Saturday PM Field Trips
May 13th, 1:00-4:30PM


Please Note

 You will have the opportunity to choose your field trips beginning Friday at 4PM. All field trips have a limited number of participants and will be first-come-first-serve basis. If you are arriving Saturday AM, you will be able to choose from the remaining field trip slots after you registerAll times listed are actual departure times. Please allow extra time if you still need to register. All trips will go out regardless of weather conditions! Come prepared!

Breeding Bird Atlas

Dr. Ashley Peele (VA Tech) and Dr. Steven Hopp (Emory and Henry College) will lead a program for interested birders, focusing on the current VA Breeding Bird Atlas, including reporting behavioral observations. Dr. Peele is state director and Dr. Hopp the regional coordinator for the BBA project. Bring binoculars.

The Wonders of Sullivan Swamp, a Southern Appalachian Shrub Bog

Join Blue Ridge Discovery Center’s Devin Floyd for a biological survey of a very special ecosystem at Grayson Highlands State Park. Participants will enjoy Devin’s exploration and discovery-based approach to guiding. He'll also be sharing stories about the events of the deep past and how they influence landforms and biological communities over time. Participants will have the opportunity to assist with gathering data to build on site assessments and species inventories accomplished during BRDC’s Site Section project. Join us! Let’s see what we can find!

Phenology and Wildflower Appreciation

Join Conner McBane, Natural Resource Specialist for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, on a hike to monitor a phenology site and learn about the interesting life cycles of some of our most beautiful wildflowers.  Phenology is the study of recurring life cycle events in living things such as hibernation for bears or blooms for wildflowers.  The short loop hike will begin at Elk Garden on the Appalachian Trail, and loop back on the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. The hike will be at a leisurly pace conducive to enjoying the beautiful flora that the high country has to offer.  

Walk and Talk with the Authur

Take a naturalist walk with the Rally's featured speaker George Constantz and explore the diversity of Mt. Rogers. 


Join the exceptional team of John Kell and Nancy Adamson on a wildflower jaunt in Grindstone Campground.  Expect an abundance of spring blooms.  Bring a hand lens and camera.

Big Red

BRDC volunteer Rick Taylor will lead a group in search of  Record Spruce trees in an area that is known for Big Ones.  The group will measure and document large spruce trees, and record GPS  coordinates that will be used to track the trees in future years.

Glaciers in the Blue Ridge

Arthur Merschat, PhD, USGS will lead a short walk along the Creeper Trail to examine evidence of glaciers during the Neoproterozoic and discuss whether this was related to possible global glaciations. We will also examine the Iron Mountain fault, and road cuts along US 58 and VA 600.

Edible and medicinal wild plants

Rally Godmother Carrie Sparks will introduce you to the world of foraging for wild foods and medicine with a focus on plants commonly considered weeds.

Plein Air Painting

Artist Pam Evans taught art to 8th and 9th graders from 1970 to 1976 in Va Beach.  She will lead a group painting outdoors, taking advantage of the natural light and being inspired by the natural environment.  Open to all levels of experience.  

Ecology of Grassy Balds

Visit the grassy bald and rock outcrops on Whitetop Mountain. These balds harbor a regionally-unique community which is considered a relic of the ancient boreal-type ecosystem that once dominated these mountains. We will walk approximately three miles, enjoying the views while discussing the endemic and northern-disjunct plants found on Whitetop Mountain, and reviewing the history and ecology of these fascinating habitats.   Led by Dr. Bresowar, who teaches ecology and botany at Emory & Henry College. His students research the ecological and evolutionary history of southern Appalachian plants. 


The Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally is a grand tradition that dates back to 1974. Over the years it has gone through many changes but the root goal has stayed the same: to connect our community to one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. If you would like to see this tradition continue for the next generation please consider making a donation to support the Rally.