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Discover Letterboxing LbNA #76299

Plant date:Sep 21, 2022
Location: Goodwin state forest
Found by: Valleytine
Last found:May 23, 2023
Last edited:Sep 22, 2022
Learn the basics of letterboxing while being introduced to a few of the plants growing along the Children’s Discovery Trail at Goodwin State Forest. This box is located on a short < 0.5-mile loop next to the Conservation Center.

Start facing the Goodwin Conservation Center. Turn and walk across the field on your left, following the children's discovery trail signs.

- The large tree in the center of the field with shiny green leaves is a chestnut tree. Since the chestnut blight wiped out nearly 4 billion American Chestnuts in the early 1900s, they can no longer grow to maturity without succumbing to this introduced fungus that lays dormant in the surrounding ecosystems. The mature chestnut in front of you is a Chinese chestnut that was brought over for its blight resistance. Many different blight-resistant chestnuts are being tested as the American Chestnut Society hopes to re-introduce them to the landscape eventually. The large tree by the bench is a European beech, sometimes called a purple beech due to its purple leaves.
- There are many different plants located in the garden bed on your right. What is in bloom will depend on the season! Pay special attention to the very tall plant with purple tinted stems by the entrance to the discovery trail. This is called ironweed or Vernonia noveboracensis. It grows from 5-8 ft tall and develops large clusters of dark purple flowers in August. This impressively sized plant is native to the area and is great for attracting pollinators.

Once you arrive at the Children’s Discovery Trailhead follow it, making sure to keep an eye out for spiders.

- Keep your eyes peeled for some very special leaves as you start down the trail. Low to the ground on the right is a spotted leaf that belongs to a lungwort plant. These spots are the result of foliar air pockets. These small pockets of air cool the lower surface of the leaves and mask the chlorophyll that normally gives leaves their distinctive green color. A plaque also indicates the aptly named leatherleaf viburnum plant. Both of these are non-native species. They are native to Europe and Asia respectively. While non-native, neither plant is considered invasive.

When you see a trail to the right by a patch of rhododendron, the large bushy plants with long oval leaves of dark green, do not follow it. Continue straight.

When the trail begins to curve right STOP! There is a smaller trail in front of you heading into the woods. Take about 18 steps along this trail until you are in a small clearing surrounded by small white pines.

Investigate a nearby stump to find what you search for.

Stamp your logbook with the Friends of Goodwin Forest stamp! Make sure to also stamp the logbook with your own stamp and feel free to leave a note or the date you found the box!

Make sure to replace the letterbox as you found it, taking care that it is re-sealed and won’t leak. It should also be hidden properly so no hikers mistake it for trash and remove it. Now continue your hike looking out for more interesting trail features.

At the end of the trail, you can continue straight to the Forest Discovery Trail or right to get back to the Conservation Center! Make sure to check out the Richard Haley Native Wildlife Garden to see what’s in bloom. Also, check out our nature-themed Little Free Library on the side of the museum.

To get more involved with Goodwin State Forest and find out about our events visit or

Hike length: 0.5 miles