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Creosote Bush Flowers and Fruit

Creosote Bush in Bloom
Photo by Kathy LaShure

Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter

The Creosote Ring subchapter was formed in the Fall of 2005. Our members live in the Indian Wells Valley at the southern end of the Bristlecone Chapter’s geographically large territory.

Events

Meetings

NOTE: Since the previous Creosote Ring Leader (Kathy LaShure) moved from the area at the end of 2016, no one that we know of in the main Bristlecone Chapter has stepped in to organize the Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter in her absence. If anyone has updates, please contact the webmaster at webmaster@bristleconecnps.org and I will update this page.

When we have meetings, we usually meet on the first Wednesday at the Maturango Museum (100 E. Las Flores, Ridgecrest) at 7 pm. Sometimes we have a speaker/program; other times we work on projects and plans (including field trips in our area). Contact the museum to see if there is anything planned.


Field Trips and Events

Below are some of the Bristlecone Chapter field trips that are farther south - check the main events page to see more!

CNPS Event March 13, Tuesday, 9am, Bristlecone Chapter Volunteer Opportunity: Bitterbrush planting to help with Round Fire recovery

Volunteers Needed Tuesday, March 13, 9:00 am Come help water the bitterbrush seedlings planted in the Round Fire burn areas. We meet at the corner of Boundary Road and Lower Rock Creek Road. Let Katie know before the 13th if you are coming so that we can plan for you. Contact Katie Quinlan at president@bristleconecnps.org.

CNPS Event March 14, 2018,Wednesday, 6pm, Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting Wednesday, March 14, 6:00 pm Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler, Bishop. All members are welcome.

CNPS Event March 21, 2018, Wednesday, 7:00pm, Bristlecone Chapter Program: Bishop Paiute Tribe Food Sovereignty Program Overview: Highlighting the Program’s Work with Native Food Plants. Speaker: Jen Schlaich. Location: George Lozito Conference Room, Jill Kinmont Boothe School, 166 Grandview Dr., Bishop

Food Program Specialist for the Bishop Paiute Tribe's Food Sovereignty Program, Jen Schlaich, will be sharing an overview of the program's work. Jen will highlight partnerships and educational events that have focused on native food plant establishment and use. Jen's perspective will also be shared regarding easy-to- grow native food plants for personal use around your home, how to prevent over-harvesting, and cooking ideas for a few common "weeds" (non- native plants) that are high in nutrients and can be incorporated into weekly meals! Jen Schlaich has been the Food Program Specialist since the start of the Bishop Paiute Tribe Food Sovereignty Program in 2015. She has been involved in small-scale food and seed system work for more than ten years, including two years in Senegal, West Africa. She holds a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Community Herbalist Certification from Pacific Rim. Currently, she is working towards certification by the American Herbalist Guild.

March 27, Tuesday, 7pm: The Bigger Picture: How Rock Art fit into the lives of the people who made it, with
David Lee, Western Rock Art Researcher, Author and Lecturer, White Mountain Research Center Public Lectures

White Mountain Research Center is pleased to present a series of FREE lectures open to the general public. The lectures cover a diverse array of topics and are usually presented by scientists and other researchers affiliated with the station. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held at 7:00 PM at the Owens Valley Station located at 3000 East Line Street in Bishop, California. 760-873-4344.

Tonight's Lecture is on The Bigger Picture: How Rock Art fit into the lives of the people who made it, presented by David Lee – Western Rock Art Research – Researcher, Author and Lecturer

April 3, Tuesday, 7pm: Some bristlecone history: A closer look, with Daniel Pritchett, Volunteer Archivist/Historian, White Mountain Research Center Public Lectures

White Mountain Research Center is pleased to present a series of FREE lectures open to the general public. The lectures cover a diverse array of topics and are usually presented by scientists and other researchers affiliated with the station. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held at 7:00 PM at the Owens Valley Station located at 3000 East Line Street in Bishop, California. 760-873-4344.

Tonight's Lecture is on some bristlecone history: A closer look, presented by Daniel Pritchett – Volunteer Archivist/Historian – UC White Mountain Research Center

April 7, Saturday, 1-3pm: "Sage & Sierra" reception, talk, Q&A, and book signing, Eastern California Museum, 155 N. Grant Street, Independence

Mary DeDecker's daughters, Carol and Joan, have published a memoir of growing up in the Owens Valley: "Sage and Sierra: a Memoir - Growing up in the Owens Valley." They will be at the Eastern California Museum on April 7 for a reception, brief talk, Q&A, and book signing. Mary's interest in botany is a theme throughout the book.

April 10, Tuesday, 7pm: Up close and personal. Using pictures from automated cameras at desert water sources to recognize individual bighorn sheep and estimate population sizes, with Dr. John Wehausen – Research Scientist, White Mountain Research Center Public Lectures

White Mountain Research Center is pleased to present a series of FREE lectures open to the general public. The lectures cover a diverse array of topics and are usually presented by scientists and other researchers affiliated with the station. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held at 7:00 PM at the Owens Valley Station located at 3000 East Line Street in Bishop, California. 760-873-4344.

Tonight's Lecture is on Using pictures from automated cameras at desert water sources to recognize individual bighorn sheep and estimate population sizes, presented by Dr. John Wehausen – Research Scientist

April 10, Tuesday, 6:30 - 8:30pm: Mining 101: A Workshop with Bonnie Gestring, Cerro Coso College 4090 W Line St, Bishop

Friends of the Inyo, the Sierra Club, and Inyo350 are pleased to present this workshop with Bonnie Gestring, the Northwest Program Director at Earthworks, free and open to the public. This workshop will help you understand current industrial hardrock mining techniques, how contemporary mining operations usually effect ecosystems and surrounding communities, how an industrial mine could affect Conglomerate Mesa and nearby areas, and how citizens can impact federal decision making about mining on public lands.

