Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania

View BSWP's February 8, 2021 Zoom meeting here.
View BSWP's January 11, 2021 Zoom meeting here.

BSWP Meetings

The Society meets monthly from September through June on every second Monday of the month at 7:15 p.m. For now, our meetings take place via Zoom.

Members who have joined the BSWP e-mail list will be contacted and e-mailed an invitation (link and password) to each monthly meeting.

Directions to our museum meetings, when they resume:

Directions 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

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.

If you can lead (or sponsor/commit to attend!) a field trip in May through September, please contact Loree Speedy. See her contact info, above.

See new field trips listed below.

Bring a mask and wear it when appropriate. Remember it is allergy season, and we will be near pollen! Social distancing, six feet or more, is mandatory, except for those in the same household. Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands after using restrooms and touching door handles, etc. Do not come if you do not feel well, or if you are sniffling, coughing, sneezing repeatedly, etc.

•  The coronavirus is still present and it has not gone away.

•  You can catch COVID-19 if you come into contact with it.

•  Most people will not be seriously ill. Some people will become seriously ill.

•  The older you are, the more dangerous COVID-19 may be to you.

•  Wearing a mask protects others, not only you.

• You can be asymptomatic, no symptoms, and still be a carrier.

•  You can be pre-symptomatic, no symptoms, and still be a carrier.

•  Washing your hands frequently protects you.

•  Keeping a 6-10 foot distance away from others protects you and them.

Until things get back to normal, we will be having field trips at sites that the group can split up to avoid crowding.  

We will continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing, and will split the group to reduce group size if necessary. See for ways to enjoy the outdoors. Stay home if you do not feel well. Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. Wear a mask. Don’t share items with people you don’t live with.

Sunday, April 11, 2021, 1:00 PM

Crouse Run Nature Reserve, Allegheny County

For questions, contact Loree Speedy;; (724) 518-6022 cell

Directions: We will meet at the restaurant parking lot along Wildwood Road between PA Route 8 and North Park. At intersection of Wildwood Road and PA 8, head west for ½ mile to a restaurant parking lot on the left.   If you are coming from North Park, the restaurant parking is on the right, 1.1 miles from the Wildwood Sports Complex.

GPS coordinates: 40.59020, -79.95710

Sunday, April 18, 2021, 1:00 PM

Indian Creek Gorge, Fayette County

For questions, contact Loree Speedy; Cell:  724-518-6022;

O. E. Jennings, in the gazetteer of his 1953 Wild Flowers of Western Pennsylvania and the Upper Ohio Valley, called this area “good botanizing ground” with woods, marsh and a stream that flows through a deep gorge. In2021, the developed but remote Indian Creek Valley Trail through the gorge offers a wide trail to enjoy spring ephemerals.

Directions:  From Pittsburgh, take the PA Turnpike to Exit 91 - Donegal. Turn left on PA 31. Travel about 2 miles and turn right on PA 381 at the traffic light. Travel about 11.5 miles on PA 381. Once you cross a bridge over Mill Run Reservoir, look for a Camp Christian sign and turn right onto the next unpaved road. At the Y, turn right and continue to a trailhead parking area.

GPS coordinates: 39.9718, -79.4594

Saturday, April 24, 2021, 1:00 PM

Sandy Creek Trail at Belmar Trailhead, Venango County

Leader:  Ron Zagrocki; cell: (717) 580-5736

After an exhilarating walk across the Allegheny on the pedestrian-safe trail bridge, we will walk along the Sandy Creek Trail, winding through undeveloped and remote forest along East Sandy Creek. 

Directions: The Belmar trailhead is at Belmar Village on the west side of the Allegheny River. From Exit 29 of I‑80, travel PA8 North for 14.4 miles and make a right onto Pone Ln (at the first traffic light; Red Express Service Station). Travel Pone Ln for 2.4 miles and make a right at the T onto Belmar Rd, and follow it to the parking area at the foot of the hill.

GPS coordinates: 41.3330, -79.7745

Sunday, April 25, 2021, 1:00 PM

Barren Run of Jacobs Creek, S.G.L. 296, Westmoreland County

For questions, contact Loree Speedy;; (724) 518-6022 cell

We will explore the rich wooded tributary of Barren Run, on the Westmoreland County side of Jacob’s Creek game lands. This undeveloped trail follows a very old dirt road, and may require some scrambling.

Directions: From Pittsburgh, take PA 51 south to its intersection with PA 981 (just past its intersection with I-70). Turn left and travel PA 981 for 3.6 miles (it winds through the borough of Smithton) to Stahl Road. Turn right onto Stahl Rd, and after 0.4 miles, left onto Horne Rd.  Continue 2 miles onto Horne Rd/Urich Rd to a state game land parking lot for S.G.L. 296, on the right.

GPS coordinates: 40.1255, -79.7088

Saturday, May 1, 2021, 1:00 PM

Sheepskin Hollow Nature Preserve, Columbiana County, Ohio

Leader:  Ron Zagrocki; cell: (717) 580-5736

Many people have called this the “most wild” place in all of Ohio (and it is less than a mile from the PA border!). We will walk a moderate hike with hills through a hemlock ravine known as Sheepskin Hollow, which drops several 100 feet. The trail can be muddy.

Directions: From Exit 36-Brighton of I-376-Beaver Valley Expwy, turn left on Brighton Rd (if coming from south, right if coming from north) and travel a short distance to the first stop sign at Tuscarawas Rd. Turn right and travel 2.8 mile to Lisbon Rd (GCU Credit Union on corner). Turn right onto Lisbon Rd and travel 6.7 miles. (When you reach the intersection with PA 168, continue straight on Lisbon Rd). Keep a lookout for a large stand of pines on the left. At the end of the pines, turn left onto Pancake-Carlson Road. Continue 1.2 miles to the bottom of a hill. After the underpass at the bottom of the hill, look for the parking area on the right before the bridge. There is additional room to park on the side of the road near the underpass.

GPS coordinates: 40.75108, -80.53724

Sunday, May 2, 2021, 1:00 PM

Wharton Furnace Road, Forbes State Forest, Fayette County

Leader:  Loree Speedy;; (724) 518-6022 cell

Directions: From Uniontown, take US40 east up the mountain to Summit Hotel. Pass the summit, but prepare to turn right onto Wharton Furnace Road a little over ½ mile from the Summit. Turn right onto Wharton Furnace Road and travel 3.3 miles to a Forbes State Forest parking lot on the left. This is 1.5 miles from Wharton Furnace historic site near the intersections with Shephard and Fayette Springs Rds. The parking lot is large but the area is not well-marked; look for the Forbes State Forest sign.   

GPS coordinates: 39.8080, -79.62180

This recent addition to Forbes State Forest is along a sandy floodplain of Cheney Run, perfect for Phlox stolonifera and violets. If desired, we can search an historic location for Indian Paintbrush.