January 21, 2017, Winter Woody Walk, Big Trees Forest Preserve, Fulton County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Meet: 10:00am, Parking lot of Big Springs Forest Preserve, 7645 Roswell Rd, Sandy Springs, GA 30350

Description:  A casual stroll among deciduous hardwood trees and shrubs will give us plenty of opportunity to practice our woody plant identification using bark, old leaves and bare twigs.

Facilities:   Yes

Walking:  Easy, wear sturdy shoes

Bring: Water, snacks, camera, notebook

Contact:  Ellen Honeycutt, ehoneycutt@bellsouth.net, cell: 678-576-5667


February 4, 2017, Protecting Rare Plants on Private Lands (Presentation and Discussion), Panola Mountain State Park, DeKalb County

Posted under: Atlanta area; Workshops.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Field Trip Leader: Lisa Kruse

Description: Lisa has worked for the GA DNR since 2006. One of the parts of her job that she is most passionate about is outreach to landowners who have special rare plant habitats. She assists interested landowners to navigate various agencies and resources to bring conservation and protection to rare plants and their habitats. Lisa believes this is critical for effective conservation in Georgia, since over 90% of the land area in this state is privately owned. In this presentation she will give an update on the Georgia Botanical Society’s pitcherplant bog protection project, where GA Bot Soc is partnering with GA DNR and the Oconee River Land Trust to purchase permanent conservation easements on one of Georgia’s most diverse coastal plain pitcher plant bogs. Lisa will also touch on other ways rare plant habitats are being protected on private lands, and the fascinating individual stories that develop around each site.

Lisa is also interested in feedback from participants on the pitcher plant bog project and ideas for building relationships with landowners.

After an hour-long presentation we can enjoy a nature trail walk to Panola Mountains granite outcrop, which will be showy with lichens in the winter.

Meeting Location: 10:00 AM, Panola Mountain State Park Visitors’ Center, located 18 miles southeast of Atlanta on Highway 155 via I-20 exit #68

Panola Mountain State Park
2620 Highway 155 SW
Stockbridge, GA 30281 

Bring: Lunch or snacks

Walking Difficulty: Easy

Bathroom Facilities: Available

Contact: Lisa Kruse, lisa.kruse@dnr.ga.gov  Please email Lisa if you plan to attend.

Phone: 706-318-3287


Sunday, February 19, 2017, Lost Creek Forest and Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve, Thomas and Grady Counties

Posted under: South Georgia.

Two trips in South Georgia today, beginning with a unique pristine slope forest and wetlands near Thomasville in the morning, followed by an afternoon visit to a 140 acre conservation area of thousands of Dimpled Trout Lilies, the largest population known anywhere.

Sunday, February 19, 2017, Lost Creek Forest and Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve, Thomas and Grady Counties

Beech Tree at Lost Creek Forest. Photo by Beth Grant


Lost Creek Forest (with optional stop at Greenwood Plantation on the way to Wolf Creek)

Meet:  9:00 am at the trail head to the forest on Airport Rd.  Take 122 five miles northeast of Thomasville, left on Airport Rd., about halfway down the slope on the left.

Description:  Wander in the old growth hardwood slope forest and wetlands, featuring American Beech, Southern Magnolia, Spruce Pine, White Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Black Oak, Pignut and Mockernut Hickories,
Sourwood, Hop hornbeam, Hornbeam, Red Mulberry, Witch Hazel, Red Maple,  Hawthorn, Bumelia, Horse Sugar, Wild Olive, etc.  Good conservation story about saving the forest from industrial development.