April 14, Saturday, Pollinator Garden Workshop with Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Looking to revamp your garden this season, but don’t know where to start? At our free Pollinator Garden Workshop, you’ll hear from local experts about hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and how you can create a blooming haven for pollinators right in your backyard. This free event is open to any member of the public who is looking to enhance their garden with native plants and local pollinators.

For additional information and to RSVP, please contact Ryan at ryan@eslt.org or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event April 15, Sunday, Deadline for submissions to the May-June Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter

Please send your articles or information to the newsletter editor, newsletter@bristleconecnps.org by April 15, 2018 for the May-June issue.

April 16 -19, and/or April 19-23 (Monday-Thursday) Volunteer Opportunity: Eureka Dunes Botanical Monitoring, Death Valley National Park / Friends of the Inyo

Death Valley National Park staff need volunteers to help with annual monitoring of two endemic plants, Eureka dunegrass and Eureka Valley evening primrose, that occur nowhere else on Earth.
The park will lead two surveys this month: Monday, April 16—Thursday, April 19 and Monday, April 23—Thursday, April 26. Monitoring will be strenuous, requiring climbing to the tops of tall dunes and hiking up to five miles each day. Volunteers are encouraged to commit to an entire four-day monitoring period if possible. Volunteers will camp with park staff at the Eureka Dunes Campground—bring your own water!

Space is limited: four volunteers are needed for the April 16 survey and eight volunteers are needed for the April 23 survey. Email julia@friendsoftheinyo.org to save your spot.

Don't miss this opportunity to experience spring at the Eureka Dunes while contributing to important research!

April 17, Tuesday, 7pm: Can't we all get along? Competition and coexistence between native fishes of the Owens Valley, with Christi Kruse – California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2017 WMRC Mini-grant recipient, White Mountain Research Center Public Lectures

White Mountain Research Center is pleased to present a series of FREE lectures open to the general public. The lectures cover a diverse array of topics and are usually presented by scientists and other researchers affiliated with the station. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held at 7:00 PM at the Owens Valley Station located at 3000 East Line Street in Bishop, California. 760-873-4344.

Tonight's Lecture is on Competition and coexistence between native fishes of the Owens Valley, presented by Christi Kruse – California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2017 WMRC Mini-grant recipient

April 20, Friday, 7pm, Lecture: Landscapes of the Eastern Sierra as Climatic Time Machines, with Dr. Ben Hatchett – Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, Reno, Cerro Coso College in Bishop, 4090 W Line Street

Lecture: Landscapes of the Eastern Sierra as Climatic Time Machines, with Dr. Ben Hatchett – Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, Reno, Cerro Coso College in Bishop, 4090 W Line Street.

April 21, Saturday, 10am-3pm: Earth Day in the Park

Activities, booths, tables, games - all in the bishop city park. Free.

April 21, Saturday, 7pm, Film Screening: Happening - A Clean Energy Revolution, Inyo Council for the Arts

A documentary by Jamie Redford about climate change solutions with special emphasis on California and Nevada, plus two short films on climate change. Inyo Council for the Arts. Free.

April 24, Tuesday, 7pm: A Survey of Patterned Body Anthropomorphic Figures in the Native American Rock Art of the West, with Courtney Smith – Local Rock Art Specialist, White Mountain Research Center Public Lectures

White Mountain Research Center is pleased to present a series of FREE lectures open to the general public. The lectures cover a diverse array of topics and are usually presented by scientists and other researchers affiliated with the station. Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held at 7:00 PM at the Owens Valley Station located at 3000 East Line Street in Bishop, California. 760-873-4344.

Tonight's Lecture is on A Survey of Patterned Body Anthropomorphic Figures in the Native American Rock Art of the West, presented by Courtney Smith – Local Rock Art Specialist.

May 1, Tuesday, 7pm: Exploring Pristine Seas: protecting the last wild place in our oceans with National Geographic. Dr. Jennifer Caselle, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Dr. Jennifer Caselle, Research Biologist, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara.

CNPS Event May 5, Saturday, 11am-2pm: GardenFest, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler Street, Bishop

We would like to invite everyone to "Ring in the Spring" at our annual GardenFest held at 250 N. Fowler St. in Bishop on Saturday, May 5, 11am - 2 pm. This free, family-friendly event celebrations spring with plants and delicious food for purchase, a free beer tasting, live music, children's games and much more.

Blooming trees are filled with birds singing their melodies as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds bounce from flower to flower inspiring new life. In celebration of this magical time, this year’s GardenFest coincides with Take it Outside California, an annual, statewide movement held every year on the first weekend in May. Its goal is to connect Californians of all ages with outdoor places and experiences.

At GardenFest, guests can learn gardening tips and receive expert advice from local Master Gardeners. They will have the opportunity to bring their gardens to life with native plants from California Native Plant Society and vegetable starts available for sale. Representatives from Bishop Paiute Tribe's Food Sovereignty Program and Eastern Sierra Audubon Society will share their information. Folks can enjoy live music and delicious brick-oven pizzas for purchase made on site by Mark Wagner of Owens Valley Grower's Co-Op. Plus, while kids play nature-themed learning games and a raffle for a children's book on bees, adults can look forward to sampling beers offered by Bishop's own Mountain Rambler Brewery.

GardenFest will also offer opportunities to learn about ESLT's Eastside Pollinator Garden Project, and how community members can transform their yards or garden into pollinator havens. This project helps keep the Eastern Sierra blooming by enticing native birds, bees, and butterflies to gardens throughout the Eastern Sierra.

For more information, please contact Ryan, ESLT's Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member, at ryan@eslt.org or call (760) 873-4554.

