GPNPS logo
Home   |   The Great Plains bio-geographic region   |   Events   |   Membership   |   Contact

Events - Archive

2017
Aug 21   •   Grassland Botany under the Full Solar Eclipse
Our August 21 field-trip is on a Monday.
We will view the 2017 Full Solar Eclipse a little before noon in a remote privately owned grassland area. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the plains botany and experience a full solar eclipse in a wonderfully remote viewing location.
Viewing any solar eclipse requires special dark glasses or can cost you your vision. You must bring special solar eclipse viewing glasses, available online, not expensive. Or you can use welding goggles: #12 or #14.
You can easily find plenty of information regarding the eclipse. Just search "solar eclipse 2017" at your local library or on-line.
Allow at least 3 hrs driving time from Rapid City, SD or Cheyenne, WY.
Bring water, food, sun protection, rain gear, folding chairs, plant books, bird books, camera, and your friends.
RSVP early for complete planning info. We will mail you a detailed map & other info beginning approximately 5 weeks prior.
  • RSVP by Aug 15
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
Jul 08   •   Beaver Creek in Wind Cave National Park - including Sanson Ranch
Meet trip co-leaders Timm Richardson (Wind Cave NP Botanist) and Beth Burkhart (GPNPS) at 8 am at the Wind Cave National Park Visitor Center and drive about 2 miles to start hiking from the Centennial Trailhead on Hwy 87. We will hike down Beaver Creek drainage about 7 miles, finishing at the Sanson homestead. Arrangements will be made for vehicle transport of hikers from the endpoint back to their cars. Note: The Sanson addition is not open at this time to unescorted public.

Hiking will be gradual downhill on single-track trail from the start to the boundary of the old park/Sanson addition. From there, hiking will be gradual downhill on old 2-track trails to the Sanson homestead. We will explore and discuss vegetation in the ecotone where prairie meets forest in the southern Black Hills. And consider the miracle and mystery of surface water interacting with the fascinating limestone-based geology of the area!

Bring plenty of water, lunch and snacks. Dress in layers so you are prepared for the full range of possible summer weather including heat and thunderstorms. Wear comfortable boots for hiking. Bring sunscreen and sunhat. DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE BACKCOUNTRY OF WIND CAVE NP.

Camping is available in Wind Cave NP at Elk Mountain Campground for $18/night. Occupancy is on a first come-first served basis. Amenities include toilets and water. See nps.gov/wica/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm for more information.
  • RSVP by Jul 06
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159
Jun 17   •   Open House at the Log Cabin Visitor Center of the GPBG
Open House at the Log Cabin Visitor Center at the Great Plains Botanic Garden. 9:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. Come whenever you like and stay as long as you like. Short walks through the display gardens which are under development now at the Visitor Center. Longer walks through the open grounds. Gift shop will be open.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart & Cindy Reed
  • Beth at 605-673-3159 or Cindy at 605-745-3397
Jun 09-11   •   Great Plains and Wyoming Native Plant Societies' Weekend of Extraordinary Black Hills Hikes and Destinations
Visit Wyoming Native Plant Society website (wynps.org) for additional details and to register.
Check in Friday afternoon at the Crook County Courthouse Community Room (309 Cleveland St, Sundance, WY)

SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY NIGHT, JUNE 9
Meet 6:30pm at Crook County Courthouse to drive 25 miles east of Sundance to Bear Gulch for full moon hike led by Rylan Sprague, Northern Hills District Botanist. The length of the walk is about 1 mile with frequent stops to observe the many occurrences of culturally significant plants. Hike will last about 1 hour.

SATURDAY, JUNE 10
Half day hike - 1.5 mile hike on Joyner Ridge Trail hike led by Rene Ohms, Devils Tower NM Chief of Resource Management, or staff. Meet at the trailhead at 9am (an entrance fee of $15 or pass is required to enter Devils Tower NM). The trail traverses beautiful ponderosa pine forests and meadows of wildflowers, with excellent opportunities to view Devils Tower.

Full day hike - An easy to moderate hike (with potential for a more rigorous section) in Englewood Springs Botanical Area, site of the most orchid species on Black Hills National Forest. Rylan Sprague, Northern Hills District Botanist, will lead the hike and discuss the diversity of plant life that led to the area's designation as a Botanical Area.

Full day hike - Black Hills Montane Grasslands (an endemic plant community) with Botrychiums (moonworts) in the forecast! This driving tour with limited walking will be led by Nick Drozda, Bearlodge District Botanist.

6 pm - Informal banquet (catered by Christine Galloway of Four Seasons Catering) - at Devils Tower NM covered picnic shelter. Menu: pulled beef sandwiches (with vegetarian and vegan options), baked potato bar, Waldorf salad, chocolate cake, and a cookie tray for hikes the next day. Cost is $20/person.

