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      Walking with the wildflowers

      The Fumee Lake Natural Area boasts almost 2,000 acres of land and water, full of wildlife.

      "I always keep a list and refer back to that so that I know what to look for when I come back the next time," said Catherine Vivio, a regular participant of the annual Fumee Lake Natural Area wildflower walk. "I just think it's wonderful that we have this natural area and that everything is kept the way that nature intended for it to be," said Vivio.

      Wild ginger, fringed polygala, and trilliums are just a few of the 620 species of plants to be found here. Some of the wildflowers here are of the more common variety. But the other orchids are little tougher to find.

      There are 18 species of orchids, most found away from the main trails.

      "The specialty one that they like to see are the Lady Slipper orchids," said Phyllis Carlson, Flower Enthusiast and Walk Guide.

      New to finding flowers? Not a problem; you can learn a lot from Carlson.

      "Phyllis does such a good job of scouting the area before she brings you out here," Vivio said. "She knows where everything is and is very familiar with the area. So you're going to see practically everything you could see when you're here with Phyllis."

      But the area has more to offer than pretty plants.

      "It was totally undeveloped and blocked off from the world for years," Carlson said. "It was allowed to become something a little different."

      Eagles, loons, and warblers are three of 150 birds that can be observed there during migration seasons. So they hold a bird walk in the spring, too.

      Schedule of Fumee Lake Natural Area events; all are free of charge

      Saturday, May 26, 7 a.m.: Guided Bird Watching WalkSunday, May 27, 1 p.m.: Wildflower WalkFriday, June 1, Frog and Toad Program/WalkSaturday, June 2, 9 a.m.: History of the Fumee Lake Natural Area WalkSaturday, June 9, 12-2 p.m.: Fumee Lake Natural Area Open HouseFor more information, contact