2024 Jan. Marin Chapter Meeting

2024 Jan. Marin Chapter Meeting

“Invasions stink: the response of Dittrichia graveolens to competition and disturbance, and its seed bank dynamics”

Guest Speaker: Miranda Melen         Monday, January 8, 2024 7:30 pm      Zoom registration

Miranda Melen prepares a field site for a competition experiment. Photo credit: Emma Snyder

Stinkwort growing among senesced grasses in the summer heat in Santa Clara County, CA. Photo credit: Andrew Lopez.

Miranda Melen and visiting scholar Michael Fernandez (University of Guam) are measuring plant height for a disturbance experiment. Photo credit: Emma Snyder.













Invasive species significantly threaten global biodiversity, often disrupting ecosystems and impacting native communities. Stinkwort (Dittrichia graveolens), is a rapidly spreading invader in California. In this study, we develop an improved understanding of the factors influencing stinkwort’s invasion in California. We conducted a combination of germination trials, and greenhouse, mesocosm, and field experiments to integrate insights from evolutionary ecology, response to competition and disturbance, and seed bank dynamics.

Miranda Melen is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in plant invasion biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She is the recipient of the 2023 Howard-Kohn Memorial Scholarship from Marin Chapter CNPS. Her research focuses on understanding the spreading potential of invasive species and the underlying mechanisms that drive their invasion. Specifically, Miranda investigates stinkwort’s (Dittrichia graveolens) competition dynamics, seed bank persistence, and whether populations are evolving rapidly.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Miranda has a diverse background encompassing restoration, vegetation management, plant conservation, and teaching. Outside of her scientific endeavors, she finds inspiration in weekend activities with her family, such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and baking.

Miranda’s ultimate aspiration is to contribute to the academic community by teaching at a university. Her primary goal is to actively engage and support underrepresented students in STEM fields, fostering inclusivity and equity within higher education.

Chapter Meeting – 10 April, 2023

Chapter Meeting – 10 April, 2023

“Creating a Bee, Butterfly and Bird Restaurant and Building Community Along the Way”
Guest Speaker: Jennifer Dirking, Wildflower Ambassador Santa Clara Valley Chapter

7:30 p.m. – Online Zoom Presentation
preregister HERE

Jennifer B Dirking Image  Is your garden a ‘bar’ that only offers nectar to adult butterflies but no food for their offspring? Do the birds and bees visiting your garden have everything they need to raise the next generation? Learn how you can create a “Bee, Butterfly and Bird Restaurant” by growing the ‘keystone plants’ that feed your local ecosystem. In the process, you can:
· Attract more bees, butterflies and birds to your garden
· Boost your fruit and vegetable yields
· Help save local species that are in decline
· Engage with neighbors to build back habitat throughout your community
Join us for this lively discussion as we explore opportunities to boost biodiversity in our own gardens and simple ways we can educate and engage others.

Jennifer Dirking has been an organic gardener for over 40 years, but only recently transformed her garden from a food desert to a habitat oasis in her suburban San Carlos neighborhood. Inspired by Doug Tallamy’s “Nature’s Best Hope,” she has reached beyond her garden fence to develop partnerships and inspire hundreds of others throughout the Bay Area to begin their own native gardening journey. Her simple tactics involving free wildflower seeds and promotion via social media provide a model for other individuals and organizations that want to reach further into their communities as well. She is currently the Chair of the Wildflower Ambassador program at the CNPS-Santa Clara Valley Chapter. This group of 25 volunteers has distributed over a thousand native wildflower seed packets with informational handouts to date.

Aster with honeybeeGrindelia with Leafcutter Bee 2

Chapter Meeting – 13 March, 2023

Chapter Meeting – 13 March, 2023

“Impacts from the Woodward Fire and their influence on community resilience”

Guest Speaker: Tanya Baxter, Principal at Baxter Botanical, Botanist and Natural Resource Management Specialist

Online Zoom Presentation
preregister HERE

58782In 2020, the Woodward Fire at Point Reyes National Seashore burned 5000 acres throughout diverse plant assemblages on the coast. A third of the fire re-burned in a section of the 1995 Vision Fire. Differing fire behavior and vegetative fuel types caused varying burn severities. Learn how the mix of fire intensity and recent fire history influenced what grew back.

In 2021, we designed monitoring plots to address several different compositional changes, including plant diversity. Post fire studies contribute to developing sound management strategies for post fire recovery.

Tanya Baxter M.S. is a botanist and ecologist with over 15 years of expertise in land management. She has a background in  ecological research and led landscape scale restoration projects for the national park service.  As well, she led a multi year grant to eradicate the most invasive species on 75,000 acres in Marin County combined with a dedicated volunteer program.
Tanya conducts inventories and rare plant surveys as a consultant in the SF bay area and remote areas of the northern Sierra Nevada. She served as a natural resource advisor on wildland fires in Yosemite National Park and currently serves on an advisory committee for the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority.

Tanya teaches a Northern Flora of the Sierra Nevada credited course each June through a Sierra field campus at SFSU. Class registration are also open to the public, learn more. https://sierra.sfsu.edu/flora-northern-sierra-nevada

Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore

Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore

Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore

new date = Saturday, March 25, 2023 – 10 am to 1 pm

Leader- Carolyn Longstreth

Please sign up for this field trip by emailing Susan Schlosser. Susan will send you a link to the waiver.

Erysimum concinnum and Sidalcea malviflora ssp. malviflora Headland Wallflower and Checker Mallow Chimney Rock 1978 03 06 WF sWhile February is the beginning of wildflower season in Marin, native wildflowers really start to flourish in March. Depending on the particular year and the weather, Chimney Rock has yielded in recent years as few as 15 and as many as 65 different species of wildflowers in bloom. This year, with the January rains, we can expect an exciting year with chocolate lilies, wallflowers, larkspur and many others.

We will also see hundreds of elephant seals and might even witness a battle between 3000-pound males trying to impress their potential mates.

Meet at the Chimney Rock parking area, which is located in outer Point Reyes, near the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.  Veer left a mile or so before reaching the Lighthouse.

And remember, even if it is warm and sunny when you leave home, it could be cold and foggy and very, very, very windy on the headlands.  Dress in layers.

Sidalcea malviflora ssp. malviflora Checker Mallow Chimney Rock Ann Elliott

fritillaria affinis var tistulis Pt Reyes chocolate lily Vernon Smith


Pilot Knob and Lake Lagunitas – Postponed to March 16

Pilot Knob and Lake Lagunitas – Postponed to March 16

Pilot Knob, Lake Lagunitas, Lagunitas Meadows Area, Sky Oaks

Thursday, March 16, 2023 – 10 am to 2 pm

Leader: Sherry Adams – Vegetation Ecologist, Marin Water

Please sign up for this field trip by emailing Susan Schlosser.   Susan will send you a link to the waiver.

DSCF4396Early season wildflowers are in bloom! In addition to seeing plenty of showy ones like hound’s tongue, shooting star, zigadene lily, and warrior’s plume, we will also see some of the more subtle beauties of the season like hazelnut (separate male and female flowers!) and two species of sanicle and saxifrage.

On this walk you will see the impact of forest pathogens, (including Cinnamon dieback, first isolated on Pilot Knob ten years ago) along with Marin Water’s (formerly MMWD) active management. We will talk about the ecology of this dynamic system, learn about some of the trees here, and meet native grasses.

This hike is especially suitable for beginning plant enthusiasts.

Meet at the Lake Lagunitas picnic/parking area. Marin Water will provide parking passes.DSCF4403