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Online Course: Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers with Grace Glynn

April 11, 2021 @ 7:00 AM - May 16, 2021 @ 7:00 PM


Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers
Instructed by Grace Glynn
$65 or $75 with live videoconference session access
April – May |
Begins April 11 (first zoom session April 18)

Wild leeks, trillium, spring beauty: each spring brings an explosion of wildflowers to rich Northeastern forests. This course will equip you with tools to identify the plants in our spring flora and an ecological understanding of their place on the landscape. Topics will range from etymology of the spring flora to the potential effects of climate change on spring ephemerals and their pollinators.


Course Details

Unit 1: Vernal Bloomers and Where to Find Them

Who are our spring ephemerals? And what shapes their distribution on the landscape? We’ll begin with an introduction to the spring flora through a big-picture lens, starting with bedrock and soils to explain patterns in the spring flora. This unit will equip you with the ecological tools (both computer- and field-based) to find the richest spring ephemeral spots around, with the goal of preparing you to observe and identify species in the field.

Unit 2: The Life-History of Spring Ephemerals

The fleeting, delicate appearance of spring ephemerals belies their rugged ability to withstand the harsh conditions of early spring. In this unit, we will take a look at the adaptations that allow spring ephemerals to complete most of their life cycle in the weeks following snowmelt. We’ll explore what spring ephemerals do during the three remaining seasons, and we’ll delve into their strategies for pollination and seed dispersal.

Unit 3: Unconventional Ephemerals and the Future of the Spring Flora

In this unit we’ll get to know some forgotten spring ephemerals of the Northeast, from rare swamp shrubs to a floodplain annual whose seeds germinate beneath the snow. We’ll then learn about some of the threats to vernal bloomers and take a look at Vermont conservation efforts to save the rich natural communities that our spring ephemerals call home.

About the Instructor

Grace is an ecologist based in Montpelier. She works as a Wetland Scientist with the engineering consulting firm Dubois & King, where she conducts wetland delineations, rare plant inventories, and natural resource assessments across New England. Grace holds a Master’s Degree from the Field Naturalist program at the University of Vermont and a B.S. in Botany from Connecticut College. She has taught field ecology for the Vermont Master Naturalist Program and the Vermont Law School, and has worked as a botanist in Arizona, Wyoming, and Maine.



April 11, 2021 @ 7:00 AM
May 16, 2021 @ 7:00 PM
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North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602