May 8, Tuesday, 7pm: Ethical concerns in conservation of biodiversity: examples from desert fishes and mountain lakes. Phil Pister, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Phil Pister, Executive Secretary Desert Fishes Council.

CNPS Event May 9, Wednesday, 6pm: CNPS Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Location: Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler, Bishop. All members are welcome.

CNPS Event May 12, 2018, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Field Botany and More by Fault. Leader: Jerry Zatorski.

In the middle of the Owens Valley, the Earthquake Fault of 1872 has a prominent mark on the landscape. There are places where the offset is an obvious drop off, others with spring-fed sag ponds, and others with elongated meadow habitats. We will explore several of these areas beginning with a fault line meadow north of Twin Lakes. There will be brief stops at Goose Lake and Billy Lake to compare the two lakes one natural and the other man made. After that we will look at two mitigation projects that have taken advantage of the Fault’s physical geography. Finally we will stop at a more classic precipice overlook as one might expect along a fault line. Naturally there will be a good dose of early season valley floor botany along with other natural features.

There will be about 5 miles of moderate hiking at a botanist pace and expect to be done by late afternoon. 4WD vehicles are recommended as the dirt roads on the Valley floor are always unpredictable. Participants should bring lunch, snacks and plenty of fluids. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes.... Click here for a downloadable version of an Owens Valley plant list which can be printed out or uploaded to a smart device. We will meet at 8:00 AM at the Blackrock Reststop, about 15 miles south of Big Pine and about 10.5 miles north of Independence. For more information contact Jerry at jerryzat@gmail.com.

May 15, Tuesday, 7pm: Owens Lake: an in depth look at its past, present, future. Kathy Bancroft, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Kathy Bancroft, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation.

CNPS Event May 19, Saturday, 9am: Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Harkless Flat and Blake Mine. Leader: Steve Matson.

This trip takes us by car east up the Death Valley Road out of Big Pine into the Inyo Mountains. We may stop in the Waucoba Lake beds briefly, and then again at Devil's Gate before turning off on a generally well graded dirt road. We hope to take in all the shrubs and annuals along the dirt road as we cross over to an outstanding overlook of the Owens Valley. We will focus on limestone outcrops and seek out Erythrtanthe calcicola, Hecastocleis shockleyi, Eriogonum glandulosum. If time allows, we will walk down a steep rough trail to mine site perched high above the valley. Meet at 9:00 AM at the visitor Kiosk at the corner of 395 and 168 in Big Pine; Contact: Steve Matson, ssmat@sbcglobal.net, 760-938-2862.

May 22, Tuesday, 7pm: Big bears, big lizards and little ground squirrels: The importance of comparative physiology in wildlife conservation and human medicine. Dr. Hank Harlow, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Dr. Hank Harlow, Professor Emeritus Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming and Emeritus Director of the UW-NPS Biological Field Research Station in Grand Teton National Park

CNPS Event May 23, Wednesday, 7pm: Program: Discovering Mono County Plants: Making Progress Towards a Complete Checklist, with Ann Howald. Location: Mammoth Ranger Station auditorium, 2500 Highway 203, Mammoth Lakes

Botanists have been studying Mono County’s plant life since William Brewer and the Whitney Survey team collected and identified plants near Mt Dana and Mono Lake in the 1860s. Other past investigations have focused on the Sweetwater Mountains, the Bodie Hills, the Mono Basin, the Glass Mountains, the White Mountains and other locations. A checklist of the plants of the Rock Creek watershed was finished in 2017, and a study of Adobe Valley plants is in progress. This talk will focus on Ann Howald’s efforts over the past 3 years to compile an annotated checklist of all the plants known from Mono County, using the results of these previous studies, as well as her own work. Ann has studied the plants of Mono County since 1975. Since retiring 3 years ago, she has focused on plants in out-of-the-way locations in Mono County, especially those rarely visited by others. And she has reviewed thousands of Mono County plant collection records from herbaria all over California, leading to some fascinating detective work to verify which plants actually occur in Mono County. Her recent work, and that of others, has resulted in the addition of 24 species to the total list of plants known from Mono County, including two species new to California. At present, the total number of plant species known from Mono County stands at 1695, and counting!

Ann Howald first visited Mono County as a child on family fishing trips. During a geology field trip while a UC Santa Barbara undergrad, she first became aware of a shrinking Mono Lake and learned about its threatened ecology. Ann finished her BA in Zoology, then continued at UCSB to complete an MA in Botany. Always a starving student, in 1975 her graduate advisor offered her a summer job documenting the plants of the new UC natural reserve at Valentine Camp in Old Mammoth. This is when her love affair with the plants of Mono County really began. Since then, she has been a summer visitor to Mono County every year. She now lives in Hilton Creek throughout the summer, spending winters in Sonoma. In addition to working on a Mono County plant checklist, Ann does volunteer work and leads field trips for the California Native Plant Society, the Mono Lake Committee, the BLM, State Parks, and Sonoma County Parks. She teaches a field seminar on High Country Plants and Habitats for the Mono Lake Committee each summer. In her spare time, she pulls wildland weeds.

CNPS Event May 26, 2018, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Waucoba Wash. Leader: Jerry Zatorski.

Waucoba Wash drains the southeast side of Waucoba Mountain into Saline Valley. The wash doesn’t drain into Saline Valley proper, but joins others as they make their way down a long alluvial drainage to the NW corner of Saline Valley. This is fortunate as we begin our trip at just over 5,700’ elevation away from the searing weather that can plague the Saline Valley by late May. We will explore the wash from the Saline Valley road and make our way upslope visiting four different spring and seep areas. Naturally, where there is water in the desert, there are usually interesting things to discover, especially plants and animals. From a 1973 Mary DeDecker plant list, it’s reported that there is Narrow-leaf Cottonwood, Populus angustifolia, up in the canyon, although a search on the internet was not successful in showing any records of this species in Wacouba Wash or the canyon. Nor are there any records of Black Cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa, for this location on the Calflora website either, so if there is a cottonwood up there with narrow leaves, which is it?

