NOTE: Due to weather, the program scheduled for January 23 has been rescheduled for February 6, 2016

Posted under: Uncategorized.

February 6, 2016 at 10 A.M., Winter Program on Australia and New Zealand, Gwinnett County

Posted under: Atlanta area; Slide Show.

 WINTER PROGRAM  – Saturday,  February 6, 2016 at 10 A.M., Gwinnett County

Description: After several months of traveling to New Zealand and Australia, Susan Caster has returned to metro Atlanta. She worked on an organic farm in New Zealand where she helped pick 35 tons of the farm’s cash crop, a delicious fruit named feijoa that is native to Brazil. During her New Zealand travels, she met some Maori people, the indigenous people of New Zealand. They were conducting a survey of the kiwi bird in which Susan participated.

Next she headed to Australia and worked for a month on a horse farm that trained carriage horses. She then worked for another month on a goat farm where she learned to make cheese from an excellent cheese make. She also hiked the yuraygir trail, a coastal walk in Austraila.

Come share Susan’s fabulous pictures and adventures at the home of

Jim and Candee Drake

3800 Hickory Branch Trail
Suwanee, GA 30024
Contact Info:  Jim Drake

678 482-2127 – home or 678-793-2127- cell


Please bring a pot luck dish to share for lunch with fellow botsoccers.

Directions: From I-85 take Suwanee exit 111, Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd. to go northwest toward Suwanee for ~ 0.7 mi. Turn right onto Satellite Blvd and travel 0.9mi to turn left onto Smithtown Rd. Then travel 0.8 mi to turn right ( across from tree farm) onto Westbrook Rd. Travel 0.7 mi to turn right onto Ridge Rd. Travel 0.6 mi to turn left onto Hickory Branch Trail (Olde Branch sub-division). After 100 ft, turn left on Hickory Brach Trail (again). 3800 is down the hill.

February 13, 2016, Wolf Creek Preserve, 1:00 pm – 3:30 p.m. NOTE LATE START TIME!

Posted under: South Georgia.

Trip Leaders:  Beth Grant and Ed McDowell Erythronium umbilicanum, VG

Description:  The Wolf Creek Tract is a 140-acre preserve owned by Grady County, managed by local conservation organizations, and recognized as the greatest expanse – about 8 acres – of trout lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) in the world. Mixed in with the trout lilies are spotted trillium and three orchid species, Southern Twayblade (Listera australis), Wister’s Coralroot (Corallorhiza wisteriana), and Crane Fly Orchid (Tipularia discolor). (Depending on our winter, the first two orchids may not have emerged.) These along with other early spring wildflowers and the surrounding rich mesic forest will make this northeast-facing seep seem like a botanical wonderland.

Meet at:  Parking lot at the Wal-Mart store in Cairo, GA at 1:00 pm. erythronium-umbellatum.JPG

Directions: Use any map program and navigate to the Wal-Mart parking lot on US Hwy 84 in Cairo, Ga. My preferred route from the north is I-75 south of Cordele, then take GA 300 through Albany to south of Pelham (Meigs). Turn right (SW) onto GA Hwy 111 and proceed to Cairo. At the intersection with US Hwy84, turn left (SE) and go for about 2 blocks – Wal-Mart will be on your left. We will caravan from the parking lot to the site.Trout Lilies at Wolf Creek Preserve

 Facilities: None at the site.  WalMart will be the last place for facilities.

Difficulty:  The site will be damp with maybe standing water in a few places so bring appropriate foot ware. Walking is easy.

Bring:  Water, snacks, camera, hand lens, a hiking stick, and rain gear.

Contact:  Beth Grant <> or Ed McDowell <> 478-396-8901 (cell) for questions.


