Adult Programs

Educational programs at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve cover a wide range of topics that include the identification, ecology, and biodiversity of native plants; basics of botany; and how to use native plants, trees & shrubs in the garden and landscape.

NEW and exciting programs are coming in 2016!  Check our Calendar of Events for dates, costs and details. To ensure a place in a program, please make sure you pre-register by phone (215) 862-2924.

For adults interested in the Plant Stewardship Index, please click here>

Book Discussion: Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Thu, May 12, 1pm – 3pm

Members: $8, non-members: $10

Like so many women of her generation Emma Gatewood did not have many choices or opportunities during her life.  The natural landscapes that surrounded her family farm were often her only comfort in a bleak existence. In 1955, aged 67, she was finally able to achieve a huge unspoken dream when she trekked the full length of the Appalachian Trail, the first woman ever to do so. She did it alone, without any modern equipment, without pre-planned accommodation or even a tent, but she did it triumphantly, completing all 2015 miles. Her inspirational journey is chronicled in Ben Montgomery’s critically acclaimed book “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk”.  The Preserve invites you to join our community read on this topic. Read the book, available from our shop, and join a group book discussion led by Naturalist Monica Flint. After the discussion we’ll take a guided walk through the Preserve to see some of the trees, shrubs and flowers that Grandma Gatewood enjoyed on her journey.

This program is presented as part of a Community Read initiative led by Longwood Gardens. In March and April 2016, over 40 different activities are planned at public gardens and nature centers throughout the region.


Gardening Workshop: Backyard Habitat for Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies & More

Sunday, April 24, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Members:  $45; Non-members: $50

Pat Sutton will showcase native plants tha are most beneficial to birds and other wildlife.  From the perspective of a life-long naturalist intimate with the workings of the natural world, she'll share common sense garden maintenance techniques that will help property owners avoid common practices that actually harm rather than benefit wildlife.  In addition to the obvious (bird feeders, bird houses, and baths), this program is packed with the "how's and why's" of attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your backyard, no matter how small.  In rapidly developing regions, backyards are critical wildlife habitat for nesting, migratory, and wintering birds, as well as frogs and toads, butterflies, dragonflies and other beneficial insects.

Patricia Sutton, in her long-time capacity as Naturalist and Program Director with the Cape May Bird Observatory, researched and wrote the New Jersey Audubon Society booklet, Backyard Habitat For Birds, a Guide for Landowners and Communities in New Jersey.  Before this program, download, print, and read the NJ Audubon articles by Pat Sutton: "How to Create a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden," and "Recommended Plantings to Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Moths." 


For registration information and class descriptions, check out our Calendar of Events.

Spring Warblers, An I.D. Workshop

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Members: $20; Non-Members: $25. 


Sharpen your ID skills and learn to recognize America’s most beautiful songsters in their finest breeding attire.  The program will cover 35 species of eastern resident and migrant warblers.  Amazing images will illustrate diagnostic field marks to help you separate members of this difficult group while birding in the field.  You will also learn about arrival dates and habitat preferences for each species. 

Pete Bacinski is a naturalist, photographer and field trip guide that has been a leader in the field of ornithology for many decades.  He has written for numerous local, state and national publications and has won the World Series of Birding Competition three times. 

For registration information and class descriptions, check out our Calendar of Events.

Nature Explorations

Wildflowers After Hours   CANCELED

Sunday, April 24, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Members: $8; Non-members: $10 (Adults only)

Twilight is one of the most beautiful times of the day with soft light, cool breezes, and humming bees. Join Naturalist Pam Newitt for an evening stroll through woodland trails in search of wildflowers, shrubs and other signs of spring. 


Birding by Kayak on the Delaware Canal

Sunday, May 22, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Members: $20; Non-members: $25. Advance registration and payment required by Thursday, May 19.

We’re teaming up with Delaware Canal State Park for a gentle morning paddle on the Delaware Canal. We’ll learn about the history of the canal and look and listen for birds and other local wildlife during this relaxing paddle. We’ll put in at the canal near the Thompson Neely House. DCSP provides life vests, paddles, and kayaks. Details on meeting place will be provided upon registration. Space is limited.


Click image to enlarge

Film Screening: "Trail Magic"

Tuesday, May 3, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Members: $8.00; Non-members: $12.00.  Advance registration required by May 1.

