Volume 21 No. 6 November 2001
THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY
November Meeting: The November meeting will be our annual Potluck and Slide Show, on Wednesday, November 14 at the Methodist Church on School street in Big Pine. The potluck set-up will start at 6:00 with dinner at 6:30 p.m.. Please bring a dish to share and some slides of plants and/or adventures during the past year.
January Meeting: Our January meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the 30th at White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. Dr. Trevor Burwell, a consultant with Jones & Stokes in Sacramento, will give a slide presentation entitled: "Environmental History of the Pinyon Woodlands and Lower Montane Treeline in Eastern California." Dr. Burwell did his dissertation work on this subject in our area in the late 1990's, completing his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999.
NEXT CHAPTER BOARD MEETING
Tuesday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Sarah Sheehan’s home. All chapter members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please call Sarah at 872-4039 for directions.
Acting President's Message: In case you weren't already aware, the Bristlecone Chapter broke new ground, figuratively and literally (yes, I do mean "literally") in September. Figuratively, we broke new ground by holding our first general meeting in Mono County, at the Green Church, about a ten-minute drive from Mammoth Lakes. Michael Honer gave an excellent presentation on his graduate work on the Flora of the Glass Mountains, and it was one of our best-attended meetings ever! Michael's slide illustration of GIS maps, collecting specimens for herbarium use, the importance of a regional Flora, and his escapades in the Glass Mountains resulted in a really clear, informative, and entertaining presentation.
We also broke ground literally by digging about 150 holes at the Eastern California Museum and filling them up with local native plants, in what is the Mary Dedecker Memorial Garden. Jerry Zatorski and Sally Manning have been organizing this important project and many others have been volunteering their time and elbow grease. Jerry has organized work parties to clear brush around the plantings, install an irrigation system, prepare the beds, and to put in the plants grown by Karen Ferrell-Ingram. On September 29, about 15 volunteers showed up for the fun work of digging, planting, and erecting protective cages around the shrubs and perennials. It was great to be joined by Joan and Annette Busby, Mary's daughter and granddaughter, and Paul Dedecker. Paul walked around the garden and was clearly pleased to see all the work going on at this beautiful garden site named in honor of his wife. Thanks for your help, everybody.
Nominations for 2002 Bristlecone Officers
Botanical Grant Program
The Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is pleased to request applications for its small grants program in memory of renowned local botanist, Mary DeDecker. This program is a fitting way to remember Mary's many contributions to the people and plants of the eastern Sierra. The program will award up to two grants of not more than $500 each.
The purpose of these grants is to facilitate research and projects that increase the understanding and appreciation of our region's native flora and ecosystems. There are a wide range of appropriate possible subjects for funding, from basic taxonomic or ecological research to a school garden featuring native plants and their pollinators. The only requirement is that the project be relevant to the native plants of the northern Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, and Great Basin portions of eastern California.
The deadline for submission of grant proposals is November 16, 2001. To receive guidelines for the
DeDecker Garden Update
With much effort at times and a few sleepless hours during the night, the DeDecker Native Plant Garden at the Eastern California Museum is in. Whew! I’ve been back to the garden since the planting and I’m extremely impressed with what we have done. We took a place, somewhat over run with live and dead sagebrush, and groomed it into a place for visitors to enjoy. From the initial planning to the brush clearing to the irrigation installation to the planting to the rabbit cage installation, the efforts and care put forth by all who participated was nothing less than incredible. I’d like to personally thank all who took some of their own time to work on the first step in this on going project for our chapter. A special thank you to Mark Bagley, Annette & Joan Busby, Wayne & Pailin Butterfield, Brian Cashore, Kathy Duvall, Karen Ferrell-Ingram, Anne, Kirk & Sean Halford, Scott Hetzler, Steve Ingram, Claire Jellison, Leah Kirk, Sally Manning, Bill Mitchel, EvelynMae & Al Nikolaus, Richard Potashin, Daniel Pritchett, Rick Puskar, Sharon Rose, Jim Stroh, Sherryl Talyor, Ron Tiller, and Irene Yamashita. Forgive me if I missed anyone.
