Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania


BSWP Monthly Meeting Directions

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

May 9, 2016 Meeting at 7:15 p.m.

Speaker Christopher Tracey is an ecologist and Conservation Planning Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.

The following is an abstract for the talk:

The intersection of political and ecological boundaries often results in conservation groups assigning conservation priorities to species at the periphery of their ranges. The reasons for listing these species include conserving genetic diversity, maintaining ecological roles, recognizing local value by people, and the potential for such species to serve as umbrellas for lesser known taxa. The ongoing impacts of climate change add a further complicating factor, where, for example, a species at the southern limit of its range may be extirpated from a political unit as conditions become less suitable. Using Pennsylvania as a case study, we determined that over two-thirds of the 700+ plant species tracked by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program are at their range edge or exist as disjunct populations. To begin to understand these range edge issues, we examined the conservation needs for 21 of these plant species through expert review of their ecology, an climate change vulnerability, distribution modeling, and field verification. The results of this analysis show that while many of Pennsylvania’s rare plant species are truly at their range edge and are limited by ecological factors, others may be under-surveyed and/or expanding their ranges in the state. This talk will conclude with an overview of potential guidelines for other states to understand the range edge issues they may encounter and help unify priorities across plant species ranges.


June 13, 2016 Meeting at 7:15 p.m.

"Searching for Ferns in Zion National Park" will be presented by Steve McKee.

Steve served as director of the Gorman Nature Center and the Richland County Park District (Ohio) for 35 years, and is now semi-retired. He grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, graduated from Miami University with a master's degree in botany, ran an environmental education school in the mountains of Kentucky, is married and has two sons. He is enthusiastic about the natural history of north-central Ohio and southwest Utah, and is constantly working on surveys of local wild plants and birds.

What started out as a family trip to Zion National Park eleven years ago, has turned into an annual expedition by Steve to search for and document the ferns of Zion. In his program, Steve will show the highlights of this amazing national park, describe the flora of southwest Utah, and share some of his fern stories and adventures from18 trips to Zion. There will be something for everyone.

BSWP Field Trips and Other Events

Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m.

Powdermill Nature Reserve
Rector, Westmoreland County

Leader: Martha Oliver;; 724 887-6756.

Directions: From Pittsburgh, take the PA Turnpike east to Exit 91 (Donegal). At the end of the toll booth ramp, turn left (east) onto PA 31. Follow PA 31 east for 2.7 miles. Turn left onto PA 381 North. Follow PA 381 North for 6.4 miles to the Nimick Nature Center on your left.

We will walk the Black Birch Trail to see the new woodland path, which is handicapped accessible. Martha Oliver, Reserve gardener and co-owner of The Primrose Path, will explain how the soil type (which is acid) was changed to accommodate the needs of neutral plants. Some of the flowers that have been planted include fern leaf bleeding heart, trillium, Virginia blue bells, bloodroot, foamflowers, coral bells, fire pink, wood poppies and Jacob's ladder. She hopes that this garden will be a resource for gardeners and researchers and will inspire people to plant more native plants.


Sunday, May 1, 2016, All Day!

Enlow Fork Natural Area, Greene County

Nature events all day; 10 a.m. for the first wildflower walk

Event Organizer: Larry Helgerman,

Directions: Take I-79 south to Exit 14 Waynesburg. Turn right at end of ramp and travel PA 21 west for 18 miles through Waynesburg and Graysville. Right before the village of Wind Ridge, make a right onto Nebo Ridge Road (there is a farmhouse here on the right with stone siding on it).

Follow Nebo Ridge Road for several miles. The road will make a sweeping curve to the left and you’ll come to a group of houses (old cars and junk lying around). Turn right onto Walker Hill Road. Go about 1/8 mile, make a sharp left onto Smoky Row Lane (formerly a rugged dirt road; paved in 2014!). At the sign for the state game lands, follow that down the hill, through an S curve at the coal mine facility, then onto Enlow Fork. Go as far as you can go till you come to a gate and parking lot. Do not stop at the first lot on the left or you'll have a few hundred yards of walking to do.

The Enlow Fork Total Ecology Extravaganza is a multi-organizational event with multiple leaders in all fields. There will be birding at 8 a.m. by members of the Ralph K. Bell Bird Club, Wildflower Walk at 10 a.m. with the Botanical Society, and other nature excursions. In between the main walks there will be tents set up with bird and nature club information. Food will be available for sale. Bring a chair and enjoy the day. Contact Larry Helgerman, to help, or for more information. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 10:00 a.m.

Raccoon Creek Wildflower Reserve Beaver County

Leader: Dianne Machesney,; cell: (412) 523-0368; home: (412) 366-7869

Directions: From Pittsburgh, take the Parkway West (Route 376 west, former Route 60 north) to Exit 52, Clinton (one exit past the Airport). At the end of the ramp, turn left and continue 1.1 miles to US 30. Turn right onto US 30 and drive 4.7 miles to the entrance for the Wildflower Reserve, on the right, just over a hill.

