Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania


Click here for a PDF of upcoming field trip information.

BSWP Meetings
are held on Mondays at
7:15 p.m. at Kresge Theater, Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland). Kresge Theater is on the top floor of the Grace Library and is accessed from the upper campus. Place a note on your dashboard saying “Botanical Society Meeting,” or use your parking permit.

If the weather is inclement, a BSWP meeting will cancel if Carlow University cancels classes. To learn if that has happened, call the Carlow Weather Line at 412-578-6677.

Monday, April 14, 2014 Meeting
7:15 p.m.

Martha Oliver will present "Plants of the Shale Barrens". Her talk will be about native shale barrens plants from PA, WV and MD and how to grow them locally. As special bee habitat this type of garden is very successful.

Martha is a garden designer and writer currently working at Powdermill Nature Reserve in Rector; she is helping with a project to recreate habitat for native bees using sand dunes. With her husband Charles she owns The Primrose Path a nursery specializing in hybrids of Heuchera, Tiarella, and Phlox. She has a special interest in plants of the Shale Barrens used in the rock garden.

May 12, 2014 • 7:15 p.m.

Our speaker for the evening is Timothy
Tomon. Tim received a BS in Ecology and
Evolution from the University of Pittsburgh in
1996, and an MS from the Pennsylvania State
University in 2008. He has been working as
a Forest Entomologist with the West Virginia
Department of Agriculture since 2009. Tim is
interested in issues related to invasive species
management as well as insect collecting.
Please check this page again for the topic of this talk.

June 9, 2014 • 7:15 p.m.

Please join us for “The Shifting Paradigm
of American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Conservation in Pennsylvania.” Our speaker,
Dr. Eric Burkhart, holds degrees in Economic
Botany (BA, Idaho State University), Horticulture (MS, Penn State University), and Forest Resources (PhD, Penn State University). He is plant science program director for Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and teaches courses for the Penn State Ecosystem Science and Management Department. Working with partners such as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Eric conducts research on important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) including American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), goldenseal(Hydrastis canadensis), and ramps (Allium tricoccum) and offers practical guidance in forest farming of NTFPs through related workshops and publications. His ginseng research program in Pennsylvania is focused on developing sustainable wild crop management and production systems through the use of agroforestry and plant husbandry.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.)
is a native North American forest plant whose
root is harvested for the international medicinal
plant trade. In this talk, Dr. Burkhart will share
results from his decade long studies of Pennsylvania’s evolving ginseng industry. The history, importance, and complexity of the industry will be discussed along with what is known about the current status of one of North America’s most valuable, and vulnerable, plants. Dr. Burkhart will conclude by sharing current efforts within Pennsylvania to track the wild ginseng supply and help conserve this species through ‘verified’ agroforestry production.

BSWP Field Trips

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, April 19, 2014
Duff Park, Murrysville
Westmoreland County, 1 p.m.

Leader: Loree Speedy, 724-518-6022

Directions: From Pittsburgh, take I-376 east (Parkway East) to its end at US 22 East (Murrysville). Travel US 22 for 5 miles to a traffic light and Sheetz at School Road. Turn right onto School Road, traveling about 1/8 of a mile, cross the bridge over Turtle Creek, and park in the parking lot on the right.
Expect some uphill trail climbing in this lovely old-growth wooded slope.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 •  8–10 a.m.
Earth Day! Wolf Creek Narrows
Butler County

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

Directions: From Pittsburgh take I-79 north to Exit 105. At the end of the ramp turn left on PA 108. Travel east on PA 108 for about 0.7 miles to West Park Road (Dairy Queen on the right). Turn left onto West Park Road (SR 1015) and drive north about 1.8 miles to SR 1020 (you can see some large silos on the right). Turn right on SR 1020 (Miller Road) and drive about 1.7 miles to the small parking lot on the right. (SR 1020 is a winding road and at an almost T intersection, turn right to stay on SR 1020.) If you reach the bridge, you have gone too far. The parking lot is just before you reach the bridge over Wolf Creek.
Wolf Creek Narrows is known for its spectacular display of spring wildflowers — Virginia bluebells and golden saxifrage in the hemlock hardwood forest and white trillium in the mature stands of sugar maple, all along a high-quality stream meandering through towering cliffs.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
10:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Raccoon Creek Wildflower Reserve
Beaver County

