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Winter 2009 Newsletter
Volume 18, No. 1    January, 2009


Leading A Wildflower Walk Can Be Fun!
Learn To Be A Wildflower Walk Leader!
Wildflower Walks
Evening Programs
Wildflowers of Table Mountain
Fungi I Have Known
Redbud Donates Botanical Books to the Library
PROTECTING THE SIERRA WATERSHED
Grass Facts – Part 2
Volunteer Opportunities
Redbud Chapter Board of Directors
A Tribute To Our Retiring President...
Past Board Meetings...
A Message From Our New Co-Presidents...
BriarPatch Native Plant Garden
Hell's Half Acre Wildflower Study This Spring

Leading A Wildflower Walk Can Be Fun!

by Roger McGehee

I was worried about the upcoming wildflower walk. Usually wildflower walks are led by two or more coleaders, but I had no co-leader with me on this one. I am fairly familiar with the plants of Marin County and of the central Sierra Nevada, but Placer and Nevada Counties are much more diverse, and I am not familiar with many of the species that live here. So I started off the trip by heading over to a plant that I knew well, hoping that no one would ask me about the plants that I passed by. But the moment that I finished talking about the plant, someone did ask. I said that I didn’t know its species, but then another person spoke up and told us all about it! For the rest of the field trip someone knew almost every species of plant that we visited! Almost everyone got to share information about the plants, and we all learned a lot! And the moral of this story is that you don’t have to know the names of all the plants in order to lead a wildflower walk. You just need to meet the group at the trailhead, lead them down the trail and back, and share your knowledge and enthusiasm for wildflowers with the group. Other members will fill in the gaps...

Julie Carville and Balsam Root at Sage Hen Creek. Julie is one of our trip leaders.

Learn To Be A Wildflower Walk Leader!

Sunday, March 29

    Ever wanted to lead a Wildflower Walk? Well, here is your chance to learn how! Experienced field trip leaders will show you how to do it. You do not need to be a botanist, but you do need to have an interest in wildflowers, and a desire to share your interest with others. After meeting at the Rood Center at 1:00 PM, we will drive to an area with a good floral display. Experienced trip leaders will demonstrate techniques for getting the group involved, will review the characteristics of several families of plants, and will assist you in identifying several species of plants. After the training session, it is hoped that you will lead or colead a Wildflower Walk this spring or summer. To insure that this is a quality learning experience, we are limiting the size of the group to 12 people. Please call Roger to reserve a place (530-265-4173). We should return to the Rood Center by 4:00 PM. Please bring water and your favorite wildflower book.

Wildflower Walks

   All of our field trips are open to the public and arefree of charge. Bring water, lunch/snack, hand lens, wildflower book, and sun protection or rain gear, as needed. Children are warmly welcomed! No pets are allowed on any of our field trips. We suggest ride sharing, as parking space at most trailheads is limited. We also suggest that you contribute some money to the driver for gas -- perhaps $5 for less than 40 miles round-trip,, and $10 for more than 40 miles round-trip... Unless stated otherwise, our tripsare easy, as we travel very slowly and stop to view, identify, talk about, and enjoy each plant species. Most of our trips are led by one or more botanists. For most of our trips we will meet at the Rood Center on Highway 49 in Nevada City, in front of the main building -- NOT at the library. We will then form car pools and drive to the trailhead. In most cases you can meet us at the trailhead if this is more convenient for you.
For more information call Roger at 530-265-4173 or email him at rogm[at]SBCglobal.net. At 7:00 AM in the morning of the trip, you can call his answering machine for updates -- especially if the weatherlooks “iffy”.

Rain Walk!

Sunday, March 1   Meet at 1:00 PM at the Rood Center or 1:15 PM at the Independence Trail trailhead. Leader: Roger McGehee

Spring wildflowers? Probably not many... But it is a good time to get out and look at the mosses, liverworts, ferns, and lichens in their full glory! So we are offering this traditional "Rain Walk" along Independence Trail to the waterfall and back. When it isn't pouring, we can talk about the primitive plants and lichens and try to identify them. We should be back to the Rood Center by 4:00 PM.

Where the Wildflowers Are!

Saturday, March 21 Meet at the Rood Center at 10:00 AM. Leader: Roger McGehee

It is hard to know where the flowers will be bloomingbest in March as I am writing this in December. But I will arrive with news of the best floral display, and we will drive there. We should be back at the Rood Center by 2:00 PM. Rain will cancel this trip.

