Wildflower Weekend

2018 Wildflower Weekend

Wildflower Weekend April 13-15, Natural Bridge State Park and Red River Gorge
This year Wildflower Weekend will be on April 13-15 (Friday-Sunday) at Natural Bridge State Park.  Saturday evening (April 14) Alice Jones (EKU professor) will perform her play “Sisters of the Mother Forest: Lucy and Annette Braun.  Prior to the play we will have a members meeting where we discuss the state of Kentucky’s plants, the role of KNPS and solicit feedback and open discussion from our members and friends.   Field trips/hikes to see the early spring wildflowers will be offered.  Student and Native Plant Inventory/Restoration Grants winners will be announced.

Wild Flower Weekend: Sisters of the Mother Forest Play

In the early 1900’s two brave women, sisters Dr. Annette Braun and Dr. Lucy Braun, traveled by horseback, railroad, and Model A Ford over 60,000 miles, primarily in the Appalachian areas of Ohio and Kentucky, to conduct botanical, geological, and entomological field studies. For Lucy, this resulted in four books and 180 scientific research papers. The text Deciduous Forests of the Eastern United States is her most well-known work; the last entry in her bibliography, dated 1970, hits close to home for Kentuckians: “Destruction by Dam: The Red River Gorge.” The Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission named a 609 acre preserve on the south slope of Pine Mountain for her in 2007. A new documentary A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun airing on PBS this spring suggests that she should be considered on par with John Muir and Rachel Carson. The one-woman play, Sisters of the Mother Forest, written and acted by Eastern Kentucky University environmental geographer and thespian, Dr. Alice Jones, centers on the impact that a 1934 research trip had on the sisters’ fight to save the virgin forest of eastern Kentucky, and how that forever changed ecological science and environmental conservation. Through the entertaining performance, the remarkable women come alive, and the audience discovers their important contributions.

Friday Evening 6pm-8pm

Wildflowers and Ferns of the Red River Basin

Description of the Book:

Wildflower and Ferns of the Red River Basin focuses on the incredible diversity of both common and rare flora of this unique biological and geological area with 440 pages filled with stunning color images.  With over 1600 species currently known from the watershed, it would be impossible to include in-depth information for each species therefore each family is represented by at least one species and general information about the families is also included. Three groups of plants from the Red River Basin featured in their entirety are the Ferns, Orchids and Trilliums.  Rare and endangered species are highlighted as well as a few other important but often ignored, non-flowering plant groups including green algae, fungi, slime molds, lichens, and mosses.  A small section on flowering woody vines, shrubs, and trees is also included.  

Bios: Daniel C. Dourson is a biologist, naturalist, wildlife illustrator and photographer who was the wildlife biologist for the U. S. Forest Service (Stanton Ranger District) for nearly twenty years.  During that time, he managed mostly non-game species and was responsible for conducting biological inventories throughout the Red River Gorge.  He spent many hours traversing the clifflines with USFS colleague and friend Johnny Faulkner where they documented rare plants, animals and cultural history sites. During his tenure at the Forest Service, Dan documented new plant records and has been an active participant of Wildflower Weekend at Natural Bridge State Park for many years as well as field trip leader for the Wildflower Pilgrimmage in the Great Smoky Mountains. 

From 2006 to 2013, he and his wife Judy, managed a field station in the jungles of Belize where he studied the plants and animals there.  In 2013, he published a book, the Biodiversity of Belize.  He also participated in numerous expeditions into some of the most pristine rainforest left in Central America.  In 2016, he was the co-principal investigator on an expedition funded by National Geographic/Waitt Grants Program titled “Harpy Eagles, Snails and a Sinkhole: Discovering How Ecosystems Work by Looking Through Three Unknown Portals of the Bladen Nature Reserve, Belize.”   He continues to research and write books about the natural world, both in Belize and the USA. Dan is currently writing a series of books about the biodiversity of the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, USA.