Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines Class for the Master Naturalist Program – May 21, 2017, 1-5 PM

Pre-registration is required for this class.  The class will meet at the Good Zoo in Oglebay Park, Wheeling, WV.

Left to right – Deciduous forest, Highbush Cranberry and Dutchman’s Pipe Vine  All photos (c) Bill Beatty

In this class students will learn some of the more common woody plants, what makes woody plants different, and become familiar with how to identify trees by leaf characteristics.  Also discussed will be the importance of woody plants to humans and wildlife and how to approach further study, including helpful references.

Ralph Bell Birding (and wildflower) Extravaganza May 20, 2017

This event is free and open to the public.

Ralph at the AFMO bird banding station on Dolly Sods  (c) Bill Beatty

Begins at 9 am at the Bell Family Farm in Greene County, PA.  Jan and I will be leaders at this event.  It is a wonderful day of outstanding birding and looking at wildflowers as we walk 2.2  miles (round trip) along the road from Ralph’s farm to the bridge across Ten Mile Creek.  After the walk we will gather for a picnic under a spreading Tuliptree in the yard.  Bring your lunch and lawn chairs.  This is the 3rd annual tribute to Ralph who passed away in May, 2014.

All photos (c) Bill Beatty

There will be excellent birders, wildflower experts and professional naturalists on this walk willing to share their expertise.

Location of the Bell Farm on goggle maps:,+Jefferson,+PA+15344/@39.9465194,-80.0624328,14.75z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x88350bc94580d841:0x923b026c79c214f7!8m2!3d39.9436983!4d-80.0550257

West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage May 4-7, 2017 at Blackwater Falls State Park

Right – Rainbow over Pendleton Point… Left – View from Lindy Point  Both photos (c) Bill Beatty

Jan and I will be leading early morning bird walks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.


Jan teaching her class (c) Bill Beatty

Thursday late afternoon, Jan will be teaching a Beginning Birder workshop at the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge.

Thursday evening I will be the keynote speaker presenting the program “Wildflower Pilgrimage Mysteries and Magic.”  I will be telling stories from my book, “Rainbows, Bluebirds and Buffleheads,” as they relate to the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage.

Left – American Larch… Center – Trailing Arbutus… Right – Gay Wings and Goldthread  All photos (c) Bill Beatty

Friday (above photos), Jan will lead a tour to the Cranesville Swamp, a National Natural Landmark.   It is one of the few remaining boreal bogs in the southern United States, unusual because it harbors many plants and animals that are normally only seen in more northern climates.  Eastern hemlock, red spruce and American larch are some of the few trees in this acidic boreal bog.  The northern relict wetland complex also supports a wide variety of smaller plants such as goldthread, trailing arbutus, gay wings, several species of sundews, cranberry and a variety of ferns and mosses.  Nineteen diverse wetland communities are home to such birds as Blackburnian, magnolia and chestnut-sided warblers, alder flycatcher, golden-crowned kinglet, indigo bunting and northern saw-whet owl.


Left – Fisher Spring Run Bog… Far Right – Alder Run Bog  All photos (c) Bill Beatty

Friday (above photos), I will be leading a Dolly Sods Wilderness hike on the Alder Run Bog…Fisher Spring Run Bog Loop Trail.  This trail traverses a wide variety of habitats highlighting the scenic beauty of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. The hike begins with the last quarter of the Beatty Labyrinth, continues along the edge of Alder Run Bog, through a thick Red Spruce forest, and then into an 85-year-old Red Pine forest to the High Mountain Meadow Trail. Heading south through an open meadow we follow deer trails and old railroad grades to the southwestern edge of the Fisher Spring Run Bog. After crossing the bog we continue through mixed forest, meadow and red spruce habitats. After crossing the east end of the High Mountain Meadow Trail (near the road), we again follow deer trails through red spruce woods and meadows eventually entering and crossing the south side of Alder Run Bog. We connect again with the last quarter of the Beatty Labyrinth to return to the Red Creek Campground. HIKING boots, long pants and rain gear are REQUIRED! There will be restroom facilities available at the Red Creek Campground at the beginning and end of the hike.


Left – Bill teaching at entrance to Old Growth Trail… Center – Lunch at red pine woods along High Mountain Meadow Trail… Right – View at Allegheny Front Vista Trail  All photos (c) Bill Beatty

Saturday (above photos), Jan and I together will lead several shorter hikes, “Special Hikes to Favorite Places on Dolly Sods.”  The first hike is a 1.2 mile (round trip) on the Old Growth Trail through a red spruce woods with mountain laurel/rhododendron borders ending in an old growth deciduous woods with a variety of high mountain spring wildflowers, interesting birds and giant oak trees.  Then we drive a short distance to our second hike: the 2.2 mile (round trip) High Mountain Meadow Trail.  This trail leads through a variety of habitats, briefly crosses Alder Run Bog, and continues through a large red pine forest with an extensive undergrowth of ferns,  The trail ends at an area of high mountain meadows which we may explore.  The last hike, time permitting, is along the Allegheny Front Vista Trail.  Hiking 1/4 – 1 mile (round trip) we will enjoy some of the best scenic overlooks in West Virginia.  HIKING boots and rain gear are REQUIRED!

For additional information and registration: