Join noted botanist Paul Martin Brown and learn the skills necessary to develop a herbarium and help create a lasting record of the plants found at Tin Mountain’s 140-acre Rockwell Sanctuary in Albany. Participants will learn all of the necessary skills from searching and collecting to pressing and mounting plant specimens. This multi-session field study is ideal for families as there are tasks for those of all ages. Knowledge of local plants is helpful but not essential since participants will learn how to identify the plants as we progress with the summer-long project. The study group will meet every two weeks from late May through early October for sessions that will combine both field and lab work.  If your mobility is limited in the field, there is more than enough lab work to learn to keep you busy! There is something for everyone at all interest and knowledge levels.


Herbariums are collections of pressed and mounted plant specimens with informative labels that are used to study and produce a record of plants growing on a specific area, i.e., from a restricted tract of land to a whole state or country. A photograph is often used to accompany the plant specimen especially if it illustrates the plants well.  By carefully collecting and preserving plant parts that have the critical diagnostic features a reference also is constructed for learning about plant identifications, taxonomy.  The resulting herbarium will be stored at the Tin Mountain Nature Learning Center and will be used for years to come. Herbariums may last for many years if cared for properly; many have been around for over a century.


This is a hands-on class, not just a demonstration. Participants will be doing the actual searching, collecting, pressing, mounting, etc.  Each session will be 2-4 hours every two weeks with optional work days in between for those who can. Paul will be responsible for the identification of all plant specimens and will teach those who are interested in the techniques of keying out the specimens. By the end of the summer, participants should be able to identify most all plants common to woodlands and fields in the Mt. Washington Valley as well as several threatened and endangered species.


Paul Martin Brown is a summer resident of Acton, Maine and has spent more than 50 years exploring the wilds of New England and much of North America in search of rare plants. Many of his exploits have resulted in the publication of new species of orchids to science. Paul is a research associate at the University of Florida Herbarium at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville as well as the founder of the North American Native Orchid Alliance and the editor of the North American Native Orchid Journal.


Paul and Stan Folsom have published Wild Orchids of the Northeastern United States from Cornell University Press in 1997, Wild Orchids of Florida in 2002, The Wild Orchids of North America North of Mexico in 2003, Wild Orchids of the Southeastern United States, North of Peninsula Florida in 2004, Wild Orchids of Florida, updated and expanded edition in 2005, Wild Orchids of the Canadian Maritimes and Northern Great Lakes Region, Wild Orchids of the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Rockies, and Wild Orchids of the Prairies and Great Plains Region of North America in 2006, and Wild Orchids of the Northeast: New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in 2007 and A Field Guide to the Wild Orchids of Texas–all from University Press of Florida. In addition, Paul has developed a series of laminated pocket guides to the wild orchid published by the University of Iowa Press.


The Tin Mountain Herbarium Project will run Saturdays 10-3pm and Tuesdays 4:30-7:30pm from late May to early October, with a total of 11 sessions held. Program cost per session is $10/member and $20/non-member. Register for the entire course and save; $125/member and $160/non-member.  


Remaining session dates are as follows:

June 29 (Tues), July 13 (Tues), July 31 (Sat), August 10 (Tues), August 28 (Sat), September 7 (Tues), September 25 (Sat), October 9 (Sat).


For more information or to register, please call 447-6991.  Attention Naturalist Certification participants: a minimum of 5 Herbarium sessions is necessary to fulfill the Plant Nature Course requirement.