Edeburn Division of Duke Forest and Brumley Nature Preserve 
Orange County NC
Thursdays October 21, 28 & November 4 
You may choose either 10AM till Noon or from 2 till 4 PM
$60/person covers all three days 
Registration required at
     You are invited to join us for three days of Tree Camp as we explore natural areas along a five mile tributary of the Eno River known as Stony Creek with permission from property owners Duke Forest and Triangle Land Conservancy. This is an opportunity for you to become familiar with many of our 100 species of native trees and shrubs under the mentorship of Naturalist Riverdave.   
     And it's not an impossible task to become familiar with ALL of them - if you have a mentor!  My own mentors from 1990-92 were Duke Forest Resource Manager Fred White and  Duke Botany Professor Bob Wilbur.  Through decades of experience, I have discovered that getting on intimate terms with local trees can provide a wide open door for deeper nature exploration, personal healing and growth of all kinds. 

      As a community herbalist, I will also offer insight into the traditional medicinal use of many of our native piedmont trees and demonstrate how to harvest twig bark so you can make your own herbal teas. Besides trees, we will also touch on herbaceous plants, insects, herps, birds and mammals as we encounter them in context.    

    As an ongoing benefit for Tree Campers at no extra charge, after this spring session ends Riverdave will continue to make himself available as a mentor for tree ID through photos you send by email until you are familiar with all the trees on our Piedmont tree checklist!


    Group size will be limited to approximately a dozen. We will follow Orange County's guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing during the pandemic. Each participant should be in reasonable physical condition so as to be able to comfortably walk up to one mile in two hours. 


    To register, please email me at and I will provide you an address where you can mail a check for $60 and google map instructions to our exact meeting point.  I will NOT be receiving any payment at the park.  

    My weather cancellation policy is as follows:  If there is a forecast for significant rain that would compromise the quality of our experience, I will email a cancellation notice to tree campers by 8AM the morning of a scheduled tree camp. If there is a forecast for only light rain, we will proceed with umbrellas or raincoats. Any session cancelled due to rain will be held on the following Thursday in November.

    Our working tree list for this camp. I will be providing everyone with a print out: Piedmont Tree List

Those working on North Carolina Environmental Education Certification can earn six credits in this Tree Camp session.        

Recommended resources for this camp, but not required are: 

Pocket field guide: Trees of the Carolinas by Stan Tekiela

Reference guide: Sibley Guide to Trees by David Sibley  

Will Cook's online reference: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines of NC 

Duke Homestead: 

Bennett Place: 


Links to other Tree Camp Info:

Tree Campers Respond:

Riverdave, Thanks for Tree Camp! I have been able to ID the "mystery" trees in my neighborhood - Marien


Riverdave, I so enjoyed my time at tree camp.  There is much more to absorb so you might see me again.  Thank you, Michele 

Riverdave, We bought the Sibley tree book yesterday and found forty pages of oaks! I'm going to start an oak leaf collection, including the ones we find in Arkansas, New Jersey and California on trips to see the family.  It should take the rest of my life! Tree camp was, as always, such a delight.  We can't wait for the next one - Kathy & Bob

      Thanks very much for another great Tree Camp course.  I've learned so much from you and Suki.  After four or five of your courses, I'm finally starting to feel that my feet are under me - at least some of the time.  There is so much to learn.  I appreciate your knowledge and your willingness to share it with the rest of us.  Dave & Carolyn      
Dear Riverdave,
     Thanks for a wonderful class at the Butterfly House today. This was my first introduction to Ayurvedic teachings and it will be interesting to see how they might be incorporated into life going forward.  The fruits and spices to taste, or to ponder in the case of the giant palm seed, added a lot to the experience.  I'll be on the lookout for courses you give in the future!  Best wishes, Margaret 

     All I hear are wonderful memories and stories about those who know you or know of you in Durham. I can tell from the words of others, your website, your writings, and your photographs that you have an incredible connection to your home and the nature that is in and around it.  I would love to see NC and the Eno through your eyes.   Kate

Hi Riverdave, 
     Thanks again for a great Tree Camp experience!  Sue and I had a wonderful time!  We're going to try to inventory Sue's yard and also pay more attention to the trees on the Umstead trail that we hike frequently. Jill
Dear Riverdave, 
     We are basking in the memory of our tree camp encounter on New Year's Day and cannot help examining every tree in our path. What a wonderful thing you are doing.  Joe & Mary Kay