BriarPatch Demonstration Garden Tour

Sunday, April 5, 10:00–11:30 AM  Meet in the BriarPatch side parking lot Leaders: Cindy Rubin and Cyndi Brinkhurst

Redbud Chapter has partnered with the BriarPatch Co-op to create a California native plant demonstration garden around the retention basin in Briar-Patch's new landscape. Come see an assortment of wildflowers; native grasses, including California's state grass, Purple Needlegrass, Nassella pulchra; young trees and shrubs; and an alternative lawn of low-water, low-maintenance native species in the two-year-old garden.

Codfish Falls

Sunday, April 198:45 AM at the Rood Center 9:45 AM at the trailhead Leader: Julie Carville

The Codfish Falls Trail, near Weimar, parallels the scenic North Fork of the American River for almost a mile before it turns to follow Codfish Creek upstream to Codfish Falls. The 1.2 mile walk from the trailhead to the waterfall is rocky and narrow inplaces, but is generally an easy, level walk. The flowery hillsides along the trail bloom in spring withTufted Poppies, Indian Pink, Spider Lupine, Kellogg’s Monkeyflower, Canyon Dudleya and Evening Snow. The drive down Ponderosa Way is thrilling in a good year when hillsides of wildflowers bloom inprofusion. The road turns to dirt about 1/2 way down and becomes steep with hairpin turns in someplaces, but can be driven with a 2-wheel drive car. Julie will talk about Nisenan plant uses and we'llspend time looking through hand lenses to experience the beautiful details of wildflowers. Join us for this wildflower extravaganza! If you wish to meet usat the trailhead, take the Weimar Cross Road exit (#131) off Interstate 80 to the south side of the freeway. Drive past the Park & Ride lot where Canyon Way becomes Ponderosa Way. Follow Ponderosa Way down into the canyon to the Ponderosa Bridge, where there is parking. You can also meet us at the Park & Ride and we can then carpool down into the canyon. We should return to our cars by 3:30 PM. Bring lunch and lots of water! Rain cancels.

Hell's Half Acre

Saturday, April 25 Meet at the Neal Street Safeway in Grass Valley at 9:00 AM. Leader: Karen Callahan

Join our tour of a rare habitat in the Grass Valley area where vernal pools on volcanic soils provide astriking display of tiny spring wildflowers. Karen Callahan, nature photographer and member of the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, will guide you through this area and help you to examine an amazing diversity of plant life. This field trip is co-sponsored by the Redbud Chapter and Wildflowers Forever.

Evening Programs

Our evening programs are open to the public and are free of charge. Please join us for educational and enlightening programs by experienced presenters.

Wildflowers of Table Mountain
Shawna Martinez
Wednesday, March 25 at 7:15 PM The Rose Room - Auburn Civic Center>>

   According to botanist Shawna Martinez, Table Mountain, outside of Oroville, is a “paradoxical wonderland.” Most of the year, the site is uninspiring, with few trees, shallow soil and dried-up grassland pastures. But for a few brief weeks in spring,the mesa is transformed into a colorful carpet of wildflowers.

    Shawna’s presentation will show off this stunning display, beginning with the famous table plateau teaming with blue Douglas lupine, orange frying panpoppies, and the brilliant fuchsia of purple owl’s clover. Along washes and gullies, there’s an abundance of white meadow foam and yellow buttercups… and interspersed through these swatches of color are the more delicate “belly flowers” … low-growing blankets of tiny dwarf cliff sedum, cowbag clover, navarettia and more.

   Beyond the splendor of the wildflowers, more natural beauty abounds, with cliffs and deep canyons on the western edge of the mesa, arching waterfalls along the mesa boundary, and meandering creeks and streams offering glimpses of California newts, who lay masses of eggs among the basalt boulders in spring.

Shawna is the founding president of our Redbud chapter and a contributing author of our chapter’s magnificent book: Wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties, California. She has served as a professor at Sierra College for 22 years, teaching courses in forestry, natural resources and biological sciences. She has led natural history trips to Costa Rica as well as many throughout California, and has been leading beginning wildflower identification trips to Table Mountain every spring for 15 years.

Directions: The Auburn Civic Center is located at 1225 Lincoln Way. From Highway 49 in Auburn, justafter 49 passes under I-80, there is a “T” intersection. Continue straight ahead at the intersection tothe Civic Center. The building looks like an old school (which it is). Go to the large parking lot behind the building and look for the Rose Room sign.

