The 2015 Botsoc Pilgrimage brochure is now available

Posted under: Uncategorized.

For  complete details and registration forms on this year’s Pilgrimage, click on “Pilgrimage” in the top menu bar above.

March 7, 2015, Trout Lilies at Paces Mill, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Trout Lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) at  Paces Mill Unit-West Palisades, Chattahoochee River NRA, Cobb County     Saturday,  March 7, 2015  10:00 A.M. 

Meet: 10:00 am at Paces Mill parking lot.

Description:   We will peruse the parking lot gardens – the Georgia Aster prairie,  the shade garden and the pollinator garden. Then  we will look at the perimeter woods for signs of toad shade trilliums (Trillium cuneatum), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and cut leaf toothwort (Cardamine laciniata). We’ll pass a Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria), a coastal plains native settled in its’ Piedmont home.

Erythronium umbilicanum, VG

Trout lily, Erythronium umbilicatum

Soon we’ll begin to see the wonderful yellow flowers of the trout lilies.’  But it will be ~ another 200 feet before we see the full hillside display – thousands of trout lilies along the creek. Green and gold leaves will be out nearby, but there will be no flowers for another week or two.  For those who wish to go on, we’ll head north on the dirt riverside trail, seeing horse sugar trees (Symplocose tinctoria) with their tardily deciduous leaves and other early trees /shrubs in bud. Hopefully the Chattahoochee will be sparking blue in the late winter sun, and Great Blue Herons will be fishing on the river.

Directions: The Paces Mill Unit is located at 3445 Cobb Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339

GPS waypoints: 33° 52′ 11.13″ N, 84° 27′ 21.78″ W

Traveling south from I-75N, take the Exit 258, turning right on Cumberland Blvd and then left on Cobb Parkway (US41S). Go through the light at Paces Mill Rd. The park entrance is now, newly, on the left.  Due to construction, you may have to pass the entrance and turn around on Cobb Parkway or Northside Dr to come north and enter the park. If you are traveling from the south side, take  I-75N, exit at Mount Paran Rd,  turning left, then turning right onto Northside Drive which becomes Cobb Parkway when you cross the river. The entrance to the park is shortly after you enter Cobb  on the right.  For other directions, contact leader.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Walking:  The first part is 1 mile round trip on a paved easy trail along the river and creek. Maximum walk will be no more than 2.5 -3 miles.  This walk is suitable for beginners.

Facilities: Paces Mill parking lot, near the restroom building in the front.

Bring: Comfortable walking shoes, hand lens, $3.00 parking fee or annual or senior pass, water, camera, field guide. Bring a lunch to carry on the trail.

Leader: Maureen Donohue  Cell 770-990-7756

Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2:00 p.m., Montezuma Bluffs Natural Area, Macon County

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Sunday,  March 15, 2015,  2:00 p.m., Montezuma Bluffs Natural Area, Macon County


Trip Leader:  Chris Inhulsen

Description:  Montezuma Bluffs Natural Area, located on bluffs overlooking the Flint River, contains beautiful stands of mature hardwood forest. Cool, moist ravines contrast with dry exposed limestone bluffs and provide a high degree of species diversity. A ramble around the bluffs and ravines should provide ample viewing of the federally listed relict trillium and the more common spotted trillium as well as many other spring wildflowers including woodland phlox, hepatica, wild geranium, Solomon’s seal, and Atamasco lilies. We may even spot the rare orchid, southern twayblade.

Directions:   Montezuma Bluffs Natural Area is located approximately 1 mile north of the city limits of Montezuma off of State Highway 49. From Hwy 49, turn west on Crook’s Landing Road and follow this short paved road half way down the hill (about a half mile). Meet at the kiosk in the gravel parking area on the north side of the road

Walking:  The first half of the walk will be easy and non-strenuous. During the second half, we will venture along some steep banks and the walk will be more challenging. If you require a staff to walk, you may wish to skip the second half.

Facilities:  None.

Bring:   Lunch, insect repellent (there are always ticks), and rain gear; camera, hand lens, field guide, notepad, binoculars optional. Wear comfortable sturdy walking shoes.

Contact: Chris Inhulsen,   478-396-4941



March 21, 2015, Early Spring Wildflowers, Cloudland Canyon State Park, Dade County

Posted under: North Georgia; West Georgia.

