“This is a corner of heaven here,”
wrote American poet Gerald Stern in his poem In Carpenter’s Woods. And indeed it is!

Carpenter’s Woods, part of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system, is located in the northwestern part of the city. Preserved from development in 1916 specifically because of its importance to a wide variety of resident and migratory bird species, Carpenter’s Woods is part of a global network of places recognized by the National Audubon Society and BirdLife International for its value to bird conservation.

Besides woodpeckers and warblers, Carpenter’s Woods is a nature-lover’s delight, filled with toads and butterflies, wild mushrooms and skunk cabbage, and so much more. Active during all seasons, you can enjoy walking the trails, sledding, or, as Gerald Stern wrote, just laying “for hours with my eyes closed listening to the great sounds.”

Carpenter’s Woods is preserved and maintained as an ecologically important natural area and public resource by the Friends of Carpenter’s Woods. Through their voluntary efforts, the Friends provide ongoing maintenance, educational programming, and public information about Carpenter’s Woods.

Love Your Park 2016 Spring Fest Schedule

Friends of Carpenter’s Woods present Love Your Park Week Spring Fest 2016



(Ellet & Sherman Streets, Mt. Airy 19119)

May 7–14, 2016. Join us for Free Nature Walks & More!

Saturday 5/7, 3:00 pm & Sunday 5/8, 1:00 pm
Looking at Plants: A Plant Appreciation Walk
Louise Barteau-Chodoff, GROVE Artist & Naturalist
Join Louise Barteau on a walk through Carpenter’s Woods looking at interesting plants and learning about their lives. Part natural history, part beginning plant ID, Louise will share how she has learned to look closely and appreciatively at plants since she began as a volunteer in Carpenter’s Woods 15 years ago. Louise recently received her Advanced Field Botany Certificate from New England Wildflower Society and is eager to share her love and interest in native plants with others.

Tuesday 5/10, 5:00 pm
The Challenges of Being a Plant in Carpenter’s Woods
• Timothy Block, Ph.D., John J. Willaman Chair & Director of Botany, Morris Arboretum
On this plant-focused walk we’ll look at the ecological impacts on the woods of the interactions among factors such as the urban environment, introduced plant species, herbivore feeding preferences, and other pressures placed on a “forest island” like Carpenter’s Woods. We’ll also have an opportunity to answer those “what plant is that?” questions.

Thursday 5/12, 3:00 pm
Nature Walk
• Sarah Low, Field Station Coordinator & Biological Scientist, U.S. Forestry Service
Walk with Sarah to learn about the plants and animals of Carpenter’s Woods and the importance of urban forests, wildflowers, and native plant management.

Friday 5/13, 3:00 pm
A Natural Resource & History Ramble
• Jason Lubar, ISA Cert. Master Arborist, Assoc. Dir. of Urban Forestry, Morris Arboretum
This walk will be led by Jason Lubar, a tree expert who grew up on Ellet Street and whose formative years were shaped by Carpenter’s Woods. The Wood’s tree and natural resource issues will be highlighted, and social, geological, and biological history will be discussed
and questions will be answered. You are encouraged to bring your questions for group discussions. This will be a ramble, not a strenuous hike. All welcome.

Saturday 5/14, 7:30 am • Meet at Wayne Ave. Bus Turnaround
BirdPhilly Bird Walk
• Keith Russell, Audubon Program Manager for Urban Conservation
Sponsored by BirdPhilly & Delaware Valley Ornithological Club
Mid-May is the best time for migrating warblers and Carpenter’s Woods is Philadelphia’s warbler hotspot. Come out and see why Carpenter’s Woods was Philadelphia’s First Bird Sanctuary. BirdPHILLY is a joint initiative between DVOC and Phila. Parks & Recreation.
Beginner to experienced birders welcome! Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them. Loaner binoculars will be available.

Saturday 5/14, 11:00 am
Finding Reptiles & Amphibians
• Bernard “Billy” Brown, Urban Wildlife Podcast & PA Amphibian & Reptile Survey
Learn about the frogs, toads, snakes, and other reptiles and amphibians that call Carpenter’s Woods home on this family-friendly walk. Billy Brown is the producer and co-host of the Urban Wildlife Podcast as well as the Philadelphia coordinator for the
Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey.

Saturday 5/14, 1:00 pm & 3:00 pm
Tree ID & Ecology Walk
• Ken LeRoy, ISA Certified Arborist, John B. Ward Tree Experts
This walk emphasizes the importance protecting our native trees and plants, some trees that make Carpenter’s Woods special, and how invasive plants threaten them. Learn tree and shrub identification and appreciation of the cosmopolitan forest.

Saturday 5/14, 2:00 pm & 3:30 pm
Meadow & Woodland Plant ID Stroll
• Alfred “Ernie” Schuyler, Ph.D., Curator Emer., Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Hike along the trails with Dr. Schuyler as we learn to identify as many plants as we can. We will use both Latin and common names for individual plants and discuss the characteristics that enable us to identify them. We will also discuss the characteristics of the families to which they belong. Dr. Schuyler has taught adult education courses at the Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation, Wagner Free Institute of Science, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Bring a field guide if you have one.