Fungi I Have Known
Roger McGehee  
Wednesday, April 22 at 7:00 PM Nevada County Library Community Room, Rood Center

   Ok, so fungi aren’t plants. In fact, they are more closely related to animals. But in your quest for wildflowers you will encounter many beautiful and bizarre species of fungi. Fungi also have many symbiotic relationships with plants, and are a vital component of soil. This slide program will introduce you to many common fungi and their unique and amazing stories.

Directions: The library is located at 980 Helling Way,Nevada City. At the intersection of Highways 49 and20, turn west toward Downieville on Highway 49. At 0.5 miles, turn right onto Maidu Avenue and follow the signs to the library.

Redbud Donates Botanical Books to the Library

By Julie Becker

   In the spirit of our educational mission, the Redbud chapter donated several books to the Nevada County library system this fall. All of the books had a botanical or environmental theme. The donation list included three new children’s titles.

  Flower lovers of all ages will especially appreciate Shanleya’s Quest by Thomas Elpel, billed as a botany adventure for kids ages 9 to 99. In this mythical story, young Shanleya paddles her canoe through the oceans of time, exploring a series of botanical islands where she learns the pattern of the plants.

   All the plants on Mint Island (Lamiaceae) ... peppermint, spearmint and sage … have square stems, oppositeleaves and a “minty” aroma, while Parsley Island (Apiaceae) features plants with little umbrellas or umbels …carrots, dill, fennel and parsnips. On Mustard Island (Brassicaceae), Shanleya skips by the radishes and putstogether a wooden puzzle of flower parts … a combination of four sepals, four petals and six stamens (four tall and two short.) A large banner flag or petal highlights the site of the Pea Islands (Fabaceae). The landing dock is shielded on the sides by wings and Shanleya’s canoe forms the keel. She stops and gathers lentils and limabeans and rolls in the clover blossoms. After paddling from the Dicotyledon to the Monocotyledon Sea, Shanleya reaches the Lily Cluster of Islands (Liliaceae), marked by a large “true lily” tepee. All the flowers here have three sepals, three petals, six stamens and three-parted pistils. On her way home, after visits to the Grass Islands and the Islands of Fruits and Roses, she makes a final stop at the Aster Archipelago (Asteraceae), where she is greeted by a giant sunflower and learns about ray flowers, disc flowers and fused petals.

   This is obviously a fun book to read and it clearly shows how learning plant characteristics will help unveil the mysteries of plant identification.

   The other two children’s books we donated are In a Nutshell by Joseph Anthony, a beautiful story tracing the evolution of an oak tree, and The Little Creek by Jennifer Ward, which follows the growth, destruction and restoration of a riparian habitat.

   On the adult side of the aisle, we donated two new titles, most notably, The Landscaping Ideas of Jays, a new book by Judith Larner Lowry of Gardening with a Wild Heart fame.

   Through a series of thoughtful, insightful and delightful essays, she travels through the seasons, all the whilefocusing on backyard restoration and growing native plants. The title of the book reminds us to take our cues from the natural world, giving particular credit to scrub jays, who are known to spread seeds and acorns, leading to new populations of live oaks, coffee berries, bay laurel and more. As she writes in her title essay: 

“The trees and shrubs that grow from the seeds that the western scrub-jay caches in my garden aregenerally allowed to stay in place. I like to think that in so doing, I am honoring the landscaping ideas of jays.This device is a way of thinking about a kind of gardening that helps us become aware of the actions, needsand impacts of butterflies, deer, ants, bees, jays, and numerous other wild creatures, who become, in a sense,our gardening partners.”

   Parallel respect is offered in the other new adult book we donated. Insects and Gardens by Eric Grissell advises gardeners to “declare a truce on the insects in our lives.” Rather than blotting them out, think about howthey grow, feed and reproduce … and observe their distinctive beauty.

   To round out our adult donations, we provided second copies of two books: Designing California Native Gardens by Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook, and Wild Lilies, Irises and Grasses by Nora Harlow and KristinJakobs.

   Having made our initial donation in 2008, we hope to continue the practice in the years to come … providing additional books in 2009 and beyond to Nevada County libraries and Placer Counties libraries as well. In the mean time, copies of all donated titles are available in both the Grass Valley and Nevada City libraries.