Claytonia caroliniana

Claytonia caroliniana,  Photo by Anita & Richard Reaves


 Trip Leader: Rich Reaves

Meet: 10:00 am, Bottom Entrance of Park (See directions)

Description: As a prelude to a later walk in the spring, we will visit the mouth of Cloudland Canyon to enjoy the really early flowers. We will walk the trail up into the canyon and loop back to the parking area. Then we will walk down to the cave near the parking area. The grade is gentle unless you walk to the upper cave entrance, but all trails in the lower canyon are very rocky. This area is one of Georgia’s botanical wonders and we should enjoy decumbent trillium (Trillium decumbens), three species of toothwort: cut-leaf (Cardamine concatenata), eastern slender toothwort (C. angustata), and dissected (C. dissecta), harbinger-of-spring (Erigenia bulbosa), green violet (Hybanthus concolor), and others. Larkspur (Delphinium tricorne) and toadshade trillium (Trillium cuneatum) may be out – but likely those two will wait until the subsequent trip to provide a display. We also will see trout lilies (Erythronium americanum ssp. harperi) in fine bloom if the sun cooperates.

Trillium decumbens

Trillium decumbens, Photo by Anita & Richard Reaves


At the end of the day, for those interested, we will drive up to the top and look at trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), halberd-leaved violet (Viola hastata), and the view from the overlook.

Directions: From Atlanta take I-75 to exit 320. Go west on GA 136 through Villanow and Naomi (slight jog to left and then right). At Lafayette, take US 27 bypass around town to the north and follow the signs to stay on 136 past the Park’s main entrance and down the west side of the escarpment. At the bottom of the hill, the first road to the right (it turns off between the sides of a rock-lined entrance) is Canyon Park Drive (a loop). Take the first 90-degree turn you encounter to bear right on the loop and the entrance is an unpaved drive to the right in the first big curve.

Cloudland Canyon SP

Sitton’s Gulch Creek, Cloudland Canyon SP


Alternately, you can take interstate to Trenton (I-75 north to l-24 West to I59 South) and then follow 136 from the west side back to the park.

Walking: Moderate, primarily due to the rocky and uneven footing. No stairs on this trip! Sturdy shoes recommended because of the rocky, uneven ground and one parts of the walk to the cave may be wet depending on the recent weather.

Facilities: None at meeting site – facilities at the top of the canyon at the visitor center and at the overlook or at fast food joints in Trenton.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.

Contact: Rich Reaves   rich.reaves@    770-827-5186 – cell but may not have service at trailhead

Sunday, March 22, 2015, Sosebee Cove Ficaria verna Eradication, Union County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Sosebee Cove Ficaria verna eradication – the saga continues. Preregister with the trip leader.  We need to alert the Forest Service as to who will be attending.

Trip Leader: Rich Reaves

Ficaria verna

Ficaria verna

Meet: Sunday, March 22 at 10:00 am

Description: Round three in our continuing effort at controlling this pernicious weed, which became established around the large buckeye tree, where it was displacing trout lilies and Dutchman’s breeches, and had expanded down the hill along the stream for quite a ways where additional displacement of native spring ephemerals was occurring.  We did not get it all in our previous efforts (It is never easy winning these battles), but we are making headway.  The density and extent of the plan has definitely been reduced and we are in the process of winning.  We need to strike early before seed set this spring. We will start the day by removing all observable plants and underground tubers of the exotic Ficaria verna (fig buttercup). Our efforts will assist the US Forest Service in maintaining the spectacular flora of Sosebee Cove.  We will collect all plant materials in garbage bags (I will provide) for proper disposal/destruction by US Forest Service personnel.
After we are done, we hopefully can enjoy a few of the early bloomers at the cove (although expect the blooms to be sparse).

Ficaria verna showing bublets

Ficaria verna showing bublets

Directions:  Proceed north from Dahlonega on US 19.  Turn left on GA 60 to Suches.  At Suches, turn right on Hwy 180 and continue to Sosebee Cove.  Note: Carpooling is encouraged due to limited parking area

Walking: Easy, but you will spend a good deal of time on your knees.

Facilities: None after you get out of Suches.

Bring: gloves, appropriate footwear, water, snacks, lunch (if you wish to stick around for the post-work walk. Recommend wearing clothes you do not mind getting muddy – some of the plants to be removed grow along/within the stream and liquid dirt is a strong favorite to make an appearance.

Contact: Rich Reaves   rich.reaves@    770-827-5186 – cell but does not have service at Sosebee Cove.


Photos by Rich and Anita Reaves

March 28, 2015, The Pocket of Pigeon Mountain, Walker County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet: 10:00 at the Pocket Parking Lot.

Description:  Every year we look forward to spring and a trip to Georgia’s premier spot for early spring wildflowers.  This area, part of the Cumberland Plateau, contains many species rare to our state: Virginia bluebells, celandine poppy, bent trillium, Ohio buckeye, twin leaf, and a huge variety of other wildflowers.