There will be another volunteer work party for species especially suited for direct seeding. The seeding day is November 17, 2001. Meet at the garden in Independence at 9:00 AM. For more information you can contact me at 872-3818 or Jerryzat@yahoo.com See ya there!
While there are many contentious issues in the implementation of the Inyo-LA Long Term Water Agreement (disputes over operation of the McNally canal and the size of the Lower Owens River Project pumpback station, for example), one of the most important is one which has received the least attention: the Drought Recovery Policy (DRP). The DRP was adopted by the Standing Committee in 1992. It mandates that groundwater pumping be managed in a "conservative manner" until soil moisture and vegetation recover from the 1987-1992 drought. It also gives Inyo County – through its representatives on the Standing Committee – veto power over LADWP’s proposed annual pumping programs.
From 1992 through 1998 there was no disagreement between Inyo County and LADWP regarding the applicability of the DRP to annual pumping plans. Starting in 1999 Inyo County produced annual reports documenting the status of vegetation conditions with regard to the DRP. The reports provided data and explicit rationales for the County’s implementation of the DRP.
Starting in 2000, LADWP started criticizing the County’s interpretation of the DRP in cases when the DRP would impact pumping. It never, however, provided an explicit statement of exactly how it believed the DRP should be implemented.
At its meeting on October 17, the Inyo-LA Standing Committee directed the Technical Group to discuss the Drought Recovery Policy. Representing the Bristlecone Chapter I made a comment commending the committee for this decision, stated that it was several years overdue, and asked that the discussion be held in public rather than at a closed "staff meeting."
Assuming past behavior is a predictor of future behavior, when discussions of the DRP do occur, LADWP will attempt to intimidate the county into weakening its interpretation of the DRP. It is only public scrutiny of the leadership of the Inyo County Water Department which will keep it from succumbing to this intimidation.
Inyo Mountains need help once again
Astronomers from the Combined Array for Millimeter Astronomy (CARMA) recently filed their application for a Special Use Permit (SUP) with the Inyo National Forest (INF) to construct a large new observatory and access road in the Inyo Mountains. The application proposes two sites as "acceptable" (Harkless Flat and Cedar Flat (Westgard Pass)) and one site as "superior": "Juniper Flat." Unless there are administrative and/or procedural issues which arise, INF will initiate the process of environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
INF Supervisor Jeff Bailey emphasized, in a recent conversation, that INF – not CARMA– would determine which of the three sites would be the "preferred alternative" and that the "no action" alternative would be given serious consideration. He also emphasized that INF had made no decisions or commitments regarding particular sites.
While I haven’t yet looked at the SUP application in detail, two things jumped out upon a quick perusal:
1) the project has a life expectancy of only 25 years, after which it will "be restored to pre-construction conditions." Elsewhere in the Great Basin there is great alarm over the rapid and widespread deterioration of sagebrush ecosystems similar to the one at Juniper Flat. CARMA would have us believe it could pour concrete, build buildings, dig trenches, and trample such an ecosystem for 25 years and then miraculously restore it to "pre-construction conditions."
2) In the Project Description section of the SUP application Juniper Flat is characterized as "low" with regard to "resource sensitivity." It is disturbing enough that the undisturbed product of at least 4 billion years of evolution should be dismissed with a "low" rating. What is more disturbing is that in the Status/Summary of Project Plans and Studies section it is stated that geological, vegetation and rare plant, wildlife and archeological/cultural resource studies were not even completed when the SUP application (with its "low" rating of Juniper Flat) was delivered to the Inyo National Forest.
At its meeting of September 18, the Bristlecone Chapter Board of Directors voted to oppose any management of Juniper Flat which would compromise the ecological integrity of the site. The Board sent a letter to INF Supervisor Jeff Bailey informing him of our decision. More information about CARMA’s proposal will be posted on the Bristlecone Chapter website at http://www.bristleconecnps.com
Please visit the site, (map on the website given above), keep informed, and let Supervisor Bailey know what you think. Send comments to: Jeff Bailey, Supervisor, Inyo National Forest, 873 North Main St., Bishop, CA 93514.
Who's In a Name?
Continuing the essay on Alice Eastwood, Curator of Botany at the California Academy of Sciences for more than 50 years . . .
