Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Goldie Award Winner 2015 - Joan Crowe

The 2015 edition of the John Goldie Award was presented to Joan Crowe at the FBO AGM held in Peterborough on September 12, 2015. This was the ninth time the Goldie Award has been given to recognize an individual’s contribution to field botany in Ontario. Like those before her, Joan is a highly deserving recipient.

      Joan comes to us from England where she was already a qualified teacher. In 1966, Joan and her husband Walter moved to Thunder Bay where Walter had taken a faculty position at Lakehead University. Joan later obtained an Honors B.Sc. from Lakehead University in 1970 followed by a Masters degree from the University of Manitoba in 1975 with a specialization in bryophytes. In the meantime, she started on a course towards career in botany accompanied by a long list of botanical publications. The first of these was A Checklist of the Hepatics in the Area Adjacent to the Canadian Lakehead with co-author Paul Barclay-Estrup in 1971.

Joan began to volunteer at the Claude Garton Herbarium at Lakehead University. The Herbarium was built on the collections made by Claude Garton starting with his collections that began as early as 1933. In time, Joan assumed the role of Acting Curator in 1990 and held that position until 1993. During that period, she began the process of digitizing the collection and maintained high standards for the collection. She also taught some courses on "Bryophytes and Lichens", "Pteridophytes" and “Vascular Plant Identification” at the University where her students held her in high regard.

While she was living in Thunder Bay, she continued to produce publications dealing with bryophytes:

1975 - An Hepatic Flora of Southwest Thunder Bay District Ontario
1992 - The Liverworts of the Southwest Thunder Bay District: A Concise Hepatic Flora
1994 - The lichens of Thunder Bay District Ontario, Canada. Evansia 11: 62-75
1995 - Ahti, T. & J. Crowe. Additions to the lichens of Thunder Bay District, Ontario. Evansia 12: 21-23

Those were followed by the 1993 release of Checklist Vascular Plants of Thunder Bay District along Claude Garton. The first version of that list was originally prepared in 1968 by Walter Hartley and updated by Garton in1984, then revised to 1993. The most recent revision was completed in 2003.

In 1993, Walter and Joan moved to Owen Sound. Joan soon became active with the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. In particular, she became the Chair of the Plants Committee. That group has been very productive, and under her guidance, published several books on botany and relevant topics:

1995 - Checklist of the Vascular Plants for Bruce and Grey Counties (4th edition in 2010)
1999 - The Asters, Goldenrods and Fleabanes of Grey and Bruce Counties
2002 - The Orchids of Bruce and Grey
2001 - The Rare and Endangered Species of Grey and Bruce Counties
2004 - The Geology and Landforms of Grey & Bruce
2007 - Exploring an Urban Forest

Not content to limit her literary output to these books with the Owen Sound Club, she produced two other books on her own. One of these was An Enthusiast’s Guide to the Liverworts and Hornworts of Ontario along with Linda Ley in 1999. In 2004, she self-published the First Book of Ontario Wildflowers.

Joan has always been a strong advocate for the environment. As an example, Joan and Walter with OSFN donated their property at Long Swamp located west of Owen Sound to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This donation helps to preserve a large portion of this important wetland to ensure that it would remain natural and undeveloped

Joan and Walter have been long-time members of the FBO. They have attended many FBO field and AGM events over the years. Joan has led at least 9 field trips and workshops for FBO. As well, she has performed a similar role for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. For all her fine contributions, Joan was presented with a Lifetime Membership Award from the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at the December 2006 meeting. It is now the turn for the Field Botanists to recognize all of the contributions that Joan has made in the field of botany in Ontario. Congratulations, Joan!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Field Botanists of Ontario’s 31th Annual General Meeting Saturday – Sunday, September 12 and 13, 2015 Peterborough

The AGM will be held in Peterborough at the Lion’s Club on Saturday September 12, beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Please join us for an evening of good food, socializing, and entertainment.  Enjoy a catered meal, cash bar, and a presentation by Jeff Saarela from the Canadian Museum of Nature.

As part of our AGM weekend event, we have organized a variety of field trips lead by renowned botanists and naturalists in the Peterborough area.  The trips showcase some of the area’s premier conservation lands and botanical hot-spots.  Trip descriptions are included below.  Note that field trips are open to non-FBO members after priority has been given to members.  For non-members, there is a surcharge of $5 per person per trip.

