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Newsletter - Web Edition

Bristlecone Chapter

The California Native Plant Society

“Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora”

Volume 35, Number 3

May-June, 2014

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Events and Announcements

May 2014 President’s message

March, April and May are field trip season for me. I take the elementary and middle school students of the Owens Valley out on watershed field trips. I have been doing this for the last 13 years, same age kids to the same places. I know I get the most from these field trips, watching changes happen slowly over time in specific areas. We take snap shots every year. A photo and a collection of data tied to a certain place that can be compared to the years before.

Going back to the same place every year also gets a little boring. I sometimes resent that my days are spent at spots I have looked at many times before, I long to explore those places just around the corner. This spring break I did just that, went out and explored northern Eureka Valley.

The only place I have ever been in Eureka Valley is the dunes. When my kids were small it was the perfect place. I would sit high on a dune watching them as they wandered all around, thinking they were off exploring all by themselves.

Now it was time to explore someplace different. We drove all the roads in the Northern valley, stopping to hike up inviting washes. The late winter rains came at just the right time and the flowers are blooming everywhere. The highlight of the weekend was hiking up the White Cliff Canyon Wash, to see, at the base of the waterfall, a Mojave Mound Cactus in full bloom.

The late rains have awoken the seeds as Antoine de Saint-Exupery says, “ … seeds are invisible. They sleep deep in the heart of the earth’s darkness until someone among them is seized with the desire to awaken. Then this little seed will stretch itself and begin - timidly at first - to push a charming little sprig inoffensively upward toward the sun.”

Now is the time to go out and see what beautiful sprigs are pushing toward the sun.

— Katie Quinlan

Explore what Field Trips are being offered this year on our Events Page!

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Bristlecone Chapter Meetings

May General Membership Meeting:

Natural, Cultural, and Recreational Treasures of the Bodie Hills

Wednesday, May 28, 7pm, Green Church, Highway 395 and Benton Crossing Road

View of Mono Lake from atop Bodie Mountain, photo by Bob Wick

View of the Mono Basin from atop Bodie Mountain, Photo by Bob Wick

Jeff Hunter of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership will present his work toward conserving this unique landscape.

[From the Bodie Hills Conservaton Partnership website]

The Bodie Hills are located in a spectacular corner of California’s Eastern Sierra. Bodie State Historic Park, home to California’s official ghost town and one of the most popular state parks, lies in the center of the Bodie Hills. Visitors who venture beyond the state park enjoy hiking, biking, camping, botanizing, bird watching, hunting and motor touring through aspen-tinged valleys and across high plateaus with vistas of the Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake and the Great Basin. The Bodie Hills are home to pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and mule deer, and contain one of the highest concentrations of archaeological resources in the Great Basin.

The Bodie Hills contain outstanding natural and cultural values. The mountains are a transition zone between the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin and thus harbor a diverse assemblage of plant and animal species. including pika, lodgepole pine, Sierra juniper and Utah juniper. The Nature Conservancy has noted that the Bodie Hills “are among the most biodiverse in the Great Basin ecoregion" (Nachlinger et al., 2001). Pronghorn antelope, rare in central eastern California, are numerous in the Bodie Hills. The Bodie Hills are one of the last strongholds for the Bi-State sage grouse, a Distinct Population Segment of sage grouse with unique characteristics which is found in only a few counties along the central California-Nevada border. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently ruled that the Bi-State sage grouse warranted listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Pika, black bear, mountain lion, mule deer and many raptors including golden eagle, also inhabit the Bodie Hills.

The area contains two streams, Rough and Atastra Creeks, that were determined by BLM to be eligible for federal Wild and Scenic river status. These streams provide suitable recovery habitat for the Lahontan Cutthroat trout, a federally-listed Threatened species. The Bodie Hills also contain numerous riparian areas, including small wet meadows and aspen groves that provide critical wildlife habitat. Ephemeral wetlands attract migrating shorebirds and waterfowl in the spring.

Jeff Hunter is the leader and full-time staff member for the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership. The Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership is a coalition of organizations working toward the permanent protection of the Bodie Hills, an American treasure with exceptional scenic, historic and recreational values. The partnership is working to create a healthy, sustainable future for the Bodie Hills that combines conservation and access, honors tradition and promotes the region's scenic beauty, while protecting this special place from the boom and bust abuse of mining.

Jeff and his wife Caara relocated to June Lake, California from Chattanooga, Tennessee last August. In Tennessee, he led Wild South's Tennessee Wild Campaign (2008 - 2013). That campaign is focused on permanently protecting nearly 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest. Prior to that, Jeff worked for American Hiking Society (in partnership with the National Park Service) where he started up and led their Southern Appalachian Initiative (2003 - 2008).

Jeff is originally from the Lower Hudson Valley in New York State. There he had a successful 20 year career with Verizon Corp. An avid fisherman, backpacker and naturalist, a 2,167 mile walk of the Appalachian Trail inspired him to leave the corporate world to work full time in conservation.

Note this program will be held at the Green Church, at Highway 395 and Benton Crossing Road.

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Bristlecone Chapter Board Meeting

Our May board meeting will be held Wednesday, May 21, 7pm, at the Conference Room, Interagency Building, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop. All members are welcome.