Leader: Shane Miller

Spring has finally arrived and with it the long anticipated and spectacular spring wildflowers. Join botanist and park educator Shane Miller for a guided tour of these short-lived beauties. The Wildflower Reserve has one of the most diverse populations of plants in the state. Be prepared for wet trails and moderate hiking.
Directions: From Pittsburgh, take the Parkway West (I-279 south/ US 22-30) to the Airport Expressway (PA 60). Continue past the Airport exit to Exit 7 (Clinton). 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. Meet at 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. in the parking lot.

Sunday, April 27, 2014, all day
Enlow Fork Total Ecology Extravaganza at the Enlow Fork Natural Area
Greene County

Contact Information: Larry Helgerman

The event starts at 8:00 a.m. with a bird walk led by Margie Howard. At 10:00 a.m. there will a flower/ecology walk. Fish and steam study will be ongoing throughout the morning. At 12:00 p.m., picnicking is encouraged and there will be food venders. At 1:00 p.m., a butterfly/insect walk take place.
Tents will be set up at the main parking area with representatives from birding and environmental organizations. There will be a Chinese auction. A Port-a-John will be at the main tent area. Please bring a chair and stay into the afternoon.

Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel I-79 south to Washington to pick up I-70. Travel I-70 east to Exit 6, Claysville. Take US 40 east to Claysville. In Claysville turn right onto PA 231 south.
Travel PA 231 south approximately 3 miles to the “Y" in the road; stay right towards West Finley on SR-3029. Travel SR-3029 approximately 7.5 miles to a "T" in the village of West Finley. Turn left onto SR-3037 and travel approximately 3 miles to the first road past the closed bridge on right. (Note that the iron bridge at the bottom of Walker Hill Road is closed.)
Turn right onto Iams Road and travel uphill. At the top make a right onto Nebo Ridge Road. Travel a short distance and Walker Hill Road will be on your right. Turn right onto Walker Hill Road, then turn left on to Smoky Row Road. Proceed down Smoky Row Road, going under a new coal conveyor, follow to the end of the road, you will see the tents and parking. The GPS coordinates for the parking lot are 39.961, 80.461

Saturday, May 3, 2014, 10:00 a.m.
Foxburg, Clarion County & Parker Game Lands – Bear Creek Area, Butler County

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

We will walk a nice paved trail that goes along the Allegheny River for about a mile and then turn back. Plan to have lunch at the Foxburg Inn; good food at decent prices and a glass walled dining room overlooking the river. After lunch, we will travel south about 3 miles to the Bear Creek area in the Parker Game Lands. We will walk along the road looking for wildflowers on the banks.

Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel PA 8 N to Butler. In downtown Butler, turn right onto Cunningham Street to pick up PA 68 E. Travel PA 68 east for 1.5 mile to pick up PA 38 N. Continue on PA 38 N for 21 miles to PA 58. Turn right onto PA 58 and continue about 7 miles to the Foxburg Bridge over the Allegheny River. Take first right after the bridge into the parking lot. Go to the far end and park. If using GPS, use the address for the Foxburg Inn, 20 Main Street, Foxburg, PA 16036.


2014 Pennsylvania Botany Symposium

November 7–8, 2014
Penn Stater Conference Center
State College, PA

Please mark your calendars for the second biennial Pennsylvania Botany Symposium! The PA Botany Symposium Committee is currently working to develop another exciting program. If you would like to be added to their email list for updates on the program, registration or lodging information please go to Continue to check the symposium's web page for sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities as more become available.