Facilities:  Not at the site, but there are restrooms at the airport, a short drive away

Walking:  Easy, wear sturdy shoes; we may go off trail

Trout Lilies at Wolf Creek, Photo by Beth Grant

Bring:  Water, snacks, camera; picnic lunch (which we could eat at the forest, at the airport, or/and stop along the clay road that goes thru Greenwood Plantation’s Big Woods (old growth longleaf)
Contact:  Beth Grant, bethgrant@bellsouth.net, h229 227 9844 or text 229 200 2564

Afternoon:  Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve       

Directions: Caravan from Lost Creek Forest or meet at Wolf Creek parking area at 1:30 pm

Description:  See tens of thousands of Dimpled Trout Lilies, Erythronium umbilicatum, and hundreds of Spotted Trillium, Trillium maculatum, covering about 10 acres of slope forest. There will also be Twayblade Orchids possibly in bloom, Cranefly and Greenfly orchid plants, possibly Coralroot Orchids and Bloodroot emerging, Southern Grape Fern, Needle Palm, Parsley Haw, Shumard Oak, Rattan Vine, etc. Good conservation story about saving the area from development.

Facilities:  No

Walking:  Moderately easy, with slopes and a floodplain which can be slippery when wet

Bring:  Water, snacks,  CAMERA, walking stick, wear sturdy shoes

Contact:  Beth Grant, bethgrant@bellsouth.net, h229 227 9844 or text 229 200 2564




February 25, 2017, 12:00 pm, Trout Lilies at Paces Mill, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Meet: 12:00 pm, (note special meeting time) at the Paces Mill Pocket Parking Lot off Us Highway 41

Erythronium umbilicanum

Erythronium umbilicanum

Description: What better way to anticipate spring than to wonder at the site of hundreds of Trout lilies, Erythronium umbilicanum, covering the hillsides above Rottenwood Creek in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The 12:00 pm meeting time is scheduled to coincide with the early afternoon opening of these exquisite wildflowers. There will be an optional walk to see the ruins at the old Akers Mill grist mill, which is also covered with Trout Lilies.  We may also see the rare bay star vine, Schisandra glabra, although it will not yet be in bloom.

Location: Palisades Unit, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area,  Paces Mill parking area; 3445 Cobb Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339.  The Paces Mill parking area is located on the north side of the Chattahoochee River and on the east side of S. Cobb Parkway, US Hy 41 in Smyrna,  1.4 miles south of I-285.  For map, see www.nps.gov/chat

Walking: About 3 miles, flat except for the short but steep climb up to the old mill ruins.

Facilities:  Restrooms at parking area.

Bring:  $3.00 parking fee or annual or senior national park pass; water and snack to eat on the walk.  Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.

Leader: Mike Christison (770) 973-6482, mikepaddler@netscape.net.  Cell for day of walk: (770) 596-3564

March 18, 2017, Japanese Paper Plant, Edgeworthia papyrifera, Rabun County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Description: The Japanese Paper Plants are located in the National Forest of Rabun Co.  They were introduced into Ga. in the early 1900’s and planted at an old home site.  They have naturalized along Wolf Creek for 4 miles, and  bloom the first 3 weeks of March.  This site is near the Wolf Creek Baptist Church which was built in 1851. The largest patch of plants are one half mile from the church.

Facilities:  No

Difficulty: Easy

Bring: Lunch, water, camera

Directions:  From Tallulah Falls, GA in Rabun County,  proceed N on 441 approx. 4 miles to the Lakemont sign, turn Right on Wolf Creek Rd., go 3.6 miles to Wolf Creek Baptist Church sign, turn onto the church road and go 1 mile to the church parking lot.

Contact:  Louis Schweizer, louis30576@gmail.com

Sunday, April 2, 2017, Arabia Mountain National Natural Heritage Site, Dekalb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Spring Colors on Arabia Mountain

Arabia Mountain National Natural Heritage Site Mountain Loop, Lake Loop, and Salamanders Pools, Sunday; April 2, 2017, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower

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.