Join us for a screening of the new documentary on Grandma Gatewood, “Trail Magic.” Emma "Grandma" Gatewood became the first woman to solo thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at the age of 67.  The film follows the twists and turns of Emma's historic walk and is augmented by key interviews with family, historians, and experts commenting about the amazing events that led up to that journey and her ability to overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles along the way. Director and producer Peter Huston will be in attendance and will lead a Q & A after the screening. Don't miss our related program, "Book Discussion: Grandma Gatewood's Walk" on May 12.



For registration information and program fees, check out our Calendar of Events.

Seasonal & Specialty Walks

Guided Wildflower Walks                    

Every Tuesday – Sunday April 1 through October 30, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Every Monday in April, May and June: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Members: Free; Non-members: Tour included with Preserve admission.

See flowers and fruits in season and discover fun facts about their use. Learn about the Preserve’s history, habitats, and important plant-animal interactions while enjoying the beauty of our trails. Preserve staff or our talented Volunteer Naturalists lead the tours. Tours leave from the Visitor Center for a minimum of two visitors, weather permitting.

Spring Bird Walks            

Saturdays, April 9 through May 14, 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Members: FREE; Non-members: $3 suggested donation. Advance registration suggested.

The Preserve’s plant and habitat diversity provide nesting sites and food sources for many species of birds, including warblers, thrushes, chickadees, woodpeckers, towhees, nuthatches, goldfinches, and more. Bird walks depart from the Visitor Center and are led by experienced, local guides. For ages 10 and up. Be sure to bring your binoculars.

Medicinal Trail Plant Walk

Saturday, May 28, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Members: $5; Non-members: $7

Plants have historically played a critical role in our health and wellness.  Join Pat Coleman as we venture out to the Medicinal Trail, a very special woodland retreat tucked in a quiet corner of the Preserve.  We will look for some of the most cherished medicinal herbs and talk about their history and their uses.  We are likely to encounter a few “uncherished” plants along the way that also have impressive medicinal reputations.

Pat Coleman is a volunteer naturalist at the Preserve and a home herbalist who has been studying medicinal uses of plants for several years.

Make & Take Programs

NEW! Living Floral Wreath Workshop  ONLY A FEW SPOTS REMAIN

Saturday, April 23, 10:00 a.m. - noon

Members:  $65,  non-members: $75. Limit 12 participants.  Advanced registration and payment required by 4/20

Join Preserve Executive Director Miles Arnott and learn how to use a wire form, a coconut fiber liner, and an abundance of annuals to create a living floral wreath that will grow and bloom all spring! Supplies and instruction included – just bring your creativity and love of gardening.  

Health & Nature

Mindful Meandering

Wednesdays: April 13 through May 18, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Members: $3; Non-members: $6. Pre-registration encouraged.

Modern life requires, and rewards, multi-tasking. However, we miss out on fully experiencing the moment when our attention is scattered. Join us on these weekly walks to reconnect with nature and yourself. Mindfulness is the practice of deliberately attending to the present and accepting it without judgment. Being in nature brings many of us into the present more easily than other settings. Walks at the Preserve will support the practice of mindfulness with our time spent in awareness and appreciation of whatever nature presents us that day.

Designed as a drop-in series: dress for the weather and wear sturdy walking shoes.

Nancy Neff is a licensed physical therapist and volunteer Naturalist at the Preserve. She practices mindfulness to enrich her own life.

Knowing Native Plants Series

We feature a seasonal series of classes called Knowing Native Plants, in which learners of all backgrounds discover both the aesthetic and scientific aspects of our native flora through presentations and field hikes around our grounds.

Knowing Native Plants classes are held on Saturdays in the Preserve Auditorium.  The fee for members is $15 and for non-members is $20.  Pre-registration is suggested.

For registration information and class descriptions, check out our Calendar of Events.

2016 Knowing Native Plants Schedule: 

Spring Ephemerals - Saturday, April 23, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Spring wildflowers such as Dutchman’s breeches, bloodroot, bluebell, spring beauty, twinleaf, and several species of trillium color the forest floor for a fleeting moment this time of year. Join Naturalist Mary Anne Borge to learn why these wildflowers are called spring ephemerals, how their life cycles work, and how their seeds are dispersed. Indoor presentation/discussion followed by an outdoor tour.