The Wildflower Reserve has one of the most diverse populations of plants in the state. Be prepared for wet trails and moderate hiking.


Saturday, May 14, 2016, 1:00 p.m.

Oil Creek State Park, Venango County

Leader: Robert Coxe; 814-775-0005;

Directions: Take I-79 north to Exit 116 to head east on I-80. Travel I-80 east to Exit 29 Barkeyville/PA 8. Travel PA 8 north about 16 miles to Franklin. In Franklin, turn left onto 13th Street to pick up US 322 West and PA 417. Travel PA 417 North 12 miles. Turn left onto PA 8 North in Cherrytree and continue about 6 ½ miles to Titusville. 

At the traffic light just before the Oil Creek bridge, turn right onto Bloss Street toward Drake Well Museum. Go a mile or so to the Bicycle Trail parking lot on the right, before the other bridge over Oil Creek. Meet at the parking lot.

Old railroad grades are noted for a diversity of wildflowers, and the Oil Creek Bike Trail is exceptionally diverse.

The Western Mountains Chapter of the Maryland Native Plant Society and New Germany State Park and are co-sponsoring this FREE event:

Saturday May 14 • 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Mountain Maryland Native Plant Festival
New Germany State Park, Garrett County, MD

Directions: From I-68 East in Maryland take exit 22 and follow signs for New Germany State Park. Turn left into the park onto McAndrews Hill Road. Signs will direct you to parking for this special event.

Discover the important connection between native plants, people and wildlife! A large variety of ethically sourced plants and seeds native to the mid-Atlantic will be available for sale (cash or check only) from these regional native plant nurseries. Advance orders are appreciated!        

  • Enchanter’s Garden Native Plant Nursery
    Hinton, West Virginia
  • Go Native Tree Farm
    Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Mount Savage Farm and Nursery
    Mount Savage, Maryland

Scheduled walks, programs, and activities will highlight native plants and biodiversity. Featured speakers & general topics include:

  • Sunshine Brosi, Professor, Biology Department, Frostburg State University — edible native plants
  • Ian Caton, Owner, Enchanter’s Garden Native Plant Nursery — natives plants in the landscape
  • Candy DeBerry, Professor of Biology, Washington & Jefferson College — pollinators and natives plants
  • Sara Via, Professor, Departments of Biology & Entomology, University of Maryland — climate change and native plants

Experts from local organizations will answer questions on native plants and other conservation topics.
Your support of participating native plant nurseries through your plant purchases is deeply appreciated! Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase but feel free to bring your own picnic lunch. For more information visit or

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Date and Time to be announced

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Allegheny County

Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel I-376 west (Parkway West) to Exit 62 / Campbell Run Road. Turn left onto Campbell’s Run Road. Take an immediate left onto Boyce Road. Follow Boyce up the hill (don’t return to the highway).

At the first intersection go straight – Boyce Road becomes Cowan Road. In 0.2 mile there is a fork. Bear right staying on Cowan Road (road sign is hard to see). Follow Cowan Road 1.1 miles to stop sign at “T”. Turn right onto Baldwin Road. Follow Baldwin Road 0.7 miles, and make a right onto Pinkerton Run Road.

The Bayer Welcome Center is a ½ mile on the left. Parking lot entrance is on right.  

Join us for a special tour of the Garden during the Flowering Dogwood season for all members of the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Attend to receive a free annual membership to the Botanic Garden (or use your new membership received at last year’s trip!).  We thank member Bill Lawrence for this unique fundraising strategy benefiting both the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and the Botanical Society.

To learn more about the garden, visit


Saturday, May 21, 2016, 10:00 a.m.

Moraine State Park, 528 Trailhead
Prospect Exit, Butler County

Leaders: Joe and Bonnie Isaac
Cell: 724-944-7160; IsaacB@CarnegieMNH.Org

Directions: From Pittsburgh, take I-79 North to Exit 99 (US 422/Butler/New Castle). Drive east on US 422 roughly 5.8 miles to the Prospect Exit, and turn left (north) onto PA 528. Travel PA 528 for 2.5 miles to the highway bridge over Lake Arthur. Continue on PA 528 for 1.7 miles to a parking lot for the North Country Trail on the left-hand side of the road. If you reach Lindey Road on the left, you have gone too far.

Explore the path less traveled in search of wildflowers. We may see trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, violets, and more. This hike follows a portion of the Glacier Ridge Trail, also part of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Out and back will be less than 3 miles, but includes going up and down hills left in the glacial moraine. Dress for the weather and rough terrain, bring your own pack lunch, snacks, and water. Meet at the North Country/Glacial Ridge Trailhead on 528, across from upper 528 launch (no facilities).

Mark your calendars for More BSWP Field Trips. More trip details to follow!