Newsletters for 2017

January 2017    Volume 36 1/11/17 Number 2  (PDF link is at the bottom for a printable version)

Muhlenberg Botanical Society    



Dear Members,

Welcome to the New Year! We have new officers and committees who have planned meetings and field trips for 2017. The Muhlenberg Botanical Society (MBS) members responded enthusiastically to the idea of continuing as a group focused on native plants. We will have speakers on the third Thursday, Feb.-May, and we have set up field trips through the summer. Our Officers are Julie Ambler, President; Ruthann Richards, Vice President and Newsletter Editor; John Wolff, Treasurer; and Carol Welsh, Secretary. The Board consists of the following: the four officers; Past Officer Tim Draude; Committee Chairs John Ambler and Linda Ferich; and Members at Large Katherine Hopkins and Kevin Weir.

Our Field Trip Committee includes Julie Ambler, Tim Draude, Linda Ferich (chair), Ruthann Richards, and Sheryl Schultz. The committee has planned field trips from March through August, 2017; details for those after May will be posted in the spring newsletter. Questions and suggestions can be directed to any of them (phone numbers or email addresses included in schedule below). Linda will also be the liaison with the Lancaster County Conservancy.

The first event will be a workshop on Winter Tree ID at Climbers Run Preserve. Everyone has identified trees by looking at their leaves, but how do you identify trees during the winter? There are clues in tree buds, leaf scars (on twigs after leaves fall), branching patterns, and tree bark. Please join us on Jan. 29 to learn more.

During the October discussion, there was a suggestion that the Muhlenberg Botanical Society do a service project with the Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC). The Conservancy suggested a plant survey at Shenks Ferry Preserve. Two MBS field trips are planned to work on this project.

We have also formed a Muhlenberg Meadow Committee, which consists of John Ambler (chair), Tim Draude, Jeff Gipe, and Kevin Weir. Committee members will help maintain the meadows by removing trees and blackberry vines and will work with Lancaster County Central Park on management plans. The meadows were planted by Tim Draude, Joan King, and other Muhlenberg members in the 1990s. Tim collected seed from native plants along creeks and power line rights of way in Lancaster County. Two and a half meadows out of the six were mowed by the County Park Staff during November to get rid of blackberries and woody vines. Anyone who would like to volunteer to help in these efforts should contact John or Tim.

When there are updates, you will receive emails, or consult the website,

We have many exciting events planned, so I look forward to seeing you at some of them.

Julie Ambler, President



Muhlenberg Workshop, Meetings, and Field Trips

All meetings are at 7:00 at the North Museum; please enter via the front door, not the rear, as has been our practice. A representative from the Museum will be on duty.

Most field trips will be on the fourth Sunday of the month, meeting at the destination at 1 pm unless otherwise noted. Please carpool as much as possible. Please RSVP to the person indicated by the day before so the group knows to wait for you and the preserve administration can be informed if we have a large group. Details related to the field trips follow this general schedule (p. 4).

January 29, Sunday: Workshop Winter Tree/Twig Identification, 2-4 pm, Susquehanna Riverlands Education Center, Climbers Run, 226 Frogtown Road, Pequea PA 17565. Note: in case of bad weather, there will be no make-up date; those who have signed up will receive an email approximately 24 hours in advance. Check the website for information. Leaders: Julie Ambler and John Ambler. If you plan to attend, PLEASE email or call Linda Ferich ( or 717-392-7891, x 213), by Wed., Jan. 25.

We will use branching patterns, twigs, and bark characteristics to identify common tree species. If you have a magnifying glass, it would be helpful to bring it. This workshop will be conducted together with the Lancaster Co. Conservancy and can accommodate 30 people. A donation of $10 is suggested, but not mandatory.

Carpooling Available: Please meet at 1:30 pm at the North Museum parking lot to carpool to the Climbers Run Preserve. If you would like to carpool, please let Linda Ferich know when you contact her that you are planning to come to the workshop.

Directions: From Lancaster city, go south on Prince St. (right lane). At the traffic light just beyond the SPCA, turn slight right onto PA 324 S. In New Danville (first traffic light), turn left (PA 324 S and PA 741 join briefly). At the next light (Long Lane), continue straight on PA 324 S for about 7 miles. In Marticville, turn left onto Frogtown Road and go 0.5 mile to the Climbers Run Nature Preserve entrance road. 39.9244 -76.2980

February 11, Saturday: Extracurricular event at the North Museum. We've been asked to participate in the “Science of Attraction” event from 11 to 5. Contact Julie Ambler, who plans on demonstrating how UV patterns on flowers are designed to attract specific pollinators.