8 pm - Dinner will be followed by an evening program at Devils Tower NM amphitheater. Speaker is Dave Ode, author of Dakota Flora and long-time SD State Botanist. You do not need to have dinner with us to enjoy the program!

SUNDAY, JUNE 11
7 am - Early morning WyNPS business meeting at Crook County Courthouse. Coffee and some food provided.

Full day hike - Visit McIntosh Fen Botanical Area with Kelly Warnke, Mystic District Botanist, to see a unique wetland resulting from unusual hydrologic/geologic conditions. Meet at Crook County Courthouse at 8 am or at the trailhead (approx. 2 miles west of Deerfield Lake) at 9:30am. McIntosh Fen is home to the only population of sageleaf willow (Salix candida) in South Dakota and one of a few populations of autumn willow (Salix serissima). Forest Service restoration projects have attempted to repair years of hydrologic alterations that occurred when the land was in private ownership.

Full day hike - Hike in Dugout Gulch Botanical Area with Beth Burkhart, retired federal lands botanist, Great Plains NPS, and past Wyoming NPS president. Meet at Crook County Courthouse at 9 am or at the Dugout Gulch Botanical Area trailhead (6 miles south of Beulah, WY exit off I-90 on FS Road 863) at 9:30 am. The hike will involve a gradual uphill walk on a wide, established trail for 2.3 miles. Along the way, we will search for numerous disjunct boreal species such as enchanter's nightshade and foxtail sedge in oak/ironwood, paper birch/hazelnut and riparian plant communities. Participants can turn around and head back at any time that meets their schedules. For those wanting a longer hike, we have the option of adding on a 4.4 mile loop on less-developed trail with moderate grades through ponderosa pine communities. The full 9-mile hike would be completed about 3 pm.