There will be about 5 miles of moderate hiking at a botanist pace with about 975’ of elevation gain and loss, and expect to be done by afternoon. 4WD vehicles are recommended as the dirt roads into Saline Valley can be unpredictable. Participants should bring lunch, snacks and plenty of fluids. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes.... Click here for a downloadable version of an Inyo Mountains plant list which can be printed out or uploaded to a smart device. We will meet at 7:00 AM at the Glacier View Campground just north of Big Pine (US 395 x SR 168). For more information contact Jerry at jerryzat@gmail.com.

May 29, Tuesday, 7pm: Bear Essential? The past, present, and potential future of grizzlies in California. Dr. Peter Alagona, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Dr. Peter Alagona, Associate professor of history, geography, and environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara, as well as the founder and facilitator of the California Grizzly Study Group.

CNPS Event June 2, 2018, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Bodie Hills, Masonic Area. Leader: Ann Howald, partnering with Dick Hihn of the Range of Light Sierra Club group.

Meet at 9am at the Bridgeport Forest Service Office on Highway 395, a few miles south of Bridgeport. Going into the Bodie Hills on the Masonic Road, we’ll make a couple of stops to look for pinyon-juniper understory plants, then continue on to do some easy to moderately strenuous hiking in the Masonic town area and/or lower Masonic Mountain. We’ll be looking for some not-too-commonly seen taxa like: Astragalus oophorus var. lavinii, Boechera bodiensis, Collomia tinctoria, Lathrocasis tenerrima, Lupinus brevicaulis, Muilla transmontana, Nemacladus rigidus, and Phacelia monoensis. We’ll return on the Masonic Road. This will be an all-day trip. High clearance vehicles needed. A joint trip with the Range of Light Chapter of the Sierra Club, but conducted at our usual botanist’s pace! For questions contact Ann: (707) 721-6120 or annhowald@vom.com or, from the Range of Light Group, Dick Hihn (760-709-5050; rhihn@skidmore.edu)

June 5, Tuesday, 7pm: Back from the Brink: Bighorns, Peregrines, and Foxes in Yosemite National Park. Sarah Stock, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) Spring Lecture Series.

We welcome you every Tuesday evening this spring to our free public seminars. Seminars are from 7-8 PM and doors open at 6:30. All seminars will be held in the Page Center at SNARL, 1016 Mount Morrison Road. Small tasters of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. See the full 2018 schedule here.

Sarah Stock, Wildlife Ecologist at Yosemite National Park, CA

CNPS Event June 23, 2018, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Botany for Beginners, Mammoth/Long Valley. Leader: Michèle Slaton.

The general public, including adults and kids of all ages, are welcome on this field trip to learn some basic skills to get you started in identifying plants. We will focus on learning common wildflowers, starting with common traits used to recognize plant families. You’ll learn how to identify plant parts and how to use a plant key.

Have you ever wished you knew the names of the native plants near your home or on your favorite outings? Do you ever wonder how to figure out a plant’s name? Now is your chance! We will explore places in bloom from Long Valley meadows to Convict Creek and the Sherwins, and get to know the common plants in flower. Experienced botanists are welcome also to share their skills.

We will meet at 9am at the Green Church at the intersection of Hwy 395 and Benton Crossing Road, and carpool to the extent possible. Bring everything you need for a full day in the field. All instructional materials will be provided, but bring a hand lens or magnifying glass, and plant guide/key if you have one. Contact Michèle Slaton (760-920-8693 or mslaton02@gmail.com) with questions. Michèle taught college botany for two years and has worked for the past 18 years as a Forest Service and Park Service botanist and ecologist in eastern California.

CNPS Event June 30, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Brown and Green Lakes. Leader: Sue Weis.

We will hike along the pipeline from South Lake to Brown Lake and then Green Lake in the Green Creek Basin that lies between the South Fork of Bishop Creek and Coyote Ridge. Wildflower displays in the meadows of Green Creek Basin are a highlight of the hike. The round trip is 4.8 miles with an 1150 foot vertical gain. We may take an alternate way part of the way down and end at Parchers if people are interested in a shuttle. Some walking on the pipeline will be required so bring some walking sticks for balance. Meet at 9AM at the upper South Lake Parking area, ready for an all day hike. If you have any questions, contact Sue at (760) 937-2595 or sue.weis98@gmail.com. A joint trip with the Range of Light Chapter of the Sierra Club.

CNPS Event July 21, 2018, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Wyman Canyon, White Mountains. Leaders: Courtney Collins & Michèle Slaton

We will explore the areas in bloom from the bristlecone pine forest down into pinyon-juniper woodlands and riparian areas. We can expect to see several showy wildflowers, and also rare plants, including Dedecker’s clover (Trifolium kingii ssp. I), small-flowered rice grass (Stipa divaricata), and Nevada ninebark (Physocarpos alternans). We’ll spend time searching for the limestone daisy (Erigeron uncialis) – a treasure first seen in Wyman 30 years ago, but not documented since.

We will meet at 8:30am in Big Pine at the intersection of 395 and 168, and regroup again at 10am at the top of Wyman Canyon (the southern intersection of the Bristlecone Road with Wyman, ca. 2.5 mi. north of Schulman Grove). 4WD will be required. Bring everything you need for a full day in the field. Contact Michèle Slaton (760-920-8693 or mslaton02@gmail.com) with questions.