For information on our southern sub-chapter meetings, see the Creosote Ring page.

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Upcoming CNPS Event Bristlecone Chapter and Other CNPS Events of Interest

There are so many great events coming up - many programs presented by other organizations may also be of special interest to our members - be sure to check our events page for the latest updates and more events, including other organizations’ events of interest.

May Events

CNPS Event May 9, Friday: Walker Pass Rare Plant Treasure Hunt! Leaders: Kathy LaShure and Erika Gardner.

For three years in a row, our Creosote Ring sub-chapter has been a leader in the state-wide Rare Plant Treasure Hunt - see the News section on the Creosote Ring page for details. This year, we will be looking for the enigmatic and often misidentified rare Phacelia novenmillensi or 9-Mile Phacelia, and the equally rare Astragalus ertterae, Walker Pass Milkvetch. Co-leading the outing will be Erika Gardner, graduate student from Claremont Graduate University, who is doing her field work in the Scodie Mountains. We will be exploring along the PCT south of Walker Pass. For details contact Kathy LaShure at 760-377-4541.

CNPS Event May 16, Friday, 9am-2pm: CNPS Field Day: DeDecker Garden Clean-up. Leader: Richard Potashin

On Friday May 16th we will be doing some "spring-cleaning" in the DeDecker Garden located behind the Eastern Sierra Museum in Independence. Join Richard Potashin and Nancy Hadlock in tuning up Mary’s garden to look its spring and summer best. We will be pruning back sagebrush and rabbitbrush, mulching, and hauling away garden debris that has accumulated over time. After work and lunch, we’ll take a stroll up the trail to Independence campground looking for anything in bloom.

Bring: water, lots of it, lunch, gardening hats, sunscreen, gloves, any hand pruning shears, loping shears or pruning saws you may have, and a notebook to record observations of the garden.
Meet at: Eastern Sierra Museum Parking lot.
Contact: Richard Potashin, 760-263-5022

CNPS Event May 24. Saturday, CNPS Field Trip: Bodie Hills. Leaders: Jeff Hunter and Julie Anne Hopkins

This outing will be in the National Forest lands, as the BLM lands in the Bodie Hills are closed to outings until July because of the Sage Grouse breeding window. We will start our outing on Masonic Road and drive on rough gravel roads, stopping at various points to look at the flora and see what is out this year.

Meet at 9am at the Bridgeport Ranger District office (Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest) on 395 - just south of Bridgeport. Participants should bring layers, sunscreen, a hat, water and a sack lunch (and a chair or something to sit on while eating lunch might be nice). Binoculars would be good as well as we might see raptors, pronghorn antelope & more. 4WD vehicles, or similar vehicles with high clearance are required to drive these roads. Carpooling is encouraged and we can organize it at the ranger office. We should return by by around 3pm.

CNPS Event May 27-29, Tuesday-Thursday: Herbaria Specimen Collecting for Floristic Work - Tejon Ranch, CNPS Education Workshops - Space Still Available!

This two and a half day course is a combination of classroom and field studies in the Tehachapi Mountain Region, Kern County, California. This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the equipment and skills necessary to make botanical voucher specimens of vascular plants with the goal of depositing specimens in their local herbaria. The course will include a half-day lecture focused on the multitude of reasons to incorporate specimen collecting into professional botanical survey and scientific work. In the field, participants will learn about the process of making specimen collections including the equipment necessary, prioritizing which plants to collect, data collection, plant pressing, label making, and the process of submitting vouchers to herbaria. The workshop will provide a chance to explore Tejon Ranch, California's largest contiguous piece of private land, which is situated in one of the state's most ecologically interesting locations-the Tehachapi Mountains. Fieldwork will focus on the middle and high elevation areas of the ranch that have little history of botanical study. Join us for a chance to learn and explore!

Taught by: Nick Jensen, Graduate Student at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and past CNPS Rare Plant Program Director; Heath Bartosh, Senior Botanist of Nomad Ecology
Locations: Classroom: Tejon Ranch Conservancy 1037 Bear Trap Rd, Lebec, CA 93243
Field Site: High elevations of Tejon Ranch (4,000 to 7,000 feet)
Cost: CNPS Members $360; Non-members $395

CNPS Event May 28, Wednesday, 7pm: CNPS Program: Natural, Cultural, and Recreational Treasures of the Bodie Hills, at the Green Church, Highway 395 and Benton Crossing Road

Jeff Hunter of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership will present his work toward conserving this unique landscape. Read more about this program on our meetings page.

May 31, Saturday: Breakfast with a Botanist, Friends of the Inyo

Breakfast with a botanist was so successful in 2013, that we are bringing it back for 2014, and returning to McGee Canyon. We will start out the morning at the East Side Bake Shop to discuss the art of floral identification, and things to look for when attempting to figure out those flowers. Then we'll put that learning into practice with a walk up McGee Canyon, and see what blossoms await us there.