On the evening of April 17, 1906, Enrico Caruso thrilled the San Francisco Mission Opera House audience with another stunning performance as Don José in Bizet's Carmen. Eastwood, a lover of opera and other musical art forms, just might have been in attendance. The city finally slept after all its varied forms of night life had ended. The disaster struck in the morning. Buildings shuddered, collapsed, and soon the fires began. Alice hurried to the Academy building, frantically searching for a way in. Finally, she and a few others gained access to the interior. Alice and a friend climbed the spiral staircase (by climbing up the metal railing, as most of the stone steps were in a heap on the ground floor) to the herbarium on the 6th floor. They gathered up the very most important specimens, and escaped as flames roared in from neighboring buildings. She then searched desperately for someone with a cart to help her move her bundles of scientific treasure - she had charge of all that would be saved of the museum - as the city was being absolutely destroyed around her. Jack London, eyewitness to the quake's immediate aftermath, described the awful scene of which Eastwood was a part: "All the shrewd contrivances and safeguards of man had been thrown out of gear by thirty seconds' twitching of the earth-crust. . ..The hills of San Francisco are steep, and up these hills, mile after mile, were the trunks dragged. . . .". Alice wrote, "The sound of the trunks being dragged along I can never forget. This seemed the only groan the ruined city made." As for the horror elicited by the quake itself, Caruso wrote "I . . . go to the window, raise the shade and look out. And what I see makes me tremble with fear. I see the buildings toppling over, big pieces of masonry falling, and from the street below I hear the cries and screams of men and women and children." In her daring venture, Eastwood saved 1497 of the most important plant specimens including 1211 irreplaceable type specimens. All else was lost - the largest botanical collection in the western US. But amid the horror of human suffering and death, an important bit of human heritage had been rescued for the future.
Eastwood apparently collected little in the Eastern Sierra (she is listed as a collector of 48 specimens from Alpine and Mono Cos., and 3 from Inyo Co., in the CalFlora Occurrence Database), but her protege, and later successor, John Thomas Howell spent much time here (he is listed as collector of 1165 specimens for Inyo Co., in the same database). Mary DeDecker's specimen cards contain frequent notation of his findings in the area. I don't know if Mary ever met Alice, but Howell was well known to Mary and was an important mentor to her. Early in her studies of the Eastern Sierra flora, Mary was advised to send her specimens to the CAS (and also to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden) for any help she might need with identification.
Eastwood was a broad-minded and caring person who promoted women's interests and initiated important conservation projects. She was a great promoter of the love of plants, the outdoors, and the preservation of natural resources. In an obituary in 1953, Tom Howell wrote, "The honor she most deeply appreciated was the naming of the beautiful recreation area on Mount Tamalpais, Camp Alice Eastwood, by the California Division of Beaches and Parks and the Tamalpais Conservation Club, of which she had been a founder and was a past president."
She did not care much for convention, either in dress or social habits, but was nevertheless a master of social skills. At age 94 she wrote, "I count my age by friends, and I am rich in friends." A free-thinker in matters of religion and philosophy, she disdained dogmas. She wrote, "To me the feeling that comes from the order and law of the universe is truly religious and I think that every scientific person must be religious without any belief in a dogma of any kind."
She never married, but twice in her life she was prepared, apparently, to give up botany for marriage; both times death of her suitor prevented it. One was the eminent geologist Grove Karl Gilbert. It appears that, among men who found her attractive, one was none other than Willis Jepson, another great California botanist of the first part of the 20th century. According to Eastwood's private correspondence, he visited her in 1893 in the CAS herbarium "faultlessly attired", "acted in an embarrassed way", and "was scared out of his wits"; "I was most agreeable", wrote Eastwood. As it turned out, Jepson never married either.
Alice Eastwood's accolades were numerous.
In 1903 she was one of only two of the few women listed in American Men of Science to be denoted, by a star, as being considered to be among the top 25% of professionals in their discipline. Her entry bore a star throughout all subsequent editions during her life.
C. S. Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, wrote, in 1923 letters to Eastwood, " . . . [you are] the only really efficient botanist in California." and " . . . [you are] the only reliable person in California and I feel much more confident of obtaining anything botanical from you than I do . . . from anyone else."