Two group campsites have been reserved at Devils Tower NM. More information will be posted with the registration form at wynps.org.
Forest Service campgrounds are also available and there are motels in Sundance.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159
2016
Jul 16   •   Badlands National Park - Part II - CANCELLED
CANCELLED: Good luck to Milt Haar in his new job!
Jul 16   •   Explore Englewood Springs Botanical Area
ENGLEWOOD SPRINGS BOTANICAL AREA
Great Plains Native Plant Society is hosting a field trip to Englewood Springs Botanical Area in the Black Hills National Forest. Members of Great Plains Native Plant Society, Norbeck Society, Sierra Club, and guests are invited!
When: Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 10:00 am
Meeting place: Englewood Trailhead for Mickelson Trail (From Deer Mountain turnoff on Hwy 85, go approximately ¾ mile south on Hwy 85 and turn onto paved road to Rochford (FS Rd 17). Turn left/east after about ½ mile onto FS Rd 227 and go a little less than a mile to Englewood Trailhead.)
Field trip leader: Beth Burkhart, Botanist
We will meet at 10:00 am and proceed to nearby Englewood Springs Botanical Area, the heart of which is composed of artesian spring waters flowing down a steep hillside that become the headwaters of Whitewood Creek. The cool, moist habitat was discovered by botanist Myrtle Kravig in the 1960s to support rare and uncommon orchids and other plant species. The area was designated a Botanical Area on Black Hills NF in 1997 to protect and conserve botanical and hydrological values. We will explore the area in a “leave no trace” manner, identifying and appreciating the unique ecosystem and its plant components.
Bring a picnic lunch to eat at Englewood Springs Botanical Area.
Be prepared for any weather, with sunhat, windbreaker, raincoat, etc.
- Bring a lunch and water.
- NO DOGS PLEASE, not even on a leash.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605- 673-3159
Jun 18   •   Great Plains Garden
We will gather at 10:00 am at the Great Plains Garden Visitor Center, 14229 Windbreak Road, Hermosa, SD (just off of and visible from Hwy 79) for a morning walk through the grounds to find and list as many wildflowers as may be in bloom at the time.
Bring something to eat & your folding chair if you wish to join in a pot-luck picnic afterwards. We will also talk about plans and schedules to develop the Gardens.
Bring cameras, plant books, bird books, sun and insect protection, drinking water, snacks and guests. Contact one of the trip leader for more specific directions to the site.
Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our fieldtrips.
This event will be cancelled in the case of rain.
Trip co-leaders:
Beth Burkhart 605-673-3159 or fieldtrips@gpnps.org
Cindy Reed 605-745-3397 or c.reed@gpnps.org
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605- 673-3159
May 07   •   Badlands National Park - Part I - CANCELLED
CANCELLED Meet at 10:00 am, Saturday, May 7 at Wall Auto Livery, just off I-90 Exit 110 on the north side of the interstate (311 South Boulevard). Milt Haar, Badlands NP ecologist, will lead the field trip. From Wall, the group will travel through the western side of Badlands National Park stopping for short hikes at overlooks and at Sage Creek Campground. Milt’s goal is to provide participants the opportunity to see Barr’s milkvetch (Astragalus barrii), a regional endemic species (NatureServe conservation rank G3S3), in flower. There will also be a nice variety of other spring grassland forbs in bloom.
Bring a lunch, water, sun & insect protection, and wear layered clothing to be prepared for variable weather. NO DOGS PLEASE. Lunch stop will be at the campground where there are vault toilets (Sage Creek Campground).
Expect to return to I-90 between 3 and 4 pm - unless the group decides otherwise!
RSVP to Trip leader: Milt Haar 605-433-5285, 507-829-0251(cell) or mjhaar@hotmail.com
  • Trip leader: Milt Haar
  • 605-433-5285 or 507-829-0251 (cell)
2015
Jun 02-05   •   Grassland Wildflowers in Little Bighorn National Monument, etc.
This trip is with the Rocky Mtn Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society who will be traveling from Denver. GPNPS members may join their group for all or part of the trip.
Rendezvous at the Alamo Motel parking lot in Sheridan, WY at 8:00am on Tuesday June 2.
Join the e-mail list for this trip by contacting the event leader. You will receive detailed information as it becomes available.
  • RSVP by May 25
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed, GPNPS contact
  • 605-745-3397
2014
May 24   •   Grassland Wildflowers in Badlands National Park
Meet at 10 am, Saturday, May 24 at Wall Auto Livery, just off I-90 Exit 110 on the north side of the interstate (311 South Boulevard). Milt Haar, Badlands plant ecologist, will lead the group, traveling south of Wall to hike in the Sage Creek Wilderness of Badlands National Park. He will customize our hike based on what he scopes out to be in bloom the week before! Milt hopes to provide participants the opportunity to see Barr’s milkvetch (Astragalus barrii), a regional endemic species (NatureServe conservation rank G3S3), in flower. There will also be a nice variety of other spring grassland forbs in bloom. Bring a lunch, water, sun & insect protection, and wear layered clothing to be prepared for variable weather. NO DOGS PLEASE. Lunch stop will be at a location where there are bathrooms (ranger station, Sage Creek Campground, etc.). Expect to return to I-90 between 3 and 4 pm - unless the group decides otherwise!
  • Trip leader: Milt Haar
  • 605-433-5285, 507-829-0251(cell)
2013
Jul 20   •   Dugout Gulch Botanical Area
This will be a fairly easy 4 hrs of botanizing, perhaps covering a mile or two, in the northern Black Hills. We are likely to see the yellow lady slipper, foxtail sedge, highbush cranberry, and many others.
Meet at 10:00am at the Beulah, WY exit off I-90, at the gas station/post office there on the north side of the highway. We will car caravan from there to the Dugout Gulch Botanical Area trailhead.
Bring sunscreen, camera, plant books, bird books, lunch & snacks, drinking water, full insect protection, and guests.
Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
Minimum of 5 participants required. Please RSVP early.
  • RSVP by Jul 16
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-745-1149, 605-673-3159
May 25   •   Spring Wildflowers at the Garden Site
We will gather at 10:00am at the Great Plains Garden headquarters, 14229 Windbreak Road, Hermosa, SD for a morning walk through the grounds to find and list as many wildflowers as may be in bloom at the time.
Bring something to eat & your folding chair if you wish to join us for a pot-luck picnic afterwards.
Bring cameras, plant books, bird books, sun & insect protection, drinking water, snacks & guests. Contact the trip leader for more specific directions to the site.
Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our fieldtrips.
This event will be cancelled in the case of rain.
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
May 18   •   Badlands National Park wildflower trip
Milt Haar, plant ecologist at Badlands National Park, will be leading this spring field trip in the park to learn and enjoy its native plants.
We will meet at 10:00 am at the Wall Auto Livery at the north side of exit 110 off I-90 near Wall, SD. From there we will car caravan to sites he will have scouted a few days earlier and hope to go into the Sage Creek Wilderness Area. We expect to see large numbers of Astragalus barrii and other spring-flowering plants on this trip.
Bring your lunch, snacks, sun and insect protection, camera, plant books, etc. This event will be cancelled in case of rain, possibly postponed to June 1.
There is no minimum number of participants required for this trip to take place, but the leader does request that you RSVP either to the phone or e-mail address listed below.
Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
  • RSVP by May 15
  • Trip leader: Milton Haar
  • 507-829-0251
2012
Apr 28   •   Easter Daisy Time on the Grasslands
This is an alternate date for the Apr 21 field-trip. Please indicate your preference by RSVP. Weather and number of participants will guide which weekend is chosen. So far, the weather is indicating an earlier bloom than normal.
Cindy Reed and Marc Lamphere will lead a short afternoon trip to see the Townsendias, many other wildflowers, and a community of very old cedar trees on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands near Edgemont, SD.
This trip is a short easy walk after driving to the site, approximately 20 minutes from Edgemont, SD.
We will meet at the "Fresh Start" truck stop on Hwy 18 at Edgemont and depart at 1:00 pm. Your leaders will be there having lunch an hour early.
Bring your hat, sunscreen, snacks, plenty of water, and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
Minimum of 6 participants required for trip to take place.
  • RSVP by Apr 14
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
Apr 21   •   Easter Daisy Time on the Grasslands
This trip has an alternate date of Apr 28. Please indicate your preference by RSVP. Weather and number of participants will guide which weekend is chosen. So far, the weather is indicating an earlier bloom than normal, so we are leaning toward April 21.
Cindy Reed and Marc Lamphere will lead a short afternoon trip to see the Townsendias, many other wildflowers, and a community of very old cedar trees on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands near Edgemont, SD.
This trip is a short easy walk after driving to the site, approximately 20 minutes from Edgemont, SD.
We will meet at the "Fresh Start" truck stop on Hwy 18 at Edgemont and depart at 1:00 pm. Your leaders will be there having lunch an hour early.
Bring your hat, sunscreen, snacks, plenty of water, and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
Minimum of 6 participants required for trip to take place.
  • RSVP by Apr 14
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
2011
Sep 10   •   Dugout Gulch Botanical Area - cancelled, will re-schedule
Sorry, this is CANCELLED. We will re-schedule!
--> Join Beth Burkhart and representatives from Bearlodge Ranger District in the Wyoming foothills of the northern Black Hills to explore this unique spot, designated by the Black Hills National Forest as a "Botanical Area".
We are likely to see the yellow lady's slipper, foxtail sedge, highbush cranberry, and many others.
Bring your hat, sunscreen, lunch and snacks, plenty of water, and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-745-1149
Aug 20   •   Flower-filled Meadows of the High Black Hills
Visit several flower-filled meadows of the high Black Hills on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