PROTECTING THE SIERRA WATERSHED
- ONE GARDEN AT A TIME

by Brad Carter

   Seven years after moving to Grass Valley, I am still so grateful to live here surrounded by the beauty ofthe Sierra foothills. We have such an abundance of natural resources: the Yuba River watershed and its tributaries; forests of oak and pine; and the native wildflowers and wildlife that are all around us. And to top it all off, we have a rich historical heritage.

   But it seems there is trouble in this Paradise. The population of the Sierra Nevada is expected to triple by 2040. Meanwhile temperatures are expected to rise significantly, causing water shortages and greatly increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. Many will move here because of the mountains, rivers, forests and wildlife that we value so much. How can we absorb so many new residents and still preserve our natural resources and quality of life in the Sierra?

One way is to landscape our yards more sustainably. A new series of workshops and garden tours willhelp residents learn how to create gardens that are water-efficient, fire-safe and wildlife-friendly. Sierra Smart Gardening Workshops and Conservation Garden Tours, sponsored by Wildflowers Forever will offer four full-Saturday workshops this spring. Each monthly workshop will begin with a morning of indoor learning followed by an afternoon tour of a local conservation garden or similar field exercise.  Conservation landscaping is based on five natural elements: water, soil, vegetation, wildfire and wildlife. Our goal is to make it easy for local residents to be Sierra-friendly and achieve their personal goals for their properties, yards and gardens.

The Sierra Smart Gardening program begins March 21 with Observation and Analysis of your Garden Site. In this workshop participants will learn how to observe their Sierra Nevada yard and their surrounding neighborhood or wildlands to acquire knowledge for garden success. In their own backyards, participants will observe how water, soil, climate, vegetation and wildlife interact. This workshop will be taught by Ames and Nancy Gilbert, who are owners of Far West Bulb Farm and both certified permaculture designers. Nancy has more than 25 years experience in landscape design.

On April 18 the workshop series continues with Designing your Conservation Landscape, taught by Connie Cornell. In this workshop, participants will bring the new information about their backyards,which was gathered in the first workshop, and incorporate it into a garden design that reflects what they like about the Sierra Nevada. “I want to help local home owners to restore and protect the Sierra ecosystem in their backyards and open spaces; andto meet their practical needs for an outdoor space;  and to create an aesthetically beautiful outdoor space according to their own personal vision,” says instructor Connie Cornell.

The third workshop in the Sierra Smart Gardening series, Native Plants for Your Garden, will be lead by the author of this article, Brad Carter. In this workshop, participants will learn about garden-worthy California native plants that will thrive here in our Sierra foothills. A morning slide show will be followed by a tour of Brad's 2-acre native plant garden during its peak of spring flowering. Brad is a retired horticulturalist and botanical garden director.

The final workshop in the series, Installing and Maintaining your Sierra-Friendly Garden, will be taught by Bill Wilson. In this workshop, participants will learn the practices needed to prepare theirproperty for a fire-safe native garden. They include fuel reduction, soil preparation, efficient irrigation installation and practices, and planting of natives.  The afternoon will involve getting a little hands-on experience with most of these techniques. Bill is a retired biology teacher and the current co-presidentof the local Redbud Chapter of California Native Plant Society.

The total cost for the entire workshop series is $120 per person. The cost includes a copy of the new book Sierra Nevada Yard & Garden, recently published by Sierra Nevada Alliance; all class materials and supplies; and a brown bag lunch as well as morning and afternoon snacks and refreshments for each workshop. Space is limited to 15 participants.Your space will be reserved upon receipt of your payment in full, which is non-refundable. For an information packet and application form, please go to our website wildflowersforever.org or call Connie Cornell at (530) 292-3039.

Sierra Smart Gardening Workshops and Conservation Garden Tours is a public service offered by Wildflowers Forever, a newly formed nonprofit group dedicated to finding solutions to the environmental challenges we face in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Grass Facts – Part 2

by Wayne Schwartzkopf

   In the last issue of our newsletter, I pointed out some environmental changes that affected the types of grasses that now grow in our local area. The once dominant, native perennial grasses have been replaced by non-native annual grasses. Some researchers have termed this the “Annualization” of the California grasslands. These are the grasses we now see in the spring and early summer that dominate our landscape. They have become well adapted to our Mediterranean climate, and quickly out-compete the native species. At present, we see many changes that have occurred to our once native landscape. Population increase, landfragmentation due to agricultural and urban expansion and just plain abuse, have all combined to decreaseour native flora. Add to this local and regional climate change and past historical practices of overgrazing by cattle and sheep – all have greatly influenced the biodiversity of our ecosystems.