August 2-5: Introduction to Fire Ecology of the Sierra Nevada, with Hugh Safford, Jepson Herbarium Public Programs, at Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL)

California has been referred to as the “pyrostate.” In California’s Mediterranean-type climate, summers are warm and dry and natural or human ignitions in the presence of flammable biomass often lead to wildfires. In the Sierra Nevada, many ecosystems have close ecological and evolutionary associations with fire; the nature of these relationships varies substantially, depending on factors like the species involved, climate, history, and geography. Participants in this 4-day workshop will delve into the fire ecology of major vegetation types in the Sierra Nevada. Topics will include fire as a physical process; fire effects on ecosystems and vegetation; fire as an evolutionary force; fire history and fire regimes (including an introduction to fire scar dendrochronology); fire geography; fire management and policy; and climate change and fire. The curriculum will include 2-3 field trips to eastern Sierra Nevada sites exemplifying the fire ecology of yellow pine and mixed conifer forest, sagebrush, and subalpine forest. Fire management and ecological consequences of current and projected future trend in wildfire will also be major focus areas of the field trips. The workshop will be held at the excellent facilities of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL) just south of Mammoth Lakes, in the beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada.

Accommodations: Share dormitories with the option to tent camp
Meals: Kitchen available for preparing individual meals
Transportation: Personal vehicles with 4WD recommended but not required
Hiking: Moderate to occasionally strenuous with the possibility of hiking off-trail
Start/End: Thursday, 8:00 am – Sunday, 1:00 pm. Check-in is on Wednesday evening, August 1, in order to start promptly on Thursday morning.

Course Fee: $400/$430
Register for this workshop here

CNPS Event August 25, Saturday, 9-11am, CNPS Native Plant Sale - Bishop, White Mountain Research Station

This is the largest native plant sale of the year, and this year, we can accept credit cards! A wonderful array of native plants is offered every year.  A variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees adapted to our area will be for sale. See our sortable database of previous years' plants to see examples of plants that may be available. The numbers available for 2018 will be updated as we get closer to the date of the sale.

Prices: Plant prices are $5.00 for small tree pots, $8.00 for gallon pots, and $10 for large tree pots. If you have any of the black plastic pots from last year’s sale we would love to recycle them for you.

Proceeds from the annual native plant sales provide funding for our Mary DeDecker Botanical Grants. The grant program is a fitting way to remember Mary DeDecker’s many contributions to the people and plants of the Eastern Sierra.

See our Plant Sale Page for more details!

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Wildflower photos!

Mojave Aster and Prince's Plume, El Paso Mountains

Mojave Aster and Prince's Plume, El Paso Mountains
Photo by Kathy LaShure

A few more wildflower photos to whet your appetite: California Poppy, Coreopsis, Desert Chicory, Grape Soda Lupine, Mojave Bush Penstemon, post-fire wildflowers in Indian Wells Canyon.

Desert Candle, El Paso Mountains

Desert Candle, El Paso Mountains
Photo by Kathy LaShure


News

First Place for Number of Rare Plant Occurrences in 2013 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt!

First Place!

Our own Kathy LaShure, leader of the Creosote Ring Chapter and hunter of rare plants, was completely surprised with an award from the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt committee for documenting the most species of rare plants in the California Rare Plant Treasure Hunt. She and her team documented 15 occurrences of rare plants in their area winning her first place among botanists participating throughout the state. Her 3-year total is an impressive 72 populations recorded.

The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is fun if sometimes arduous, but also very important to conservation of rare plant species. Among partners and supporters of the effort are US Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, National Forest Foundation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Parks and National Park Service. The program also receives support from Whale Tail grants, funded by proceeds from special license plates with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. More information is available at Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Project Background and Results.

Kathy is setting her eyes on some very enigmatic and elusive species for 2014 – Phacelia novenmillensi or 9-Mile Phacelia. She will have help from Erika Gardener, a Claremont College graduate student. Their field date is sometime between May 7 and 9 along the Pacific Crest Trail south of Walker Pass. Volunteers are welcome. Contact Kathy LaShure for more information at 760-377-4541.

Creosote Ring and the Red Jeepsters Win Again in 2012!

In last year's Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, The Red Jeepsters won 2nd place for their team, and also for Rich LaShure's great photo (see below).This time, the "intrepid" team came in 1st Place for both overall rare plants found and documented and for most trips led!

"The Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter submitted the most rare plant occurrences this year. Trip leader Kathy LaShure organized and led nine trips, documenting many rare plant occurrences from the southern Sierra Nevada. Although it’s a small subchapter, the Creosote Ring members filed in force this summer, and they had great success in finding and documenting their local rare plants. Thank you for your inspiring efforts!"

(from the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Awards page)

Erigeron multiceps - photo by Kathy LaShure

Erigeron multiceps
A rare plant documented by the Creosote Ring subchapter
Photo by Kathy LaShure.

Kathy Says: "Yippee! The Creosote Ring won First Place honors this year! Our subchapter now has its own copy of Jepson II for field work & IDing."

The CNPS e-Newsletter has a different write-up about the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt & the 2012 awards. Here are some excerpts:

“Volunteers from the Creosote Ring subchapter and the Sierra Club visited Horseshoe Meadows, a high-elevation, easily accessible, subalpine meadow, as well as some of the surrounding passes and trails. We were fortunate to be joined by Tim Thomas, who has been studying the region's flora for 30 years. Despite the area's accessibility (a paved road makes the steep climb up the eastern slope of the Sierra to the trailhead), many exciting botanical finds awaited us. We found new and historical locations of Tulare rockcress (Boechera tularensis), field ivesia (Ivesia campetris), and Tulare campion (Silene aperta). Jean Dillingham, a new volunteer, was excited to find a very old occurrence of Sharmith's stickseed (Hackelia sharsmithii), a plant named after her friend Carl Sharsmith.”

