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Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society

Spring Flower - Mojave Woodyaster

Mojave Woodyaster, Black Canyon,
Photo by Larry Blakely

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a state-wide 501(c)3 non-profit organization of lay persons and professionals who share an interest in California’s native plants. The Society, working through its local chapters, seeks to increase the understanding of California’s native flora and to preserve this rich resource for future generations. Membership is open to all.

The Bristlecone Chapter covers all of Mono and Inyo Counties and northeastern Kern County, an area that includes the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, the Northern Mojave Desert, the Inyo and White Mountains, and the Owens Valley. The southern end of the Bristlecone Chapter’s geographically large territory, in and around the Indian Wells Valley, has its own sub-chapter, Creosote Ring.


The January-February 2020 Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter is online - read online or download and print.

The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue is February 15th, 2020.

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Upcoming CNPS Events

Field Trips, Meetings, and other events of interest scheduled for the next month or so – for more events, including non-CNPS events which may be of interest to our members, see our Events Page.

CNPS Event January 15, 2020, Wednesday, 6pm: CNPS Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

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

January 22, 2020, Saturday, 5-6:30 pm: Open House Celebration, Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Join us as we mix and mingle with conservation partners and community members like you! We'll lift our glasses in celebration, as we kick off another year of protecting and caring for this incredible region. RSVPs are helpful but not required. If you plan to attend, please contact Marie Ring at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event January 23, 2020: Deadline for Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant Applications

Grants for research and projects that increase the understanding and appreciation of native plants and ecosystems in the Eastern Sierra are available to graduate students, college students, and primary and secondary students (K-12). Research projects need not be academic or scholarly but must be relevant to the native plants of the northern Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, and Great Basin portions of eastern California. Applications must include written support from a major advisor or teacher.

Grant recipients receive up to $1,000 each for expenses and are asked to present their results to the Bristlecone Chapter either at a regular meeting or in the chapter newsletter. The deadline for the 2019 Grant is January 23, 2020. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by early March, 2020. More information and application:

CNPS Event February 15, 2020: March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter Deadline

Today is the deadline for submissions for the March-April Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter to our Newsletter Editor, Elaine Chow, at Contact Elaine with any questions.

February 20-23 2020: Charismatic Microflora: The Ecology and Management of Biological Soil Crusts, Jepson Herbarium Workshop, Matt BowkerKirsten FisherBrent MishlerTom Carlberg, and Mandy Slate, Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx, CA

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are communities of cryptic organisms, including cyanobacteria, mosses, and lichens that typically stand less than 0.5 cm in height. Biological soil crusts have a significant impact on the world because of their extensive global distribution and their regulation of ecosystem functions. They also provide the opportunity to study amazing biological traits such as desiccation tolerance. These communities are easily damaged or destroyed by human activities such as cattle grazing and off-road vehicle use and are of considerable concern in managing dryland environments.

This workshop will cover the basics, including: What is a biocrust? What are biocrusts composed of? How are biocrust organisms identified? Where are biocrusts found? How do the organisms in biocrusts manage to survive and reproduce in such a seemingly harsh environment? What role do biocrusts play in ecosystems? How can biocrusts be managed? How and where to find compelling, charismatic, and crucial biocrusts? We will combine classroom lecture with hands-on activities at the microscope, and visits to the field.

The Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx is located at Soda Springs on the northwestern edge of the Mojave National Preserve. The surrounding habitats support a range of plant communities, including halophytic vegetation, marsh communities, ponds and springs with pondweed, cattail and sedges, extensive creosote bush scrub and saltbush scrub stands, crescent sand dunes with psammophilous vegetation and plants stabilized by mesquite thickets and the rocky slopes and ravines of the Soda Mountains. Soda Springs itself is home to the Mojave Tui Chub, an endangered fish species, and a variety of desert reptiles and mammals. In addition, 92 bird species have been sighted at the center.

The cost of this workshop has been reduced by a subsidy from the National Science Foundation as outreach for the collaborative grant "Desiccation and Diversity in Dryland Mosses" ( of which the first three listed instructors are Principal Investigators.

Meals: Dinner Thursday through lunch Sunday are included.
Transportation: Not provided. Personal vehicle or carpool required for field trip.
Hiking: Easy
Start/End: Thursday, 4:00 pm – Sunday, 12:00 pm.
Course Fee: $75
Credit: This workshop has been approved for 7 Professional Development Credits by the California Consulting Botanist Board of Certification

Register for this workshop here

CNPS Event February 25-27, 2020: Vegetation Mapping, Redlands, State CNPS Workshop

California Native Plant Society plant science training workshops provide botanists, biologists, land managers, and ecologists the scientific skills and practical experience necessary to assess, manage, and protect native plants and lands in California and beyond. Pre-registration is required and many workshops sell out early. Sign up now and secure your spot for 2020 workshops!

