Dover-Foxcroft – Over the past week, members of the Josselyn Botanical Society, led by President Garth Holman, gathered in Dover-Foxcroft to observe and identify the various plants in the area. The group predominantly meets at a different location within Maine every year to look at all things blooming–or not blooming–and this year Foxcroft Academy generously hosted the annual event, the 119th in their history. Last year, they had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Massachusetts, and in the past have also made trips to New Hampshire, but this year, the central Maine Highlands were the woods, fields, and trails of choice.
At each location visited, the members of JBS try to identify wild grasses and flowers that are growing in the area. Some members who attend are self-taught, while others are professionals in the field of Botany and Biology. The youngest member of the Josselyn Botanical Society is only a freshman in college, while the oldest, Marilyn Mollicone, has been a member for 50 years. Many use books or keys to help them identify the plants they are studying if they can’t identify it through simple observation–which a great number of them can do.
While in Dover-Foxcroft, JBS had many stops to explore throughout the week. On their first day, members took a trip to Law Farm on Milo Road, where there is a diverse range of old field and secondary growth habitats, as well as a wetland.
Later that afternoon, the group visited Lowe’s Bridge, a covered bridge just a few miles out of town. While there, neighbors of the bridge kindly offered the use of their trail to the group so that they could observe more of the plants surrounding the bridge.
One member who grew up in the neighboring town of Dexter. Ellen Blanchard identified a Musk Mallow hidden in a patch of roses. She explained how the process of identifying flowers is “more straightforward” in comparison to grasses and other plants. She also identified a Baneberry that had started to show its red color; this poisonous plant was on the list of those to identify during their walk.
Tuesday evening, JBS offered free classes to the public on the second floor of Foxcroft Academy. The group encouraged all those who were interested in learning more about plant families and how to identify them to attend one of the three courses. The three classes that were offered include: “Mycology for Botanists: identification of commonly observed genera, edible fungi and their look-alikes” presented by Michaeline Mulvey, “Introduction to Maine Edible Vascular Plants” presented by Rick Fournier, and “Plant Families: a hands-on exploration”, taught by Dorcas Miller.
On Wednesday, members had the opportunity to visit Borestone Mountain. However, instead of climbing the mountain, members attended a well-vegetated bog near the side of Borestone, as well as the coniferous forests near them to explore. JBS also planned a trip to Barrow’s Falls, a falls and gorge that is home to many intriguing plant species.
Overall, the week went well for the annual meeting of Josselyn Botanical Society. The weather faired nicely throughout the week; the temperature was in the ’70s and ’80s, and the sun was shining as the members spent the majority of the week outside. The group enjoyed their time spent together–as some of them only see each other once a year–studying and discussing what they are passionate about, botany.
For pictures of one of the weekly outings, go to https://flic.kr/s/aHsmF21KgT.