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Summer 1998 Newsletter


Ecology and Natural History of the California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia californica)
Friday, July 31, 7 p.m.
Community Room
Nevada County Library, Nevada City

Christine Elder, a Nevada City native, did her master's thesis on the Grouse Ridge Pitcher Plant Bog and was instrumental in influencing the California Department of Forestry to recommend greater restrictions for logging around the bog. She has moved on to the Moss Landing Marine Lab near Monterey but is coming home on July 31 to talk about one of her favorite subjects --insectivorious California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia california) -- one of the most bizarre vascular plants in the California flora. Cobra lily is another common name for the insectivorious plant, but it is not a lily, but a member of a unique American plant family, Sarraceniaceae. The swollen hollow leaves of the pitcher plant fill partway with water and digestive enzymes as they grow. When unwary insects are lured to crawl into the trap, light patches on the leaves confuse them and downward pointing hairs doom them. The dead and decaying insects provide the plants with nutrients that are in short supply. This is a plant with attitude! If you have any questions, contact Karen Callahan at 272-5532.

To get there:
Nevada County Library, Community Room. The library is located at 980 Helling Way, Nevada City. At the intersection off Hwy. 49 and 20 in Nevada City, turn west toward Downieville on Hwy. 49. After approximately one mile, turn right at the Nevada County Government Office Buildings complex. Follow signs to the library, which is uphill and to the right of the Eric Rood Administration Building .


Field trips are generally easy walks suitable for all ages unless otherwise noted. Most are from 1 to 3 miles in length, unless otherwise noted. Remember to bring lunch, liquids, hat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Field guides, binoculars, cameras and held lenses are optional but will greatly add to your enjoyment of the trip. Call the contact person listed for the trip in question to sign up.

Saturday, July 18
Bear Valley, Highway 20, Nevada County

If we get an R.S.V.P. of at least 10, we will do a tour of this spectacular montane meadow. This is a transition zone where California bay grow along side Sierra juniper trees, pinenut manzanita and stickybush monkeyflower. Extraordinary diversity at this magical place at the head of the Bear River. R.S.V.P. Karen Callahan @ 272-5532

Saturday, July 25
Loney Meadow, Grouse Ridge

Led by USFS botanists' Kathy van Zuuk and Blaze Baker, this promises to be a wonderful mid-summer hike. A recent acquisition of the Tahoe National Forest, this spectacular montane meadow at 6,000 ft elevation has a gentle meadow stream and one of the finest groves of quaking aspen in the area. Here is a sample of some of the more colorful elements of this diverse mountain meadow: monkshood, corn lily, camass lily, blue-eyed grass, western spring beauty, meadow rue, steer's head, Drummond's cinquefoil, meadow lupine, western dog violet, baby elephant's head, arrowhead butterweed -- and many more -- all against a backdrop of apple-green spring meadow grasses and sedges. Plan for a 4-5 hour leisurely trip. R.S.V.P. Karen Callahan at 272-5532 or call USFS at 265-4531 to see if bad weather has forced us to reschedule. Want to car pool? meet at 8 a.m. at the USFS on Coyote St. in the lower level parking lot.

Saturday, September 26
Butterflies and Flora of the Old Donner Highway and Donner Lake Lookout Area

One of the state's leading naturalists and a world expert on butterflies, Dr. Art Shapiro, takes us on another stop along his 20+ year field research transect of the I-80/Hwy 20 corridor. The Donner Pass area of Placer and Nevada Counties boasts a fauna of 115 butterfly species, including 85 breeding residents. In fact, Nevada County leads the Sierran counties in number of butterfly species per square mile. Adult butterflies feed on nectar. Flowers particularly important to butterflies include rabbitbrush, asters, and goldenrod, buckwheats, horsemint (Agastache) and coyote mint, dogbane (Apocynum) --all well represented in the Donner Pass area and all late blooming. Lots of fall color and berries in a wide spectrum from bittercherry, mountain ash, snowberry, elderberry, twin berry, aspens, cottonwoods and willows, mountain maples, and many more. R.S.V.P. Carolyn Chainey-Davis at 273-1581 for carpool or meeting time.

Spring Plant Sale Another Grand Success!