We will meet at the Bake Shop at 8:30am for a short botanical lesson over baked goods and hot (or cold) beverages, and head out to the McGee Canyon trailhead to begin the hike by 10:00am. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes, water, sunscreen, and protection from the elements, a hand lens if you've got one, and money to spend at the East Side Bake Shop. We should be done by 1:00pm, with an option for a smaller group to continue hiking up the canyon in the afternoon if they'd like.

Please contact Drew:, or call (760) 873-6500, to RSVP or for more information.

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June Events

CNPS Event June 3, Tuesday, 7pm: Cacti, Agaves and Yuccas of Eastern California, Stephen Ingram, Author & Professional Photographer, (SNARL Lecture)

While this is a SNARL lecture, it is of special interest to the Bristlecone Chapter! Lectures are held 7 PM Tuesday evenings at the Green Church (Hwy. 395 and Benton Crossing Rd.). Admission is free and the public is invited. Not suited for young children. Lectures last approximately one hour. For more information call Leslie Dawson at 935-4356 or email For more information on the SNARL Spring Lecture Series: SNARL2014LectureSeries.pdf.

June 4-8, Wednesday-Sunday, Jepson Herbarium Workshop: California's Native Bees: Biology, Ecology, and Identification

Location: UC Hastings Reserve, Carmel Valley
Instructors: Gordon Frankie, Robbin Thorp, Rollin Coville, Sara Leon Guerrero, and Jaime Pawalek

Are you interested in learning more about the most important pollinators in your gardens? California's native bees are extremely diverse (~1,600 species) and are critical for providing ecosystem services not only in wild habitats but also in agricultural and urban settings. This course will provide basic information about native bee biology and ecology with a specific focus on identification to the generic level. Course participants will spend time collecting in the field at the UC Hastings Reserve and at a nearby diverse garden in Carmel Valley. They will also spend time in the lab viewing and keying collected specimens. Evening lectures on a variety of related topics will add to the field experiences. This workshop is an extension of the previously offered weekend bee workshop, with more focus on bee identification.

Bee collections from the Hastings Reserve date back several decades, so knowledge of important bee-flower relationships are well known for this site. Participants will learn about bees' flower preferences, how to collect bees using several different methods, information on how to build a bee-friendly garden, bee photography techniques, and bee identification using generic keys and microscopes. Participants will also learn about Gordon Frankie, Robbin Thorp, Rollin Coville, and Barbara Ertter's new book on urban California bees and their preferred flowers.

Workshop fee ($595 for members of the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium, $635 for the general public) includes lodging and meals from Wednesday dinner through Sunday lunch. Most participants will be accommodated in dormitory-style rooms with twin or bunk-style beds. Space outside the bunkhouse is also available for camping. Showers and flush toilets are available. This workshop will conclude early Sunday afternoon.

Registration information available at or call the Jepson Herbarium: (510) 643-7008.

CNPS Event June 8, Sunday, 9:00am, CNPS Field Day: Highway clean-up, Leader: Scott Hetzler

Meet at the intersection of Highway 395 and Pine Creek Rd., west of 395, at 9.00 AM. We will try to be done by 1:00 PM. For more information contact Scott at (760) 873-8392.

June 12-15, Thursday-Sunday, Jepson Herbarium Workshop: Sierra Nevada Wildflower Identification Made Fun: A special field workshop for beginning botanists!

Location: Sagehen Creek Field Station, Truckee
Instructors: Karen Wiese and Carl Wishner

Are you interested in learning to identify wildflowers using photographs, flower color, and simple plant features? In this field-oriented workshop, you will learn to use the book Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, and several other excellent field guides, to identify a broad range of wildflowers with confidence. Based out of the UC Sagehen Creek Field Station, north of Truckee, California, the workshop will include an interactive overview of basic botanical vocabulary, two and one-half days in the field visiting meadow, forest, and riparian plant communities, and two evening programs. To sharpen your plant identification skills, there will be opportunities to use dissecting scopes with live plant material and, should you desire, to learn how to key plants using the second edition of The Jepson Manual. This workshop's content will be tailored to the beginning field botanist. We welcome more experienced participants as well!

Workshop fee ($485 for members of the Friends of the Jepson Herbarium, $525 for the general public) includes lodging, meals from dinner on Thursday through lunch on Sunday, and some transportation to field sites. Most participants will be accommodated in twin or bunk-style beds in shared rooms. Flush toilets and showers are available in an adjacent bath house. Space is also available for camping. Please note that this workshop concludes on Father's Day! (Don't you and your dad want to botanize together?)

Registration information available at or call the Jepson Herbarium: (510) 643-7008.

CNPS Event June 14, Saturday, 7:00am, CNPS Field Trip: Pleasant Valley Meadow & Fire Recovery, Leader: Jerry Zatorski

The Pleasant Valley section of the Owens River is known for its catch and release trout fishery, access to popular bouldering areas among other outdoor activities. In March of 2008 the Bluff Fire burned a large portion of Pleasant Valley downstream from the campground. As a result of this fire much of the vegetation was affected from large trees in the flood plain to tules along the river. On this field trip we will explore a more sleepy section of the river that burned in 2008. The focus will be on the alkali meadow found in the flood plain as well as the recovery of the willows and other riparian vegetation. In the meadow expect to see Distichlis spicata, Saltgrass, Elymus triticoides, Creeping Wild Rye, and Sprobolis airoides, Alkali sacaton the vegetation backbone of alkali meadows in the Owens Valley along with other flowering treats from fairly common to not so common. Much of the willow component is Salix exigua, Coyote or Narrow-leaf willow, with some Salix laevigata, Red willow. What the willows lack in species diversity they make up with habitat value as many riparian bird species nest here and Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat among others will be in full breading season color and song.

