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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 March-April 2017 Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter is online - read online or download and print.

The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue is April 15th.

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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 April 1, DEADLINE: Bristlecone Chapter T-shirt Design Contest

The Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) needs a new t-shirt design! We are soliciting artwork that will be used on our new t-shirts. Deadline: April 1, 2017

Contest Guidelines

The original artwork should include a bristlecone pine and be approximately 8 x11”. The work may include other native plants and artistic features, but a bristlecone pine should be central to the work. The words "Bristlecone Chapter California Native Plant Society" should be incorporated. Artwork can be in any reproducible medium, and can be full color, but will ultimately be printed with 6 or fewer colors. The main work will be printed on the shirt-front, and a smaller tag image will be printed on the back below the neck. The tag image should be simpler. It could be derived from the larger piece, or it could be something different suitable for printing in one color. Click here for a printable flyer about the t-shirt design contest!

Contest entries should be emailed to by midnight on April 1, 2017. Please send artwork as PDFs or JPEGs and include your contact information. The winner will be selected by the Board of Directors of the Bristlecone Chapter. The winner will be awarded $200 and a new t-shirt.

For more information, contact Stephen at or (760) 937-9918.

April 1, Saturday: Chocolate Mountain Hike, Friends of the Inyo

Join us for a FOI tradition! Chocolate Mountain borders the Great Basin and the Piper Mountains Wilderness. A spring hike up Chocolate Mountains offers a reprieve from the snow in the Sierra.

Expect a strenuous walk with significant elevation gain and loss- a total of 1,500 feet of elevation over 7 miles round trip. Be prepared for all weather conditions, and bring food, water, and layers.

Space is limited so please RSVP. For more information and to RSVP contact Ben at or call 760-873-6500.

CNPS Event April 2, Sunday, 9:30 am - noon: Blooms and Bugs for Beginners, with Nancy Hadlock and Richard Potashin. Dedecker Garden, California Museum, Independence

This program will offer beginning botanists and bug enthusiasts a chance to find and identify the blooming wildflowers around the Eastern California Museum. Bring good walking shoes, water, a snack, and loads of questions, we will have lots of resources to refer to!

April 3-6 and/or April 10-13: Volunteers needed for rare plant surveys in Death Valley

Volunteers are needed to help in data collection about populations of Swallenia alexandrae and Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis in Eureka Valley this spring. The estimated dates volunteers will be needed are: March 20-23, March 27- 30, April 3-6, and April 10-13. Additional dates could be added if needed. Volunteers will be camping at Eureka Dunes Dry Camp in various, possibly inclement conditions, hiking 12 miles a day over sandy, rugged terrain, and assisting with data collection for the impending FWS decision to delist these two species. A commitment of at least 2 days is preferable, but any help is appreciated. Click here for a flier to share!

Contact: Lucy Ellis
Wildlife and Natural Resource Monitoring Specialist
The Great Basin Institute at Death Valley National Park - Resources Management

April 6, Thursday, 7pm: Droning into the Future: Applications of UAV's for Fine Scale Geographic Analysis, 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 Droning into the Future: Applications of UAV's for Fine Scale Geographic Analysis, presented by Sean Robison, Department of Geography, CSU Northridge.

CNPS Event April 7, Friday, 9am-1pm: Round Fire Volunteer Planting Event, Bristlecone Chapter Partnered Event

The BLM Bishop Field Office, along with partners, will host a volunteer planting day in the Round Fire on Friday April 7th 2017. Volunteers will plant bitterbrush seedlings in the footprint of the Round Fire which burned in 2015. Meet at the dirt parking area just west of Paradise (and south of the Paradise Fire Station), see map on linked flyer. Light refreshments will be provided. Wear appropriate clothing for outside work (closed-toe shoes, long pants, hat, etc.) and bring water.

Contact: Martin Oliver, BLM, (760) 872-5035 or Julie Anne Hopkins (Swall Meadows), CNPS, (831) 566-6012.
Partners: BLM Bishop Field Office, California Native Plant Society Bristlecone Chapter, California Deer Association, Eastern Sierra Land Trust.