Thanks to the efforts of Kate McBride and Company, our Spring Sale was both a critical and monetary success. We had a eye-dazzling selection of plants for sale, and we would really like to thank all the nurseries for participating. In particular, we would like to give special thanks to Marcia Braga of Far Star Nursery in Grass Valley. Year after year, Marcia has been there for our Chapter, providing robust, beautiful and often rare plants for our sales. She also always dispenses a wealth of information on native plants, including honest counsel on the suitability of plants for particular locations. Her plants are so hearty that they have thrived even in my neglectful hands. Thanks, Marcia! Our Chapter salutes you for your contribution.

Chet Blackburn also deserves several rounds of applause for almost single-handedly putting on a spectacular wildflower display again. This wonderful show drew a steady stream of appreciative onlookers. Thanks also to Sierra College's Joe Medeiros for leading the wildflower and nature hike. Thanks to Carolyn Chainey-Davis for her considerable and multiple efforts to make the sale a success. Thanks to Grass Valley Girl Scout Troop 162 and its leader Dawn Cole for again providing refreshments that were both excellent and reasonably priced.

And of course, kudos to Kate McBride for her excellent organization of the event.

Thanks also to volunteers Soveig Lardner, Lynne Hurrell, Maureen Walsh, Ruth Eckenburg, Mary Chrisman, Nancy Bascom, Marie Krause, Richard Hanes, Karen Callahan, Bobbi Wilkes, Shawna Martinez, Lynne Tuft, Zoe Robinson and the Lily Society's Gerald Kennedy and Barbara Small.

But no resting on our laurels (or the native plant equivalent), the Autumn Sale is upon us...

Can You Help at the Autumn Native Plant Sale?

The Autumn Sale is being held on Saturday, September 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sierra College in Grass Valley. Last year we had a sell-out crowd. In fact, we essentially sold out in the first two hours. This year we want to make sure that all our customers go home happy, and are making considerable effort to expand and enhance our offerings. Please contact Kate at 477-0662 or Carolyn at 273-1581 if you can help with any of the following tasks:

  • Sending out information on the plant sale to papers and radio stations to meet their deadlines for submission (4-6 hours in early September)
  • Typing up and printing out approximately twenty 8² x 11" signs in large type, on parking, prices, etc.
  • Typing up the name and a brief description of approximately 30 native species for a fall color, seeds and berry show.
  • Setting up the morning of the sale: are you an early riser? We meet at the Sierra college campus at 6 a.m. to set up tables for the vendors and the ³fall color² show, put up banners, signs, etc.
  • Putting up signs around town and leaflets on community billboards the week or two before the sale. A 4-6 hour task, done alone or with Kate McBride.
  • Picking up plants at Cornflower Farms Wholesale Nursery in Elk Grove. Do you have a van with a camper shell? Work with Carolyn a day or two before the sale to pick out and load up retail-quality native plants for the sale.
  • Helping vendors unload their plants the morning of the sale; pull photo/description signs for the inventory, help them set up and install signs. 2-3 hours.
  • Helping photographers (Karen Callahan & Richard Hanes) set up their photo exhibit the morning of the sale, helping transport photos to the college, etc. 2-3 hours. Call Karen @ 272-5532.
  • Laminating signs and photo/description cards. Bobbi Wilkes generously paid for a laminator just for this purpose--the photos really do help sell the plants. Work can be accomplished over the 2-3 weeks proceeding the sale--maximum of 8 hours of cutting, laminating, trimming, etc. Call Carolyn.

We are all volunteers--busy volunteers at that. Every additional volunteer makes it easier and more fun. It is a chance to learn a lot, and not the least of the rewards of being a volunteer is the the chance to have the first choice for those irresistible plants.

Speaking of help...H.E.L.P!

By Carolyn Chainey-Davis

Our small rural CNPS chapter does a remarkable amount of work for just a handful of volunteers -- we, and you, have a lot to be proud of. More importantly, we have FUN doing it and want you to have fun too. We have some very important, very specific tasks we need your help with to accomplish our goals in conservation and public education. Is there someone out there that can help with these projects? Nobody wants to make long term commitments--we understand that; so if you think you can help, --even if just for a couple months out of the year, or even just a in one month--then we can make those precious hours make a difference. Call me, Carolyn, at 273-1581.