Meet at 9 am in the parking lot of the Supervisor's Office of Black Hills National Forest, in Custer, SD (Highway 16/385 on the north edge of town). We will caravan to the Limestone Plateau northwest of Custer to visit Black Hills montane grasslands.

The wonderful wildflower shows in these meadows have been recognized since the time of Custer (1874): "Every step of our march that day was amid flowers of the most exquisite colors and perfume ... It was a strange sight to glance back at the advancing columns of cavalry, and behold the men with beautiful bouquets in their hands, while the head-gear of the horses was decorated with wreaths of flowers fit to crown a queen of May."

Black Hills montane grasslands have changed since Custer's time. Join us to discuss how, why and what might be done. We will visit several sites, with short walks at each. Expect to be in the field 4 - 6 hours. Bring food, water and sun protection (and bug protection just in case).

Field trip leaders: Hollis Marriott, a free-lance botanist surveying Black Hills montane grasslands for the State of South Dakota, and several other botanists working on the project. For additional information, contact Hollis at 307 742 9299 or hollis@stanfordalumni.org.
  • Trip leader: Hollis Marriott
  • 307-742-9299
Jun 25   •   An Afternoon at the Great Plains Garden site
Saturday, June 25, 2011, 1:00-4:00 pm.
Last minute info: The weather is great, event not cancelled, see you there!
If you want to come early, bring your lunch and join the picnic at noon.
During the afternoon, GPNPS botanists will lead an easy walk through a flowery part of our 350-acre grassland site. You'll also be able to tour our log-cabin visitor center, and get an idea how the site will eventually be organized.
Our afternoon will be quite informal, with various hiking groups formed so you can choose how strenuous you'd like your visit to be.
Bring: your hat, sunscreen, lunch and snacks, plenty of water, camera and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips. Thank you.
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
Jun 04   •   Moonworts in the Southern Black Hills
Meet a Moonwort! (Botrychium campestre – prairie moonwort, a small ephemeral fern-like plant, also called Iowa moonwort) Saturday, June 4, 2011
– Meet at 9 am in the parking lot of USDA Forest Service Fall Ranger District/Buffalo Gap National Grassland office, Hot Springs, SD (on US Hwy 18 Bypass across from the Mammoth Site). We will car caravan to Forest Service property along Cascade Rd to find and view prairie moonwort and discuss its natural history, habitat, and general place in the prairie world. We may car caravan to other nearby FS locations to search for prairie moonwort. We will finish with car caravan to Wind Cave National Park to find and view prairie and slender moonworts. We will not walk very far (perhaps 1-2 miles during about 4 hrs), but searching for moonworts often involves crawling on hands and knees!