   In the next issue of “Grass Facts,” we’ll look at how soil, fire, and competition affect native and non-native grasses.

CNPS Conservation Conference: Strategies and Solutions

January 17-19, 2009, in Sacramento. See <www.cnps.org>.

Volunteer Opportunities

   We have many levels of commitment available. You may wish to work for a couple of hours at a plant sale, or be amember of a committee, or be a Board Member/Committee Chair. You may seek suggestions for a volunteer opportunity, or you may create one yourself. You may contact any Board Member/Committee Chair or officer for ideas. But regardless of the level of commitment you choose, your help will keep the Chapter healthy, and will be greatly appreciated!

Board Meetings

   You are also invited to attend our Board Meetings. Please call or email Roger McGehee for the time and location of our January 14 Board meeting 530-265-4173, rogm[at]SBCglobal[dot]net). Our February 25 Board meeting will be held at the Nevada County Library in the Rood Center at 7:30 PM. Please join us!

Redbud Chapter Board of Directors

Officers

Co-President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bill Wilson (wilsonb[at]mjc.edu) 530-265-8040
Co-President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Roger McGehee (rogm[at]sbcglobal.net) 530-265-4173
Vice President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wayne Schwartzkopf (bro.wayne[at]hotmail.com) 530-271-0930
Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Alicia Funk (alicia[at]fireflystrategy.com) 530-478-9798
Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sandy Kewman (skewman[at]theunion.net) 530-272-3736
Newsletter Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Brad Carter (bradcarter[at]aol.com) 530-271-5790

Standing Committee Chairs

Membership Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joan Jernegan (jernegj[at]saccourt.com) 916-874-5619 (W)
Program Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .open
Field Trips Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Roger McGehee (rogm[at]sbcglobal.net) 530-265-4173
Plant Sale/Events Co-Chairs
   -Spring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .open
    -Fall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . open
Publicity Co-Chairs
    -. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Don Harkin 530-265-4048
    -. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .open
Education Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nancy Gilbert (nancyames[at]accessbee.com) 530-272-4775
Plant Science Co-Chairs
   -Rare Plant Specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Karen Callahan (penstemon[at]nccn.net) 530-272-5532
    -Invasive Plant Specialist . . . . . . . . . . Dan Lubin (dlubin[at]parks.ca.gov) 530-272-0298
Horticulture Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brad Carter (bradcarter[at]aol.com) 530-271-5790
Conservation Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .open
Restoration Chair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . open
Publications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .open
Webmaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bill Wilson (wilsonb[at]mjc.edu) 530-265-8040
Chapter Council Delegate . . . . . . . . . . . open
Wildflower Book Project Co-Chairs
-Editorial Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chet Blackburn (chetblackburn[at]yahoo.com) 530-885-0201
-Marketing Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Julie Becker (jbecker[at]infostations.com) 530-265-8197

A Tribute To Our Retiring President...

After two years of service, our president, Frances Jorgensen, retired. She is very active in the community, which allowed her to contact and successfully attract prospective volunteers. Several of you were “brought in”by Frances, and continue to add vitality to the Redbud Chapter. Frances also cultivated close relationships between Redbud Chapter and local schools. She also supported the effort to publish our long awaited wildflower book. And, above all, Frances was a “doer” and was not shy about asking people to take on worthy projects.

Past Board Meetings...

    We had two Board Meetings in November. The first was facilitated by Janet Cohen, a professional facilitator for not-for-profit organizations. As part of the process, the Redbud Board developed the following description of “who we are”:

   “The Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is a group of activist botanists who love using andgrowing native plants. We believe in working, learning and growing together, and sharing our excitement and knowledge with the larger community. We are advocates for the wild plants and flowers of California and saviors of their precious habitats. Our enjoyment of wildness inspires us to be eco-centric rather than egocentric andgives us a larger vision of being connected to all living things.”

   The second was combined with a General Meeting. At the general meeting an election was held, resulting in the election of Brad Carter as the new Newsletter Editor, in addition to Roger McGehee and Bill Wilson as Co-Presidents. Following the General Meeting, a Board Meeting was held in which each Board Member spoke brieflyabout their accomplishments during the year. I think we surprised each other at how much had been accomplished during 2008! We left the meeting feeling proud and determined to do even more next year.

A Message From Our New Co-Presidents...