April 8, Saturday, 9:45am: Pollinator Garden Workshop, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, held at the Inyo Council for the Arts (137 S. Main St. in Bishop)

Want to create beautiful, productive landscaping in your yard or garden that will attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other important pollinators? Eastern Sierra Land Trust is here to help!

At our Pollinator Workshop on Saturday, April 8th, you'll learn how to get your pollinator-friendly garden growing this spring. Guest speakers will share insights on Eastern Sierra gardening topics ranging from drought-tolerant native plants, to composting, to watering systems, and more. The presentations will begin at 10am, so please join us by 9:45am for registration and refreshments.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Indigo Johnson, ESLT Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event April 8, Saturday, 9am: Division Creek and Sawmill Trailhead, with Steve Matson

Meet at 9:00 AM at the Kiosk and Redwood tree at the corner of 395 and 168 in Big Pine. If you are coming from the south you may meet us at 9:20 at the junction of Tinemaha Road and Division Creek Road, about 2 miles south of Aberdeen. We will drive west on decent dirt roads to the Sawmill Pass Trailhead. From there we will hike slowly south along the trail and feast upon one of the best Lupine displays in the Owens Valley. A rarer plant we will seek out, among many others, is Collinsia callosa, desert mountain blue-eyed Mary, and Tricardia watsonii, three hearts. Also present will be more Cryptanthas than you can shake a stick at! Contact Steve Matson at 775-843- 0389 or for more information.

April 9, Sunday: Alabama Hills Stewardship Event, Friends of the Inyo

Join Friends of the Inyo, Bishop BLM, and the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group for a stewardship volunteer event in the Alabama Hills. Come help care for a beautiful places outside Lone Pine. Bring water and work appropriate clothing. Tools and gloves provided.

Exact time and meeting location TBD. Email with questions.

April 13, Thursday, 7pm: Nine years of bird surveys on the Lower Colorado River, 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 9 years of bird surveys on the Lower Colorado River, presented by Amy Leist, Project manager, Lower Colorado River Riparian Birds Project, Great Basin Bird Observatory.

April 19, Wednesday, 7pm: Ripple Effects - using sound to study the effects of introduced trout on bird populations around alpine lakes, with Mary Clapp, at the U.S. Forest Service/BLM Building in Bishop; Eastern Sierra Audubon

The Eastern Sierra Audubon April program will be held at the U.S. Forest Service/BLM Building in Bishop on West Line Street, near the DMV. Doors open at 6:30, with the presentation starting at 7:00pm.

Guest speaker, Mary Clapp, will discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). Non-native trout prey heavily upon aquatic insects, potentially outcompeting native insectivores (including birds and bats) for an important food source and altering their foraging behavior, fitness, and reproductive success in unknown ways. Her work studies this connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats, and comparing this technology with traditional survey methods. In this talk, she will give a brief overview of the acoustic methods she has used to compare bird activity at fish-containing and fishless lakesides and review preliminary analyses. Her work is made possible by substantial collaboration with SEKI and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service.

Mary Clapp is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis. Though native to Maryland, she migrated to the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada in 2010, where her academic imagination took flight and where she has continued to naturalize. When she is not in the alpine zone eavesdropping on birds and bats, she can be found at lower elevations exploring riparian corridors, cliffsides, boulder fields, and hot springs (or at her computer in Davis).

April 20, Thursday, 7pm: Western Great Basin Landscapes As Climatic Time Machines, 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 Western Great Basin Landscapes As Climatic Time Machines, presented by Benjamin Hatchett, Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Atmospheric Science, Desert Research Institute Reno, NV.

April 27, Thursday, 7pm: Is 13 Our Lucky Number? Atmospheric Rivers Bring It On: Big Storms and Big Avalanches in a Record Breaking Winter, 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 Is 13 Our Lucky Number? Atmospheric Rivers Bring It On: Big Storms and Big Avalanches in a Record Breaking Winter, presented by Sue Burak, Snow Survey Associates.