Please print and fill out the registration form below, indicating your choice of field trips and whether you will be attending the banquet/social on Saturday evening. 

Please make your cheques payable to: “Field Botanists of Ontario” and send your cheque and registration form to: 
Dan Westerhof
244 Hunter St W.
Hamilton, ON L8P1S1

Your cheque will be cashed following the AGM. Refunds will be issued, provided cancellations are received 7 days prior to the AGM, at the latest. No-shows will not be refunded.

For those intending to stay overnight, there are a variety of accommodations available in the Peterborough area.

For the field trips, please arrive adequately supplied with food and drinks, and in proper footwear and clothing.  As per our policies, personal collecting of plant material (whole specimens or parts, seeds, etc.) is not permitted on trips unless stated otherwise. The trip leader may take voucher specimens for deposition in recognized herbaria.

Field Trips:  Saturday September 12, 2015

Petroglyphs Provincial Park
Leader: Bill Crins (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)
10:15 am – 3:15 pm

Located northeast of Peterborough, Petroglyphs Provincial Park is well-known for its First Nations rock carvings; however, the approximately 1600 ha park also supports a diversity of plant communities and flora characteristic of the Great Lake-St. Lawrence Lowland Region. Habitats include rocky ridges and outcrops with thin cover of herbs and grasses and scattered trees; conifer stands dominated by red and white pine; mixed conifer-hardwood forests, and bottomland meadows and swamps.   Because the park is located on southern edge of the Precambrian Shield, many of the plants are acidophiles, but there are marble exposures which will support a few calciphiles.  

We will be hiking one of the trails in the park, which are 5-7 km in length.  The distance covered will depend on timing.  If there is time left in the afternoon, we may stop at McGinnis Lake (also inside the park), which is a meromictic, marl-bottomed lake.

Mosquitoes are likely to be present, and poison-ivy is present in some parts of the park, particularly where there are marble outcrops.   Long sleeves and pants are recommended.  The trails are relatively long, with irregular terrain.  Pack a lunch, plenty of water, and sunscreen.

Meet at the parking lot at the Learning Centre of the park (end of the road, 2-3 km in from the park entrance) at 10:15 (park gates open at 10:00).  The park entrance is at 2249 Northey’s Bay Rd. Woodview, ON.  Please note that there is day use fee of a $14.50/vehicle (unless you have a seasonal park pass).  Carpooling is encouraged.

Oak Heights Prairie
Leader: Todd Farrell (The Nature Conservancy of Canada)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Explore the eastern end of the Oak Ridges Moraine in the footsteps of the famous Canadian botanist John Macoun, who lived and worked in the Castleton area and explored the Oak Heights Prairie, which is part of the NCC Barr property.  This tour will explore that property, a restoration hot spot, and we will see the tallgrass prairie and oak savanna plants, many of which will be easily recognizable at this time of year, that make this one of the key NCC properties within the Rice Lake Plains Natural Area. 

Participants may encounter poison ivy, mosquitos, and ticks, so please dress accordingly and bring insect repellant.    Comfortable hiking shoes, long pants and shirt are recommended.

Pack a lunch, plenty of water, and sunscreen.

Directions:  From 401 at County Road 25 (exit 497), travel north approximately 7.5 through Castleton. County Rd. 25 veers west and becomes County Rd. 22. Follow this and turn north on Jakobi Road, which ends in about 3 km at Dunbar Road. Travel west on Dunbar Rd for 2.3 km to Russ Creek Road, park along the road side. Access to the land is gained by walking north on Russ Creek Road to the property sign on the east side of the road.

Field Trips:  Sunday September 13, 2015

Warsaw Caves Conservation Area
Leader: Mike Oldham (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry)
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Located northeast of Peterborough, the Warsaw Caves Conservation Area and provincially significant ANSI offers a diversity of karst landscape features, including limestone plains, solution holes, underground channels, and limestone cliffs. Limestone plains along the Indian River support upland coniferous and mixed successional forests, which are representative of limestone plain upland forests in the Central Region. An area of mature Sugar Maple forest (75-140 years old) dominates the deeper soil deposits in the central portion of the area.  Trip participants can expect to see a variety of alvar and forest species, with a good diversity of ferns including locally rare species such as Walking Fern and Maidenhair Spleenwort.

We may encounter poison ivy, ticks, and chiggers.  Hiking boots, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, sun screen, and insect repellent are recommended.  Pack a lunch and plenty of water.

