Trees of the NC Mountains-to-SeaTrail - Part Five - Autumn 2018

Falls Lake State Recreation Area & U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lands 

Eastern Durham County

Thursday series of five Fall season Tree Camps, October 18,25 & November1,8,15

Classe 1 meet at the MST trailhead at Hickory Hill Boat Ramp off of Redwood Road

Classes 2 & 3 meet at the MST trailhead on Cheek Road just south of Falls Lake bridge 

Classes 4 meet at the MST trailhead on Baptist Road at Falls Lake Rolling View area

Class 5 meet at parking lot at northern tip of Rolling View view recreation area  

Two sections offered: 10-12 morning or 2-4 afternoon  

Cost $95 - registration is open to the general public 


      This is the fifth in a series of Tree Camps offered in Durham and Orange counties along the thousand mile, cross-state walking trail known as the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Join naturalist Riverdave Owen and herbalist Suki Roth as we pick up the trail in Eastern Durham County and follow it as it winds its way along the shores of Fall's Lake.  This is an opportunity for you to be mentored in the identification of the one hundred species of native trees and shrubs in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and learn about their medicinal properties from practicing herbalists as well. Class size is kept small with only a dozen in each section, so you can have the benefit of personal interaction with the teachers. You will also enjoy a good introduction to this one thousand mile, cross-state walking tail. Participants must be able to comfortably walk two miles in two hours. For registration, please contact me at
      Those completing this course may also apply to receive ten credits towards the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program. See:  CEUs for Educators   
     Please print out the following tree checklist to bring to class Piedmont TreeList. 
Recommended but not required for this course: the pocket field guide Trees of the Carolinas by Stan Tekliela; the shelf ID reference Sibley Guide to Trees by David Sibley; the Peterson Field Guide Medicinal Plants and HerbsEastern/Central  by Foster & DukePhoto by NCDPR

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

Winter 2018 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 2018 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 919-684-6259.  For class outline see: Tropical Tree Camp - Part 2 



Trees of the Haw River Valley - Spring 2019

Saxapahaw Island Park

Saxapahaw, North Carolina

Thursday series of five Spring season Tree Camps - April & May 2019

Led by naturalist Riverdave Owen & herbalist Suki Roth

Two sections offered: 10AM-12 morning or 2PM-4 afternoon  

Cost $95 - registration is open to the general public

Details to be posted here soon ...



Links to other Tree Camp Info:

Tree Campers Respond: 

Hi 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 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