Pre-Conference Workshops

Monday, October 7, 2019

dendochronology workshop

Dendrochronology: Understanding Long-term Forest Change with Tree-rings

Half-day: 9 a.m. - Noon, Monday, October 7

Fee: $35

Dr. Michael Stambaugh, Associate Research Professor, U. of Missouri
Joseph Marschall, Senior Research Specialist, U. of Missouri

The purpose of this workshop is to provide an introduction to the science of dendrochronology, with an emphasis on forest change and fire history.

Instruction for field sample collection and laboratory techniques will be shown, and instruction on the method of crossdating will be provided. Recent research on the ecology of fire-adapted red pine and pitch pine ecosystems in Pennsylvania will be shared.

Additionally, broader context of the history of fire in eastern U.S. ecosystems will be discussed. Attendees will 1) gain an understanding for how tree-ring investigations are conducted, 2) become aware of recent developments in understanding forest changes and fire research in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Grasses ID Workshop

Grass Identification: Lemmas and Ligules and Glumes, Oh My!

Half-day: 9 a.m. - Noon, Monday, October 7

Fee: $60

Instructor: Dr. Timothy A. Block, the John J. Willaman Chair of Botany at the University of Pennsylvania's Morris Arboretum 

The grass family (Poaceae) is the fifth largest plant family in terms of species (about 12,000), and the most important family in terms of food production worldwide. Grasses occur on every continent (including Antarctica!) and are important biological components of most ecosystems.

Many people, even plant enthusiasts, often avoid grass identification because they are "just too hard," or "they all look alike." This workshop will help dispel both of those mistaken ideas!

We will start with how to distinguish grasses from other ?graminoids? such as rushes and sedges, then move on to cover the unique terminology associated with grass parts, concentrating on where to look for those structures you need to examine to come to a correct species identification. Also, we will cover a number of commonly misidentified grasses, providing specifics of easy to see (once you know what to look for!), but often overlooked details that can be sources of confusion.

Lots of plant material will be provided for you to examine, learn from, and generally get comfortable with.

Bees of pennsylvania iD workshop

Common Bees of Pennsylvania: Identification and Natural History

Half-day: 1 -4 p.m., Monday, Oct 7

Fee: $60

Instructors: Michael Skvarla, Director, Insect Identification Laboratory and Extension Educator, Penn State University

David Biddinger, Ph.D., Professor Entomology, Penn State University

Participants will learn how to identify bees that are commonly encountered in Pennsylvania. We will also discuss the natural history of native bees and how that is related to identification and, if time permits, conservation. No previous experience with bee or insect identification is required.  Our instructors are experts in insect identification and  Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management (IPPM) which promotes pollinator conservation in the production of many specialty crops.  Their efforts are focused, in part on evaluating possible pollinator decline and determining if mitigation/conservation tactics are effective. 

Mussels ID Workshop

Pennsylvania's "Big River" Mussels Identification: Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela 

Half-day: 1-4 p.m., Monday, October 7

Fee: $35

Instructor: Nevin Welte, Malacologist/Nongame Biologist, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Looking to learn more about the amazing life of freshwater mussels? Do you want to impress your neighbors by knowing and explaining the difference between a Mucket and a Pink Mucket? Please join me for a deep dive into "big river" mussel ecology and species identification. This short workshop will be to introduce and cover the current and historical fauna of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers and provide you with tips and tricks on how to identify them. 


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.