The park entrance is located at 289 Caves Road, Warsaw, ON.  Please note that a separate park entrance fee may apply: $12.00/car or $4.50/walk-in.  Car-pooling is encouraged.

Alderville Black Oak Savanna (ABOS)
Leaders: Rick Beaver and Janine McLeod (ABOS)
10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Located southeast of Peterborough, the Alderville Black Oak Savanna (ABOS) is a 150 acre natural area managed by the Alderville First Nation.  The area supports provincially rare tallgrass prairie and savanna habitats as well as oak/pine woodland.  A number of Species at Risk inhabit the site, including Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Wood Thrush, and Mottled Duskywing and Monarch Butterflies.  Visitors in September will see Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, and many aster species at their peak.  A diversity of other prairie and savanna plants may be seen, including:  Prairie Buttercup, Prairie Lily, Slender Wheatgrass, Bicknell’s Frostweed, Canada Rock Rose, Pointed-leaf Tick Trefoil, Black Snakeroot, Tall Green Milkweed, Prairie Willow, Senega Snakeroot, Downy Arrow-wood Viburnum, Prairie Cinquefoil, Hoary Vervain, Thin-leaved Sunflower, and Gray Goldenrod.

The tour will include areas of the site that are in different stages of restoration.  Trip participants will learn about the history of the site and how the area is being restored and managed to maintain high quality prairie and savanna habitat. 

Poison ivy may be encountered by those who venture off the trails. The trails are mowed and have a moderate slope in places.  Long pants, closed shoes, a hat, and sunscreen are recommended.   Pack a lunch and water bottle.  Coffee, tea, and cold drinks as well as refills for your water bottles will be available on-site.

Meet at the ABOS Ecology Centre located at 8467 County Road 18, Alderville, ON.  Visit for more information.

Field Botanists of Ontario
Annual General Meeting and Dinner

Saturday September 12, 2015
Peterborough Lion’s Community Centre
5:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Following Saturday’s field trips, we will meet at the Peterborough Lion’s Community Centre for our evening AGM program.  The Community Centre is located at 347 Burnham Street in Peterborough.

AGM Program

5:00 – 6:00      Social hour: an opportunity to meet and chat with fellow FBO members and enjoy some refreshments.  A cash bar will be available.

6:00 – 7:00      Buffet Dinner

7:00 – 8:00      Feature Speaker:  Jeff M. Saarela (Research Scientist, Canadian Museum of Nature)
“From Spruce to Shore: Arctic Botany of the Coppermine River, Nunavut”
In July 2014, Jeff and his colleagues explored the rich flora of the Coppermine River valley, including spectacular Bloody Falls/Kugluk Territorial Park and Kugluktuk in western Nunavut. In this botanically underexplored area, the treeline reaches its northern limit in Nunavut, just 40 km south of the Arctic coast. Among more than 1000 collections of vascular plants are many first records for Nunavut and numerous major and minor range extensions for boreal and Arctic species. Detailed floristic knowledge of this area provides solid baseline knowledge of plant biodiversity that may be useful for tracking future change in the area due to climate change.  

8:00 – 9:30      Annual General Meeting


Ø  Call to Order
Ø  Introduction of FBO Executive and address of the President
Ø  Presentation of Goldie Award
Ø  Approval of Agenda
Ø  Approval of the 2014 AGM Minutes
Ø  Treasurer’s Report
Ø  Auditor’s Report
Ø  Membership Chairman’s Report
Ø  Nominating Committee Report and election of officers
Ø  Suggestions for future trips and location of 2016 AGM
Ø  General discussion and other business
Ø  Adjournment

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Online Resources for Winter Twig ID

Woody Plants in Winter online FREE!

Winter Botany available online in PDF for free

Portrait of Earth by Josh Sayers
-          Excellent high resolution pictures
-          Extensive list of species from Southern Ontario

Flora by Max.
Good pictures of common species

Tree ID app for phone or tablet

Winter Twig ID
-          Narrows it down to a few options

-          Has photo profiles of each species including bud shots

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter Twig Workshop

The FBO is holding a winter twig workshop on February 22nd, at the University of Guelph Arboretum, at the J.C. Taylor Nature Centre.  Brian Lacey will be the instructor.  It will include a "laboratory" component for the morning, where we will learn the characters that help identify trees in non-leafy conditions such as bud scars, bud scales and bark.  In the afternoon we will head out to the arboretum to put these skills into practice.

Please send an email to if you are interested.