Sunday, February 21, 2016, Vickery Creek Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Field Trip Leader:  Susan Caster

Description: The Vickery Creek Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area is on Vickery Creek, also known as Big Creek. It is adjacent to the Old Roswell Mill. There is a 5+ mile network of trails through piedmont forest known for big leaf magnolia and rhododendron in the center of the city of Roswell. We will hike the loop enjoying views of Vickery Creek from the ridge. It’s a lovely winter walk and our focus will be on trout lilies that should be in bloom. We will start at the covered bridge, hike the national park trails with a stop at the historic spillway dam waterfall and end at the civil war mill ruins.

Meet:  10:00 in the parking area for the Old Roswell Mill.

Location & Directions:  Directions: From Atlanta take GA 400 north to exit 7B and go west on Holcomb Bridge Rd./Hwy 92 for about 200 feet. Turn left onto Dogwood Rd and go for 1 mile. Continue onto Riverside Rd and go for 1 mile. Turn right onto S Atlanta St and go for 1 mile. Turn right onto Mill St. and go for .1 mile. Turn right to stay on Mill St. which ends in the parking lot of the Old Roswell Mill.

Bathroom Facilities: Yes

Walking Difficulty: This hike is moderate.

Bring: 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: Susan Caster, 404-512-5621,

March 5, 2016, 9:00 AM, Rare Plant Monitoring Workshop and Trout Lilies, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area; Workshops.

Erythronium umbilicanum

Erythronium umbilicanum

Rare Plant Monitoring Workshop  and Trout Lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) Paces Mill Unit-West Palisades, Chattahoochee River NRA, Cobb County

Saturday, March 5, 2016  at 9:00 a.m.  Note early start time.

 Note: The rare plant monitoring workshop will be held at the Delta Community Credit Union (DECU)  in the Training Room at 3250 Riverwood Parkway, Atlanta 30339,  just south of Cumberland Mall in Cobb County. on Saturday, March 5th. This session will be followed by lunch and an early spring wildflower walk. Registration is required by Feb 21th for the training session.

Description: Join the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club (GATC) and th Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) to learn how to monitor rare plants on the Appalachian Trail.

followed by a practice session using early spring wildflowers.  GATC’s Director of Conservation, Laura Northrup and a staff member from ATC’s Asheville Regional Office will conduct the training session.  Then we’ll head to Paces Mill for a riverside lunch followed by our spring wildflowers field trip. The wildflowers are not rare, just beautiful, but we will use them to practice our monitoring skills. After the training workshop, there will be a follow-up session along the Appalachian Trail in Georgia where rare plants will be assigned to those who are interested in doing this volunteer work.

  On the field trip, Trout Lilies (Erythronium umbilicatum) will be thriving in a riverside forest sunspot.  Along Rottenwood Creek, we’ll find Yupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria), and Silky Dogwood (Cornus Amomum). We’ll see Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Toadshade trillium (Trillium cuneatum) at the edges of the forest as we walk.

Directions: The DECU is located at 3250 Riverwood Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339, just south of Cumberland Mall.  The Paces Mill Unit is located at 3445 Cobb Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. It is a few blocks south on Cobb Parkway from our training session’s location. We will caravan between the two locations.

Walking:  None for the workshop session. The field trip involves a 2 mile round trip on a paved easy trail along the river and a creek.

Facilities: At both locations.

Bring: Comfortable walking shoes, $3.00 parking fee or annual pass, water, camera, field guide, hand lens if you have one. Lunch to eat at the Paces Mill riverside picnic area. Note – if temperature is below freezing, we may eat lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Leader: Maureen Donohue   Cell –  770-990-7756. Feel free to email or call me for more information or directions and to register for the workshop.

