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Release: April 30, 2002

UI sponsors two field trips on May 4

The University of Iowa will sponsor two field trips through Palisades-Kepler State Park on Saturday, May 4.

At 10 a.m., the UI Museum of Natural History will host a hike, led by Dean Abel and Damian Pieper, introducing participants to spring mushrooms and wild flowers." At 2 p.m., illustrator Mark Müller will lead a hike, sponsored by the University of Iowa Press in recognition of the May release of "Woodland in Your Pocket."

The field trips are free and open to the public.

Abel is the co-author of "A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms" and chair of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) annual photo contest, while Pieper is a member of the Iowa Native Plant Society and president of the Prairie State Mushroom Club. According to Abel and Pieper the secret to finding morel mushrooms lies in knowing nature's timing signals, such as the blooming of certain wildflowers.

The leader of the afternoon hike, Mark Müller is the illustrator of "Woodland in Your Pocket," a user-friendly, laminated fold-out guide which features color drawings showcasing native Midwestern woodland species, providing their common and scientific names, blooming dates, and heights. Copies will be available for sale at a cost of $9.95.

Participants should gather near the park entrance in the first shelter on the left at 10 a.m., rain or shine, and be prepared for hiking by wearing sturdy shoes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat. Water, a paper bag for collecting mushrooms and a hand-lens for identification are recommended. The two-hour morning foray will be followed by an identification session. A short and relatively flat trail is available for those participants looking for an easy hike. The 2 p.m. hike with Müller will depart from the same shelter. A map giving directions to the park is available at:

For further information, contact David Brenzel, program coordinator, at 319-335-0482 or Megan Scott at the University of Iowa Press at 319-335-2008.