington. In recent years the Nature Conservancy has purchased additional lands along the Lake Ramsey and Horse Branch Roads that have enlarged the area now under conservation management. The area is frequently burned to perpetuate the wide variety of ground cover plant species that occurs in a longleaf pine savannah. At least 18 rare plant species have been identified on the site that makes it one of the most significant savannas remaining in eastern Louisiana. This unique open longleaf savannah has evolved historically only through the regular occurrence of fire. Prescribed fires will be critical in the continued future maintenance of his rare habitat. In addition to the longleaf pine savannah, the area supports other valuable natural plant communities including: bayhead forest, small river floodplains forest, and an upland sandy stream (Tchefuncte River). These savannas are known for their diversity, including several carnivorous plants, numerous rare plant species and a spectacular variety of orchids. The area is walk-in-only along the nature trail. Level terrain and easy hiking. Be prepared for hot, humid conditions.
Leaders: Christopher Reid, Lousiana Natural Heritage Botanist and Latimore Smith, The Louisiana Nature Conservancy
Enrollment Limit: 30
$ 70.00 - 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, over 300 species of birds, and many species of plants. Explore this area via its trails, natural levees, and by boat. Plant communities to be investigated include levee ridge bottomland forest/swamp, bottomland hardwood forest 'backswamp', cypress swamp (various community composition) and freshwater marsh, and boat through primarily freshwater marsh (rooted and marsh flotant) landscape. The visitors center also offers a variety of natural and cultural experiences.
Participants should be prepared for very hot and very humid conditions. They should wear lightweight clothing and bring a long sleeve shirt and a hat for sun and insect protection. I recommend long pants and shoes that can both get dirty (and maybe a plastic bag in which they can stow these shoes/clothes afterwards). They may wish to bring sunscreen and insect repellant. Lunch and water provided.
Distance to destination about 15 miles with travel time around 30 minutes by bus
Leaders: Julie L. Whitbeck, Ecologist, and assistants
Enrollment Limit: 30
$65.00 - 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The focus of this trip will be natural communities of the East Gulf Coastal Plain in the vicinity of Picayune, MS, with special emphasis on hillside seepage bogs. Stops will include The Nature Conservancy’s Willie Farrell Brown Preserve and the Crosby Arboretum’s Hillside Bog Natural Area and Interpretive Center. In addition to hillside bogs, which display a unique variety of carnivorous plants such as the Yellow pitcher plant (Sarracenia alata), Parrot pitcher plant (Sarracenia psittacina), Sundew (Drosera spp.), Yellow butterwort (Pinguicula lutea) and the terrestrial bladderworts (Utricularia spp.), we will see grass-dominated upland Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests with a possible glimpse of the federally threatened Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus); and a bayhead swamp – a depressional wetland dominated by a variety of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs, such as Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana). Time will be spent during lunch at the Crosby Arboretum, a regional environmental education center with examples of a variety of natural communities. We will picnic at architectural award-winning Pinecote Pavilion, located on a scenic pond. Moderate to easy walking. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Bring sunscreen, hat, insect repellant. Box lunch, and water provided. Restrooms will be available at the Crosby Arboretum. Approximately 1 hour drive to Picayune, MS. by bus.
Trip Leaders: Nelwyn McInnis, Mitigation Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy, Melinda Lyman, Project Coordinator, Camp Shelby Conservation Program, The Nature Conservancy and Pat Drackett, Director, The Crosby Arboretum
$50.00 - 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
The New Orleans Botanical Garden has its roots in the Great Depression as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Originally known as the City Park Rose Garden, the garden opened in 1936 as New Orleans' first public classical garden. It is one of the few remaining examples of public garden design from the WPA and Art Deco Period remaining today as a showcase of three notable talents: New Orleans Architect Richard Koch, Landscape Architect William Wiedorn, and Artist Enrique Alférez.
Reborn as the New Orleans Botanical Garden in the early 1980s, the garden's collections contain over 2,000 varieties of plants from all over the world set among the nation's largest stand of mature live oaks. The site contains the Conservatory of the Two Sisters, the New Orleans Historic Train Garden, the Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden and theme gardens containing aquatics, roses, native plants, ornamental trees and shrubs and perennials. The garden also encompasses the Pavilion of the Two Sisters, the Garden Study Center, and the Lath House.
Leaders: New Orleans Botanical Garden Staff
Easy walking, indoors and outside; box lunches provided
Enrollment Limit: 40
FT #9 - Barataria Preserve, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
The Barataria Preserve south of New Orleans is the park's wildest site with 23,000 acres of swamp, marsh, trails, and waterways, a living laboratory of Louisiana's endangered wetlands. South Louisiana's long growing season and abundant rain means it's a great place to be a plant. The Barataria Preserve contains three major plant systems: hardwood forest, swamp, and marsh, and is a good place to see over 400 species of plants. This is encompassed in an elevation change of a little over half a foot - not much to humans but making all the difference to the park's flora. Lichens and bryophytes are abundant mostly on tree trunks and canopy branches.
Our field trip will be led by Park Naturalist Aleutia Scott, and Jim Bennett and Roger Rosentreter of ABLS. Please bring comfortable hiking shoes, and bug spray (mosquitoes!). Water will be provided. Restrooms are available at the Visitor’s Center. Note that collecting will NOT be permitted, although we will look at lots of lichens and bryophytes. This is a great opportunity to see habitats and plant communities that will be unfamiliar to those coming from more northern regions. Do come and explore with fellow ABLS enthusiasts!
If time and the weather permit it, we will make a short stop at Jefferson Davis Parkway to view the lichen lines on the live oaks.
$ 70.00 - 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sandy Hollow is a hidden gem in the rural community of Wilmer, LA and one of the World’s biological hotspots for plant species diversity. This area comprised of 3,514 acres owned by the Department of Wildlife is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Amite, Tangipahoa Parish. The area is divided into two separate tracts near Wilmer, LA. The larger tract being north of LA Hwy. 10 and the smaller one south of Hwy. 10. The terrain is gently sloping through pine forest. The area is very peaceful and scenic. There are several other trails winding through the area and nearly all are interconnected and loop back on themselves.
Distance to launch site about 70 miles; travel time one and one-half hours by bus; box lunches and water provided.
Leaders: Christopher Reid, Louisiana Natural Heritage Botanist and assistants
Enrollment Limit: 30