April 29-30, Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm: Grass ID Workshop, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N College Ave, Claremont CA 91711

In this two-day workshop, Travis Columbus, PhD., associated researcher and professor in the Botany Department at Claremont Graduate University, will teach you in detail about the vegetative and reproductive features of grasses (Poaceae), addressing aspects of their anatomy, physiology, and ecology. In addition, you will learn how to identify common genera by using diagnostic characteristics. Much of the class will be spent teaching you how to use the identification keys in the most recent edition of The Jepson Manual (2nd edition), with special attention on some of the more difficult couplets and taxa.

On the second day, Sunday April 30th, a field trip to Santa Rosa Plateau is planned! We will carpool from RSABG. However, if there has not been ample rainfall in prior weeks, we will forego the field trip and continue working in the lab.

You will need to bring a copy of the Jepson Manual, 2nd edition. If you have one on hand, please also bring a dissection tool kit (minimally, fine-tipped forceps, dissecting needle, and metric rule/scale), and a dissecting scope and light. Also, feel free to bring grass samples for the class to work on, bringing enough for 20 people.

Registration is required. To register visit, the garden’s front kiosk, or contact Education Assistant, Diana Nightingale at or (909)-625-8767 ext. 251.

May 6, Saturday, 11am-2pm: GardenFest, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, 250 N. Fowler Street, Bishop

Calling all green thumbs: join us as we welcome spring at GardenFest! At this fun, family-friendly community event, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase plants (the Bristlecone Chapter will be at the GardenFest with some native plants available for purchase), learn gardening tips and tricks, listen to music, sample local beers, enjoy a brick oven pizza cooked on-site, and more.

Our annual GardenFest celebration is taking place this year on May 6 in honor of Take it Outside California, an annual day for Californians across the state to get outside, explore nature, be active, and appreciate all the great outdoor opportunities our state has to offer. Like Eastern Sierra Land Trust, organizations all over California are planning fun, free outdoor events for you and your family to enjoy.

For more information about GardenFest, including how you and your business can participate, please contact Indigo Johnson, ESLT Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event May 20, Saturday, 8am Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Ainslee Spring and Round Fire Burn. Leader: Jerry Zatorski

At 5500' elevation, Ainslee Spring sits against the Wheeler Crest at the top of the alluvial fan. In the past the spring area was host to many Sierra plants, but in February 2015 all that changed as the Round Fire rapidly consumed everything in its path. Today the spring and associated wetland still shines bright green amid the devastated landscape around it. Due to the dense sagebrush that covered much of the landscape prior to the fire, this area has been spared much of the disturbances from ranching, suburbanization and heavy ORV use in past years, and as a result there are relatively few exotic weeds. Despite the meager rains in spring of 2015, the spring flowers were big and bold.

We will begin at the dirt loop road (Alison Ln. in Google maps) on the west side of Paradise and hike along the Ainslee Spring road making stops as the flora dictates. We will also visit a Bitterbrush planting implemented by BLM in October of 2016 and view the extent of the fire scar on the alluvial fan. There will be about 3-4 miles of moderate hiking at a botanist pace. Participants should bring lunch, snacks and plenty of fluids. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes...

We will meet at 8:00 AM at the dirt loop road, which is 0.5 mile up Lower Rock Creek Rd/Old Sherwin Grade from where it crosses Rock Creek and the trail head (old Paradise Resort), or 0.3 mile down from the Paradise Fire House. For more information contact Jerry Zatorski,

CNPS Event May 25, Thursday, (note date change!) Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Volcanic Tablelands. Leader: Ann Howald.

