Forest Mosses: An Ecological Introduction

RGV BioU Mark

Instructors: Jerry Jenkins and Sue Williams
May 28 - 29, 2022 | $265
Course size: 12 students
Please Contact Us to request scholarship assistance


n introduction to the mosses of cold-temperate and boreal forests, emphasizing growth form, field characters, ecological patterns, and geography. Indoor sessions to learn the common species, field trips to locate them in the woods; lots of looking, comparing, drawing, discussing; an hour or two of stories about mosses and forests and the planet; a little microscopy to show you what the next steps look like.

Course Objective

To start at the beginning, go slowly, and enjoy ourselves.

About the Instructor(s)

Jerry Jenkins, from White Creek, New York, was trained in philosophy and mathematics, and has done botanical work 54 years. He has free-lanced in botany and ecology, worked as a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society, and currently produces books and imagery for the Northern Forest Atlas Project. He has written books on Vermont geography, acid rain, climate change, conservation easements, Adirondack geography, and three photographic guides (Woody PlantsSedges, Mosses) and accompanying digital atlases for the Atlas Project. We will use the moss guide and digital atlas in the course. He is currently working on a full-length field guide to woody plants and a book on ecological patterns.
Sue Williams, from Rowe, Massachusetts, has worked on mosses for thirty years. She began with Howard Crum at Eagle Hill, and since then has studied and collected them all over the Northeast east. Her ability to find and identify things in the field is legendary: the rest of us say “If Sue can’t find it, it’s not there.” About ten years ago she began drawing mosses and writing down the characters she uses to recognize them. She has now put them together in a book, the Ecological Guide to Mosses of New England, which will be published in 2021. We will use preprint copies in the course.
Jerry and Sue have studied and taught mosses together, all over the northeast, for 25 years. The Atlas moss guide, moss maps, digital atlas, and our field-based teaching methods are products of our collaboration.

Required Materials and Recommended Reading

We will use a pdf on Moss Basics that we will supply, Mosses of the Northern Forest (J.J., Cornell University Press, 2020), the Ecological Guide to Mosses of New England (preprints) by S.W., and the Digital Atlas of Northern Forest Mosses (JJ., Northern Forest Atlas, 2020). We will have copies of Mosses of the Northern Forest for use or purchase. The digital atlas is available as a free download from our  website, The Ecological Guide should be out in 2021.


We will provide coffee, tea, and light breakfast fare (pastries, etc.) each morning. Participants should bring their own lunches and snacks.


Course begins 9 AM on Saturday at North Branch Nature Center. Course begins on Sunday at a time of the instructors' choosing. Course concludes by 5 PM on Sunday.

Academic Credit / Professional Development

This course may qualify for 1 graduate-level credit for an additional $200 course fee. All BioU courses are accredited by Castleton University. Participants interested in receiving credit must contact us at least 2 months in advance so we have time to arrange course accreditation.

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that home institutions will accept the credit. Participants pursuing academic credit will be required to complete an additional assignment above and beyond the course hours, including literature review, reflective writing, or a field-based project.

This course qualifies for 20 hours of professional development hours and continuing education units. Certificates of completion are provided at the conclusion of the course.

Cancellation Policy

While we realize that unexpected circumstances arise that are out of our control, North Branch Nature Center cannot guarantee refunds for registrations cancelled within 30 days of the course.  If a cancellation occurs within this window, NBNC will attempt to fill the space from our wait list and provide a full refund. Exceptions to this policy may be granted in the event that cancellation is due to COVID-19 concerns.

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7