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Bogs, Fens, Dunes, Woods, Gardens, and Oaks: the 2015 Post-Conference Tour

Walking through Cowles Bog towards Lake Michigan - Photo: © G. Sternberg

Jim Hitz designed a perfect follow up to the IOS Conference at The Morton Arboretum: three days touring varied sites in Indiana, with a foray into Michigan. Water was the dominant theme on the first day: we headed out of Lisle, the Chicago suburb home to the Morton, along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, where we walked through Cowles Bog (not a bog, apparently, but a fen) to the lake, from where we could spy the Chicago skyline. In the afternoon, we skipped along the floating boardwalk through Pinhook Bog (a true bog, we were told). The second day was all about wood: in the morning Warren Woods, where Doug Bidlack walked us through a wonderland of beech-maple forest (Fagus grandifolia and Acer saccharum), with some huge Quercus rubra thrown in to keep us oakies happy; for the rest of the day it was Fernwood, a beautiful botanical garden and nature preserve where we fed our bodies and

Autumn colors in Pinhook Bog - Photo: © R. Cameron

feasted our eyes on gorgeous autumn colors; on the way to our lodgings in Valparaiso, we stopped at the residence of Art Davis, to ogle at a massive Bebb’s oak (at least, that's what we decided it was). Day three started with cranes and ended with trains: Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area has an observation tower from where we viewed sandhill cranes that converge in the Goose Pasture during migration; we also explored the pin oak forest there; the Tour’s grand finale was Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, where we visited the oak collection, the Japanese garden surrounding the founders’ private residence, and the enthralling Railway Garden, a model train garden that tells the story of America’s steam engine history. But what impressed me the most of Jim’s Tour was the catering and hospitality: delicious dinners at New Buffalo and Valparaiso and best of all an informal reception at Jim and Jill’s home where Jim regaled us with his guitar and Paul Simon songs. There will be more Post-Tour stories in the next issues of Oak News & Notes and International Oaks, but for now you can see more photos in a photo gallery here. Thank you, Jim!

Pinhook Bog - Photo: © R. Cameron Warren Woods - Photo: © R. Cameron
Post-Tourists with Quercus ×bebbiana in residence of Art Davis, Valparaiso, IN - Photo: © G. Sternberg "Weeds" in the weeds: Henry Eilers, New Buffalo, MI - Photo: © R. Cameron


Callirhytis cornigera gall on Q. palustris (left) and sandhill cranes (right), Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area - Photos: © G. Sternberg
Acer rubrum and Betula populifolia in Cowles Bog (left), Quercus alba in Pinhook Bog (right), Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - Photos: © G. Sternberg