March 12, 2016, Table Mountain Pine, from Grassy Gap to Yahoola Valley, Lumpkin County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Saturday 12 March 2016 – Grassy Gap to Yahoola Valley to see Table Mtn. Pine (with GA Forest Watch)  Trip Leaders:  Cliff Shaw and Jess Riddle

Table Mountain Pine, Bark

Table Mountain Pine, Bark

 This is a moderate hike that first includes an easy 1 mile from Gooch Gap east on the Appalachian Trail (mostly level) to Grassy Gap, and then downhill for about 1.5 miles along the historic 100 year-old Grassy Gap road (now closed and somewhat overgrown) along a ridge toward Yahoola Valley, and then return over the same route. We will hike through several natural communities including xeric and dry mesic forest types composed primarily of white and chestnut oaks, hickory, Virginia and table mountain pine. Although it is unlikely we will see many wildflowers or unusual plants because of the time of the year and the area’s south facing slopes, we will see a stand of mature table mountain pine, which was once abundant throughout the area but is now relatively uncommon primarily due to fire suppression. In addition, the Grassy gap road and adjacent Indian trail have an interesting history, which will be discussed along the route.

Table Mountain Pine, Cone

Table Mountain Pine, Cone

Directions:  From Atlanta, take GA 400 north for about 60 miles, until it ends just south of Dahlonega.  Turn left there onto Ga Hwy 60 and take GA 60 toward and around Dahlonega.  Continue for about 15 miles on Hwy 60, heading toward Suches through the National Forest.  You will drive through Stone Pile Gap, bearing to the left at the pile of rocks to stay on GA 60 toward Suches. Continue uphill, crossing Woody Gap, then going downhill until just before Woody Lake (on the right) where you will take a left on Cooper Gap road at the now closed Tritt Store. Then go for about 2 miles on Cooper Gap road until the road turns into the unpaved Forest Road 42 where you will continue straight for about .7 miles to a parking area where the Appalachian Trail crosses Forest Road 42.

Meet At:  Park at the parking area at Gooch Gap at 10:00 AM.

Table Mountain Pine,  Needles

Table Mountain Pine, Needles

Facilities:  None.

Walking:  Mostly moderate with some easy downhill and some more strenuous uphill hike on our way back along an overgrown road. Total distance about 4 to 5 miles depending on how far down we go along the old Grassy Gap road to Yahoola Valley.

Lunch:  Bring to eat on trail.

Bring:  Sturdy shoes for hiking, trekking poles, rain gear (you never know!), lunch, extra water.

Contact:  Cliff Shaw (706 747 9934,, and Jess Riddle (706 867 0051,

All Photos Courtesy of Teresa and Richard Ware

March 19, 2016, Oconee Bells and Early Spring Wildflowers at Devils Fork State Park and Oconee Station, SC.

Posted under: Out-of State.

Meet at 10:00 at parking lot next to park office at Devil’s Fork S.P.

Devil's Fork State Park

Oconee Bells

Description: Oconee Bells, Shortia galacifolia, in its prime is spectacular, one of our prettiest – and rarest – wildflowers. Its sublime hue and beauty is best appreciated in person.  Almost eradicated in the wild, it is still found in this park and only a few other places in the Carolinas and Georgia. We may also spot another rare plant,  Sweet Pinesap (a.k.a. Pygmy Pipes), Monotropsis odorata, along the same  trail, along with Trailing Arbutus, Epigaea repens. After lunch, we will drive to nearby historic Oconee Station State Historic Site, where we should see a profusion of other early spring wildflowers along with a lovely 60 foot cascading waterfalls, Station Cove Falls.

Directions: Take I-85 north to SC state line, take 1st exit on the SC side and head north on SC Hy 11 for about 35 miles. After crossing SC 130, proceed 2 miles and turn left on road to park for two more miles. Well marked. Follow to park office next to main boat ramp on Lake Jocassee.

Station Cove Falls

Station Cove Falls

Lunch: Bring to eat in park.

Facilities: at both Devils Fork SP and Oconee Station.

Walking: Two easy walks of one and two miles.

Trip Leader: Mike Christison,,
(H) (770) 973-6482, (C) (770) 596-6564

March 26, 2016, The Pocket of Pigeon Mountain, Walker County

Posted under: Northwest Georgia.