   Neither one of us wanted to take on the full responsibility of being President. We are friends and neighbors,
and have had many of the same life-experiences. Both of us are retired biology teachers, enjoy flowers and
fungi and gardening, have similar philosophies about nature and the role of the Redbud Chapter in our local
natural environment, and both of us are dedicated to keeping the Redbud Chapter alive and well. We also
believe that two heads can be better than one, and plan to share the responsibilities of this office, and to
bounce ideas off of each other.
We look forward to working beside all of you during the next two years, as well as working beside each other.
We thank you for your support at the election and in the future!

Bill Wilson and Roger McGehee

Next Newsletter

  Thanks to all of you who contributed to this newsletter! Our next newsletter will appear about May 1. Please submit articles to our new Newsletter Editor, Brad Carter, at 530-271-5790 or bradcarter[at]aol.com by April 15. Brevity will be appreciated... Thanks! Roger McGehee, Interim Newsletter Editor.


At our last BriarPatch Native Plant Garden work-day: New things added included;

1 A "Doggie Doo Do" sign

2 Irrigation to Alternative Lawn Area 3 Seeded Alternative Lawn Area with - Nassella pulchra, Nassella cernua, Danthonia californica, Vulpia microstachys

4 Seeded far end of garden (on other side of pea gravel trail) with -Vulpia microstachys (Annual grass) and

California Native Wildflower Mix to re-vegetate from Litton Construction up the hill5 Seeded the upper section of the construction area with -Elymus glaucus, Bromus carinatus, Vulpia microstachys and Hordeum brachyantherum

6  Rocked the pathway with 10 tons of crushed rock and fines 7 Planted 1000 + Native bulbs 8 Salvaged and planted drifts of Nassella pulchra

Things deleted included;

1. Garbage/dog feces
2.  Weeds; blackberry, mullein, Hypericum, mustard, sheep sorrel, English plantain, knotweed, filaree, tree of heaven, wild sweat pea, ....
3. 2 rock roses from trail entrance- relocated to areas where others have perished.

Please check out the new path and garden! Many feet are needed for crushed rock compaction. I am very grateful to the following businesses who sponsored the materials;

 •  City of Rocklin - dog sign
 •  Shilling Seeds - Jon Shilling (native grass and wildflower seeds)
 •  Far West Bulbs - Ames and Nancy Gilbert (CA native wildflower bulbs)
 •  Hansen Bros. Enterprises (crushed rock)
 •  Foster & Son Trucking (trucking of rock)

Cyndi Brinkhurst

Hell's Half Acre Wildflower Study This Spring

   “The Great Central Plain of California, during the months of March, April, and May, was one smooth, continuous bed of honey-bloom, so marvelously rich that, in walking from one end of it to the other, a distance of more than 400 miles, your foot would press about a hundred flowers at every step.” John Muir, 1838-1914. It is difficult for us to imagine a time when wildflowers and their native pollinators were as ubiquitous in the Central Valley as conifers in the Sierra. We can't even quite wrap our minds around the idea-or we don't want to---because the loss is so great and now so complete and irreversible. Here in the Sierra foothills, much of the floral diversity has also been lost. Ask an “old timer” from the Grass Valley-Nevada City area, particularly the older ranchers, and they'll recall how common tiger lilies once were in our area, or when those smaller native frogs were still abundant in our foothill streams. The steady loss of our native plant diversity is just now beginning to make the mainstream media. Here is a link to the San Francisco Chronicle's recent article “Where have all the California wildflowers gone:
www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=50&entry_id=28645

   “Wildflowers Forever” (“WF”) was formed, in part, in recognition of the critical need to preserve our rapidly fading wildflower heritage, a mission and a vision it shares with CNPS. This spring I will be leading a project, sponsored by Wildflowers Forever, to inventory and access the floral diversity of “Hell's Half Acre,” one of the few remaining lava cap wildflower meadows in the Grass Valley area. The study methodology would be based on protocols developed by the CNPS Vegetation Committee for collecting data along “point intercept' transects or line transects. We are seeking volunteers and financial donations to support this project. The work will be interesting and rewarding and will help to save a local wildflower habitat that is threatened with extinction. If you'd like to volunteer to help us collect field data on rare and unusual local plant associations during peak wildflower season, working in teams under the supervision of a knowledgeable botanist, call project coordinator Carolyn Chainey-Davis at (530) 205-6218, or email: bighair60[at]att.net. If you don't have the luxury of time but can make even a modest donation to match our local contribution to this issue so close to our hearts, please contact Brad Carter at (530) 271-5790 or bradcarter[at]aol.com.

Last updated
January 15, 2009