Pioneer Valley Fern Society

New Year's Day Fern Hike!

4H Forest, Leverett MA, 1-3PM

The weather isn't too bad outside yet, so we thought we would offer a New Year's Day Fern Hike at the 4H Forest in Leverett, from 1-3 PM. Whether you want to learn how to identify some dead ferns (I know, not many people), or just want to see the evergreen and overwintering ones, it is a great way to start the New Year. It is a little bit scavenger hunt, to see how many ferns we can still find & identify. Two weeks ago we found over 20 different ferns, but I think it will be less now. But there is a lot of beaver activity and woody vegetation we can enjoy as well.

The photo is representative of what we will find out there. The dried up fern in front is Northern Maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum), which remains in pretty good condition through most winters. It can be identified by the beautiful shiny black stems (stipe and rachis), and the fan-shaped pattern of the blade. Behind it (this was natural, not posed) is a Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), one of our common evergreen ferns with the shiny deep green leathery pinnae or leaflets. I had to include one of them, considering this is Christmas eve!

Hope some of you can join us as we start ferning 2024. The 4H Forest in Leverett is about a half mile east of the Leverett Center Post Office, on Shutesbury Road. There is a new sign along the road in front of the parking lot. If you go past a large beaver flooded wetland, you have just missed it.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays, and a great New Year.