Trip leaders: Beth Burkhart, Wind Cave NP Botanist and Matt Scott, FS Hell Canyon RD Botanist.

Bring: water, sun protection (hat, sunblock, etc.), lunch. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.

Wear: long pants, good walking shoes.

Black Hills Botrychium Field Guide by Dr. Daryl Mergen will be available for purchase ($4.50).

****NOTE: NO DOGS please, not even on a leash. Thank you.****
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-745-1149
May 01   •   Easter Daisies in bloom
Cindy Reed and Marc Lamphere will lead a short afternoon trip to see the Townsendias, many other wildflowers, and a community of very old cedar trees on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands near Edgemont, SD.
We will take a short easy walk after driving to the site, approximately 20 minutes from Edgemont, SD.
Rendezvous at the diner called "Remember When" on the west side of Main Street (2nd Street) in Edgemont at 1:00 pm. This is a good place to have lunch, and will make food to go.
Bring your hat, sunscreen, snacks, plenty of water, and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
Apr 23   •   Easter Daisies in Bloom
Cindy Reed and Marc Lamphere will lead a short afternoon trip to see the Townsendias, many other wildflowers, and a community of very old cedar trees on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands near Edgemont, SD.
This trip is a short easy walk after driving to the site, approximately 20 minutes from Edgemont, SD.
Rendezvous at the diner called "Remember When" on the west side of Main Street (2nd Street) in Edgemont at 1:00 pm. This is a good place to have lunch, and will make food to go.
Bring your hat, sunscreen, snacks, plenty of water, and full insect protection. Sorry, no dogs allowed on any of our field trips.
  • RSVP by Apr 22
  • Trip leader: Cindy Reed
  • 605-745-3397
2009
Aug 15   •   Englewood Springs and Black Fox area in the Black Hills
Englewood Springs Botanical Area (south of Lead-Deadwood) and Black Fox Botanical Area (west of Rochford) - visit with District Rangers from Spearfish and Rapid City.

FIELD TRIP: BLACK HILLS BOTANICAL AREA SAMPLER
Great Plains Native Plant Society is hosting a field trip to Englewood Springs Botanical Area and Black Fox Botanical Area in the Black Hills National Forest. Members of Great Plains Native Plant Society, Norbeck Society, Sierra Club, and guests are invited!
When: Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 9:00 am
Meeting place: Englewood Trailhead for Mickelson Trail (From Deer Mountain turnoff on Hwy 85, go approximately ¾ mile south and turn onto paved road to Rochford (FS Rd 17). Turn left/east about ½ mile on FS Rd 227 and go a little less than a mile to Englewood Trailhead.
Field trip leader: Beth Burkhart, Botanist
We will meet at 9:00 am and proceed to nearby Englewood Springs Botanical Area, the heart of which is composed of artesian spring waters flowing down a steep hillside that become the headwaters of Whitewood Creek. The cool, moist habitat was discovered by botanist Myrtle Kravig in the 1960s to support rare and uncommon orchids and other plant species. We will explore the botanical area in a “leave no trace” manner, identifying and appreciating the unique ecosystem and its plant components.
Bring a picnic lunch to eat at Englewood Springs Botanical Area. We will drive to Black Fox Botanical Area (about 20 miles) and begin the second part of the field trip at 1:00 pm at Black Fox Campground (on FS Rd 233 just south of intersection of FS Roads 233 and 231). Black Fox valley contains an iron fen and riparian area surrounded by northern white spruce forest and was first surveyed in 1892 by Per Axel Rydberg. He documented northern sweet coltsfoot (Petasites sagittatus), a plant of boreal environments that is present today. We will investigate the wetland areas and spruce forest for rare and uncommon plant species, again in a “leave no trace” manner.
A highlight of this field trip is participation by Black Hills NF District Rangers Rhonda O’Byrne (Northern Hills District) and Bob Thompson (Mystic District). Eight Botanical Areas were designated by Black Hills National Forest in 1997 for management emphasis on conserving and enhancing areas of botanical interest. One desired future condition for Botanical Areas from the Forest Plan is: “Vegetation, habitat, soil productivity, and water quality are usually unaffected by humans.” The District Rangers will discuss and answer questions about past, present, and future management of Englewood Springs and Black Fox Botanical Areas.
- Be prepared for any weather, with sunhat, windbreaker, raincoat, etc.
- Bring a lunch and water.
- NO DOGS PLEASE, not even on a leash.