  1. Acknowledging those who have contributed their time or money to our local CNPS--like the people who lead field trips or do slide shows or help at plant sales. We even have a small budget for thank you gifts of prints, cards, books, or to wine 'em and dine 'em! So if whipping out a thank you note comes natural to you, and you can spend two or three hours each month, do just that.
  2. Publicize the plant sales, field trips, programs, -- or just one of them -- or act as an assistant to our publicity person. We provide a list of papers, columns, sections, radio stations, and their faxes, etc. You stay on top of the deadlines and send out brief public service announcements using copy already written about field trips, plant sales, programs, etc. We estimate 3-4 hours each month -- maximum - but even if you can only do it one or two months out of the year--it's a big help.
  3. Assistant to the conservation chair: they say I'm fast at a lot of things, but when it comes to typing and sending out correspondence, I'm slow as ...... I'm also a really bad typist. I can make more progress, faster, if I have someone I can fax my notes to for typing and storing on disk, and mailing out. Comment letters, articles for the newsletter, correspondence with land owners and public agencies, etc. I'm estimating 3-4 hours per month, but I will be grateful for any time you can give to the cause of conservation.
  4. Contact person for field trips; looking for several people with an answering machine and an hour or less to spend each month during the season to answer questions about field trips, keep track of weather forecasts the week prior, and stay in contact with the field trip leader. Most calls can be handled with an informative recording on your answering machine but you may have to return some calls to confirm an R.S.V.P.
  5. Assistant membership chairperson; Dr. Bobbi Wilkes gives generously of her time to produce a first-rate newsletter, and maintain and update the membership list. But we still need someone to send out brochures to potential members as we receive requests, to index new members with a new member package, and coordinate with Bobbi. Actually, we could use some help developing a index new member package. We average about 4-6 new members per month -- I'm guessing about 2-3 hours of your time each month. As with all CNPS volunteers, we will pay or reimburse you for any CNPS expenses.

Wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties Book Project

Steady progress is being made on the Chapter's undertaking to publish a book on the full flora of Nevada and Placer counties. As previously reported, the book which will be designed around color photographs of the most common, beautiful or rare of our more than 1700 species of plants in the two counties will be geared to be of use to both novices and more seasoned plant lovers. Since we are in our ³pleading for help² mode in this newsletter, we would like to issue a call for volunteers that can help in the desk-top publishing area. The more we meet, the more it becomes evident that we are decidedly short of expertise and willing workers in this area. So if you can do or even just teach others, please contact Chet at (530) 885-0201. It is an opportunity to learn a lot, while providing a tremendous service.

A Card and A Thought for Lillian Mott

[ Lillian Mott has passed away. ]
Lillian Mott has been a pioneer in identifying and protecting the flora of Nevada County, and her puckish spirit an inspiration to many of us amateur botanists. Lillian is now in failing health. A card and a thought about how her devotion to the flora of Nevada County has made it possible for us to enjoy this grand heritage would be greatly appreciated. Let her know that she will always be remembered. Cards can be sent to 144 Stacey Lane, Grass Valley, CA 95945.

Redbud Chapter Board of Directors

President Carolyn Davis 273-1581
Vice President, Placer County Chet Blackburn 885-0201
Vice President, Nevada County Karen Callahan 272-5532
Secretary Maxine Musick 477-7047
Treasurer Bob Foster 265-8044
Members-At-Large Floyd Sampson 432-3728
Shawna Martinez* 652-0679
Conservation Chair Carolyn Davis 273-1581
Rare Plants Chair Richard Hanes 477-0372
Membership Chair Bobbi Wilkes 268-2046
Plant Sale Chair Kate McBride 477-0662
Field Trips Julie Carville
Newsletter Editor Bobbi Wilkes 268-2046
Web-Site Editor Anna Haynes 265-8207
Seed Chair Martin Pancoast 878-7412
Posters & Books Chair Lynne Hurrell 273-5807
Programs Chet Blackburn 885-0201
Karen Callahan 272-5532
Publicity Marie Krause 273-7128
Education Shawna Martinez* 652-0679

*All phone numbers are in the 530 area code, with the exception of Shawna Martinez, which is 916.

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Last updated
before Sept 1998