Investigating wildflower identification

We all assembled at 8:30 am at the office at Dawes – about 20 of us, all ages and experience levels. But what we had in common was an interest in wildflowers, birds and learning a bit more about both.

Dave BrandenburgFirst we listened to our fearless leader, Dave Brandenburg, explain “Wildflowers 101”, what we might see today and how to use a Jeweler’s Glass which he had kindly provided for each of us. The agenda was to be a short hike in the fields, woods and creek in the morning, a picnic lunch (which we had each brought with us), a bird walk in Dutch Fork Wetlands, and finally a wildflower stroll through the boardwalk area near the main buildings.

Investigating wildflower identificationWe got into our cars and drove to the fields apart from the main visitors’ area, about thee miles away. Then Dave started identifying wildflowers: their buds, their leaves, anecdotes about how each was named, which ones are poisonous, which ones are edible (“if you have to look it up, don’t eat it!”), which ones are very common (these he pulled up with abandon), which are indigenous, which are not but are “taking over,” and the wildflowers that are somewhat rare. We tramped through the fields and woods and down to the stream, learning all along the way.

I tried to tale a photo of each flower Dave identified but he was too fast for me – and still I ended up with 47 photos. A few adjectives which describe Dave are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, articulate, funny and approachable – welcoming questions from us all.

Following our picnic lunch, we headed out to the wetlands to view the birds – and because Dave was with us we also identified many more wildflowers. By this time the heat was rising to above 90 degrees, but still Dave and Darlene Sillick (our peerless bird lady) were offering us interesting identifications and fascinating tidbits about what we were seeing.

Finally we moseyed around the boardwalk area near the main Dawes visitors’ center – it was in the shade. I was still trying to snap my photos with varying degrees of success. During our eight hours together, Dave was a fountain of information, still enthusiastic and full of interesting stories. The day at Dawes was stimulating; I think we all realized how much more we need to learn about wildflowers and birds.

Thanks to all who made it possible.

Wood AnemoneWood PoppyPoison HemlockSolomon Seal