  • RSVP by Aug 08
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-745-1149
Jun 21   •   postponed until next year (2010) - Barr's Milkvetch at Railroad Buttes
Railroad Buttes, Buffalo Gap National Grassland (home of Barr's milkvetch [Astragalus barrii] and proposed concentrated OHV site)
  • RSVP by Jun 14
  • Trip leader: Grace Kostel
  • 605-745-1149
May 16   •   Bloodroot in the Black Hils - registration required
View Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot) in the Black Hills.
Trip leader: Beth Burkhart.

Minimum group size (or event will be cancelled): 5

Meet at noon in Deadwood in the grocery store parking lot at 124 Sherman Street (near the Courthouse).
We'll drive to the site together from there and spend 3-4 hrs exploring a large occurrence of Bloodroot. We will identify the native species associated with bloodroot in the Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak) & Ostrya virginiana (Ironwood) Forest.

Be prepared for any weather - from sunhat to windbreaker to raincoat! Bring water and sunscreen, but please leave dogs at home. If you have questions, contact Beth Burkhart at (605) 673-3159 (home) or (605)673-9343 (work).

This Bloodroot occurs in moist forests from Nova Scotia south to Florida and west to Manitoba and Kansas. In the Black Hills, it is at the westernmost edge of its range and disjunct from the main portion of its range. It occupies floodplains, forested terraces, drainage bottoms, and north-facing slopes in open, rich hardwood plant communities. The currently known range in the Black Hills is limited to the northeast portion of the Black Hills between 3,940 to 5,000 ft.
Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot) blooms in late March through May, with the flowers appearing before the leaves are fully grown. Flowering also occurs before the tree and shrub overstory are leafed out. The species is speculated to be declining globally. It is probably stable in parts of its range, though it is likely declining locally through much of its range due to the combination of habitat conversion and collection from wild populations (in the eastern U.S.).
Sanguinaria canadensis is widely cultivated as a medicinal herb both within and outside of its normal range. Native American peoples of eastern North America used bloodroot to treat a variety of ailments, but the species was consistently used as a cough medicine and to treat dermatological and gastrointestinal problems. Its colored latex also served as an orange-red dye. No traditional uses of bloodroot are known for the Lakota peoples of the Black Hills region.

  • RSVP by May 09
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-3159 (h), 605-745-1149 (w)
2008
May 18   •   Bloodroot in the Black Hills - rescheduled
Re-scheduled for Spring, 2009.
  • Trip leader: Beth Burkhart
  • 605-673-9343
2007
Sep 08-09   •   Signal Hill Research Natural Area
In the Sand Hills near Halsey and Thedford, Nebraska, Chuck Butterfield and Grace Kostel will lead us in a fall survey of the Signal Hill Research Natural Area - Nebraska NF. There has been no domestic grazing, bison, or fire in this area since well before it was established in 1952, and it is becoming overrun with woody species. Reference plots installed when it was being evaluated have not been read since the 1950's. These plots need to be re-read to evaluate the current vegetative species composition. This is an opportunity to help complete a needed inventory, and experience the unique plant communities of the Sand Hills. The route to Signal Hill runs through 'hand planted' forests of ponderosa, eastern red cedar, and jack pine, including an area of the forest and grasslands which burned in a wildfire in January of 2006.

The idea for this trip came to Mary Lata when she tried to obtain identification of a gentian she saw on the Bessey Ranger District near Halsey last September which, apparently, had yet to be documented in that part of Nebraska. Among plains botanists, the Sand Hills are known to be populated by unique communities of plant species, with tallgrass species, such as Big Bluestem side by side with hairy grama or buffalograss.

This is a two day trip; you may join for any part of, or all of it. Available lodging/sleeping includes two campgrounds on the forest, and three motels within 15 minutes.
Jul 14   •   Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Grace Kostel will lead us to a site on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland near Edgemont, SD. We will look at the existing vegetation to see land management in action, uses of the vegetation, and how the vegetation responds to grazing and drought. Kostel will lead a discussion about native grassland and climate change.

Meet at Edgemont, SD at Nelson’s Conoco (south side of US Hwy 18) north parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Caravan to site on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. We will spend our morning botanizing on mesas and finish by hiking through a canyon - easy to moderate effort, maybe 1.5-3 miles. You can always skip part of the hike if it seems too far. Breathing the invigorating, pungent scent of sage (released by the unrelenting sun), we will search for plants, hunt for short-horned lizards, and watch for ferruginous hawk nests built on mesa walls. We will be on the lookout for clues that will help us understand the impact of global warming on the northern Great Plains. Field trip chief Grace Kostel will botanize and discuss what effects climate change may bring and what these will mean to the prairie. As we leave, there will be a brief stop where Grace will have a book prize for the individual with the most correct answers to some questions about plant communities!

Please RSVP with number in your party.
Minimum 5 participants, & cancelled in case of rain.

Be prepared: IT IS LIKELY TO BE VERY HOT and there are frequently rattlesnakes.
Bring: water, lunch, sun protection (hat, sunblock, etc.) and good walking shoes.
NOTE: NO DOGS please. Not even on leash. Thank you
  • RSVP by Jul 10
  • Trip leader: Grace Kostel
  • (605)642-6543
Jun 09   •   Flying Heart Ranch
Beth Burkhart will guide our visit to the Flying Heart Ranch near Hay Springs, Nebraska. This is an easy walk through a mixture of hardwood draws, upland grasslands, & riparian areas within the Pine Ridge Escarpment of northern Nebraska. Many of the early species should still be flowering.
May 19   •   Dark Canyon
The Norbeck Society invites us to join Dave Ode, SD State Botanist, on a short field trip from 1pm-3pm into the Dark Canyon area west of Rapid City, SD with hopes of spotting numerous early spring flowering beauties. You are urged to attend his presentation that morning from 10:00 am - noon at the Faculty Lounge on the second floor of the Classroom Building of the SDSM&T Campus, 501 E. St. Joseph Street, Rapid City, SD. [map link] Dave will be showing some of his photos and doing readings from his recent book. We break for lunch, then the field trip is from 1pm-3pm. Meet at the parking lot in front of Surbeck Center on the SDSM&T campus. Carpooling is recommended, as the destination site has limited parking.
2005
Sep 17   •   Slim Buttes - CANCELLED
Slim Buttes, in northwestern South Dakota. Joint field trip leaders will be Burkhart and Elaine Ebbert, TNC botanist.
Jul 23   •   Black Fox Botanical Area
Destination changed to the Black Fox Botanical Area on the Black Hills National Forest (west of Rochford). It's an iron fen with lots of interesting vegetation and issues.
Jun 04-05   •   Thunder Basin NG in Wyoming
Join our car caravan in Gillette on Saturday morning, June 4, at 8:30am in the parking lot of the Best Western Tower Lodge, 109 N. Hwy 14-16, Gillette, WY. We'll be heading north to the Spring Creek Unit of TBNG. You are welcome to bring camping gear and camp out on TBNG Saturday night. There are no designated campgrounds on TBNG, so it will be primitive camping with no open fires.

We'll pick a meeting location for Sunday morning so if some people want to return to Gillette for dinner and overnight, we can all rendezvous for continued plant exploration on Sunday.

Gillette lodging:

Best Western Tower Lodge
109 N. Hwy 14-16
(307) 686-2210

Super 8 (.3 mi from the Tower Lodge)
208 Decker Ct.
(307) 682-8078)
  • RSVP by May 28
May 21   •   Oglala National Grassland
Oglala National Grassland, northwestern Nebraska including Toadstool Park area and possibly Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed. Meet in Hot Springs, SD at the Holiday Inn Express parking lot (by the convention center) at 8:30 am. We'll head down Hwy 71 into Nebraska. You can also meet us at Toadstool Park (northwest of Crawford, NE, check your Nebraska highway map) at about 10:00am. Bring a lunch, water, plant books, binoculars, sunscreen, etc. Barb Beasley, Paleontologist from Nebraska National Forest, will attend. Grace Kostel will be joint field trip leader with Beth Burkhart.
2004
Sep 25   •   Chalk Hills
A trip Beth made with Grace Kostel (seasonal botanist for the last three years on Fall River Ranger District) gave them a fabulous viewing of fall prairie wildflowers, and they want to share the experience with us. The location, east of Fairburn, SD on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, has large lenses of sandy soil intermingled with the more common clay soils. Artemisia filifolia (sand sagebrush) and other sand-loving species abound. Within hiking distance are badlands-type and other interesting geological features. Grace will join Beth as trip leader for this excursion.

Meet at Maverick Junction (5 miles south of Hot Springs) at 9:00am or at the intersection of Hwy 79 and Custer County 719 (E. French Creek Rd) at 9:30am. We'll caravan to the Chalk Hills area on the Buffalo Gap National Grassland (Fall River Ranger District), about 13 miles east of Fairburn and then ca 2 miles south. Bring water, field guides, hand lens, binoculars (fall is good time for raptor-watching on the prairie), a lunch - and appropriate clothing for the weather of the day!