Vegetation Mapping,In Conjunction with Aerial Information Systems & the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. Taught by Rachelle Boul, Jennifer Buck-Diaz, Julie Evens, & John Menke. In this workshop you will learn techniques for fine-scale vegetation mapping, an invaluable tool for understanding California’s natural resources. Through hands-on exercises in a GIS lab and in the field, you will get direct experience creating and validating a GIS vegetation map. $665 CNPS Members / $695 Non-Members. Go to the workshop page for details or to register.

March 5-8, 2020: Botanical Islands in the Northern Mojave Desert: Exploring the flora of the Amargosa River Basin, Jepson Herbarium Workshop, Naomi Fraga, Inyo County

The Amargosa River Basin in southeastern Inyo County, California, holds exceptional water resources that form isolated alkaline wetlands, or hydrological islands, which support numerous endemic plant species. It also contains striking sky island mountain ranges that are primarily composed of calcareous rock. This region has seen very little botanical documentation in the past despite the fact that alkali wetlands and calcareous substrates are known to hold several rare and endemic plant species. On this trip, we will explore findings from recent floristic expeditions in the Nopah Range and Resting Spring Range and surrounding valleys in the Amargosa River Basin. The study area is at the intersection of two major floristic provinces, the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin Desert, and holds many disjunct populations, species at the edge of their range, and rare and endemic taxa. Field trips will explore expansive wetlands and calcareous mountain slopes. We will also meet with local experts involved in conservation efforts.

Accommodations not included, but special rates available for both camping and rooms for the group at the Shoshone RV Park ( Details will be provided upon registration.

Transportation: Not provided. Driving up to one hour to field sites might require 4WD vehicle.
Hiking: Moderate to occasionally strenuous
Start/End: Thursday, 4:00 pm – Sunday, 12:00 pm.
Course Fee: $375 (Friends of the Jepson Herbarium) /$405 (general public)
Credit: This workshop has been approved for 7 Professional Development Credits by the California Consulting Botanist Board of Certification

Register for this workshop here

March 7, Saturday, 2-4 pm: Mule Deer Migration Corridor Field Trip, Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Join us for an informative field trip to the Round Valley mule deer herd’s migration corridor. Biologist Tim Taylor with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will share updates on some of the challenges the deer are facing as we explore the beautiful Round Valley migration area.

This is a free family-friendly event. Please leave your canine friends at home. Binoculars are recommended but not required, and please remember to dress accordingly for the weather. Stormy weather may lead to postponement of the event. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

For more information including meeting location and to RSVP, please contact Marie Ring, ESLT Education Coordinator and AmeriCorps Member, at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event March 18, Wednesday, 7 pm: General ChapterMeeting and Program, Bristlecone Chapter Event - location TBA.

Speaker Bryan Hatchell of Friends of the Inyo will discuss botanical restoration projects in the eastern Sierra. Check back for more information as the date draws closer.

March 27 and 28, 2020, Friday and Saturday, 6pm: Banff Mountain Film Festival, 2020 World Tour

Inyo Council for the Arts is thrilled to once again host Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour, returning for its 27th year to the Eastern Sierra, Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th, 2020. This year’s films explore the mountain world, highlight new landscapes and remote cultures, and showcase exciting adventures and adrenaline-packed sports. Screenings are in the Charles Brown Auditorium at the Tri-County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 6pm, films start at 7pm, with different films shown each night. For more information, call Inyo Council for the Arts at 760-873-8014 or visit us at 137 S. Main St in Bishop. Tickets are available at our office on Main St, Eastside Sports in Bishop, and the Booky Joint in Mammoth Lakes.

March 30, 2020 - DEADLINE: American Penstemon Society Grants

The American Penstemon Society is once again seeking proposals for funding. The purpose of the APS Special Projects Program, $1000 maximum, is to stimulate activities that promote knowledge and appreciation of Penstemons. Many kinds of projects will be considered. In addition, APS provides a grant for graduate students, with funding up to $2000, whose research directly involves Penstemons. Please see the APS website for more information and an application for both opportunities.

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For more events, including some from other organizations, see the Bristlecone Chapter Events Page

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Facebook Page

The Bristlecone Chapter now has a Facebook Page! If you are on Facebook, head on over and "like" us (or click "like" in the box at left) to get updates in your Facebook newsfeed. While you are there, post a message on our wall, share photos or links of interest, let us know what you think!

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