VERMILION COUNTY NATURE HIKE SERIES Birds and Blooms

Vermilion County Nature Hike Series

Birds and Blooms

Sponsored by Middlefork Audubon Society and

Illinois Native Plant Society (Forest Glen Chapter)

It’s Skunk Cabbage Time!!

When:  Saturday, March 23

Where:  Gannet Center parking lot (Forest Glen Preserve)

Time:  10:00 AM

Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate hiking  – but be prepared for wet and muddy conditions

Duration:  estimated 1 to 2 hours – depending on how much birding is desired

Join us Saturday, March 23 for the first hike in our nature series as we hike to Howard’s Hollow Seep to see skunk cabbage and other spring ephemerals that might be blooming.  Skunk cabbage is a unique plant that emerges very early in the year and is found only in seeps.  Its blooms can even emerge through a crust of snow! 

Meet at the Gannet Center parking lot in the Forest Glen Preserve at 10:00 AM.  Be prepared for wet and muddy conditions!  Bring binoculars (for birding) and water to drink.

Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) is a plant in the arum family (Aracaceae) that inhabits wet, seep communities.  It blooms in very early spring having the unusual ability to generate its own heat up to around 60 degrees! This enables the blooms to emerge in frozen ground and even push their way up through snow and ice. The blooms emit a foul odor that attracts flies and other insects that are attracted to carrion.  Broken leaves and stems also produce an odor – that some say resembles the odor of a skunk.  Vermilion County is lucky to contain several seep communities.  Some of which are on public land and accessible to any that wish to visit. 

Contact Connie Cunningham or Suzanne Smith for more information.

Connie:  217-526-1792;   conniejcunningham@gmail.com

Suzanne: 217-621-7528; suzanne56smith@gmail.com