San Bruno Mountain State and County Park: Wild in the Midst of the San Francisco Bay Area

Guest Speaker: David Nelson

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

Doug Allshouse and Dave Nelson B AcresSan Bruno Mountain is a wild oasis in the midst of the highly urbanized San Francisco Bay Area. It was the first Habitat Conservation Plan and Congress used it as a model when it re-authorized the Endangered Species Act in 1983. While only 30 minutes on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, it has different geology from Marin, so it hosts different plants. The 4 square mile nature preserve hosts four endemic manzanitas and a newly described hybrid huckleberry. The underlying geology is formed of the San Bruno Mountain terrane, composed of a hard sandstone called greywacke, which partially accounts for the unique plants.

Come join us for an hour of science, history, and magnificent photography.

The speaker, David Nelson, along with Doug Allshouse, has written a new, authoritative natural history of San Bruno Mountain, to be published by Heyday Books in November of 2022. Doug Allshouse and David Nelson will lead a hike on San Bruno Mountain Saturday, May 14, 2022.

As a followup to this presentation, there will be a field trip on May 14, 2022 to San Bruno Mountain State and County Park.  See the “Field Trips” article for full information.

About the Authors:
     Doug Allshouse was originally a birder back home in Ohio, doing line drawings and taxidermy. When the family moved from the rural Ohio countryside to the city streets of Santa Clara in 1964, he was eager to get back out in nature. He was like a salmon swimming in the ocean, longing to get home again. He found his new nature home when he discovered San Bruno Mountain. He bought a home 100 feet below the Saddle Trail of San Bruno Mountain State & County Park and started running the hills of the Park. Suddenly, nature was back in his life. A serendipitous meeting with a retired firefighter prompted him to expand his nature interests to include botany. Eventually he became enchanted with the idea of starting a botanical garden. He was a founding member and officer of Friends of San Bruno Mountain in 1995. This led to the establishment of the Mission Blue Nursery in 2001. He became involved with habitat conservation and planning and was chosen to serve on the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation Plan Technical Advisory Committee. He led his first field trip in 1996 with Friends of San Bruno Mountain and continues leading field trips for the Yerba Buena chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS).
   silver Lupine Lupinus albifrons ssp. albifrons 9692  David Nelson met Doug on a winter field trip in January 2013. They hit it off immediately: Doug was struck by David’s inquisitive questions and desire to know as much as possible about the plants and the conservation work that was the subject of this field trip. David inadvertently reminded Doug of himself. David was impressed by Doug’s ability to eloquently teach without talking down to the audience. Doug showed David his very dog-eared copy of the prior book, The Flora of San Bruno Mountains, by Elizabeth McClintock, which was both out of print and without any color photographs. An updated, more inclusive, and color flora was clearly needed. Within a week, David propositioned Doug about doing a full-color and updated book on San Bruno Mountain, without knowing that Doug was already engaged in precisely that very project. Doug thought that David might make a good co-author: he had written three prior books, for the Federation of Fly Fishers, a conservation organization dedicated to preserving cold and warm water species. He had a scientific background (BS Engineering, MA Philosophy of Science, MD degree, two years of scientific bench research experience, and more than twenty years of experience performing hand surgery and hand research), so he seemed like a good candidate. David knew that Doug was the right person to head up the book, since he already knew all the plants on the Mountain and also a great deal of interesting facts about them.
     Together they formed a compatible team with both botanical expertise and scientific experience. Doug is now the CNPS Yerba Buena Chapter’s chair for San Bruno Mountain Committee, and David is the CNPS Yerba Buena Chapter’s chair for the Locally Rare Plant Committee. They have jointly given papers at the triennial CNPS statewide conference on the history of the Park and its rare plants, given lectures to conservation and general audiences, and wrote an article for Bay Nature magazine on the San Bruno Mountain endemic manzanitas.

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