Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania


2016 Pennsylvania Botany Symposium

November 18 – 19, 2016
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 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

BSWP Field Trips and Other Events

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.

Saturday, July 16, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Celebrate the Bloom
Jennings Environmental Education Center
Butler County
Celebrate the Bloom is a free festival event at Jennings Environmental Education Center that celebrates the state’s only prairie. The Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania is proud to cosponsor this festival event that includes nature explorations, engaging demonstrations, local artisans and food, and musical guests.
Nature explorations include Birding on the Prairie at 9 a.m., Wildflowers of the Prairie (with Joe and Bonnie Isaac) at 10 a.m., A Prairie Journey with Jennings staff at 11
a.m., Butterflies of the Prairie with Ron Richael at 12 noon, A Rattlesnake’s Tale at 1 p.m., Bluebirds Take Flight with Mike Brady at 2 p.m. and Insects of the Prairie at 3 p.m.
For a complete schedule, see
From Pittsburgh, take I-79 North to Exit 99/Butler. Drive east on US 422 roughly 5.8 miles to the Prospect Exit, and turn left (north) onto PA 528. Continue on PA 528 for about 7 miles to the park.

Saturday, July 23, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Titus Bog, Erie County
Tim Lyons:
This trip requires wading through the bog's moat for a short period, perhaps in water up to 2 feet deep, using shrubs and roots for balance. Old tennis shoes or waders are recommended. Plan on getting wet.
From Pittsburgh, take I-79 north to Exit 166 (US 6N Albion Edinboro). Head east on US 6N for 9.8 miles to its intersection with PA 19 and US 6. Continue straight on US 6 to Union City. After taking the turn out of Union City (continuing on US 6), drive 5.7 miles to the intersection of PA 89 and US 6, where we will meet at a drive-in theater at the northeast intersection.
GPS coordinates: 41.91871, -79.74313. OR 41 deg 55’ 9” N; 79 deg 44’ 37” W

Saturday, July 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
Medicinal Plant Walk
Boyce Park Allegheny County
Michelle Soto: cell: 615-804-0064;
Join certified Herbalist Michelle Soto to learn about medicinal plants on one of her favorite trails through meadows and woodlands. The trail is accessible for people of different walking abilities.
From Pittsburgh, travel I-376 East (Parkway East) to Exit 84B toward Plum. At end of ramp, you will merge onto Haymaker Road. Continue 0.6 mile to a stop sign at Beatty Road. Turn right onto Beatty Road and continue 1.1 mile (under PA Turnpike, past CCAC) to a stop sign at Old Frankstown Road (not well-marked). Turn right onto Old Frankstown Road, then immediately turn left onto Spring Miller Road at the sign for Boyce Park. Continue 0.4 mile to the parking area for Carpenter Log Cabin on your right.
GPS coordinates: 40.4632, -79.7412. OR 40 deg 27’ 47” N; 79 deg 44’ 28” W

Saturday, August 6, 2016, 10:00 a.m.
Jennings Prairie, Butler County
Dianne Machesney:; cell: 412-523-0368
Directions: From Pittsburgh, take I-79 North to Exit 99/Butler. Drive east on US 422 roughly 5.8 miles to the Prospect Exit, and turn left (north) onto PA 528. Continue on PA 528 for about 7 miles. We will meet in the Jennings Prairie parking lot on the left (west) side of the road, across from the Environmental Education Center.
We will join the Wissahickon Nature Club to explore the prairie ecosystem, home to distinctive native prairie plants. Pack a bag lunch and water, and dress for sunny conditions.

Saturday, August 20, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Black Moshannon State Park
Centre County
Mary Paoli:
Directions: From Pittsburgh, take I-376 and US22 east for 85 miles to pick up I-99/US220 N. Travel I-99 north for 34 miles to Exit 61/Phillipsburg/Port Matilda. Turn right at the end of the ramp, then left at traffic light to travel ALT US 220. Continue on ALT US220 for 8 miles. Turn left at the Black Moshannon Park sign in the village of Julian to take Beaver Road 8 miles to the park. At the intersection with PA 504, continue straight into the Beach Parking area, where we will meet.
GPS coordinates: 40.91622, -78.05909
The park in the Allegheny Plateau is known for spectacular bogs, marshes and swamps. Our leader Mary Paoli will show us some of the wildflower treasures.

Sunday, September 4, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Layton Tunnel, Fayette County
Loree Speedy: cell 724-518-6022;
Directions: From Pittsburgh, take PA 51 south to Perryopolis, which is 15 miles from the bridge in Elizabeth. Alternatively, take PA Turnpike to Exit 75 (New Stanton), I-70 west to Exit 46A (PA 51 S) and travel south 5 miles on PA 51 to Perryopolis.
In Perryopolis, turn left onto Independence St. Continue on this main road through town; it will become Layton Rd. Just before you reach a single lane highway tunnel, turn right onto a road and continue to a parking area along the Yough Bike Trail (Great Allegheny Passage).
We will walk a trail along a dry oak ridge above the tunnel and overlooking the river.

More BSWP Field Trips and details to come!