Meet:  10:00, Park Visitor Center

Facilities: In Visitor Center

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

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

Limit: 30

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


Sunday, April 23, 2017, Spring Flora and Ferns, East Palisades, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

East Palisades, CRNRA

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

East Palisades, Indian Ridge to Cabin Creek Loop Trail

Spring Flora, Ferns, and Fun

Sunday; April 23, 2017

10:00 am to 3:30 pm

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower

Description: Join the Georgia Botanical Society and National Park Service Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a look at this beautiful area in spring’s glory and the sunset from Overlook Ridge where you will enjoy the grand view above Devil’s Race Course Shoals of this very scenic section of river.  We will take Cabin Creek Trail through a beautiful forest in its along Cabin Creek and hike up the ridge past Civil War gun emplacements .  We will travel above rock cliffs, through mature oak-hickory forest, mesic ravine forest, and floodplain forest. Our hike will take us over and past extraordinary rock outcrops and formations influenced by the Brevard Fault, which runs through the Unit.  We will see spring wildflowers, ferns, and perhaps a salamander or two.

Location: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, East Palisades Unit; meet at 10:00 am in the Indian Trail parking area and trail head; 1425 Indian Trail NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30327 at the bulletin board.  Go south on Northside Drive and Indian Trail is the fourth street on the right.  Indian Trail goes directly into the park.  

Facilities:  None

Difficulty:  Moderately strenuous.  There are several steep ascents and descents.

Bring: Remember to bring a lunch to eat in the forest.  Dress for the weather and wear very comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  Carry water. You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.  Note: A $3. daily entrance fee or $35. annual pass is required.

Limit:  30 persons                                                                                                                       

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

Additional programs continued on next page


Sunday, May 21, 2017, Palisades Canoe Float & Spring Flora, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, 10:00 a.m. ­– 3:00 p.m., Cobb/Fulton Counties

Posted under: Atlanta area; Canoe Trips.

 Description:  Bring your own canoe or kayak and join the Georgia Botanical Society and naturalist Jerry Hightower for a leisurely float on the Chattahoochee River. We will float a three-mile section of the river from Powers Island to Paces Mill at US Hwy 41, exploring plants, geology, and wildlife, including an extraordinary array of late spring wildflowers. There are three mild Class 1.5 rapids suitable for beginners along this part of the river. The Palisades have narrow floodplains and steep ridges rising to over 1,000 feet. The area offers a great diversity of habitats and includes oak-hickory forest, steep north-facing slopes, mesic ravine forest, and floodplain forest. Created by the geologic action of the Brevard Fault, the river, and the effects of weather, this is a rugged and beautiful section of the river. We will stop at Devil’s Stair Step Beach (Diving Rock) for lunch and a short loop walk.  

Location: Meet at Powers Island, 5862 Interstate North Pkwy., Sandy Springs, Georgia at 10:00 a.m. to unload equipment.  We will then take the majority of the vehicles to Paces Mill and shuttle the drivers back to Powers Island.  Please let Jerry know if you have a multi-passenger vehicle and could help with the shuttle.

Bring:  Lunch, sunscreen, hat, rain gear, and water.  Camera, binoculars, and hand lens are recommended. Bring a day pack or other bag to secure items inside your boat. $3.00 daily parking pass or annual parking pass needed.

Limit:  30

Directions:  See www.nps.gov/chat or call 678-538-1200.  

Bathroom Facilities:  At Powers Island, our lunch stop, and at Paces Mill.

Fees: $3 parking fee at the Recreation Area unless you have an annual pass.  

Reservations are required: Contact Jerry Hightower at <jerryhightower@hotmail.com   or  770-206-0338


June 24-25, 2017, Gray’s Lily, Lilium grayi, Roan Mountain Highlands and Drive on Blue Ridge Parkway

Posted under: North Carolina; Roadside Botanizing; Tennessee.

Gray’s Lily, Lillium grayi, photo by Jim Drake

It has been seven years since the last BotSoc trip to Roan Mountain. Time for an encore!  This weekend trip is sure to be one of the highlights of the field trip calendar.  Many thanks to trip leader Jim Drake for planning a return to this popular spot.  Remember  to make park cabin or motel reservations in advance. 