Meet at 9:30 am at the pullout near the intersection of Gorge Road and Old Sherwin Grade Road (west side of Hwy 395). We’ll make several stops along Gorge Road to see mainly spring annuals. There was a spectacular bloom here in 2016, and 2017 may be similar. One thing we’ll look for is colonies of Phacelia saxicola, which is known from only 7 collections in California. We’ll be walking over uneven ground 1-2 miles, and should wrap up by early afternoon. For more information: contact Ann (707) 721-6120 or

CNPS Event May 31, Wednesday, 7pm, Bristlecone Chapter Program: Mousetails in warming chambers at 13,000 ft: plants on the move in response to climate? Presenter: Meagan Oldfather. White Mountain Research Center, 3000 East Line Street, Bishop

Alpine plants have been identified as harbingers of the biogeographic impacts of a changing climate. However, in montane systems where population viability may be driven by fine-scale climate conditions, populations at the same elevation range limit may show variable responses to changing conditions, leading to complex range shifts across geographic space. Refining predictions of species range shifts with climate change in these complex landscapes can be achieved by pairing individual-based vital rates (e.g., germination, growth, survival) and field-measured climate variables, as well as incorporating exposure of individuals to climate variables outside of the historical range of variation and species interactions. Presenter Meagan Oldfather's research addresses this with a demographic analyses, a manipulative experiment of summertime temperature and soil moisture, and community monitoring across the entire elevational range of Ivesia lycopodioides var. scandularis (Rosaceae). Since 2013, she has monitored 16 populations (over 4,000 individuals) of this long-lived alpine plant across its range in the White Mountains, CA (3350 – 4420m). She asks the following questions: 1. How do vital rates vary across the species range? 2. How do experimental warmer, wetter conditions impact population growth in range edge and center populations? and 3. Does community composition shift with experimental warmer, wetter conditions?

Meagan Oldfather received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of California Santa Cruz, and is currently working to complete her PhD at the University of California Berkeley Integrative Biology Department in the lab of Dr. David Ackerly. Her research focuses on the complex relationship between topography, microclimate and demography across species ranges, and asks how this relationship shapes the rate and magnitude of range shifts of mountain flora with a changing climate. She is a graduate student researcher with the Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts and the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative. Meagan is also a dedicated volunteer for the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine (GLORIA) Environments in California. After finishing her doctoral research she plans to work on how to best protect, monitor, and manage natural landscapes in the face of a changing climate.

June 3, Saturday 10am-2pm: Pollinator Garden Tour, Eastern Sierra Land Trust (250 N. Fowler St. in Bishop)

Since Eastern Sierra Land Trust's Eastside Pollinator Garden Project kicked off in 2014, locals across the Eastern Sierra have been hard at work creating beautiful native plant gardens alive with bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. During the Garden Tour, you’ll have the chance to see these lovely gardens in bloom, win prizes, and much more.

Prior to the start of the tour, Eastern Sierra Land Trust will be hosting a free outdoor yoga class in the ESLT office backyard, beginning at 9am. Join us for morning yoga, then hit the road as we tour local pollinator gardens!

For more information and to obtain your garden map and directions, please contact Indigo Johnson, ESLT Education Coordinator & AmeriCorps Member, at or (760) 873-4554.

CNPS Event June 10, Saturday: Whippoorwill Flat Field Trip, Inyo Mountains, with Michèle Slaton

We will visit the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Whippoorwill Flat area in the Inyo Mountains. After driving up the Death Valley Road out of Big Pine, and out on the Saline Valley Road about 12 miles, we will hike in the vicinity of 7500 ft., exploring the Whippoorwill Flat Research Natural Area. We should see a variety of annual and perennial wildflowers, including phlox (Phlox stansburyi), blazing-star (Mentzelia sp.), bitter- root (Lewisia rediviva), buckwheats (Eriogonum sp.), and rockcress (Boechera sp.). Our prize will be rediscovery of the juniper and dense mistletoe hybrid, Phoradendron juniperinum x bolleanum ssp. densum, which was visited by Mary DeDecker about every five years 1968-1995, and so will be our opportunity to carry on the trend of long-term monitoring (see Wiens, D. & M. DeDecker. 1972. Rare natural hybridization in Phoradendron (Viscaceae). Madrono 21:395-402). Delbert Wiens (expert of mistletoes; author of Viscaceae treatments, and Mary's son-in- law) is planning to join us! We will meet at 9am at the parking lot at the junction of Hwy 395 and Hwy 168 in Big Pine, and carpool to the extent possible to the field trip area. Bring everything you need for a full day in the field. Please contact Michèle Slaton (760-920- 8693 or with questions.

