Monday, November 11, 2013

“Lichens – Biological Indicators of Air Quality and Climate”
guest speaker Shelley Benson

Lichens are found all around us, growing in nearly every habitat; however, they are commonly overlooked.  These cryptic organisms have been used to monitor air quality since the early 1800s.  Within the last 20 years, researchers have found that lichens are sensitive to climate change. 
Lichenologist Shelly Benson will explain what lichens are and how they can be used as biological indicators of air quality and climate change.

Shelly Benson is currently the president of the California Lichen Society and has been studying lichens for the past 14 years.  She received a Master of Science degree in 2001 from the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, where she studied lichen ecology in the canopy of old growth forests in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  She has conducted lichen inventories in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently working on identifying lichens from several Bay Area State Parks.

Lichen Walk: Wednesday November 13 (or any other day that week if it works out better).  Location: Mt Vision, Point Reyes National Seashore.  Meet at the parking lot at the end of Mt Vision Rd.  Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.  Walk Description: Join Shelly Benson for a walk through a mature stand of coyote brush to view an amazing display of cyanolichens.  Don’t know what cyanoliches are?  Well, come on this walk and find out!

Species list of the common lichens at Cascade Canyon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

“Tale of Two City Butterflies”
guest speaker Liam O’Brien 

The small county of San Francisco has 34 breeding species of butterflies. Learn about the two leading ones – the western tiger swallowtail and the monarch. Remarkably, the tiger swallowtail has adapted to ultra-urban Market Street.

Speaker Liam O’Brien is coauthor of “The Butterflies of San Francisco“, published by the Presidio Trust.  For more information see Liam O’Brien’s website.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Annual Chapter Potluck Dinner and Slideshow

Monday, June 10, 2013

“Emerging Trends for Native Grasses within Urban, Coastal Prairie, and Ranchland Environments”
guest speakers Ingrid Morken, Jim Hanson, and Richard King

Our speakers will present an overview of the California Native Grasslands Association (CNGA) and then focus on a few of their diverse projects, including current grasslands conservation efforts in the Bay Area, the use of native grasses in landscape design and the built environment, and holistic grassland management on ranchlands.

As a Bay Area landscape architect, Jim Hanson has supervised several native replanting projects along the East Bay shoreline, including upland native grasslands.  He is a long-time Bay Area resident, active in native plant community conservation as a CNGA and East Bay of CNPS chapter member, and lives in Richmond.  He is also this year’s President of the CNGA Board.

After working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for 36 years, Richard King retired in 2012.  He currently serves on the CNGA Board and educates land owners and ranch managers on managing ranchlands from a holistic decision-making framework and promotes increased biodiversity and ecological productivity on grazed lands.

Ingrid Morken is a landscape architect with Studio Renovo at WRA, an environmental consulting firm in San Rafael.  She specializes in the planning and design of habitat restoration, parks and public access, and sustainable development projects; she has a particular interest in native grass alternatives to traditional lawns.  She is currently Secretary of the CNGA Board.

 Monday, May 13, 2013

 “A New Meadowfoam Subspecies in an agricultural field”
speaker – Eva Buxton

Limnanthes douglasii ornduffii Limnanthes douglasii ornduffii Eva Buxton thumbEva Buxton



While working as a botanist for an environmental consulting firm in 1998, our speaker, Eva Buxton, found a large population of an unknown meadowfoam (Limnanthes sp.) in a fallow agricultural field in Moss Beach, San Mateo County.  She officially described it as a new subspecies last fall.  It differs from all other meadowfoams – except for one that grows on Vancouver Island in Canada – by having floral part in 4’s (tetramerous) instead in 5’s (pentamerous).  Her talk will focus on how the new taxon was circumscribed, and specifically how she came to name it Limnanthes douglasii subsp. ornduffii.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mount RainierMount RainierErythronium montanumVSErythronium montanum photo by Vernon Smith
“Along the Wonderland Trail: Plants of Mount Rainier”
speaker – Vernon Smith

 Mount Rainier rises to 14,410 feet, towering some 8,000 feet above the surrounding landscape.  Our speaker made two trips there in 2011 and 2012, hiking about 80 miles along the Wonderland Trail that circles the mountain.  The trail goes over the many ridges that radiate out from the central peak, and ranges from 2,600 to 6,900 feet in altitude.  Along the way different ecological zones are encountered, starting in dense forests, rising through subalpine meadows, and reaching the alpine region.  The plant species encountered reflect the different habitats in which they are found. Some of these species are also found in Northern California but many are not.

Vernon Smith is a retired medical physicist with a PhD in Bioengineering, and is formerly a Professor in the Radiation Oncology Department at the University of California San Francisco.  An avid hiker for almost 40 years, he has backpacked extensively throughout the Sierra Nevada and the desert Southwest.  He delights in photographing plants with the help and encouragement of his wife, Doreen Smith.

photos: Mt. Rainier with a mass of flowers;  Avalanche lily, Erythronium montanum

Monday, March 11, 2013

“Designing California Native Gardens”
guest speaker – Glenn Keator

We in California are lucky to find ourselves in a climate that is gentle enough to allow us to include plants from all over the world in our gardens.  But should we?
There are compelling reasons to turn to California natives, which are already adapted to our habitats and microclimates.  For our speaker, the two outstanding reasons are beauty and challenge. 
Glenn Keator, coauthor with Alrie Middlebrook of the book, “Designing California Native Gardens“, will focus on how to create beautiful, site-appropriate designs using California natives.  He’ll emphasize plants from our local communities such as oak woodland, grassland, mixed-evergreen forest, and chaparral.

Glenn Keator is a Bay Area botanist/teacher/writer specializing in California native plants with an emphasis on identifying and growing them, and with a particular interest in edible and medicinal natives for the garden.  He has been teaching courses at Merritt College in Oakland, College of Marin, Regional Parks (Tilden) Botanic Garden, and leading field trips all over the state and beyond.  He has written several other books, including “The Life of an Oak: An Intimate Portrait“, “California Plant Families West of the Deserts” and “Sierra Crest, and Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California‘.  You can find out more by visiting his website.

Monday, February 11, 2013   birchbirch

“Great Basin flora of the northern Warner Mountains of Modoc County”
speaker – Dick O’Donnell


Modoc County is located in the extreme northeastern corner of California, abutting the Great Basin to the east and the Klamath Region (southern Oregon) to the north, and is not in the California Floristic Province.  Most of the county is in the Modoc Plateau F.P.  The Warner Mountains of central Modoc Co., which run north/south, are not lofty; they barely reach 9,000 feet above the Modoc Plateau, but that is enough for a distinctive flora to take root.

Indifferent to rising gas prices, Dick O’Donnell travels throughout California, and from Oregon to New Mexico every year to savor their distinctive floras.  Author of a growing number of articles on the endemic flora of California, he seeks out niches within niches, detecting the unusually constricted habitats of narrowly endemic plants.  This retired economist has no economic reason to do otherwise, he says.  The best course of action, he adds, is to apply myself to the most rewarding undertakings and to share the findings with the botanical world.

Photo: Betula glandulosa (Glandular birch), a widespread but uncommon shrub growing in Dismal Swamp, northern Warner Mts.

January 2013 Meeting