The first weekend of December while hunters were enjoying their last foray into the woods for whitetails, botanists were on the move as well.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Adirondack Botanical Society met in Ray Brook to review activities of 2012, plan for field trips in 2013 and take an excursion into a local bog.
Formed in 2011 for the purpose of sharing information about the diverse flora of the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Botanical Society (ABS) brings together a broad range of knowledge and experience.
Steve Young, chief botanist at the NY Natural Heritage Program, came from Albany for the meeting and was joined by members of the faculties of Paul Smith’s, SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY ESF; a former DEC botanist; several APA biologists; a Master Gardener; a horticulturalist who likes moss; two outdoor guides; and a friendly “career zoologist who crashed the botanical meeting.”
Botanists are outdoor folk like any others. Preferring to get together in the field more than in meetings, the group only meets in person twice a year.
The agenda this month began with details of various social media tools that link the members so that plans can be made remotely. For most members, smartphones are tools of the trade, making it possible to use GPS to log plant sightings and the Internet to access the NYS Flora Atlas from the field.
During 2012, ABS took field trips to Coon Mountain, Spring Pond Bog, Whiteface and Skylight. The goal of the field trips is to create plant lists for the species that are found on a given date. Dated plant lists let those who manage forest lands know where populations of rare or invasive species are, but they also affirm the status of the baseline population of plants that are expected in that location.
Coon Mountain, known for its plant diversity, met expectations this spring — more than 30 plants were recorded in flower in April.