June 16-18: Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua,

Get your binoculars ready for the 16th Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua coming June 16-18, 2017! We hope you’ll be here to celebrate and support the rich diversity of bird life, the legacy of avian research, and the ongoing conservation efforts in the Eastern Sierra—all while having a darn good time. Happy birding, botanizing, and naturalizing! We hope to see you at the Chautauqua!

Registration opens April 15th at 6:30am. We encourage you to register online at that time as some classes do fill quickly. The complete Chautauqua program is available online. If you didn't register early, there are often last minute openings available on trips, so don't let that stop you from enjoying this fantastic event.

CNPS Event June 17, Saturday: Conglomerate Mesa, with Jerry Zatorski

Nestled in the southern Inyo Mountains, Conglomerate Mesa is the second most southern peak in the Inyo Mountains, and the has the most southern pinyon/juniper woodlands in the range. Unlike the basalt covered Malpais Mesa to the south or the granitic pluton of Cerro Gordo to the north, Conglomerate Mesa is composed of older Permian sedimentary rock. This part of the Inyo Mountains has great potential to hold numerous botanical treasures as much of the Inyo Mountains have not been explored botanically especially away from established roads.

We will begin at the northeast side of the mesa and hike and botanize our way up to the summit and mesa flat above 7000'. There will be about 7-10 miles of moderate to challenging hiking at a botanist pace which should take us a full day, 8 hours or so. Participants should bring lunch, ample snacks and plenty of fluids as this is a dry hike. Dress for the weather conditions, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes, appropriate clothes. Bring field guides, hand lens, binoculars, topo maps, and a willingness to hike and explore.

We will meet at 7:00 AM at the intersection of SR 190 and Saline Valley Rd. Alt. Route (34.5 mi E of US 395 near Lone Pine or 17mi E of SR 190 x SR 136), we then have a 1 hr. drive to the beginning of the hike. 4WD vehicles with clearance are required because the dirt roads can always be unpredictable. For more information, contact Jerry at

CNPS Event July 8, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Bodie Hills. Leader: Ann Howald.

This will be a driving loop trip going in on the Masonic Road and returning on the Aurora Canyon Road. Meet at 9 am at the Bridgeport Forest Service Office on Highway 395, a few miles south of Bridgeport. On the Masonic Road we’ll be stopping to look at pinyon-juniper woodland, seasonal wetlands, aspen groves, and montane sagebrush scrub. Easy walking. An all-day trip. High clearance vehicles needed. Road conditions after a snowy winter could cause rescheduling of this trip so check with Ann the week before: (707) 721-6120 or

CNPS Event July 15, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Glass Mountain Peak and Sawmill Meadow. Leader: Julie Anne Hopkins.

We will explore the eastern flank and summit plateau of this obscure volcanic peak, following a vague hiking trail near Sawmill Meadow. Starting in lodgepole and Jeffrey pine woodland, we’ll quickly ascend a deep pumice valley passing things like Penstemon newberryiMonardella odoratissima, and Eriogonum lobbii. We’ll lunch on the wide summit plateau accompanied by dwarfed Pinus albicaulisPenstemon speciosusAstragalus monoensis, and Raillardella argentea. Stupendous 360-degree views of the Mono Basin, Adobe Valley, Long Valley, Sierra and White Mountain crests will be unavoidable. We should return to the cars around 3:00. Check back closer to the date for more logistical details and a map. Contact Julie Anne Hopkins for more information.

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

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Conservation Updates

See our Conservation pages for updates on current issues relating to native plants and their habitats, such as Inyo National Forest Plan Revisions and Invasive Species. We will start up the Conservation Alerts emails again soon, if you signed up previously or wish to sign up - check back to the Conservation page!

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Like us on Facebook!

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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