There will be a little over two miles of walking at a botanist’s pace, and the trip should take a half day. Participants should bring food & fluids, sun protection and sturdy hiking clothes. We will meet at 7:00 AM at “the Y” — the corner of Wye Rd and US 6 just north of the Shell gas station. 4WD is recommended and carpooling is always encouraged. For more information contact Jerry at 760-387-2920 or

June 19, Thursday, 5-8pm: Forest Service public workshop on the revision of the Inyo National Forest Management Plan, Cerro Coso Community College, Eastern Sierra College Center, Bishop Campus (4090 W. Line Street)

CNPS members interested in native plants, native plant alliances, and other important conservation and/or recreation-related matters on the Inyo National Forest are urged to attend the June 19 Forest Service public workshop on the revision of the Inyo's management plan. The Inyo's revised plan will determine the future of the forest for the next 20 years and guide, for example, how well natural habitats are conserved for at-risk plant and animal species, the level of visitor services for a variety of recreational opportunities, the health of water resources, and how the Inyo will be managed to restore fire resilience and combat changing climatic conditions.

CNPS Event June 21, Saturday, CNPS Field Trip: McGee Canyon, Leader: Paul Satterthwaite

We will hike up McGee Canyon up to Buzztail Spring, possibly continuing to Horsetail Falls, depending on how quickly we meander, mystified, along the metasedimentary mayhem that comprises the walls of this magnificent canyon. We will delight in the very colorful juxtaposition of a variety of Lupinus, Astragalus and a plethora of showier members of Family Orobanchaceae and tribe Heliantheae, as well as a pretty respectable variety of flowering and fragrant shrubs.

The hike is not overly strenuous but it is exposed except for wonderfully cool thickets of Birch, Aspen, and Elderberry at points along McGee Creek. The hike will be about 5-6 km roundtrip and our pace will be leisurely and botanical. Please bring food, plenty of water, several layers of clothing, hat, sunscreen, and other supplies for a day hike.

Let's meet in the parking area in front of Mountain View Animal Hospital on the corner of Main St. and Short St. in Bishop at 730 am on Saturday June 21st, 2014. Carpooling is encouraged! 2WD vehicles will do just fine for getting to the McGee Canyon trailhead. For more information email Paul at

CNPS Event June 28, Saturday, CNPS Field Trip: Glass Mountain-O'Harrell Canyon Botany Hike, Leaders: Julie Anne Hopkins and Sherryl Taylor

Join Sherryl Taylor and JulieAnne Hopkins for a meander up O’Harrell Canyon to enjoy the wildflowers along O’Harrell Creek in the Glass Mountains. We are sure to see wonderful wildflowers in this amazing, volcanic, perennial stream that flows into the Owens River below. This will be a “botanist pace” hike so that we can take time to really look at flowers. Bring your hand lens, water, sunscreen and lunch. Mid-heavy hiking boots will be useful, as well as insect repellent.

Meet at the Green Church at 9:00 a.m. and please try to carpool (CNPS does not coordinate carpooling so let’s try to do it when we meet.) We will return by 3:00 p.m. Contact: JulieAnne (831) 566-6012

CNPS Event June 29, Sunday, 9-11am: CNPS Native Plant Sale - Mammoth Lakes.

The first Mammoth region plant sale for the summer will be on Sunday, June 29th. For the latest information on what plants will be available and where to go, contact Mammoth Regional Plant Sale Coordinator Sherry Taylor at and ask to be added to her mailing list.

Check the Events page for more!

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California Naturalist Course Offered by Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee

UC Berkeley-Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee is offering a course for anyone interested in learning more about ecology and natural systems, as well as in volunteering with local nature-based or natural resource focused organizations to benefit their community. California Naturalist is a program developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension to foster a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource conservation, education, and restoration. Subjects covered include: geology, water systems, plant communities, forest and woodland resources, wildlife ecology, energy and global environmental issues, interpretation and community outreach.

Sagehen Creek California Naturalist is offering three versions of the course this summer: a six-week adult course, a one-week adult residential, and a one-week youth residential for high school students.

The Six-week course, beginning June 6 until July 19, includes an introductory weekend followed by weekly, Friday night meetings and Saturday morning field trips, with overnight lodging available if needed. The same course will be offered as a residential One-Week Course from July 7-13 for adults, and from June 22-28 for high-school youth entering grades 11 and 12.

Click here for a flyer for the program. For more information and to register for the course, go to:, or contact Coordinator, Leslie Smith by email:

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Announcing the 2015 CNPS Conservation Conference:

Celebrating 50 Years of Progress and Promise, San Jose, California, January 13-17, 2015

We are planning the biggest and best of CNPS Conferences to kick off our 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2015. Help us celebrate with over 250 speakers, a poster session, 15 workshops, banquet, mixers, auctions, artwork, photography, and poetry. We expect more than 1000 attendees, with movers and shakers from the many disciplines and passions related to plant conservation. Register by October 31 for Early Registration Savings! More information about the conference here.