We'll spend about 2 hours leisurely exploring tributary areas to French Creek, which flows into the Cheyenne River. At this location, lenses of sandy soil are interspersed with areas of more typical clay/shale soil, making for an interesting mosaic of vegetation. Some of the sand-loving species we'll see are Artemisia filifolia (sand sagebrush), Andropogon hallii (sand bluestem), Sporobolus cryptandrus (sand dropseed), and Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama). Brilliant colors on the landscape are provided by Ericameria species (Chrysothamnus spp. - rabbitbrush species), Symphyotrichum ericoides (white prairie aster), Liatris punctata (dotted gayfeather), Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster), Solidago species (goldenrod species), and Grindelia squarrosa (curlycup gumweed). After lunch, participants can stay and explore/hike as long as they wish!

NOTE: Canceled in case of rain; also NO DOGS please. While visitors to the national grassland are welcome to bring dogs for personal hikes, this field trip activity involving many people and lots of stopping and close-up viewing is generally not compatible with dogs, even those on leashes.
Jul 24   •   McIntosh Fen
To avoid the heat of the summer season, we'll visit a rare, calcareous fen meadow complex on the Black Hills National Forest northwest of Deerfield Reservoir. The fen and its surrounding uplands were designated a Botanical Area in 1997. This is one of only two known occurrences on BHNF for Salix serissima (autumn willow) and the only known occurrence on BHNF for Salix candida (sage willow). Reed Crook, botanist for BHNF, has been leading the forest monitoring effort on these and other sensitive plant species for the last several years. He will join Burkhart as trip leader.

Meet in Hill City at 9 a.m. - at the public parking lot across the street from the 1880 train. We'll drive up to the fen, which is northwest of Deerfield Lake, and spend 4 or 5 hours investigating the fen and surrounding vegetation. NOTE: this field trip won't require a lot of walking to get to and around the fen and will be tailored to the interest and abilities of trip participants.

Please join me and Reed Crook, BHNF botanist, to explore this unique geological and botanical area! Wear sturdy clothing (long pants and sleeves) and shoes you don't mind getting a little wet. Bring sunscreen, plenty of drinking water, and your lunch.

McIntosh fen information: McIntosh Fen is a unique vegetational complex that has developed in a broad portion of the Castle Creek Valley. Fens are a very distinctive wetland type having an organic substrate (peat), a saturated water regime, and an influx of groundwater high in carbonate and sulfate salts of calcium, potassium, magnesium and other cations (calcium carbonate is the predominant salt of this fen). The fen was once much larger than it is today. It's been reduced in size over the last 50 years by the elimination of beavers, destruction of their dams, and attempts at ditching for farming purposes. Two rare willow species (Salix candida - sage or hoary willow; and Salix serissima - autumn willow) occur in McIntosh Fen. Two plant species that are very rare in South Dakota [Menyanthes trifoliata (bog buckbean) and Carex viridula (greenish sedge)] were reported by Arthur McIntosh in the 1930's but may no longer exist at the site. The Black Hills National Forest acquired McIntosh Fen from private ownership in 1980. The Forest Service has been working to restore the fen to natural condition by filling old drainage ditches with noxious weed-free straw to mimic the high organic matter of the fen, followed by planting native willow stock in the straw.
May 22   •   Cuny Table
We hope this repeat offering will not be rained out this year! Quite a bit of interest was expressed in this trip, so we're going to try again. We will visit Cuny Table in the South Unit of Badlands National Park to enjoy spring wildflowers on the plains and learn about the cultural history of the area. Mary Lata, Fire Ecologist from the Forest Service in Chadron, NE will join Burkhart as trip leader.

Details: (Cancelled if raining)

Everybody should bring water, sun protection, good walking shoes, and food.
Plant books and binoculars would be good to have, too.

The Cuny Table Cafe will be open, and they need to know ahead of time how many people might be interested in eating a meal there. Mary says it's a good place to eat and has unique atmosphere! If participants want to eat there, let us know so we can make arrangements. Being so isolated, they don't usually get large groups stopping by, and will need to prepare for extra customers. E-mail us if you think you might like to order off their menu.

You may join our carpool at your choice of the following:

  1. Meet Mary at Nebraska National Forest office in Chadron at 8 am on May 22 to caravan/carpool to the Badlands National Park South Unit White River Visitor Center (which is near the intersection of Hwy 2 and Hwy 27) by 10 am,
    OR
  2. meet Beth at Maverick Junction, south of Hot Springs at 8 am on May 22 to caravan/carpool to Badlands National Park South Unit White River Visitor Center (which is near the intersection of Hwy 2 and Hwy 27) by 10 am,
    OR
  3. meet at Badlands National Park South Unit White River Visitor Center (which is near the intersection of Hwy 2 and Hwy 27) at 10 am.

show future dates only     show future dates + past year

Home   |   The Great Plains bio-geographic region   |   Events   |   Membership   |   Contact