To make registration easier, download the listing of field trips (PDF). Select your field trips before registering. NOTE: Some field trips will fill and we will try to accommodate your first or second choices. Being able to select a field trip during registration does not confirm your choice. We will contact you in July with details on the field trips.
Field trips are for conference participants only and are included in the basic registration fee.
4-H Camp. Leaders: Zach Fowler & Austin Persons. This out-and-back hike will start and end at Cunningham Lake at the Maryland 4-H Environmental Education and Camping Center. Participants will walk along the lake, then upstream through the woods to a beautiful high-elevation wetland with beaver dams. Along the way, there is lots of botanizing, birding, and opportunities to discuss moss and lichen biology and ecology. Moderate to difficult due to rough trails & total distance (~ 4 miles); optional walk in wetland.
Cranesville Swamp. Leaders: Jim Howell & Carole Bergmann. Cranesville Swamp is a boreal peat bog relic left behind from the Pleistocene Epoch. Nestled in a mountain valley bowl known as a frost pocket, colder conditions still prevail enough for boreal plants to survive. This Nature Conservancy gem is a National Natural Landmark. Easy to moderate on boardwalk and short loop trails.
Elk Ridge Native Plant Preserve. Leaders: Liz McDowell & Ron Boyer. This forested ridge lies within the Mid-Atlantic Highlands, the largest interior hardwood forest in the world's temperate latitudes. Landowner efforts to preserve regional biodiversity have helped protect several uncommon plants and animals on this conserved land adjacent to the Savage River State Forest. Easy to moderate walk.
Fifteen Mile Creek. Leaders: Chris Frye & Kirsten Johnson. Western Maryland's rain shadow effect, eastern Allegany County's hilly topography, and the microclimates of Fifteen Mille Creek combine to produce a variety of different plant species on floodplains, shale beds, and bluffs. Participants will explore a number of habitats including wetland seeps, riparian zones, shale barrens, and deep mesic valleys in Green Ridge State Forest. There will be multiple stops at easy to access sites. Easy to moderate walk; wear sturdy shoes & bring plenty of water.
Finzel Swamp. Leaders: Donnelle Keech & Donna Gates. The Nature Conservancy’s Finzel Swamp is a biodiversity treasure chest containing more than 30 rare and uncommon species, and five globally and locally significant wetland habitat types. This remnant boreal fen has been left behind from the Pleistocene Epoch and is one of the few remaining refuges in Maryland where boreal species have persisted since the last Ice Age. Easy to moderate walk.
FSU Arboretum Exploration. Leaders: Karyn Molines & Olivia Shaffer. Explore the arboretum and practice tree identification skills. This arboretum provides a growing, sustainable, and safe resource for campus and regional communities to engage in education, research, observation, and contemplation while maintaining the natural setting of the mountains of Appalachia. Easy walk.
New Germany State Park. Leaders: Joe Metzger & Christine Campe-Price. This mountain gem lies along Meadow Mountain, the eastern Continental Divide. Its many trails pass through a variety of habitats: hemlock and mixed hardwood forests, rhododendron covered streams, old field, and lakeshore. Easy to moderate walk.
North Cherry Creek Bog. Leaders: Kevin Dodge & Ed Gates. This mile-long complex of seeps and wetlands contains excellent examples of mountain peatland vegetation communities, including oligotrophic peatland, minerotrophic acidic fen, forested acidic seep, and acidic conifer swamp forest. The high quality open sphagnum bogs are significant plant communities. Moderate to difficult; wet, muddy, & sketchy bridge crossings.
Old-Growth Dedication Site. Leaders: Sunshine Brosi & Joan Maloof. An old-growth site in Allegany County will be dedicated as part of the 'Old-Growth Forest Network', celebrated, and explored. Full details are forthcoming.
Paw Paw Tunnel & Hill Trail. Leaders: Champ Zumbrun & Kerry Wixted. Discover the various plants and animals along the Tunnel Hill Trail with outstanding views of Green Ridge State Forest, Paw Paw Bend, and tunnel gorge. Then explore the 3,118 feet long Paw Paw Tunnel, the greatest engineering marvel along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Bring a flashlight to see the weep holes, rope burns, rub rails, and brass plates that bring the tunnel’s history to life. Moderate to difficult walk due to switchbacks and total distance (~ 4 miles).
4-H Camp. Leaders: Zach Fowler & Liz McDowell. This out-and-back hike will start and end at Cunningham Lake at the Maryland 4-H Environmental Education and Camping Center. Participants will walk along the lake and then upstream and through the woods to a beautiful high-elevation wetland with beaver dams. Along the way, there is lots of botanizing, birding, and opportunities to discuss moss and lichen biology and ecology. Moderate to difficult due to rough trails and total distance (~ 4 miles); optional walk in wetland.
Asa Durst Homestead Trails. Leaders: Scott Campbell & Dwight Johnson. This 4.5 mile trail provides an enjoyable hike through rolling forestlands on old logging roads and single track trails. Along the walk, there are homestead remnants, stands of pine, spruce, and larch, vestiges of fruit orchards, stream valleys rimmed in rhododendron, and upland hardwood forests that have reclaimed former pastures and farmlands. Easy to moderate: two stream crossings & small section of trail crosses a wetland.
C & O Canal at Spring Gap. Leaders: Joe Metzger & Karyn Molines. Before the canal existed, Spring Gap provided a shallow river-crossing of the Potomac River. Long after the canal closed, Spring Gap was the starting point for Chief Justice William Douglas's historic walk to Washington, DC to promote the canal as a national park. Expect giant sycamores and oaks, as well as cut-leaf coneflower, asters, and goldenrods. Easy walk.
Crabtree Slopes. Leaders: Dan Boone & Sunshine Brosi. This hike is to an old-growth stand on steep slopes along Backbone Mountain in Potomac State Forest. Additional details to follow. Moderate to difficult due to distance and hill.
Cranesville Swamp. Leaders: Jim Howell & Liz Matthews. Cranesville Swamp is a boreal peat bog relic left behind from the Pleistocene Epoch. Nestled in a mountain valley bowl known as a frost pocket, colder conditions still prevail enough for boreal plants to survive. This Nature Conservancy gem is a National Natural Landmark. Easy to moderate on boardwalk and short loop trails.
The Glades. Leaders: Kevin Dodge & Jil Swearingen. One of Maryland’s oldest peatlands, dating back 18,000 years, it is also the state’s largest and most open peatland, and the central bog area of the largest wetland complex in western Maryland. Several species of sphagnum moss are restricted in Maryland to this and nearby peatlands. Because it is such a vast, undisturbed area, The Glades is home to large mammals such as black bears and bobcats. Its unusual ecology creates the necessary habitat for at least ten other state-rare plant and animal species. Moderate; wet & muddy areas.
Download the field trip listing (PDF) and select your field trips before beginning the registration process. We will try our best to accommodate everyone's choices, but some trip may fill up. We will contact you for your second choice options.