February 16, Meeting: Brandon Tennis, “Stewardship of Natural Lands in Lancaster County.” Brandon, who holds a Master's in Ecological Design, is the Director of Stewardship for the Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC). He will inform us in general about the LCC, about stewardship, and about mapping bioregions. This will be the introduction to a project Muhlenberg members will be doing in conjunction with the LCC, which is to map native and invasive plants at Shenks Ferry over the course of two years. Anyone who is interested in working on this project should speak to Julie Ambler or Linda Ferich at the meeting or email (Julie: or Linda:

March 16, Meeting: Ruthann Richards, “G.H.E. Muhlenberg: A Renaissance Man.” Ruthann, a long-time member, secretary, and newsletter editor, has degrees in musicology and German. She will speak about the fascinating life of our namesake, an internationally known botanist, as well as a linguist, a minister, and a writer about German grammar. He was the first person to describe some plants of this area, and various other plants were named for him.


March 25, Saturday: Field trip to Tucquan Glen (LCC), 8:30-12 p.m. Details below, p. 4.

April 20, Meeting: John Ambler, “Plant collecting in the 1930s by the Muhlenberg Botanical Club of Lancaster.” John, a Muhlenberg Meadow Keeper and Tucquan Glen Volunteer Land Steward, has degrees in Chemistry, Soil Science, and Plant Physiology. He will speak about five members who made extensive plant collections in the 1930’s, often on club field trips: President William Auxer, Secretary Louise Tanger, Treasurer Emma Groff, Ruth Sener, and Mary Grebinger. We are fortunate to have over 10,000 of their specimens at the North Museum and Millersville University.

April 23, Sunday: Field trip to Shenks Ferry Nature Preserve. This will be the introduction to our Service Project for the Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC), 9 am-12 noon.

May 7, Sunday: Field trip to Money Rocks County Park, 1-3 pm.

May 18: Annual Member’s meeting and plant exchange.

Bring slides or photos in other formats to share, as well as copies of old magazines, and, of course, plants to exchange. Although the focus is on native plants, others are welcome. Take home more than you brought! New members are always encouraged to help themselves, whether or not they have brought any plants. Remember that we need to keep the Kinsey Room neat and tidy so we will be welcome in the future, so make sure they are properly potted.

May 20, Saturday: Extracurricular event: MBS Members have been asked to help with the butterfly garden at the North Museum. For more information, contact Julie Ambler. We will have a list of plants in that garden and will try to anticipate which plants will be blooming and attracting butterflies.

May 21, Sunday: Field trip to the Bellaire Woods Nature Preserve (LCC), 1-3 pm.

June 24, Saturday: All-day field trip to Goat Hill Wild Plant Sanctuary (PA State Natural Area, Serpentine Barrens), 9 am - 3 pm.

July 23, Sunday: Field trip to the Shenks Ferry Nature Preserve, a continuation of our Service Project for Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC), 1-3 pm.

Early August 12, Saturday: All-day field trip to Otter Point, MD, for a canoe trip ( Sam Jones is the contact person (see below because reservations must be made by early May).

August 26, Saturday: Field trip to the Lancaster County Central Park Meadow. 9 am-12 noon.



Unless otherwise indicated, all directions are based on starting in Lancaster City. Destinations marked LCC are Lancaster County Conservancy properties; please notify the person indicated by the day prior to the trip since the LCC would like to know in advance how many will be present at their properties.

March 25, Saturday: Tucquan Glen, 8:30 to noon (rain date: Sunday, March 26,1:30 to 5 pm). An event related to the winter workshop, this will consist of a survey around a variety of large trees to determine what other trees are nearby and what young trees are coming in. It will allow us to compare the past and future of the forest. By surveying around certain trees now, we will be able to follow the same site in the future. For example, herbaceous plants could be studied at the sites. Moderately difficult.

Leader: John Ambler ( or 394-1121). All participants must register and agree to carpool due to the limited parking at Tucquan Glen. We will meet at Holtwood Park at 8:30 and carpool to the site.

Directions: From the Buck, go west on PA 372 for 4.5 miles. Turn right onto Old Holtwood Rd. Continue for 1 mile (passing Drytown Rd.). Bear right at the Y onto Street Rd. Go 0.1 mile west on Street Rd. to the large parking area at the Holtwood Recreation Area. Coordinates: 39.8406 -76.3165. (Using Kelly’s Run Nature Preserve in Google Maps will also get you there.)