And this:

“Individuals from many CNPS Chapters participated in the RPTH this year, but a few chapters led the way in organizing treasure hunts. This year's top chapter was the Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter. Kathy LaShure of Creosote Ring led many trips this year, some with other chapter members, and some with her two-person team, "The Red Jeepsters". They were able to find many new and historical occurrences of southern Sierra endemics this year, and their work will help with the proposed downranking of field ivesia (Ivesia campestris) from rank 1B to Rank 4.”

Thank you to everyone who participated in a Treasure Hunt this year.

Please come to our evening meeting on Wednesday, December 5th to hear more about the 2012 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt & see pictures of the plants we documented this past summer.

Rare plant treasure hunters at Osa Meadows

You Won't Find Plants by Looking Up!
Award-winning photo by Rich LaShure

The Red Jeepsters Score Rare Plants and Awards in the 2011 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

The results are in for the 2011 Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, a state-wide collaboration between CNPS & the Department of Fish and Game to update data on rare plants and their associated habitats. The Red Jeepsters team (Kathy & Rich LaShure of Inyokern & the Creosote Ring subchapter) were declared Intrepid Treasure Hunters, the Second Place designation for team awards. Rich also received a Third Place for his photograph of the subchapter field trip to Osa Meadows in late August.

The LaShures began their adventures in the spring, exploring desert locations, with their first rare plant sighting on April 3, the Glamour Girl of local flora, Phacelia nashiana, Charlotte’s Phacelia. When the weather warmed, they moved to higher terrain, making a dozen trips to the Kern Plateau between June and the end of October. In all, documentation (both the required CNDDB form and supporting photographs) was submitted for 35 occurrences of 16 rare species. Of these 24 were new occurrences, 5 were updated recent occurrences, and 7 updated historic (older than 20 years) occurrences.

Rare plant treasure hunters at Osa Meadows

Fritillaria pinetorum, photo by Kathy LaShure

Kathy’s favorite was the dainty Phacelia orogenes, Mountain Phacelia, which occurred in carpets in several locations. Rich was fascinated by the bold stems of weirdly-marked Fritillaria pinetorum, Pine Fritillary, also found in more than one meadow. The most unusual find had to be Cordylanthus eremicus ssp. kernensis, Kern Plateau Bird's-beak, found almost as an after-thought on a late season expedition to see aspens in their golden fall garb along Jackass Creek. Another Bird’s-beak, Cordylanthus rigidus ssp. brevibracteatus, was the last find of the season on Oct. 28.

Plans are already being made for more expeditions next year. Kathy is now authorized to use the DFG’s RareFind database, making research easier. The Red Jeepsters hope to find additional populations of some of this year’s species, as well as targeting several new species and also looking in some locations near the Chimney Peak By-way at the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada range.

More Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Photos: Sidalcea multifida, Viola pinetorum ssp grisea and PDF of Kern Plateau Rare Plants of 2011.

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News Archives

Ridgecrest Solar Power Project:

Cause for Celebration
An update on the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant project

Can I have a round of applause please? Or three “Hip, Hip Hoorays”? Or just a loud “Yippee!”? Yes, it’s true the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant project is officially history. In a letter dated Jan. 21, 2011 Solar Millennium withdrew its application for this project. In their own words “A review of the process and staff position on the project strongly suggests success is unlikely.” In other words the continuing CEC biological staff assertion that the site should not be disturbed was not going to change, even with a Mojave Ground Squirrel genetic connectivity study (which Solar Millennium proposed).

While those of us who opposed this ill-conceived project from a local and personal perspective can give ourselves some credit for standing up to Big Industry, we really owe the CEC staff a huge “Thank You.” Not only did the biological staff perform professionally, but the other CEC staff, those in charge of this project’s approval process, also carried out the proceedings in a thorough and thoughtful manner. Thanks should also go to the official Intervors: the Center for Biological Diversity (Ileene Anderson and Lisa Belenky); Desert Tortoise Council (Sid Silliman); Basin And Range Watch (Laura Cunningham and Kevin Emmerick); Western Watersheds Project (Michael J. Connor); Kerncrest Audubon (Brenda and Dan Burnett and Terri Middlemiss); California Unions for Reliable Energy (Elizabeth Klebaner). These groups and their representatives brought a wide array of expertise to the table, making sure that Solar Millennium did not slip anything over on us.

In celebration of this outcome my husband and I have spent three mornings in the past two weeks exploring the northern edge of the El Paso Mountains that overlook the site. Last Saturday we climbed the large volcanic hill just to the west of the site. While it was tempting to gaze downward at all the little green wildflower sprouts, the larger picture was more important. From the top we looked out over the El Paso Wash alluvial plain. My heart was full of gratitude that the fully functioning ecosystem below would remain a home for Desert Tortoises, Mojave Ground Squirrels, Desert Kit Foxes, LeConte’s Thrashers, Western Burrowing Owls and all the native plants that support them. It was a wonderful sight!

Kathy LaShure
Creosote Ring Leader

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Hurray for the Little Guys!
Update on the Ridgecrest Solar Power Plant Project

I could also have titled this report “Creeping but Not Yet Dead” as the approval process for this ill-conceived project has slowed considerably since last spring. At that time, we thought recommendations would be made by both the BLM and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in time for final rulings by the end of this calendar year with construction to begin in 2011, if the project was approved.

However, once the CEC Staff Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report (SA/DEIR) was released in late March it became apparent that the CEC approval schedule would likely change (the BLM timetable was & remains different). This was due to the CEC staff’s findings that the biological resources of the proposed site could not be mitigated, nor could the visual impacts. This is the first time that CEC staff has made such an unequivocal finding for preserving a site and its intact, fully functioning ecosystem.

