Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania


BSWP Meetings

Monday, October 10, 2016 • 7:15 p.m.
“Exotic Plants in Our Forests: Where do they come from and why do they succeed?” will be presented by Dr. Mason Heberling. Currently a
postdoc in the lab of Dr. Susan Kalisz at the
University of Tennessee, Mason holds a B.S.
in biology at Penn State and Ph.D. at Syracuse
University. His Ph.D. work was on the ecophysiology of eastern US forest understory
shrub invasions at Syracuse University.
A plant ecologist, Mason has done fieldwork
locally (SW PA, central NY) and internationally
(France, New Zealand).
Mason lives in Pittsburgh, where he does the
majority of his current fieldwork centered on
a long-term deer exclusion experiment at Trillium Trail (Fox Chapel, PA) to understand the
effects of deer and nonnative plant invasions
on the physiology and demography of forest
understory species.
Mason is also a Research Associate in the
Section of Botany at the Carnegie Museum of
Natural History in Pittsburgh. In January 2017
he begins postdoc work there. It is funded by
a new National Science Foundation program
specifically for research using biological collections.
His new research will use herbarium
specimen data to study trait changes of plant
invaders in PA and across the Eastern US,
leveraging decades of herbarium data.

Monday, November 14, 2016, 7:15 p.m.
Jake Slyder will present “What can drones and digital maps tell us about plants? A 21st century approach to ecology.” Increasingly powerful computers and new field data collection tools such as smart devices and drones allow present novel approaches for understanding plant and forest ecology. Jake will discuss two case studies from this work that illustrate how these tools fit into ecology. In the first, the relationship between autonomous selfing ability in Collinsia and range size is investigating by collating and mapping herbaria specimens. In the second, Jake will discuss the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, aka “drones”) as a supplement to botanical surveys for monitoring forest change over time via the creation of highly-detailed three-dimensional models (

BSWP Monthly Meeting Directions
The Society meets monthly from September through June.

To Ford Mateer Classroom of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History:

The entrance to the parking lot, which is gated, is just past the Museum at the intersection of Forbes and Craig Street. The Ford-Mateer Classroom is reached through the Portal Entry in the rear parking lot area. Once inside the building, the room is located just beyond the Security desk on the left. In addition to the Museum parking lot, which costs $6, there are metered spaces on Forbes Avenue opposite the Museum and along Craig Street that are free after 6 p.m. From there you will cross the street and walk through the right side of the gates to the parking lot. Continue on the sidewalk to the rear of the building where you will see the sign for “Portal Entry” ahead. 

If you do not park in the Museum’s lot, from Forbes Avenue, walk along the right side of the parking toll gates to the parking lot. Continue on the sidewalk to the rear of the building where you will see the sign for "Portal Entry" ahead. 

Directions to the Carnegie Museum

The Third Biennial
Pennsylvania Botany Symposium

November 18 – 19, 2016 (Friday–Saturday)
Penn Stater Conference Center
State College, Pennsylvania

A committee of botanists from across the state are working hard to organize the 3rd biennial symposium, rich with hands-on workshop opportunities, presenters who are leaders in the field, opportunities for students to engage with professionals and time to come together to share our work and celebrate our botanical heritage. 

The focus of the Pennsylvania Botany Symposium is to bring together a diverse audience from amateur to academic botanists, and those interested in the natural world in general. Invited speakers have been carefully selected to share their expertise on a variety of botanical topics including taxonomy, conservation, ecology, biology, history and floristics. Research results will be presented, but at a level appropriate for an audience of diverse backgrounds. All invited speakers are experts with reputations for being engaging and entertaining.

Keynote speaker will be Reed Noss, Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor, University of Central Florida, Department of Biology, who will give a talk titled "Competing Values of Modern Conservation: Can They Be Reconciled." Other speakers include:

  • Robin Kimmerer, Distinguished Teaching Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY
  • James Bissell, Curator of Botany and Director of Natural Areas, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Peggy Olwell, Plant Conservation Program Lead, Bureau of Land Management
  • Richard McCourt, Curator and Professor, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • Barre Hellquist, Professor of Biology Emeritus, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Wes Knapp, Eastern Region Heritage Ecologist/Botanist, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage
  • Dwayne Estes, Associate Professor of Biology at Austin Peay State University

Three full-day and three half-day botany workshops will be offered this year on Friday. This year there is an exciting new element to the Pennsylvania Botany Symposium: a student poster session! This will take place during the Friday evening social event. This session is intended to provide the ‘next generation of botanists’ an opportunity to present their research and engage with professional botanists and botanical enthusiasts from around the region. The Friday evening event also provides attendees from all walks of life to interact, network and learn about new technologies, opportunities and services from our exhibitors.

Please check for more information and sponsorship opportunities.

BSWP Outings. Registration for Botanical Society field trips is not required. Everyone is welcome, including non-members. Trips last 3 to 4 hours but one can leave at any time. For questions, call the field trip leader or Loree Speedy at 724-872-5232/home; 724-518-6022/cell or
All members are invited to provide their e-mail addresses to receive information and periodic updates of additional field trips scheduled throughout the year. Please send an e-mail to if you are not on the list.