Meet: 10:00 at the Pocket Parking Lot.

Pocket Branch and Falls

Pocket Branch and Falls

Pocket Trail

3 Beauties Along Trail to Falls

Description:  Every year we look forward to spring and a trip to Georgia’s premier spot for early spring wildflowers.  Pigeon Mountain, part of the Cumberland Plateau, contains many species rare to our state: Virginia bluebells, celandine poppy, bent trillium, Ohio buckeye, and a huge variety of other wildflowers. After lunch, we may take a short drive to a nearby location where we have found twinleaf blooming in the past.

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 drive 1.2 mi to end.  Main parking is on left, with handicapped parking on the right.

Trillium flexipedes

Trillium flexipedes

Walking: Short and easy around parking lot. Optional moderate walk to falls and easy bushwhacking to twin leaf site.    Facilities: None at site.  Fast food restaurants on North Main street in LaFayette.

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman’s Breeches

Lunch:  Bring to eat in parking lot.

Note:  A Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP) is now required for 32 GA WMA properties, including all of Pigeon Mountain. For more info:

Leader: Mike Christison,, (H) 770-973-6482; (C) 770-596-3564 (cell phone not guaranteed at site).



April 9, 2016, 9:30 AM (NOTE TIME!), Amicalola Falls State Park, Dawson County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Date: April 9, 2016, Amicalola Falls State Park, Meet at the Visitor’s Center parking area at 9:30 AM (NOTE TIME).

Description: We will walk the trail to the top of the falls and then come down the steps to view the early spring wildflowers including Virginia bluebells, toothworts, bloodroot, green violet, Trillium cuneatum, Trillium flexipes, and others.

This is one of the busiest State Parks relative to available parking.  Carpooling is encouraged and that is the reason for the earlier than typical start time.  Bring $5.00 per vehicle parking fee or State Parks Pass.

Directions: There are literally a myriad of ways to get to this park.   Generally easiest way from Atlanta is 400 to GA 53.  West (left) on 53 through Dawsonville to GA 183 at Juno.  Then, northwest (right) on GA 183 to GA 52 and east (right) on GA 52 to the park.

Lunch: Bring to eat at park.

Walking: Generally easy with some moderately steep climbs on good trails.

Facilities: Yes.

Leader: Rich Reaves, 770‑827‑5186,



April 23, 2016, Cedar Glades of Chickamauga Battlefield, Catoosa County.

Posted under: Northwest Georgia.

Description:  Spring is a great time to visit Chickamauga National Military Park, one of the nation’s largest and best preserved Civil War sites,

Chickamauga Cedar Glade

Chickamauga Cedar Glade

and also home to Cedar Glades, one of Georgia’s rarest habitats.  Here, the thin layer of soil covering a limestone bedrock restricts trees to red cedars growing at the edge of the glades and in cracks between the rocks. The wildflowers, while generally not numerous, include some found nowhere else in Georgia.  We will explore a few of the two dozen glades in the park and look for some of the rare wildflowers found there, such as Nashville Breadroot, Pediomelum subacaule,  Least Glade Cress, Leavenworthia exigua var. exugua, and Heartleaf Plantain, Plantago cordata.

Least Glade Cress

Least Glade Cress

Meet: 10:00 am at park office

Nashville Breadroot

Nashville Breadroot

Directions:  From Interstate 75:  At Exit 350, take Battlefield Parkway (Georgia Hy 2) west for 7 miles to Fort Oglethorpe. Turn left at the intersection with  Lafayette Road (US Hy 27 south).  Go one mile on Lafayette Road to the park entrance and visitor center on the right.

GPS address: 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

Bring:  Lunch to eat in the park. Pick up a copy of the excellent park trail map in the office upon

arriving in the park, if desired.

Trip Leader:  Mike Christison, 770-973-6482,,  Cell phone for day of field trip: 770-596-3564