Cryptogams of West Champlain Hills

Cryptogams of West Champlain Hill (aka West Champlain Hills Moss Flora)

Purpose:  Supplement and complement the study “THE CHAMPLAIN HILLS AND SHORES” by Jerry Jenkins with information about the mosses and liverworts.  Also add ferns and lichens.  This is suggested based on Michael Burgess’ observation that there are equally interesting occurrences of ferns and lichens on these hilltops.

Based on general geography, we could add many potential species (rarities) for each group.

Scope:  Initially develop a geographically referenced collection of observations of plants focused on the locations in the 2008 study.  Train interested persons in bryophyte, lichen fern identification and ecology.

Summary Methods: 

  • Solicit and train volunteers to form a citizen science cadre
  • Develop a preliminary list.
  • Demonstrate techniques and methods including observations with habitat, substrate, and geographic location.
  • Locate a temporary facility in the study area for participants to gather, store a reference collection, specimens and a laboratory for tools and references.
  • This should be lead-up to a more comprehensive survey with transects on several hills.
  • Eventually deposit specimens in regional and state herbaria.

Partners and Potential Participants:

Essex County Cooperative Extension – Elizabeth Lee

SUNY Plattsburgh – Michael Burgess, Mary Alldred, (Mark Lesser)

Champlain Area Trails (CATS) – Chris Maron

Northern Forest Atlas Foundation – Jerry Jenkins, Ray Curran

Adirondack Botanical Society –Spada, Young, Smith, Robinson, Phillips

Eddy Foundation – John Davis

Poke-O-Moonshine – David Thomas Train

NYS Natural Heritage Program – Ring

Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP)

Background: Jerry Jenkins undertook a 2007-2008 botanical survey of the West Champlain Hills.  He found the flora to be remarkably diverse and interesting, maybe exemplary in the Northeast Flora.   His survey addressed the vascular flora, but not cryptograms.

There’s a lot of interest in the natural history of the Champlain Valley.  We believe a bryological study to complement the 2008 Study would be a worthwhile activity for many reasons. 

The geographic area is discrete, relatively accessible (especially with the expanding network of CATS trails to several summits) and the flora is very interesting with great local environmental interpretation opportunities. In addition, it would fill in data for a climate change baseline about a major biologic group.  The existing study gives great background and supporting information. The citizen science opportunity is immense, with a manageable number of species, and the tools available for identification, make it very achievable.

ABSers who have indicated participation:

Jerry Jenkins

Bill Brown

Eric Teed

Emily Tyner

Catherine Smith

Tom Phillips

Sean Robinson

Audrey Hyson

Brian McAllister

Steve Young

Elizabeth Lee