Wildflower Symposium celebrates spring

Published 3:54 pm Saturday, April 2, 2022

Spring is definitely here. The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and there are blooms appearing everywhere. Some like pussy toes are modest and not well known, but have interesting characteristics. What’s not to like about a plant that has blooms that resemble the soft, fuzzy toes of kittens! Others, such as the dandelion, are the most commonly recognized flowers anywhere. And then there are the superstars of spring – the Virginia bluebells and pink lady’s slippers – that are much loved and anticipated every year. Some areas in Virginia even have annual Virginia bluebell walks.

Lady Bird Johnson was right when she said that “wildflowers are joy-giving,” So, come join the Central Piedmont Chapter of Master Naturalists as they celebrate the return of spring’s natural beauty at their Wildflower Symposium on Saturday, April 30 at Bear Creek Hall at Bear Creek Lake State Park. Activities will begin at 9 a.m. and end around noon. There will be something for everyone, including craft activities for children, two trail walks for individuals interested in learning to identify wildflowers in their native habitat, and short presentations on the importance of wildflowers.

The wildflower walks will be offered concurrently. One will be a relatively easy stroll along the lake where wild azaleas, Solomon’s seal, pussy toes and rue anemones may be found. The other walk will be longer and over slightly rougher terrain through a woodland where pink lady’s slippers, partridgeberry, spotted wintergreen, and, perhaps, deer berries grow. Both walks will be guided by naturalists who will point out various wildflowers that are growing, not only in Bear Creek Lake State Park, but also throughout Central Virginia.

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The presentations will take place after the guided walks and will provide information on the importance of planting natives to attract and support pollinators, techniques for distinguishing native plants and invasive species, and photo essay on the diversity of native plants found at Bear Creek Lake State Park.

Participants are encouraged to wear shoes and protective clothing appropriate for walking in the woods. Sunscreen is recommended.

The Wildflower Symposium is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is encouraged. Donations to support future programs of the Master Naturalists will be accepted.

To register, email the names and number of adults and children expected to attend to Betsy Lookofsky at betsyandal@lookofsky.com.

DR. CYNTHIA WOOD is a master gardener who writes two columns for The Herald. Her email address is cynthia.crewe23930@gmail.com.