Marcus Jones, the nettlesome but well regarded and highly productive Western botanist, delighted readers of his self-published (and self printed!) works with caustic snippets about his contemporaries in a series he called "Botanists I Have Known". In one of his short sketches he even tore to shreds the near saintly image of C. C. Parry. But for Alice Eastwood, he had only praise. In 1933 he wrote, "Her work, like mine, is mostly done and the falling leaves will soon obscure our graves, but it will be many a day before botanists will cease to venerate her magnificent work for the Academy. I have known her for a generation, and we have worked over the same field, but I have found her too big for jealousies and petty squabbles, which have disgraced a certain envious critic" [an apparent jab at Jepson]. Alice remained active for nearly two more decades, but Jones died in the following year, at age 82, in an accident while driving to his home in Claremont after a day's collecting trip to the San Bernardino Mtns.
In a volume honoring her 50 years service as Curator of Botany at the CAS, an event celebrated in 1942, F. M. MacFarland, past president of the Academy, wrote, at the conclusion of his tribute: "Her frank, direct approach to every problem and her modest, kindly spirit have won for her the esteem and love of countless loyal and devoted friends who wish for her many more years of productive activity in the field she loves." Another wrote, "There has never been anyone like her on earth and there never will be, if I am permitted to prophesy." In 1950 the outstanding historian of botany and natural history in general, Joseph Ewan, wrote: "indubitably the best known woman botanist in this country today". Her greatest tribute came in 1950 when she was made a president of the VIIth International Botanical Congress, held in Sweden, where she was proud to preside from a study chair used by Linnaeus. She died three years later at age 94.
In a 1906 letter to Science magazine, reporting on the devastating effects of the earthquake, Eastwood wrote: "My own destroyed work I do not lament, for it was a joy to me while I did it, and I can still have the same joy in starting it again." But she did more than start again. Already, in 1942, the number of plant specimens in the CAS herbarium had grown to over 300,000, nearly three times the number lost in 1906, a result of the untiring efforts of the indefatigable Miss Eastwood.
. . . . . . Larry Blakely
In Memory of Luci McKee
Lucinda Mckee, Southern District Ranger for the Inyo National Forest passed away on Monday, October 22, 2001. I had the pleasure of sharing an office with Luci for several summers when I worked seasonally for INF in the early 1990's and Luci was employed as Forest Hydrologist. Her intelligence, sense of humor, candor, and decisiveness made her subsequent promotion to District Ranger one of the smartest personnel decisions the INF management has ever made. One of the last times I saw her in good health was at Mary DeDecker’s memorial service last year when Luci represented INF. On behalf of the Bristlecone Chapter I offer our heartfelt condolences to her family.
From: "The Great Physician" Lindsey P. Pherigo
Via Doris Fredendall
The Greek healing tradition has one of its roots in the mythology of Asklepios, the Greek healing-god. His cult gained popularity during the fourth century B.C. and spread to Rome early in the next century, where he was known as Aesculapius. Shrines dedicated to Asklepios became famous healing centers all over the Hellenistic world. These were the principal hospitals of antiquity.
This Greek medical tradition treated the whole person, not just the physical aspect. Cures had to be initiated by Asklepios who called the sick person to the healing center. This call was usually indicated by the appearance of a serpent (the chief symbol of Asklepios) in a dream. Upon arrival, the one desiring to be healed first went through a period of inner reflection, ridding himself or herself of all personal animosities toward others, confessing all wrongs, and removing guilt-feelings. Then one waited for the summons into the sanctuary. This summons, like the initial call, was usually signified by the appearance of a serpent in a dream. When the priests were persuaded that the "patient" was invited into the sanctuary, he or she spent the night there, hoping for a sign of the god’s presence and healing powers.
All people who made the journey, whether cured or not, found the pilgrimage to be beneficial for their lives as a whole.
The impact of the Asklepios-tradition upon Western civilization was deep and permanent. His symbol, the snake-twined around a staff, is a standard symbol of the physician. His two daughters, Panacea (cure-all) and Hygieia (Health; hygiene) are familiar as well.
Next Newsletter Deadline: December 28