Scenic View on Roan Mountain, photo by Jim Drake

Description:    The Roan Mountain Highlands is one of the most spectacular areas in the Southern Appalachians for both stunning mountain views and a beautiful array of wildflowers. Roan Mountain Highlands is generally considered to be five peaks divided by Carver’s Gap – two peaks on one side and three peaks on the other side of the gap.

Meet:   9:00 am at the parking lot at Carver’s Gap on the TN/NC state line where NC Hwy 261 becomes TN Hwy 143. This road connects the town of Bakersville, North Carolina to the town of Roan Mountain, Tennessee. At Carver’s Gap, parking is available beside the road and at an adjacent small parking lot. Parking is often at a premium, so contact the field trip leader about car pooling.

Hiking on June 24: We will ascend two balds on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and continue on another trail to the final bald.  The first is Round Bald, and requires a moderate climb of about 100 feet to the summit (elevation 5826 ft.). From Round Bald, we continue northbound along the AT for another 0.7 miles through Engine Gap to the summit of Jane Bald, losing and regaining about 200 feet. Near this point, the trail splits with the left trail continuing on the AT and the right trail leading to the third bald, Grassy Ridge Bald. The climb up is approximately 500 feet to its summit (elevation 6189 feet). The panoramic views from the summit are breath-taking. On a clear day one can see Grandfather, Beech and Sugar Mountains toward the east and Mount Mitchell and Black Mountain toward the south.

Difficulty:  The trail is about 5.1 miles round trip, but participants can hike all or part of the trip. The trail is well maintained, but parts of the trail are strenuous, rocky, and steep.

Along the way, we may see two rare Geum, the Gray’s Lilies, Hypericum spp., possibly Houstonia purperea var. montana and several other endemics. We also hope to see Rhododendron in late bloom.

We are fortunate to have the legendary goat herder and expert botanist Jamey Donaldson and East Tennessee State University professor Dr. Foster Levi as leaders.

For those who would like to see the Gray’s Lilies without doing the entire hike:

Federal site, if you’re not up to hiking:  In years past, several stems of Gray’s Lilies have been observed blooming beside the road that leads from Carver’s Gap to the federal site, plus along the dirt roads within the federal site. These areas are accessible by automobile, but may require a short walk since parking along the main road to the federal site is not allowed. Note: entry to the federal site requires a fee. 

Lower Part of Round Bald: If into a bit of hiking, a few lilies have in past years been observed part way up the first bald (Round Bald).

Round Bald, Engine Gap and Jane Bald: If wishing to climb Round Bald traverse Engine Gap and optionally climb to the summit of Jane Bald, there should be several sites of lilies growing along the trail and in adjacent meadows. Beyond this, the hike becomes more strenuous on the way up Grassy Ridge Bald.

Sunday, June 25 will consist of a leisurely drive with roadside/overlook stops heading south along the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) to meet at the Asheville Botanical Gardens for a brief tour.

Accommodations for Friday night, June 23, and Saturday June 24, 2017 are up to the participants. Roan Mountain Tennessee State Park has a limited number of two-night-minimum rental cabins a few miles from Carver’s Gap. Some of the cabins can sleep multiple individuals. Cabins may still be available, but they often book up quickly for that time of year. Refer to: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/roan-mountain. Cabin reservations can be made either on-line or by phone. The rangers at the park are well-informed and very cooperative. Also, many motels are located in nearby cities in both NC and TN; see


For more hiking information, search the web for “Roan Mountain hike Round Bald to Grassy Ridge Bald”

Bring: Lots of water, snacks, camera, rain gear, and a light jacket (it sometimes gets quite cool even in June). Facilities: an outhouse is at the end of the Carver’s Gap parking lot. The nearby federal area has toilets.

Donations to the Goat Project are welcomed, but not required.

Trip pre-registration is required: Participants are limited to 20. Contact Jim Drake 678-793-2127 (cell), 678-482-2127 land line