 Hello Riverdave!
     I just wanted to say thank you for the really enjoyable and meaningful walk to the source of the Eno yesterday.  Until then, I had never given much thought to the source of rivers or the source of many things, other than my belief in a Spirit/Being that is the Source of life.  I thoroughly appreciated the spiritual and reverential dimension you shared.  That was my favorite aspect of the hike.  I did, of course, love learning about the trees, the Smilax, pollination, and of that very plain/hillside being the source for not only the Eno, but the Neuse and the Roanoke Rivers!  It was such a relaxing hike and a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Thank you for asking us to pick up a stone or something to bring to the source and for allowing a few moments of contemplation as we placed our offerings.  Thank you.  In our busy city lives, spending time, particularly outdoors, with someone like you is rejuvenating.  You are an antidote to the toxins of life's many pressures. Your hike yesterday will stay with me for a long time.  Gratefully,  Aniko 
    Tree Camp was spectacular!  I'd never before cared much about the names of trees,  mainly because I found remembering all the information about each tree daunting. Tree guides focus on minute botanical features with confusing names.  But Riverdave keyed in to the most important characteristics of each tree, and gave me simple ways of remembering - like a River Birch casts a Monet effect, or an Ashe looks like it's sparsely leafed, or an Elm splits into slingshot trunks.  After 5 hours of observation, and a lot of gentle quizzing, I think I've got it!  I'm a Boy Scout leader, and I was always a little embarrassed that I didn't know my trees as well as I know my knots. Now, I'll be able to hold my own in the woods.  Greg - Assistant Scout Master

     My wife and I had a great time.  We walked around our neighborhood the past two evenings trying out our new "skill."  Looking forward to the fall sessions of your camp.  Michael
Dear Riverdave,
     Your Tree Camp program for my freshman class was perfect.  I was hoping they would hear more than just the botanical facts.  You gave them a lot more to think about.  I especially liked the "cosmic" tree discussion.  We had talked already in class about how cultures bonded with nature in various ways and how we now ignore this ancient reality.  Hope we can do this again.  Professor Schauman, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
      Eating lunch outside today, under my favorite oak in the parking lot, with leaves falling on me, I felt more connected and aware of the trees' presence than normally.  Although the six hours of tree camp exhausted me, I realized at lunch that the long hike was a kind of immersion education, where one's familiarity with the topic is deeply reinforced. Thanks, Didi
Hi Dave,
      I wanted to say thanks again for the Tree Camp experience.  I thought I'd never remember all that you taught us, but I went past my neighbor's house and they asked me all about it.  I amazed myself in naming tree after tree!  My neighbor is 81 and has lived on the Piedmont all her life, and I think I now can teach her a lot about trees!  As I look back on the day, I especially appreciate the afternoon when you made us put all our just-learned knowledge to work.  Excellent day - thanks so much. Shel

Hello, River/Arbor Dave!
     Thanks so much for a great day!  I learned so much and it was so fun!  I found myself identifying the trees along my long running route today...which I hadn't done before.   Please keep me informed of any other special activities. Katrina

     Thank you so much for the Tree Camp yesterday.  My knowledge and confidence is growing with every camp.  So glad to have your instruction. What a great program you've created.  Sincere thanks. Mary

Hello RIverdave,
      I had a wonderful time yesterday! I learned more about trees in 6 hours yesterday than the previous 43 years of my life! I find that the more that I know about the nature around me, the more I enjoy it. There is so much to know that it can be overwhelming, but your tree camp and mentoring approach really provide an intimate access to nature that is hard to come by these days. It was a pleasure indeed!   Steve
     Thanks so much!  I have learned a lot and figured out most of the trees in my yard.  Hope to come again in the fall!  Carter


Tropical Tree Camp - Part One: Medicinal Plants of Tropical America 

Winter 2020 dates to be posted soon, 1:30 - 3:30PM 
       This two hour winter Tree Camp, held in the Magic Wings Tropical Butterfly Conservatory in Durham NC, is an opportunity to study the traditional medicinal uses of plants in the Vegetalismo, Curanderismo and Root Medicine traditions of the American tropics.  Riverdave invites you to come in out of the cold and enjoy a winter tropical adventure in Durham's largest greenhouse. 
For class outline see: Tropical Tree Camp - Part 1  
Tropical Tree Camp - Part Two: Medicinal Plants of Tropical Asia 
Winter 2019 dates to be posted soon, 1:30 - 3:30PM 
       This two hour winter Tree Camp, held in the Magic Wings Tropical Butterfly Conservatory in Durham NC, is an opportunity to study some of the living medicinal plants of the Ayurvedic herbal tradition of South Asia.  Riverdave invites you to come in out of the cold and enjoy a winter tropical adventure in Durham's largest greenhouse. or call 919-684-6259For class outline see: Tropical Tree Camp - Part 2