April 23, Sunday: Shenks Ferry Nature Preserve, 9 am - noon. This will be the introduction to our service project for the Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC). We will be surveying the plants according to directions from the LCC. Easy walking. Leaders: Julie Ambler and Linda Ferich. Contact Linda at 717-392-7891, x213 or

Directions: Go south on Prince St. (right lane) to the intersection with PA 324 S (at the corner just past the SPCA). At the signal, bear slight right onto PA 324. Continue for 2.8 mi. into New Danville; proceed straight through the light and continue 3.8 more miles, through Conestoga. At the Y (by a church), bear left onto River Corner Rd. Drive 1.3 miles to the intersection with River Rd. Cross it and jog a few yards left onto Shenks Ferry Rd. Go 1.1 miles to Green Hill Rd., where you turn left. Then turn right on the dirt road down the hill, through the tunnel, to the Shenk's Ferry Wildflower Preserve gate (0.8 mile). Parking is limited, so on busy days you have to park someplace between the tunnel and the gate. 39.9020 -76.3667 Note: Do not try to exit via Green Hill Rd. going south!

May 7, Sunday: Money Rocks County Park 1-3 pm. This area is part of the New Holland watershed and is very rocky. Difficult walking Leader: Sheryl Schultz, (

Directions: two options: 1) Take PA 23 east through New Holland; in Blue Ball, turn right (east) on US 322. OR 2) Take US 222 toward Ephrata/Reading; exit right (east) at US-322 E/Division Highway.

From here the directions are the same: continue on US 322 for approximately 4 miles to Beartown/Narvon. Turn right onto Narvon Road, go one mile. The parking lot is on the right, across from Alexander Drive. 40.0952 -75.9819

May 21, Sunday: Bellaire Woods Nature Preserve (LCC), Prospect Road, Mount Joy Twp.1-3 pm. Moderate walking. Leader: Sheryl Schultz (

From Lancaster, follow PA 283 W to Elizabethtown/Rheems exit. Go north (right) on Cloverleaf Rd. (which becomes Greentree Rd.) for 2.2 miles to “T” intersection with Elizabethtown Rd. Turn right on Elizabethtown Rd., then first left onto Prospect Rd, and go one mile to parking area on right. Note: since parking is very limited, we may have to park at the bike trail and carpool. (Details in spring newsletter.) 40.1899 -76.5636


August 12: All-day Saturday canoe trip at the Otter Point, MD, Nature Center. ( Sam Jones ( will be the contact person and will organize it. A second contact person: Julie Ambler.

The park is 50 miles from F&M College. Otter Point charges $10/person, which covers the fee for a canoe, life vest, and paddle, as well as for the naturalist who will lead the trip. The minimum is 10 people and the maximum is 22. There will be two people per canoe and the trip will be limited to adults over 18. Sam noted that it took over an hour to get out to the estuary and over an hour back. It was very leisurely, the water was still, no current, a very relaxed pace. Plants he saw included Joepye weed, swamp loosestrife, pickerelweed, marsh pink, cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, plus bald eagles, osprey and lots of butterflies. Reservations should be made by mid May, so please contact Sam earlier than that if you are interested. A further update will be sent along with one of the spring field trip or meeting reminders.

In memoriam:

For those who are unaware, we lost three members during 2016:

Joan King, our long-time Co-President and dedicated field trip leader since the 1980's. We will sorely miss her expertise in all matters botanical.

Dr. Henry Hufnagle, a long-time member who was active in the “reconstitution” of the Muhlenberg Botanical Society in the 1970's; and

Dr. Joe Richardson, who headed the Biology Dept. at F&M for many years; he and his wife Alice were dedicated, active members (also involved in the 1970's “reconstitution”) until their move to NY after his retirement.


In the comments received related to the October appeal, several members asked how the dues are used, a valid question that hasn't been discussed for a long time. These are the typical annual expenditures:

$300 annually to the North Museum to cover the cost of using the meeting room (this may increase).

Lancaster Co. Conservancyrefreshmentsspeakers

Miscellaneous expenses such as the renewal of our domain name ($36.34, good for five years) and printing and postage (now minimal due to email).

Typically the expenses run approximately $600-700 per year including a donation to the Lanc. Co. Conservancy. That is approximately the amount currently in the Treasury. For the prior two years not enough dues were paid to cover expenses--at least in part due to the lack of a newsletter with its reminders, which we hope to change with this reorganization.

The Board agreed that dues should be raised to $15/household, or $10 for students not included in a household. John Wolff has graciously stepped in as interim Treasurer on Matt's resignation (he's planning to hike the Appalachian Trail this spring!). Please send dues to John Wolff or pay at the January/February workshops or meetings.

John Wolff

2640 Breezewood Dr.

Lancaster, Pa. 17601-4804

Include Name, address, phone, and correct e-mail address.5

Mike Slater,
Jan 19, 2017, 4:57 PM