Late Spring Lovelies - Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

A lot happens at the Preserve between the burst of spring ephemerals and the peak of flowering shrubs. Join Naturalist Mary Anne Borge to learn about the wildlife and landscape value of the later blooming spring wildflowers including woodland phlox, eastern columbine, Solomon’s seal, shooting star, wood geranium, and the beautiful yellow lady’s-slipper orchid.  Indoor presentation/discussion followed by an outdoor tour.

Flowering Shrubs - Saturday, May 21, 1 – 4 p.m.

The Mid-Atlantic region has a stunning display of spring flowering native shrubs, filling the Preserve and surrounding natural areas with color and fragrance every spring.  Join Naturalist Mary Anne Borge to learn about our native shrubs, their wildlife value and landscape beauty. We’ll pay particular attention to the azaleas, dogwoods, viburnums, and some rose family members.  Indoors presentation followed by an outdoor tour.

Focus on Ferns - Saturday, June 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Some native plants, such as ferns, don’t flower at all. In this popular program, Ed Lignowski, Ph.D., will teach you to identify many native ferns. He will highlight their evolutionary history and unusual reproductive habits, as well as their natural habitats and usefulness in native plant gardens.

Meadow Magic - Saturday, July 30, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Amazing Asters - September 17, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Trees of the Preserve - October 15, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

From Flowers to Seeds - November 7, 10:00 a.m.  – 1:00 p.m.

Ecology & Conservation

Botanical Master Class:  The Rosaceae

Wednesday, May 25, 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Members:  $30; Non-members: $35

Space is limited.  Advance registration required.

The Rose Family is important to wildlife through the processes of pollination and seed dispersal.  It also includes important fruit and ornamental crops. In the Pennsylvania flora the Rose Family is made up of 28 genera (144 species) of woody and herbaceous plants.  While species identification in many Rosaceae genera is straightforward, others including the shadbushes and hawthorns provide an ongoing challenge.

We will try to understand what holds the family together as well as the characteristics that allow us to recognize individual genera and species.

Dr. Ann Rhoads is a botanist recently retired from 36 years of employment at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. She co-authored The Plants of Pennsylvania, An Illustrated Manual, with Dr. Timothy A. Block.

Weed Patrol

Learn to identify native and non-native plants, the importance of biodiversity, and how to remove and dispose or invasive species properly.  Groups, individuals and families welcome. Weed Patrol work days run 9:30 - noon on the following Saturdays in 2016:

May 7, June 11, more TBD


Bluebird Conservation Workshop

Saturday, June 18,  10:00 a.m. – noon

Members: $10; Non-members: $15

Come discover who calls our nesting boxes home “tweet” home.  Join Education Coordinator Kelly Joslin, Volunteer Nest Box Monitor Margie Rutbell and Ray “Mr. Bluebird” Hendrick as we learn about bluebirds and other cavity nesters at the Preserve.   You’ll learn to identify nests by nesting material, and explore our nest boxes to help collect important data, count baby chicks and contribute to our larger study on nesting birds.  Learn how to attract birds to your yard then you have the option to build a nest box to take home (additional fee applies). Indoor presentation followed by an outdoor hike.  Bring your binoculars and be prepared for walking in tall grass and briars.

Pollinators and Pollination Strategies

Saturday, June 25, 1:00 – 4:00  p.m.

Members:  $15; Non-members: $20

Many plants depend on the assistance of a third party, usually an animal, to help them successfully achieve pollination. How do plants entice visitors to their flowers, and then manipulate them to carry pollen to another plant of the same species?  Naturalist Mary Anne Borge will introduce you to some of the many potential pollinators of native plants,  including bees, flies, wasps, beetles and birds, and to the strategies plants have evolved to achieve successful pollination by taking advantage of these flower visitors. Indoor presentation/discussion followed by an outdoor hunt for potential pollinators.  

Mary Anne Borge is a naturalist, photographer, writer and educator. She is a certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, a contributor to Butterfly Gardener magazine, and has been a volunteer at the Preserve for more than 10 years.  She shares her fascination with nature through her writing and photography on her blog,


For registration information and class descriptions, check out our Calendar of Events.