Their decision was based on the high number of Desert Tortoises of all ages and the functioning genetic corridor for Mojave Ground Squirrels. Of course neither of these species would thrive without high quality habitat. The Creosote Ring’s plant survey on April 17 showed just that. 23 participants helped to document the annual and perennial plant species found on the proposed RSPP site. 72 species from 25 plant families were observed, indicating a complex well-functioning ecosystem. Especially note-worthy were the existence of Winter Fat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) and Spiny Hop-Sage (Grayia spinosa), indicators of Mojave Ground Squirrel habitat and, perhaps more importantly, the occurrence of many preferred food plants for both juvenile and adult Desert Tortoises.

At the opening of the May 3-4 public workshops we were most pleased to hear Dick Anderson, CEC biologist, reference our plant list. Jane McEwen's terrific research documenting the preferred Desert Tortoise food plant observed bolstered CEC's position that this is a unique site. During the workshops Dave Hacker (CA Dept. Fish and Game) very strongly supported the need to preserve biological connectivity for the Mojave Ground Squirrel and Desert Tortoise as well. It was clear that the mitigation measures proposed by Solar Millennium do not meet the requirements of DFG & USFWS.

There are some other major issues with RSPP besides the biological and visual ones. The plan is to use trucked-in propane to keep the transfer fluid thin enough to work. We think that they have greatly underestimated how much propane they will need, as our fall-winter-spring air temps are lower than they have allowed for. This will increase the cost of generation, the carbon foot-print and traffic. Ridgecrest sits downwind of the site giving concerns about Valley Fever with the grading of such a large area (over 2000 acres). They claim mitigation will control 75% of the dust but that leaves 25% than can infect people. Valley Fever is not a fun disease.

Over the next weeks and months many excellent comment letters from both environmental organizations and private citizens were submitted to both the CEC & BLM (http://tinyurl.com/2dmkv2c). Most have supported the position that this project would irreparably alter a biological treasure and should not be built. I wrote a detailed letter for CNPS. The Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake also wrote two letters expressing their considerable concerns.

Then on June 30, Solar Millennium requested a suspension of their application. They proposed conducting a 2-year survey to study connectivity issues for local populations of Mojave Ground Squirrels. This was approved by the CEC but the BLM approval process continues to move forward on its own timetable. After the July 8 mandatory status conference Solar Millennium realized that this request needed to be modified as it was perceived as “a complete halt to all activities.” Therefore on Aug. 8 Solar Millennium asked for the suspension to be changed to “a modification of … milestones.” We will have to wait to see what this really means.

However, since Solar Millennium has two other California sites (Blythe and Palen) moving through the approval process, they may be hoping that approval of one or both of them will give them additional monetary resources to put into Ridgecrest down the road. In the meantime, we should not be complacent, thinking that the little guys (Mojave Ground Squirrels) will do the heavy lifting for us. We must continue to monitor the CEC website for developments and maintain contacts with the excellent interveners. I am particularly grateful to two of them: Dan Burnett (Creosote Ring member and Kerncrest Audubon intervener) and Ileene Anderson (personal friend, Center for Biological Diversity biologist/intervener, and desert expert extraordinaire). My personal crash course in conservation work would have been far less successful without their generosity and dedication.

— Kathy LaShure

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Thank you to everyone who submitted comments to the California Energy Commission (CEC) and BLM about the Ridgecrest Solar Power Project (RSPP).

Click here for a PDF file of the letter I sent, as Creosote Ring Coordinator, to both the CEC & BLM. The plant list generated by the Creosote Ring April field trip to the RSPP site is available here. If you have not been reading the comment letters as they are posted on the CEC website here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/26nhrwp. The latest posting was from the Naval Air Warfare Center, towards the bottom of the list, with points that no one else could make.

As for where we are in the permitting process, this site was taken off fast-track schedule in May, which means that the original timetable was scrapped. A new schedule will not be set until late September, after the publication of the Revised Staff Assessment. However, two additional biological workshops are to be scheduled, one still in June & another in July. There are no precise dates for these yet. As I will be out of the loop for the next several weeks due to family concerns, please check here http://tinyurl.com/23zo4tk for schedule postings.

Again, if you are not on Don & Judy Decker's email list for updates on Ridgecrest Solar Power Project, you may wish to contact Don ddecker@ridgenet.net. The Deckers have been providing excellent summaries of all the action.

click for photo album of proposed solar power project site

Click for Album
(opens in new window)

To the left is an online photo album showing the area of 2002 acres that will be bulldozed and scraped bare if the proposed Ridgecrest Solar Power Project is approved. The photos were taken between February and April, 2010, just a brief sample of the scenery and flora that will be competely and irreplaceably destroyed. Many of these spring flowers are food plants for the desert tortoise which still live here, as well kit fox, burrowing owl, lizards, and snakes, signs of which are evident is one takes the time to look.

Below is a field trip report for the area for more information.

If you want to read up on the permitting process, here is the link to the CEC site for RSPP:
http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/solar_millennium_ridgecrest/index.html

Kathy LaShure,
Creosote Ring Leader

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Field Trip Report: El Paso Wash, April 17, 2010

It’s been a late and balky spring in the Indian Wells Valley. But 23 individuals showed up on a glorious (i.e. calm wind/warm temperature) morning to explore the El Paso Wash drainage southwest of Ridgecrest. Solar Millennium, LLC has proposed to use nearly 4000 acres of BLM land there for a 250-megawatt solar thermal electric power plant. The project site lies just northeast of the El Paso Mountains and is bisected by Brown Road (old Highway 395) forming a north field and a south field. The first iteration of the plan had the facility partially sited in the El Paso Wash proper. That was changed after the first public meetings in Dec. 2009. Now it is sited on both sides of the Wash. But the entire site is in an historic drainage, as evidenced by the tumbled appearance of the rocks there.