We proudly announce the opening of the CNPS 2015 Call for Abstracts and encourage you to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation. July 10 is the deadline for submission of abstracts. The program will focus on communicating the most recent and effective conservation science. The entire event will celebrate 50 years of progress in plant conservation and work toward mapping a promising future. Go to for further details. 

There are many opportunities to participate, as an attendee, presenter, exhibitor, or sponsor:

Go to to learn more about art exhibitions, photography, poetry sessions, student participation, and much much more – we look forward to seeing you at the conference next January!

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News, Updates, & Reports

March Program Notes:
The California Phenology Project: tracking the effects of climate change on our flora and fauna

with Brian Haggerty and Julie Anne Hopkins

There couldn’t have been a more appropriate day than the Vernal Equinox for a CNPS event about observing the seasons. With desert peach in full bloom, aspen producing its first flowers, and riparian canopies just beginning to leaf out, the first day of spring brought the Bristlecone Chapter a visit from the California Phenology Project (CPP).

For its March 20th general meeting at UC White Mountain Research Center, the Bristlecone Chapter hosted Brian Haggerty, a Field Coordinator with the California Phenology Project and a PhD student in plant evolutionary ecology at UC Santa Barbara. Brian visited to talk about the CPP and what the project means for the region, and to discuss a variety of ways individuals and groups can get involved. Bristlecone’s Conservation Chair, Julie Anne Hopkins, also shared her experiences (and her dazzling photos) working with other volunteers in ongoing CPP phenology programs at the UC Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves.

In his presentation, Brian introduced the California Phenology Project as a new state-wide monitoring program designed to track the effects of climate change on the seasonal behavior of our flora and fauna. The CPP, which is a regionally-coordinated constituent of a nationwide effort led by the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), is recruiting and training volunteer observers to participate in this important project whether in their backyard, schoolyard, or local wildlands. Initially funded in 2010 by the National Park Service to develop coordinated monitoring and education programs across California’s National Parks, the project has since grown to include the UC Natural Reserve System, K-12 and college classrooms, and a variety of non-formal education and conservation institutions such as NatureBridge and botanic gardens.

Armed with standardized protocols, photo guides, and data sheets (or the mobile app), CPP observers answer simple questions about the seasonal status of individual plants. For example, observers note whether a Joshua tree has visible flower buds, or they estimate the percentage of autumn-colored leaves in an aspen canopy. CPP observers report their observations to the USA-NPN’s online monitoring program, Nature’s Notebook, where data from across the country are freely available for download, analysis, and interpretation.

These observations are accumulating at a rapid rate, Brian described in his presentation, and are providing insight into which California species and habitats may be most sensitive to climatic variability. Since 2011, CPP scientists, educators, and citizen scientists have contributed approximately 500,000 observations on 30 targeted species to Nature’s Notebook. Because the CPP has been coordinating the development of monitoring programs state-wide under a common scientific framework, these publicly-available data are comparable across species and across monitoring locations. While these data provide rigorous baseline information to which future data can be compared, they already are used to support a variety of contemporary research, education, and management activities, and publications for peer-reviewed journals are currently in development.

Vernal Equinox near Bishop

Cottonwoods leafing out in Round Valley on the Vernal Equinox
Photo by Brian Haggerty

Education and training are a mainstay of the California Phenology Project, Brian stated in his presentation. The CPP, led by Field Director Susan Mazer (Professor of ecology & evolution, UC Santa Barbara), has trained >600 observers around the state through half-day to multi-day workshops (check the “news” section of the CPP website for upcoming workshops). Whether at a National Park, UC Natural Reserve, or botanic garden, these workshops have the added benefit of bringing together the surrounding community of scientists, educators, and citizen scientists. This often generates local awareness and collaborations where they previously didn’t exist. Brian noted that the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes areas are poised for this type of local program development, and suggested a field workshop later this summer in support of these efforts.

For self-starting observers, training materials including print-outs and a collection of brief videos can be found on the USA-NPN’s website ( A list of targeted species in California can be found on the CPP website. For educators in particular, a variety of creative lesson plans, annotated lectures, and guided data analysis activities are available on the education section of the CPP website. One of these lesson plans, “Flight of the Pollinators”, was recently printed in the book Citizen Science, published by the National Science Teachers Association. Another CPP guide, “Phenology Gardens”, may be of interest to anyone looking to add intrigue and scientific value to their home or school gardens.

To conclude the evening program, Brian and Julie Anne invited the Bristlecone Chapter to consider the possibilities for phenology in their backyards, schoolyards, and surrounding landscape. Several possibilities were discussed for new monitoring centers, including the Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden and the UC White Mountain Research Center. The expert volunteer phenologists at the UC Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserves are in their third year of phenological monitoring, and are happy to have interested people join them in the field this spring and summer to learn more – to get in touch with this group, contact the Reserve’s administrative assistant, Kim Rose, at <>.