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

Directions:  From I-75 exit 320, go west on GA 136, crossing US 27 onto GA 193 into downtown LaFayette. From South Main Street, follow GA 193 for 8 mi. to Davis Crossroads, at intersection with GA 341. Turn left on Hog Jowl Rd (sometimes unmarked but paved), go south 2.6 mi passing Mt Herman Baptist Church.  At top of next hill, turn left on Pocket Rd and  continue for 1.2 miles  to parking lot.

Walking: Short and easy around parking lot and on boardwalk.  Moderate on trail to falls and easy bushwhacking to twin leaf site.   

Facilities: None at site.  Fast food restaurants on North Main street in LaFayette.

Lunch:  Bring to eat in parking lot. 

Leader: Mike Christison (770) 973-6482,  Cell for day of walk: (770) 596-3564 (reception not guaranteed!)

March 28-29, 2015, Red Hills Fire Ecology Weekend, Thomas County, GA

Posted under: South Georgia.

Red Hills Fire Ecology Weekend

Saturday, March 28, 2015   9:00 am

Saturday, March 28, 2015 4:00 pm

Sunday, March 29, 2015 9:00 am

Field Trip Leader:  Ellen Corrie, Wilson Baker, Kevin Robertson, et al

Description:  We’ll spend the weekend exploring the role of fire in the Red Hills’  longleaf pine ecosystem, one of the richest ecosystems in North America and the heart of the development of the discipline of fire ecology. We’ll begin Saturday at Pebble Hill Plantation and then go on to Tall Timbers.  Kevin Robertson, Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Program Director, will guide us as we  look at research carried out by Tall Timbers on the effects of differing schedules  of prescribed burning (fire regimes).  After lunch Wilson Baker will lead us as we look at other sites where fire (or lack of) is one of the primary factors in understory composition.

At 4:00 at Tall Timbers Jim Cox, Tall Timbers Vertebrate Ecology Program Director will discuss Herbert Stoddard: Foundations of Ecosystem Management.

We’ll be on our own for dinner Saturday evening. There are many excellent restaurants in the area.

Our plans for Sunday March 29 are not final but we know we’ll visit another area plantation.

It is likely that our numbers for the Sunday trip will be limited to 20 – 25.  We will send out more details about Sunday as we have them.

Location & Directions:  Directions: Take Hwy 319 south of Thomasville to the service entrance of Pebble Hill Plantation (1251 US Highway 319 S, Thomasville, GA 31792) which is just past the main gate of Pebble Hill Plantation. Both are on the west side of Hwy 319, on your right heading south. We’ll car pool from here to Tall Timbers around 10:30.

Meet At: service entrance of Pebble Hill Plantation, 1251 US Highway 319 S, Thomasville, GA 31792

Bathroom Facilities: at Tall Timbers

Walking Difficulty: easy to moderate.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water.  Remember to dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.

Contact: Ellen Corrie 404-374-2633;

Here are three books which are excellent reads and will give you a good background on the Red Hills region, the Stoddard-Neel approach to forest management, and the ideas behind ecology-based land management:

Conserving Southern Longleaf: Herbert Stoddard and the Rise of Ecological Land Management by Albert G. May

The Art of Managing Longleaf: A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach by Leon Neel with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way

Memoirs of a Naturalist by Herbert Stoddard

Thomasville Visitor’s Center


Places to stay in Thomasville

Baymont Inn & Suites Thomasville

1470 Remington Avenue, Thomasville, GA 31792 (Formerly Jameson Inn)



Best Western Rose City Conference Center Inn

133 Liberty Street, Thomasville, GA 31757



Days Inn

15375 US 19 South, Thomasville, GA 31792


(800) 329-1992

Hampton Inn

1950 Georgia Hwy 122, Thomasville, GA 31757



Sunday, March 29, 2015, Harbinger of Spring Discovery Hike, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

West Palisades Harbinger of Spring Discovery Hike

Akers Mill to Paces Mill

Sunday; March 29, 2015,  10:00 a.m. – 3:30 pm

Description: Join the Georgia Botanical Society and naturalist Jerry Hightower to celebrate spring and take a look at the mid- spring forest, signs of wildlife, and great views from atop the West Palisades Ridge.  This will be an excellent opportunity to better learn this area with the leaves not yet fully obstructing the views of the rugged topography. The hike will lead us across the upper section of Trout Lily Creek, though a mature oak – hickory forest, around Blood Rock Ridge, along Rottenwood Creek to the ruins of Akers Mill, and along the river to Paces Mill.  We will see the dramatic effects of the Brevard Fault, great botanical areas, and the site of “Nancy Old Towne”, a Woodland Culture Village site.  Please note: persons wishing a shorter hike have the option of leaving the group at Rottenwood Creek and proceeding directly to Paces Mill, which is .5 miles by multi-use trail.

