Spring Flora of the Northwoods

Course Title-Spring Flora of the Northwoods

Course#- 17S02

Dates:  May 15, 16, 17, 2017

Time:  9 a.m. – 1 p.m. each day

Location:  Field trips each morning, then reconvening at Mercer Library, 2648 Margaret St.

Fee: $75 ($5 discount if registration received before May 1)

Class size will be limited to 10 students! Register early.

This class has now filled up.  Please send your contact information to FeU if you are interested in a second class at a later date.  We will take your reservation.

This course satisfies the continuing education requirement for the UW Ex Master Naturalist program.

Objectives:  Students will learn how to identify plants by utilizing a dichotomous key, which is nowhere near as hard as pronouncing “di-cot-toe-mus.” Students will also learn about the natural history of each plant – its growth characteristics, its historic uses, its associates, its general ecology.

Course structure:  The course will be given in three sessions, each four hours long. We’ll carefully collect plants in a rich upland maple (mesic) forest, a dry (xeric) pine forest, and in a bog and/or wetland. Each day we’ll return to the library and press the plants for later mounting at home. The instructors will provide each student with a rudimentary but very effective plant press that the students will keep. Each student will take home a collection of at least 30 plants.


Required book:

Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb

Recommended books:

Wildflowers of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest by Black and Judziewicz

Trailside Botany by John Bates

We’ll provide an additional bibliography of excellent plant books. No readings and/or homework will be assigned.

Physical requirements: Students should have good balance, be able to hike in a wooded and a wetland environment, and be on their feet for two or more hours at a time.


John Bates has an MS in Environmental Sciences from UW/Green Bay, and has worked as a naturalist in Wisconsin’s Northwoods for 28 years. He’s led hundreds of hikes over that time and written seven books on natural history topics associated with the Northwoods.

Mary Burns has a BA in Natural History and Art from UW/Green Bay and has co-led many, many programs with John over nearly three decades. She worked one summer collecting and cataloguing plants for the UW/Green Bay Arboretum. Mary is also an award-winning weaver. Mary’s writing includes her first novel Heartwood. She is also a contributor to A Place to Which We Belong: Wisconsin Writers on Wisconsin Landscapes.