Saturday Field Trips

Sold Out - FT - 1   West Michigan’s Natural Communities Sampler- Sphagnum Bog, Oak Barren and more

Trip Leaders:  Jeanette Henderson

Saturday,  June 15  9:00 am to - 5:00 pm
Maximum attendance: 20 people 

Fee:  $100.00 - includes boxed lunch, water, and transportation

This field trip will provide participants the opportunity to explore a multitude of natural community types found in West Michigan, including a sphagnum bog, oak barren, oak-hickory and beech-maple forests, as well as a recreated tallgrass prairie, hardwood swamps, and vernal pools.  Our first stop will be a visit to Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve- one of the most biodiverse bogs in Michigan. Overlooks and boardwalks provide impressive views of the bog and other wetlands and enable participants to experience the bog without harming this sensitive environment. Saul Lake Bog Preserve is also home to a long-term ecological restoration project where old pastures dominated by European grasses are being converted into a native tallgrass prairie. From Saul Lake Bog we will travel to one of West Michigan’s hidden gems- Huckleberry Hills which features an oak barren, a fire dependent savanna dominated by oaks. 105 Michigan native plant species have been recorded growing onsite.

More Information :
 Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve - Land Conservancy of West Michigan (

Huckleberry Hills: A Piece of Michigan’s Natural Heritage on Vimeo

The Treasures of Huckleberry Hills - River City - Grand Rapids Area Chapter (

Oak Barrens - Michigan Natural Features Inventory (

Bog - Michigan Natural Features Inventory (

Sold Out - FT - 2  Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve

Trip Leader:  Kaya DeerInWater

9:30 am- 2:00 pm
Fee: $65.00 includes boxed lunch water and transportation

The ethnobotanical walk will feature a Neshnabék perspective of the deep connection to Kche Gami (Lake Michigan) and Bodewadmiakiwen (the Potawatomi homelands), sharing knowledge about culturally important plants and their many gifts as food, medicine, and crafts.

The Flower Creek Dunes Nature Preserve is on the shoreline of Lake Michigan in the northwest part of Muskegon County, owned and cared for by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. Established in 2012, the preserve protects outstanding views of Lake Michigan, sand and gravel beach, open dunes, interdunal wetlands, and 64-acres of mesic northern forest. The forest showcases high-quality, second-growth with abundant large dead trees and fallen logs, teaming with fungi, woodpeckers and other forest birds. Notable older hemlocks are present on site, and with careful stewardship from LCWM and community, it will continue to develop important old-growth characteristics. Tree species present include eastern hemlock, American beech, red oak, white pine, sugar maple, and other hardwoods.

FT - 3   Kellogg Biological Station

Trip Leader:  Kadeem Gilbert

9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fee:  $80.00  includes boxed lunch, water, and transportation

KBS is quite unique as perhaps the only field station where faculty and their labs live and work year-round. Our resources not only include field sites, but molecular labs and other state-of-the-art laboratory equipment as well. There's a lot to see at KBS, our field sites cover a lot of area, some plots which are part of the LTER network and some that are part of the newly established Longterm Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) network. We can also walk through the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. While they emphasize birds, the Bird Sanctuary walking trails are nice for plant-lovers too. Possible option to participate in the 2nd annual BioBlitz at the Bird Sanctuary June 15th. Nearby Kellogg Forest may be of interest; one notable feature is the Abies experiment with many species from a large latitudinal range planted next to one another.<o:p></o:p>

Collecting - Possible

Sold Out - FT - 4  Ferns and Lycopods of Yankee Springs

Trip Leader: Susan Fawcett, Gary Greer, and Jesse Lincoln

9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fee: $75.00 - includes boxed lunch, transportation, and water

Yankee Springs Recreation Area, located 40 minutes south of downtown Grand Rapids by car, includes 5200 acres of glacial deposits forming a rolling topography of sandy soils and kettle depressions (such as “The Devil’s Soup Bowl”) covered by dry-mesic southern forest that are drained by streams feeding ten lakes and numerous wetlands including prairie fen.  Adjacent Barry State Game Area adds 16,614 acres to this protected system and the North Country National Scenic Trail passes through both components.  We should encounter many of the following lycopod and fern genera during our trip to YSRA: Athyrium, Asplenium, Botrychium, Botrypus, Lycopodium, Dendrolycopodium, Dendrolycopodium, Diphasiastrum, Dryopteris, Equisetum, Gymnocarpium, Homalosorus, Onoclea, Osmunda, Osmundastrum, Polystichum, and Sceptridium.  Rare and protected angiosperm and animal species also occur at YSRA, including the prairie white-fringed orchid, cerulean warbler, and Eastern massasauga rattlesnake!

FT - 5 Nature Journaling Science and Art

Trip Leader: Judy Kelly

9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Fee: $75.00 - includes boxed lunch, transportation, water, and some supplies to include an accordion journal and handouts.

Nature journaling is a method of actively engaging students and members of the public on nature hikes.  It helps to deepen their observational and drawing skills. Nature Journaling is collecting and organizing observations, questions, connections, and explanations on the pages of a notebook using words, pictures, and numbers. We’ll explore how to keep a nature journal and record observations in one. Participants will receive an accordion-style journal to record their findings. All are welcome no matter the skill level; you don’t have to be an artist!<o:p></o:p>

Recommended materials to bring - unlined sketchbook, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, and a black fine-line waterproof pen (like a Micron pen).  A collapsible stool or chair is recommended if you like to sit as we wander around.  This workshop is about learning the process rather than having the exact tools. I will bring extras of the suggested pens, pencils, and paper that you can borrow for the day for those who are not able to secure them before the workshop.  If you have any questions about the art materials, please email me.  We will be working out-of-doors, so please bring sunscreen, and a hat with a brim.<o:p></o:p>

The Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens was set aside by Calvin University in 1985 to promote natural preservation, education, and research. The preserve encompasses over 104 acres of forest, meadow, and wetlands typical of the West Michigan area. Public access is provided to 40 acres of the preserve; the remaining 64 acres are maintained as a wildlife refuge, and for scientific research. 1.7 miles of trails are available for wandering, taking in the beauty of each season, and discovering the flora and fauna of West Michigan. Trails are easy to hike and consist primarily of wood-chipped surfaces.  The Preserve includes examples of tall grass prairie restoration, old-field succession, glacial ponds, vernal pools, bioswale, beech-maple woods, and wetlands.  Native plant gardens surround the Interpretive center. <o:p></o:p>

Judy Kelly is a retired college biology professor.  She taught Botany, Microbiology, and Environmental Science and always had her students draw.  She teaches nature journaling for the Glen Arbor Arts Center in Glen Arbor, MI.  She is currently president of The Michigan Botanical Foundation and a past president of The Michigan Botanical Society. 

Canceled - FT - 6 Hudsonville Nature Center

Trip Leader: Craig Elston

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Fee: $40.00 - includes transportation and water.

The Hudsonville Nature Center is a 75 acre nature park consisting of upland and lowland (floodplain) forest with a creek meandering through half of the property. Three main wet seeps add to the flora allowing for some wetland species to thrive. There is also a six-acre planted Tall Grass Prairie with some 30 species of Michigan native prairie plants that was planted in three phases between 1989 and 1991. In this planting are four sate listed species. Although not in natural native prairie, they are quite visible. Two species of county records for the Michigan Flora are from this park, including Jeffersonia which is state Special Concern, six ferns and several native trees and shrubs. The park currently has nearly 300 identified species. Some history of the site and original survey information from the1830’swill be shared as well.<o:p></o:p>

We generally do not allow collecting, especially of the herbaceous species. Some woody plants would be fine.<o:p></o:p>

Canceled  - FT - 7 Frederick Meijer Garden and Sculpture Park

Trip Leader: Garden Staff

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Fee: $30.00 - includes transportation, water, Garden admission, and narrated tram ride

Immerse yourself in one of the world’s finest horticultural display gardens and sculpture parks in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Proudly ranked among the top 45 most-visited art museums worldwide, our collection showcases over 200 captivating sculptures, inviting you to experience the perfect blend of art and nature.

A destination marrying world-renowned sculpture and horticultural landscapes, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s indoor and outdoor gardens and sculpture galleries hold something for the whole family to enjoy.

Enjoy the narrated tram ride and explore the gardens, gift shop, and cafe.