4/28/10 Shenandoah National Park Hosts Wildflower Weekend

Native flowers will be in the spotlight during Shenandoah National Park’s 24th annual Wildflower Weekend, May 8 and 9, 2010.  Visitors will have a chance to meet woodland beauties such as wild geranium, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and many others on a variety of naturalist-led hikes.

Participants will search for wildflowers along the Millers Head, Mill Prong, Lewis Mountain, Upper Rose River, Appalachian, and Gravel Springs-Bluff trails.  There will be a Big Meadows stroll, and a new hike called “Cultural Connections,” focusing on historical uses of plants. Additional activities include bird walks, a children’s program, and journaling.  The complete schedule is posted on the park’s website: www.nps.gov/shen.

There will be several special programs this year.  J. Christopher Ludwig, executive director and co-author of the “Flora of Virginia Project,” will present an update on the soon-to-be-published manual of Virginia’s 3,500 native and naturalized plants.  The comprehensive guide will include the latest information, detailed illustrations, identification keys, descriptions, range and habitat for every plant.  The program will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, milepost 51 on Skyline Drive.

Naturalist and author C. Colston Burrell will present “More Than a Pretty Face:  Native Alternatives to Exotic Invasives” at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 9, in Byrd Visitor Center auditorium.  He will explain how to replace exotic plants in home gardens with native trees, shrubs and perennials, providing food for butterflies, birds and other wildlife.  At 1:30 p.m., he will present “Obsession and Exploitation:  A Cultural History of Trilliums.” Mr. Burrell will also lead a wildflower hike to South River Falls on
Saturday.

Programs are free, and no registration is required.  There is a $15-per-car entrance fee to the park, good for seven days.  For more information about Wildflower Weekend, call the park at 540-999-3500 ext. 3283.

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