During the depths of pandemic life in early 2021, Matt Berger (@sheriff_woody_pct) took us on a fabulous 5-part virtual field trip along the Pacific Crest Trail with his webinar series Botanical Tales of the PCT.
It was fascinating, inspiring, wicked fun, and we all learned a bunch while along for the journey!
In the year that followed, Matt put his Subaru and hiking boots to work exploring just about every state west of the Mississippi (sorry, Oklahoma!) and much of the Southeast in search of botanical treasures.
He shares his finds and adventures with us in this 3-part series:
PART 1 | California Deserts: We’ll visit all 3 of them: The Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran/Colorado Deserts, including botanical tours of Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks.
PART 2 | Intermountain West: You know all that wide open space between the Cascades/Sierras and the Rocky Mountains? Yep, Matt will share botanical finds from 8 states (NV, OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, CO, & UT) — including those he found hiking 500 miles on Nevada’s Great Basin Trail!
PART 3 | Southeast: If there’s an unusual habitat, you know Matt is making a beeline for it to see what’s growing. The southeast is full of these pockets and Matt will share all sorts of beauties and curiosities with us — including some gorgeous carnivorous plants from FL, GA, AL, and SC.
Matt spins a mean tale, and he tosses in some goodies from his travels: fossil hunting with Joey Santore (Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t) in Nevada, finding a psychoactive fungal cicada STD in Colorado, and a look at the drastic measures one may take to fill their water bottle when on a thru hike of the Great Basin Trail… among other curiosities and wonders of the natural world!
PLANT LISTS accompany each leg of the journey.
What are people saying about Matt’s last series, Botanical Tales of the PCT?
Amazing class, Matt is a great storyteller and an even greater botanist. – Ryan Balkcom
This series was absolutely brilliant. I learned about so many interesting plants and habitats, and Matt’s stories of the trail were inspirational and entertaining. I liked the plant lists that were sent out ahead of time so I could follow along and make notes about things I want to look up later. – Leah Cogan
Loved this series! I’ve followed Matt on Instagram for at least 3 years now, and find his enthusiasm for plants so infectious. – Natalie Parker
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of these five sessions! Matt shared so much great info about native plants, including photos and characteristics that help with identification. – Marcy
This was such a fun hike with Matt. I gave it 5 stars, but it deserves 500 stars! – Sharon Kenyon
This was a terrific experience. There was an engaging balance of botany and trail stories and neither got old. – Joel Ferree
This class was awesome!!! Absolutely loved getting to learn about the plants along the way while hearing interesting stories about real experiences on the PCT from a thru hiker. I have a lot of appreciation for Matt’s dedication to the project, he was inspiring!!! – Kat Schut
This was a fantastic webinar series. Matt is both engaging and extremely knowledgeable about the flora along the PCT. He did a lot of research before his thru hikes and it paid off in his many observations. Plus, he takes wonderful photos! – Sue Kelso
This was an outstanding webinar series—a must-see. Matt’s botanical knowledge is incredible and his presentation was professional and entertaining. There was so much content I watched them over again! Allison was the perfect host and did an excellent job of coordinating and communicating the logistics. I looked forward to each installment and, like Matt finishing his PCT hike, was sad to have this virtual botanical community end. – Diana Doyle
I looked forward to every Tuesday night for 5 weeks, just because I knew I’d get to spend a couple enjoyable hours listening to Matt share his love and knowledge of plants and funny stories of his hikes along the PCT. I learned a lot and am so happy I tuned in! – Elizabeth Smith
It was an absolute delight seeing all the wonderful plants that Matt saw along the trail. The photography and interpretation of his trip, and the amazing trail tails are hilarious and heart warming. Incredible talks by an incredible botanist! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. – Dee Shea Himes
Easy 5 stars, this series was a gem. Completely inspiring to take a closer look at the plants you walk by each day, and to think about how we can care for our environment. Matt has an infectiously chipper and humorous angle on his botany passion and his adventures on the PCT. His stories were just as valuable to the webinar and often had me laughing and wondering how someone can be so upbeat about the trials of a PCT thru-hike. Great series and I would watch again in a heartbeat. – Jacky Taylor