Whether motivated by scientific, educational, cultural, or simply aesthetic reasons, participating with the California Phenology Project is a valuable and needed contribution of naturalists’ expertise. The CPP hopes to continue engaging Bristlecone and other CNPS chapters in developing phenology-related activities and programs. A more detailed description of the CPP is available in the journal Madroño (2013, volume 60, issue 1, pgs 1-3). Please visit the CPP website for more information (, or contact Brian Haggerty at

— Brian Haggerty

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News from the Greenhouse

This year I have changed my perspective with the propagation of native plants. Every year, from the time I plant the plants until September, I lose quite a few. This year I have decided to plant twice as many plants with hope that I will get the number I want by the end of the season. This decision has caused both my greenhouses to be packed to the walls. Currently there are 1,530 bitterbrush seedlings and the same number of grasses planted. I worry that when the plants in the flats are ready to be potted up into the larger pots, I will have nowhere to put them. In the meantime, I joyously watch as the little sprouts come up.

Each year I try and find some new plants to add to the inventory as well as grow the old favorites. This year the new plants that look promising are Utah Service Berry (Amelanchier utahensis), Yellow Bee Plant (Cleome lutea), Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), and a full variety of the Rabbit Brush – green, white, rubber and curly leaf. I am curious to see how they grow and do in the garden.

After last year’s disaster with the rodents, I have stayed on top of controlling the rascals all year long. Rodents had been coming into the bait stations regularly and I felt pretty good about their populations being enough under control that they wouldn’t do too much damage. However, as soon as the Bitterbrush pushed their leaves above the surface, someone was biting them off. I guess in this dry year when your choice is dry oatmeal or young tender green plants, there really is no choice. So I put the spring traps (with their nuts glued to them) out and the first night caught the mouse that thought he had found the feast. I haven’t caught any more mice and haven’t seen any new damage so I am hoping that the one mouse was the only one enjoying the plants.

Once again, I will be selling plants at The Eastern Sierra Land Trust’s “Gardenfest” on April 24th and I am presenting at the Master Gardeners’ workshop on “Waterwise Landscaping” on April 26th where I will also have some plants for sale. After that the next sale will be the “Big One” on September 13th at White Mountain Research Station.

— Katie Quinlan

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Chapter Council to Meet in Big Pine

The California Native Plant Society is governed both by a Board of Directors and a Chapter Council. The Board has fiduciary responsibility, as required by law for non-profit organizations. The primary duties of the Chapter Council are to formulate policy and conduct strategic planning. The Chapter Council is composed of delegates from each chapter and meets four times a year, usually in March, June, September, and December. Meeting locations rotate throughout the state, with all chapters being expected to host a meeting from time to time. The Bristlecone Chapter will be hosting the September 2014 meeting, from September 5-7 at the Sierra Adventure Center in Big Pine. The chapter Board of Directors is currently planning the meeting. We will be seeking a few volunteers to help with registration, clean up, serving beverages on Saturday evening, and other tasks. If you are interested in helping out please contact Steve McLaughlin ( or any chapter officer or other board member. More details will be available as we get closer to the meeting.

—Steve McLaughlin, Chapter Council Delegate

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CNPS Revises its Bylaws

The Chapter Council of CNPS approved changes to the Society’s bylaws at its March 2014 meeting at Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. The primary purpose of these revisions was to bring the Society in compliance with the California Corporations Code, Internal Revenue Service laws, and insurance regulations. Additional goals were to better define the relationship and duties of the Board of Directors and Chapter Council, and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the chapters. Several of the changes will affect how the Bristlecone Chapter operates.

Section F deals specifically with the chapters, which are defined as “organizational units based in a particular region consisting of volunteers and members of the Society.” Many chapters including our own have been operating as if they were independent 501(c)3 organizations. But only the state organization has any status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization; all chapters function as “committees” under the relevant laws governing nonprofits.

Only the 501(c)3 organizations have Articles of Incorporation and official bylaws. Section F-3 states that “Each chapter may adopt guidelines for the regulation of chapter affairs which are compatible with the Society’s articles of incorporation and bylaws.” In other words, chapter bylaws have no legal standing. More important, the current “bylaws” of the Bristlecone Chapter are not compatible with the revised state bylaws on many points. For example, the frequency and manner in which we conduct our elections, who gets elected, and how long elected persons serve are all in conflict with state bylaws. Other conflicts include the number of annual meetings and the rules for conducting meetings.

One problem we are still struggling with is how to compensate members who perform services for the chapter above and beyond the scope of typical volunteers. In the past the Board of Directors, exercising its fiduciary responsibility, has voted on all expenditures and then simply written checks for approved activities. We can no longer do this. All persons receiving payments from CNPS funds (chapter funds are CNPS funds held by the chapters) must be either employees of the Society or independent contractors. “Employees” may not also be volunteers, but independent contractors may also be volunteers. It’s complicated.

The Board of Directors will review our “bylaws” and draft proposed operating guidelines for the chapter that are consistent with the state bylaws. We will then post them on the website and invite our membership to comment. We will then put revised operating guidelines up for a vote at a general meeting.

