2014 Workshop

A Consulting Botanist’s Toolbox

April 18, 2014 • 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Widener Center at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

This workshop instructed participants in the skills needed to correctly conduct plant surveys, document findings for the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP), prepare reports to submit to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and prepare museum quality plant voucher specimens. The day included a mix of classroom instruction, discussion and hands-on activities including a tour of the Morris Arboretum Herbarium. Instructors were DCNR botanist Kelly Sitch, PNHP Director Greg Podniesinski, and Chair of Botany, UP Morris Arboretum Tim Block. Bios of instructors and panelists John Kunsman and Lisa Smith are listed below.

Workshop location

The workshop was held in the upper gallery of the Widener Center at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. The Morris Arboretum is in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. Directions to the Arboretum are available at http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/visit_directions.shtml.

Workshop instructors

Kelly Sitch, MS. Kelly is a botanist for the PA Bureau of Forestry, working primarily with Species of Special Concern management on state lands as well as vegetation monitoring in and around Marcellus Shale gas development on state forest land. He previously worked as a PNDI Environmental Review Specialist for 3 years. Kelly received his Master of Science in Forestry from Penn State University.

Greg Podniesinski, PhD. Greg has been the DCNR Director of the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program since 2008. Greg has been with the Natural Heritage Program since 1998, first as a plant community ecologist involved in a number of vegetation mapping and plant community classification projects and later as the coordinator for the Natural Heritage Programs ecology, botany and zoology staff, prior to becoming program Director. Greg works out of the Bureau of Forestry’s Conservation Science and Ecological Resources Division in Harrisburg.

Timothy A. Block, PhD. Dr. Timothy A. Block was appointed the John J. Willaman Chair of Botany at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum in 2009 after having served as Director of Botany since 2001. He has been affiliated with the Morris Arboretum for more than 16 years and holds appointments as Adjunct Professor in the Biology Department at Penn, Research Associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and Expert in Botany for the Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is co-author of The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual published in 2000 with the second edition published in 2007, Trees of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide published in 2005, and Aquatic Plants of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide published by Penn Press in 2011.

Panel Members for Group Discussion

John Kunsman, MS. John has been a botanist with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program since 1986.  He has had an interest in the botany of Pennsylvania for 40 years, and in his professional work has concentrated on conducting surveys and gathering information about rare species. He received Master of Science degrees in Forestry and Botany from Penn State University.

Lisa Smith, MS. Lisa splits her time as Executive Director of the Natural Areas Association and independent consultant conducting ecological inventories and rare plant surveys in western PA. She also works as a consultant with the Land Trust Alliance as a facilitator of land protection and stewardship excellence programs throughout western PA, NY and WV. Lisa started her career as a heritage ecologist with the Western PA Conservancy and her passion for PA’s wild plants and the people who work to protect them has brought her to us as the Coordinator of our PA Botany Symposium and Workshops. Lisa received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Juniata College, a Master of Science in botany from Miami University, and a Master of Science in education from Duquesne University.

Additional contributions from PA Botanists were introduced during the day.