Sat. 5/14, All Day
Practical Natural & Native Gardening Answers You Can Use
• Dottie Allison, Penn State Master Gardeners
Dottie will share her personal experiences with native and chemical free gardening on her 1/2 acre of property, planted with 75% natives and represents every possible soil type and growing condition. This enables her to answer your questions about gardening in a variety of situations. Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the Penn State Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners help the Extension better serve the home gardening public by answering questions, speaking to groups, participating in civic beautification, maintaining demonstration gardens, and in many other ways. Master Gardeners are willing and able to educate individuals and groups in gardening topics such as plant selection, composting, soil improvement, pest control, vegetable and flower gardening, pruning, and more.

ALL WALKS (except Bird Walk) meet at Ellet Kiosk inside the Woods at Ellet St. trailhead.

Print the 2016 Spring Fest Schedule (PDF)

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Updated Trail Map of Carpenter’s Woods Available

An updated trail map of Carpenter’s Woods, including the new meadow go-around, is now available on our website.

Download the Trail Map PDF (3.4 MB)

focw map thumbnail

2016 Carpenter’s Woods Trail Map

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Update on GROVE

Winter 2015 fence down GROVE

GROVE: Winter 2015

GROVE early summer 2015 smaller

GROVE: early summer 2015

The upper photo shows what GROVE looks like now that we have taken the fence down in December. It was the perfect time to do so. The ground was soft and we could see what we were doing. Several volunteers joined us ready to remove invasives but I don’t recommend doing much invasive removal work during the winter – the insects live in the leaf litter and the birds will need them come spring. I remove any plant with caution especially in the winter. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing we can do at the time.

Overall GROVE is doing well. Native trees and shrubs are doing very well. When I have any doubt as to its progress, I simply have to remember that it used to be a mature knotweed forest surrounded by privet, burning bush, and multiflora rose.

There is some occasional knotweed and since the second planting we have an issue with lesser celandine. I am pondering adding some wetland ferns to the ground cover this season and see how that works out. (With Curtis’ approval of course!)

Even though the fence is down I still regard GROVE and its surroundings as my responsibility and will gladly return to tend it several times a year as I have been doing since the beginning.

This year I received my certificate in Advanced Field Botany (although I continue to study every chance I can get). I now can complete a wetland delineation using vegetation and serve on my town’s Conservation Commission. I serve as a Plant Conservation Volunteer leading surveys of rare plants for the state of MA. I mention these qualifications to reassure you that I take my work in GROVE very seriously – work that I hope to continue for a long time.

Happy 2016! Best, Louise Barteau

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February Herbicide Treatment and Invasive Removal Project

If you’ve been in Carpenter’s Woods recently, you’ve probably noticed cut stumps painted blue and signs posted warning of herbicide treatments.

A cut stump in Carpenter's Woods, treated with herbicide containing a blue dye.

A cut stump in Carpenter’s Woods, treated with herbicide containing a blue dye.

The current work is being done by a consultant/contractor, Land Studies, Inc. They are presently controlling a variety of invasive plants, including but not limited to devil’s walking stick, winged euonymous, bittersweet and porcelainberry. These species have been targeted for removal on volunteer service days held by Friends of Carpenter’s Woods, but they are widespread and cannot be contained by manual removal alone. Weather permitting, the contractors’ work will be completed this week.

The signs are standard practice for informing park users that herbicides are being used in a particular section that people (and pets) frequently use, particularly along trails. There should be a sign posted at both ends of the trail that runs through the area being worked on to notify trail users coming from either direction. Signs are usually left up for a day or so after the application.

The herbicide being used is Garlon 4 Ultra mixed with horticultural oil and blue marker dye. Garlon is used to kill invasive woody plants, typically in two ways. The first way is to cut the stem of the unwanted target plant and spray the mixture on the cut surface of the stem. This conducts the active ingredient to the roots, killing the plant. The second way is to spray around the circumference of a plant, up to about 15 inches above the ground surface. The horticultural oil carries the active ingredient into the plant’s cambium, killing the plant. Garlon 4 is highly specific to plants and poses little concern to people and animals. Keeping dogs on a leash (which is a park rule in any case) prevents them from running around the applicators and also rubbing against or ingesting any freshly-applied herbicide.

For more information and a description of the initial project, view the project fact sheet from PP&R.

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Carpenter’s Woods Love Your Park Volunteer Day, Saturday, Dec. 5, 9 AM to 1 PM.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Carpenter’s Woods Love Your Park Volunteer Day, Saturday, Dec. 5, 9 AM to 1 PM.

Join David Bower of Parks & Rec and Friends of Carpenter’s Woods for our final planting of the season (we have trees and bulbs to plant) and to work on cleaning up the trails and replacing the cork on our wonderful kiosks before the winter freeze sets in.

Come for the entire morning or an hour or more.
Expert guidance, tools, and work gloves provided.

Dress for the weather and working in the Woods.
Wear long sleeves and long pants—poison ivy is still potent, even in the cold months!
Bring a bottle of water.

See you in the Woods!

December 5 service day FOCW

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