—Steve McLaughlin, Chapter Council Delegate

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Bristlecone Chapter Comments on the REGPA

The Bristlecone Chapter, together with state-level California Native Plant Society (CNPS), submitted comments on the Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment (REGPA) to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors. We made the following recommendations at the April1, 2014 Board of Supervisors meeting in Independence.

In summary:

  • CNPS recognizes and agrees that a Renewable Energy General Plan Amendment is necessary.
  • CNPS supports renewable energy generation production and utilization. However, we do not support the construction of large-scale projects on relatively undisturbed lands. We support construction on land identified as disturbed such as brownfields and fallow, mechanically disturbed agricultural lands after environmental review.
  • CNPS strongly opposes the destruction of intact native plant communities including Great Basin, Mojave and Wetland, Freshwater Spring and Marsh plant communities.
  • CNPS strongly urges Inyo County to develop an up-to-date vegetation map for Inyo County, and especially for any proposed Renewable Energy Development Areas (REDAs).
  • Sensitive, rare, threatened and endangered species must be protected and areas where these species occur must be avoided.
  • Detailed floristic studies must be conducted to detect presence of sensitive species.
  • CNPS Bristlecone Chapter opposes new transmission corridors due to their inevitable disturbance, spread and introduction of non- native, invasive species, and wide-scale destruction of native plant and animal habitat.
  • Invasive species are an existing threat to native vegetation communities within Inyo County. CNPS recommends that the County include detailed, implementable weed management plans that will prevent expansion and introduction of invasive species
  • CNPS recommends that the County adopt a modified Less-Intensive REDA strategy for the REGPA that removes inappropriate lands from the existing Less-Intensive proposal. There should be no projects developed outside the proposed Less- Intensive REDAs
  • CNPS urges the County to integrate its planning with that of the DRECP and use the DRECP biological and conservation reserve design information to help guide its planning process so that the natural communities and at-risk species that exist within Inyo County can be protected and preserved within the larger, connected landscape of the California desert. Note: see for information on the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.

The April 1 Board of Supervisors meeting was packed and overflowing and many attendees were excited to see the “less-less REDA alternative” presented by the Inyo County Planning Department. Some Supervisors seemed to support the new alternative. While a less destructive alternative is encouraging it does not change the preferred alternative. The proposed, large-scale solar developments in the Owens Valley (e.g. LADWP SOVSR) are not part of the REGPA process–-they stand alone. CNPS and all citizens must continue to participate in the public process, do our homework and submit comments opposing the compromising of Inyo County’s natural heritage.

— Julie Anne Hopkins

Editor's Note: click here to read the CNPS letter in full.

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Inyo National Forest Plant Communities Need Advocates!

The Inyo National Forest (INF) anchors our natural landscape and local recreation-based economies alike. Little wonder that the forest is among the most visited in California – its diverse wildlands are home to a rich array of wildlife and native plant communities and offer a wealth of attractions: beautiful mountain meadows, desert habitats, great fishing, challenging hiking trails, and high mountain peaks. But the INF’s future health stands in the balance as the Forest Service rewrites the Inyo’s management plan, and this summer will offer critical public input opportunities for CNPS members.

The Inyo’s forest management plan is being revised under the Obama Administration’s new 2012 planning regulations. The Inyo was chosen as an “early adopter” forest and is one of the first to revise its management plan under the new regulation’s standards, which emphasize science-based planning, ecosystem analysis, and watershed protection. The new Inyo plan will not only shape the forest’s future for the next 15 years and beyond, it will set an example – for better or worse – for all national forests to follow. It is essential that the Inyo planning process set a high standard for protection of native plant communities and other natural values.

In the coming months the Forest Service will make decisions that determine whether the Inyo’s habitats are healthy or degraded and whether the forest can continue to provide the high-quality fish and wildlife habitats and recreation opportunities that attract local residents and far-away visitors alike.

The Inyo will host a public workshop during the week of June 9 – check the Bristlecone Chapter's Events Page for the date once announced – to ask our input on how to better safeguard the forest. This will be a great opportunity for CNPS members to support improved native plant protections. For more information, contact Conservation chair Julie Anne Hopkins.

— Frances Hunt, Sierra Club

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Birch Creek Journal

Water Birch, photo by Jo Ann Ordano, CalAcademy

Photo by Jo-Ann Ordano
© California Academy of Sciences

March 30, 2014 — Here along Birch Creek, robins are singing (more often and more loudly than necessary, in my opinion) and hummingbirds have arrived. Winter flocks of ravens have broken up, and we see them now in pairs atop utility poles, snuggling close and touching bills. Quail have paired off, too, and the males have become protective of their mates, darting at other males with outstretched heads and snapping mandibles. It’s all happening the same way it does every spring, despite our third consecutive winter with little precipitation.

You don’t need me to tell you that this California drought is grim: weighty pronouncements by our governor, water restrictions in many communities, wells running dry, reservoirs nearly empty. But, ever the Pollyanna, I dislike dwelling on grim situations. Last month, in fact, I started a mental search for reasons to be glad about the drought, a search thankfully interrupted by back-to-back storms in late February. It was not a profitable search in any case. In fact, I found only one reason. Red brome and cheatgrass, those two exotic annual grasses that promote wildfire and work themselves painfully and irretrievably into your running shoes, hardly made a showing on our property this winter. A former colleague in Tucson, Cindy Salo, actually predicted something like this ten years ago in a journal article titled, “Population dynamics of red brome: times for concern, opportunities for management.” She pointed out that red brome seeds are short-lived—most lose viability within a year—and in drought years the population is knocked back, making it easier to weed out seedlings the following year.