Location: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, West Palisades Unit: We will meet at Paces Mill parking area; 3445 Cobb Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339 and shuttle everyone to our starting location at Akers Drive.  We will leave as many cars as possible at Paces Mill.  If you drive a multi-passenger vehicle and could help with the shuttle, please let me know. We will conclude our walk at Paces Mill. For directions see

Facilities: Restrooms are located at Paces Mill.

Difficulty: This hike will be moderately strenuous.

Bring: A lunch and water to carry along and we will picnic in the forest.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, and camera.  $3.00 daily parking fee or annual parking pass needed.

Please register for this hike at 678-538-1200 or if you are planning on joining this trip.




Join the G

April 4, 2015, Powers Island and Cochran Shoals, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Carters Lake and AreaChattahoochee River National Recreation Area: Powers Island and Cochran Shoals - Gumby Creek area  

Note: Well meet at the Powers Island Unit where parking is plentiful and walk over the bridge to Cochran Shoals.  Powers Island is in Fulton Couty; Cochran Shoals is in Cobb County 

Saturday, April 4, 2015       10:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m.

Description:  At Cochran Shoals, we’ll use the busy riverside trail to reach the Wildlife Viewing boardwalk over the wetlands. If we’re lucky, we may see ‘Hooch, our local alligator, enjoying life in the north country.  Soon we’ll enter a world away from the joggers and dog walkers at the river.

The southern nodding trillium (Trillium  rugelii) will be in full bloom.   We will find by the hundreds along Gumby Creek.  As we walk deeper and deeper in the woods, we see hepatica leaves, whose flowers have bloomed a month ago,  foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia), the toadshade trillium (Triullium cuneatum.), mayapple(Podephyllum peltatum), showy orchis (Orchis spectabilis), Atamasco lilies (Zephyranthes atamasco)

thriving far from their coastal plains habitat. As we move up the hill, we’ll notice Catsby’s trillium (T. catesbaei), bellwort (Uvularia sp.) and other upland species.

Directions:  Off Interstate North Parkway, near Powers Ferry Rd in Fulton and Cobb Counties.  GPS points:  33° 54′ 10.42″ N,  84° 26′ 28.3″ W

From I-285 East, take Exit 22, Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road. Go to second traffic light and turn left onto New Northside Drive. Use “through” lane to pick up Interstate North Parkway. The Powers Ferry Unit is just before the bridge across the Chattahoochee River. There is a large brown National Park Service sign.

From I-285 West, take Exit 22,  turning left on New Northside Drive. Use “through” lane to pick up Interstate North Parkway and follow directions above.

Walking:  Mostly flat terrain with a few short hills, ~ 4 miles

Facilities:  Restrooms in parking areas at both units.

Bring:  $3.00 parking fee or annual /senior pass. water and a pack lunch to eat along the way. Bring camera, hand lens, field guide, notepad, binoculars optional. Wear comfortable sturdy walking shoe and bring walking poles if you use them.

Special Notes: This trip is suited for beginners. Please call the leader with any questions. The trail along the creek may be muddy in several places.

Contact:  Maureen Donohue, 770-990-7756-cell


Sunday, April 5, 2015, Arabia Mountain, DeKalb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Outcrop Colors

Spring Colors

Arabia Mountain National Natural Heritage Site 

Mountain Loop, Lake Loop, and Salamanders Pools 

Sunday; April 5, 2015

10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Arabia Mountain

Snorklewort, Amphianthus pusillus

Description:  Join the Georgia Botanical Society and Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a leisurely paced hike up and around the mountain to view the solution pool gardens, the amazing mosaic of lichens, and small, but interesting, patches of trees and shrubs.  Sculpted over geologic time by wind, rain, cold, and heat; these extraordinary gardens are beautiful to behold.  After lunch we will take the forest loop to the lake and then on to the salamander pools.  This DeKalb County park is both a geological and botanical treasure.

Botsoccers on Arabia Mountain

Botsoccers on Arabia Mountain

Location:  Park Visitor Center

Facilities: In Visitor Center

Difficulty:  Moderate with some fairly steep, but short, ascents and descents.

Mtn Top

Top of Arabia

Bring:  A lunch and water to carry along and we will picnic in the forest.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, and camera.

Limit: 26

Please contact Jerry Hightower at 770-206-0338 or if you are planning on joining this trip.





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