Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Waymarking at the FLCC Arboretum

On the beautiful morning of Saturday, August 18, 2012 the Canandaigua Botanical Society gathered to learn about Waymarking and tree identification at the Finger Lakes Community College Arboretum.

Members attending: Bill Bross, John Hyde, Peggy Kane, Leona Lauster, Jeffery and Laura Ouimette

Under the Arboretum sign Laura gave this brief history of GPS Waymarking:  On May 2, 2000 President Bush announced that the United States would stop the intentional degradation feature (Selective Availability) of the Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. This action enabled civilian users of GPS units to be able to pinpoint locations up to ten times more accurately than in the past. GPS is a dual-use, satellite-based system that provides accurate location and timing data to users worldwide.  On May 3, 2000 a computer consultant named Dave Ulmer wanted to test the accuracy by hiding a navigational target in the woods. He called the idea the "Great American GPS Stash Hunt" and posted it in an internet GPS users' group. The idea was simple: Hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit.  Geocaching was born as well as Waymarking which uses GPS without the cache.  You can go to waymarking.com for listings of locations including our FLCC Arboretum under the category of arboretums!

Jeffery had preprogrammed the GPS units that we borrowed from Wood Library with several GPS coordinates made into a route for the group to follow.  Armed with GPS units we stopped at the programmed locations to be sure Laura had accurately identified the trees.  We also spoke about several other trees between each recorded GPS location.

GPS location                                        Description

N 42’ 52.248` W 077’ 14.604`           Arboretum sign

N 42’ 52.237` W 077’ 14.610`           Betulapapyrifera, Paper Birch, also known as American White Birch. Bill Bross teased that the college students maintain the white bark by paining it on a regular basis. 

Yet to be marked                                 walking from the Paper Birch tree to the next Waymark we identified the Beech and Large Leafed Magnolia (which Laura mistakenly thought might be a Pawpaw tree with its large leaves and fruit looking buds).

N 42’ 52.240` W 077’ 14.630`           Cedar near gazebo – at first John Hyde thought it looked like a juniper, but by it’s soft touch he agreed it is a Western Red Cedar, Thuja plicata, a cypress of the Pacific northwest.

N 42’ 52.263` W 077’ 14.649`           This Waymark we called the Square of pines and noted several trees including a Japanese Yew, Juniper (sharp to the touch), Austrian pine and Norway Spruce

N 42’ 52.248` W 077’ 14.660`           Laura was intrigued by this flat soft needled pine tree which she thought was a bald Cyprus.  John Hyde identified it as a Metasequoia glyptostroboides this short variety of deciduous redwood comes from China.

N 42’ 52.225` W 077’ 14.643`           This was one of the first trees we Waymarked in March 2012 when it was in full bloom with large white blossoms – a saucer magnolia or cucumber tree.

Before reaching our next Waymark we admired this small Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata)

and John told us about the sick Lombardy poplar to the left of our next Waymark…

N 42’ 52.227` W077’ 14.669`            Weeping Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’)

N 42’ 52.215` W 077’ 14.671`           Not a tree…but to be sure you’re Waymark is accurate: Struggle rock sculpture by Robert Fladd 1985

N 42’ 52.259`  W 077’ 14.685`           We didn’t actually locate this Waymark…but it was marked in June when it looked like this:  probably a Blue Ash - Fraxinus quadrangulata or perhaps Tree of Heaven - Ailanthus?
From here we passed the new labyrinth and headed into the woods/marsh area to the south of the arboretum. Heading to our next Waymark John shared a wealth of information regarding the poplar / aspen / cottonwood tree as we passed several of them.  Peggy noted that they root out by runners and we found evidence of that here.

N 42’ 52.181` W 077’ 14.181`           Corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana) Many of us remembered this tree from our 2009 outing with Bruce Gilman. 
and into the woods...

N 42’ 52.122` W 077’ 14.731`           This Waymark brings you to a spot on the trail to notice a nearby oak tree with a split trunk and one of many Shagbark Hickory trees in the woods. 

N 42’ 52.081` W 077’ 14.739`           This Waymark brings you to the north end of the boardwalk.  We were curious to know what was growing where there is usually water.

N 42’ 52.067` W 077’ 14.751`           Once at this Waymark look up to find a birdhouse in a large Oak tree.

N 42’ 52.063` W 077’ 14.697`           Twin White Oak (look up beyond the maple leaves).  This is a photo from June when we had help from twins to record our Waymarks.

From here we backtracked and headed north along the wide wood-chipped trail to the next Waymark.  Jeffery posed for this photo between an Ash and an Oak tree – allowing a nice comparison for the bark differences Bill was learning about from John.

We also learned about the Lindera benzoin (Spicebush)appreciating the wealth of knowledge John had to share. 

There are several other tree species in the woods just south of the arboretum including black walnuts.

John was a true horticulture professor armed with his very own Michael Dirr encyclopedia of trees.

N 42’ 52.148` W 077’ 14.626`           This Waymark brings you to the bridge adjacent to Marvin Sands Drive. 

John asked about the paper Bark Maple that Bruce told us about back in 2009.  We were pleased to find it still located where it was…but much closer now to the newly structured roadway.

N 42’ 52.097` W 077’ 14.610`           Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) with cinnamon colored bark

Our plan is to continue Waymarking several more trees in the Arboretum.  If you’re interested in obtaining updated lists – or you have Waymarked coordinates to add to our current list, please let us know at CanandaiguaBotanical@gmail.com.  GPS units can be borrowed from Wood Library in Canandaigua. 
*some species still to be Waymarked at the FLCC Arboretum: Little Leaf Linden / Basswood, White Mulberry, Norway Maple, Red Maple, London Planetree, Sugar Maple, Pin Oak, Black Oak, Coranga Hedge, Native White Cedar, Thuja, Red Beech, Purple Beech, Hackberry tree, Tulip tree, Ginko, Scarlet Pimpernel, Colorodo Blue Spruce, European Larch tree.

Find the FLCC Arboretum listed at Waymarking.com:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pairing Technology and Nature - Waymarking at the FLCC Arboretum

Saturday, August 18, 2012    Time: 10 am

Where: Finger Lakes Community College Arboretum on Marvin Sands Drive off Lakeshore Drive south of Routes 5&20. Meet at the parking lot across from the Arboretum.

Armed with a GPS for Geocaching and a curiosity about tree varieties, Laura and Jeffery Ouimette have discovered “Waymarking” as a means of identifying the locations of several trees at the FLCC Arboretum. Please join us as we enjoy a leisure walk in and around the FLCC Arboretum to identify specific trees using hand held GPS units. (We plan to have several GPS units on loan from Wood Library). Please bring along your tree and wildflower guides.

In Geocaching, it’s all about the hunt and the treasure at the end. With Waymarking, the location itself is the treasure. The primary difference is that no physical object is placed when creating a Waymark. The focus is on what can be gained from the location itself.

Waymarking.com provides tools for you to catalog, mark, and visit interesting and useful locations around the world.