We (and by we I mean Steve) have worked extremely hard at getting rid of red brome and cheatgrass since we moved to Birch Creek. Day after day during spring after spring, Steve has knelt outdoors with a bucket at hand, yanking brome, filling buckets, dumping buckets into garbage cans, and repeating ad infinitum. This year, finally, it looked as though he had beaten the stuff into submission. By mid-February, there weren’t enough brome plants close to the house to fill a single bucket. Clearly, his hard work had paid off.

And then it rained. We got an inch and a third at our house, every drop of it badly needed and gleefully welcomed. Red brome and cheatgrass, waiting as seeds in the ground, welcomed it, too. These seeds had resisted the enticements of small rainstorms in mid-December and early February. “Let’s wait and see what happens,” they said to one another, “maybe something better will come along.” That’s a dangerous game for a short-lived seed. If nothing better comes along, they won’t have another chance the following year. This year they gambled and won. Something better did come along, those two days of rain at the end of February. Within a couple of weeks, lurking brome seeds had germinated, emerged, and started to flower, which meant that we (meaning you-know-who) went to back to work with knee-pads and bucket.

Steve filled just a few buckets this time rather than dozens, which is encouraging. Nevertheless, we know that we’ll never see the end of red brome and cheatgrass on our property. We weed as best we can close to the house and garden, but inevitably we miss some. Also, plants growing outside our perimeter of concern are free to bloom and go to seed, and some of those seeds inevitably end up where we don’t want them. Moreover, even if next winter is as dry as the past three, red brome needs only a little rain to get started, so even during prolonged drought, there is likely to be at least one storm of adequate size.

Although our neighborhood got enough rain for brome and cheatgrass, we were certain that no single storm was big enough for wildflowers, and when we set out for a walk up Fish Springs Hill on March 6, our only goal was to get some exercise. Imagine our surprise when we found scattered wildflowers in bloom—mostly Phacelia, Mentzelia, gilia, scale bud, and tickseed. We were more than surprised, in fact, we were ridiculously happy—proving that a little bloom when you anticipate none at all can be just as exciting as a lot of bloom when you expect it. So maybe that constitutes a second reason to be glad about the drought. Still, unlike Pollyanna, I’m not jumping up and down shouting, “I’m glad, glad, glad.” The benefits of drought are few, the harm potentially immense. Like everyone else, I’ll be gladdest when the drought ends, whenever that might be.

— Jan Bowers

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From the Editors

Next Newsletter Deadline: June 15, 2014

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If you still receive this newsletter via US Mail, please send your email address to the editor (email address above) so you can receive the electronic version. Please help the Bristlecone chapter save money, energy, and trees

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The California Native Plant Society is an organization of lay persons and professionals united by an interest in the plants of California. It is open to all. 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. Varied interests are represented.


Membership Application

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Bristlecone Chapter Directory

President: Katie Quinlan (760) 873-8023
Vice President: Michèle Slaton (760) 258-1464
Secretary: Rosemary Jarrett (760) 387-2782
Treasurer: Paul Satterthwaite (773) 208-7858
Past President: Yvonne Wood (760) 258-7949
Partnerships/Chapter Council Delegate:
Steve McLaughlin (760) 938-3140
Membership: Thomas Brill/Edie Trimmer (760) 920-3702
Newsletter Editors: Edie Trimmer/Thomas Brill (760) 920-3702
Conservation: Julie Anne Hopkins (831) 566-6012
Adopt-A-Highway: Scott Hetzler (760) 873-8392
Programs: Michèle Slaton (760) 258-1464
Field Trips: Sue Weis (760) 873-3485
DeDecker Native Plant Garden: Richard Potashin (760) 263-5022
DeDecker Grant Program: Michèle Slaton (760) 258-1464
Publicity: Kristen Luetkemeier (703) 862-4395
Historian: Kathy Duvall (760) 387-2122
Librarian: EvelynMae Nikolaus - (760) 878-2149
Rare Plant Committee Chair: OPEN - interested? Contact any board member!
Bishop Plant Sales: Katie Quinlan (760) 873-8023
Mammoth Plant Sales: Sherry Taylor (760) 934-2338
Book Sales: Sue Weis (760) 873-3485
Posters: Stephen Ingram (760) 937-9918
Creosote Ring Sub-Chapter Coordinator: Kathy LaShure (760) 377-4541
Webmaster: Maggie Wolfe Riley (760) 258-9694

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THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY ( Bristlecone Chapter Newsletter comes out bimonthly. It is free to chapter members. To subscribe to this newsletter without joining CNPS, please send $5.00 per year to CNPS, P.O. Box 364, Bishop, CA 93515-0364. ATTN: subscriptions. Send newsletter articles (not memberships) to our newsletter editors at

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