The original purpose of the field trip, as planned in January, was to informally survey the flora of this area. No rare plants were known to occur there, but that may be because no one had looked in the right place or at the right time. However, fauna there has been well-documented. The most significant species are Desert Tortoise, Mojave Ground Squirrel, Desert Kit Fox, Burrowing Owl, LeConte’s Thrasher, and Loggerhead Shrike. Of course theses animals would not be present without the specific plant resources needed for food and shelter.

Once CNPS hired Amber Swanson as Rare Plant Treasure Hunt coordinator for the Mojave Desert, she agreed to trek north from her Claremont home-base and help us survey the flora. She provided a list of specific rare plants that have been known to occur not far away in other El Paso Mountains locations. So we kept an eye out for them as well. We also had other participants from Southern California.

The trip’s participants amiably split into two survey groups. Jane McEwen and Judy Breitenstein led the exploration of the north field which lies to the east of the broad, braided El Paso Wash. The second group tackled the south field on the west side of the drainage and was led by Amber Swanson and Kathy LaShure. We did not hope to cover the entire large footprint of the proposed solar site, but did the best we could in a single morning.

No rare plants were found by either group. But the combined plant list has 70 species in 25 families, indicating a diverse flora. Many known Desert Tortoise preferred food plants were documented. If you would like a copy of the plant list please contact Kathy LaShure, desert_encelia@verizon.net.

The Draft EIR/Staff Assessment was released on April 9 and the BLM comment period extends for 90 days from that date. Information about the DEIR can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/2cugk79. The Creosote Ring subchapter is working with Greg Suba, CNPS State Conservation Director, to be sure that our response to this poorly sited facility is as effective as possible.

— Kathy LaShure

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Wildflower Alert!

4/16/2010: A sub-chapter member reports there are amazing blooms in Kelso Valley: take Hwy 178 to Kelso Creek Rd and keep going south til you see the orange and purple on the slopes to the west. There is also a slope full of Baby Blue eyes.

Click on the images below for larger pictures.

Kelso Valley Wildflowers
Kelso Valley Wildflowers
Kelso Valley Wildflowers

Meeting Report

Our February evening program was on Wednesday, February 3 at 7 PM at the Maturango Museum. First we talked briefly about our participation the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt being organized by the State CNPS office and chose some dates & locations for 2010 field trips. Then CR member Jane McEwen presented Desert Microbial Life Matters:

Jane shared preliminary results of her investigation of microbial mats growing in the wash in Poison Canyon illustrated with her photographs as well as with photomicrographs taken by Wayne Lanier, PhD. These microbial mats are highly photosynthetic, as evidenced from the prolific production oxygen bubbles. The small spring-fed stream in Poison Canyon was covered with colorful masses of microbes up until the recent rainstorms. Now that the flood has washed away almost all signs of the microbial mats, Jane plans to study the recovery of the microbial community over the next year.

She also presented photographs, photomicrographs and samples of soil crust collected northeast of Searles Lake. Cyanobacterial filaments bind soil particles into a crust, referred to as cryptobiotic or microbiotic soil crusts. These soil crusts reduce soil loss from wind and water erosion and also provide a living mulch that retains soil moisture. The cyanobacteria in the soil crust are photosynthetically active when enough moisture is present. They also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere making it available for plant growth in the desert soils, which other wise are low in nitrogen.

For those of you interested in more information on microbial life such as those found in salt marshes and soil crusts see Wayne Lanier's archived website http://www.hikingwithafieldmicroscope.com/ and Wayne Lanier's and his colleague Cris Benton's website: http://ostro.ced.berkeley.edu/~crisr/he/.

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Field Trip Suggestions

For current information about our activities, please contact Kathy LaShure, subchapter coordinator: (desert_encelia@verizon.net or 760-377-4541). We have an email notification list for current activities. Also, be sure and check the main Bristlecone Chapter Events page for events a little farther north!

Calochortus Venustus

Butterfly Mariposa Lily, photo by Kathy LaShure

Here are some more suggestions for native plant activities now and over the summer months:

Last Friday (May 27), Rich & I hiked the Flynn Creek trail that starts at McNally's above Kernville. You cross the roaring Kern River on the bridge & turn south. Above the split with the Tobias Creek Trail (about 1-1.25 miles in) there are thousands of Calochortus venustus (Butterfly Mariposa Lily), more than I've seen anywhere else. The bloom should still be good this weekend as there were lots of buds.

On the drive west on Hwy 178 just past the Canebrake Reserve (large new sign), on the south side of the road there is a magnificent population of Mojave Bush Penstemon (Penstemon incertus) just coming into full bloom (& there is room on that side of the road to safely pull off & park for photos).

If you don't want to drive that far, Paul Decker shared the location of a huge colony of Sand Plant (Desert Christmas Tree) Pholisma arenaria here in Inyokern. Here are some of his photos of those strange plants:

[Click on the images for larger pictures]

Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria
Pholisma arenaria

Finally, if you aren't up to getting out, here are 3 websites with lots of interesting information & wonderful pictures:

As always, I hope each of you has a terrific summer with close encounters of the native plant kind!

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Wildflower Guides and Creosote Information

Clone Ring of Creosote bushes, estimated to be 11,700 years old, quite possibly the oldest living thing.

Quite possibly the oldest living things (even older than the ancient Bristlecone Pines), Creosote rings are formed by cloning as new growth sprouts up around the perimeter of the original shrub. This is the oldest known Creosote ring, "King Clone," which is located south of us in the Mojave Chapter's territory.

Guides to local wildflower hotspots and Mojave shrubs:

Each brochure also includes when to go, how to get there & a short description of the most noteworthy wildflowers to be seen. Please click on any link for a printable PDF of these guides.

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Information about our sub-chapter namesake, the Creosote Bush:

Creosote Ring and Owens Peak

Creosote Ring with Owens Peak in the background
Photo by Kathy LaShure