Chapter meetings are open
to the public; there is no charge. Come early and browse our books.
Stay after the program for conversation and refreshments. We meet in
the heart of San Diego, in Balboa Park, in Casa del Prado, room 101
or 104. Casa del Prado can be reached by car from Village Place off
of Park Boulevard (served by the #7 bus), and is across from the west
entrance of the Natural History Museum. The meeting room is handicapped
accessible. (Balboa Park
map and driving directions)
7:00 pm -7:30 pm is a time for discussion, camaraderie, visiting, and enjoying the sales table.
The meeting starts at 7:30pm
Room 101 or 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park
New Feature at Chapter Meetings:
7 - 7:30 pm
Mystery plants identified !
Bring your unknown plant and we will help you learn to identify it!
May 20, 2014
Speaker - Dr. Norrie Robbins
What is a native plant? When did it arrive? How do we know?”
Palynologists such as Dr. Norrie Robbins have a different view about native plants. Dr. Robbins studies the fossil spores and pollen grains of prehistoric plants in sedimentary rocks of different ages. These studies reveal that forests and plant species are ever-changing in response to climatic factors, diseases, tectonic changes, rising and falling sea levels, etc. Studies of more recent (historic) plant pollen and spores from cores drilled into soft sediments postulate on when “early people” may have arrived to our region, how they used and impacted native plant communities, and how these communities continued to change with the arrival of Europeans and other people. At this presentation, Dr. Robbins will examine questions exploring the relationship between native plants and “early people” such as: Did people arrive to California in boats 40,000 years ago planting seeds and plants from their homelands along the seashore which were important to their subsistence? Did the well-studied people who arrived in California 13,000 years ago plant seeds from their homelands to ensure important medicinal plants would be available to them? These questions are likely to spur lively discussions on what constitutes true “native plants” in our region.
Dr. Eleanora (Norrie) Robbins is a geologist, now adjunct faculty at San Diego State University, retired from the U.S Geological Service. As a Mesozoic Palynologist, Dr. Robbins studied the ever-changing plant communities in deep oil-exploration wells from the Atlantic Ocean. When she retired to San Diego, Dr. Robbins wanted to learn about the native vegetation and then became interested in the questions that will be discussed at this presentation.
April 15, 2014
Speaker - John Randall
The Nature Conservancy’s Plant and Animal Conservation Projects
An overview of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) projects from the northern Channel Islands to the eastern Mojave Desert and southward to San Diego County and northwestern Baja California will focus on plant conservation. John will discuss TNC’s traditional strengths of land protection and conservation management to newer approaches such as working with industry, agencies and regulators to influence the siting of large solar energy facilities, as well as their soon-to-be-launched urban conservation project in Greater Los Angeles. John will also cover TNC’s latest work in San Diego County to implement the Natural Community Conservation Program and habitat conservation plans to make the reserve network more climate-resilient.
John M. Randall is a Lead Scientist with TNC’s California South Coast & Deserts Region. John earned a Ph.D from UC Davis in 1991, an MS from Louisiana State (in Marine Science!) in 1986, and a BA from Cornell in 1982. John led TNC’s invasive species program in 1991-2009. He moved to San Diego and assumed his current TNC position in May 2009, and is still greatly enjoying the chance to learn more about the distinctive and gorgeous flora, fauna and wildlands of San Diego County and the region.
March 18, 2014
Speaker - James Hung
Ecological Importance and Conservation of Native Bees in Southern California
Recent research estimates that over 85% of all terrestrial plant species are pollinated at least in part by animals. As pollination is a crucial process in the life cycle of plants, global declines in pollinator diversity have elicited considerable attention. Native bees are the most important pollinators in temperate ecosystems and are known to decline in the face of disturbances such as habitat loss and degradation. In recent decades, widespread development in Southern California has threatened the rich plant and pollinator communities in this biodiversity hotspot. However, despite growing conservation concerns for both native plants and native bees, little is currently known regarding how disturbances to bee communities affect the reproduction of native plants in non-managed ecosystems.
California harbors one of the richest bee communities on earth, with an estimated 2,000 native bee species, and potentially 600 of these in San Diego. Representing a wide range of sizes, nesting strategies, foraging patterns, and social behaviors, these native bee species now occur in habitats fragmented by urbanization and they coexist with the introduced super-generalist honey bee, which dominates many ecosystems. This presentation will focus on the diversity, natural history, and conservation of native bee species in San Diego, as well as discuss ongoing research to evaluate the state of pollination services in fragmented coastal sage scrub habitats in our area.
Keng-Lou James Hung is primarily an insect ecologist, but has developed a passion for the ecology and conservation of native plants through his recent work on plant-pollinator interactions. James studied bee ecology during his undergraduate at Dartmouth College and now continues this research as a PhD student at UC San Diego.
February 18, 2014
Speaker - Michelle Cloud-Hughes
Defending the Rarest of the Rare: Habitat Restoration and Research in Support of Chorizanthe orcuttiana at Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL)
Chorizanthe orcuttiana (Orcutt’s spineflower) is an inconspicuous annual in the Polygonaceae, and is endemic to extreme coastal San Diego County. It was presumed extinct for many years until a small population was re-discovered in Encinitas in the early 1990s. Between 1997 and 2003, three populations were located on NBPL. The Soil Ecology and Restoration Group (SERG) at San Diego State University began habitat enhancement projects in 2000 to protect this species, which have continued to the present. These projects have mainly been concerned with the removal of non-native species, including iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis), acacia (Acacia sp.), and natal grass (Melinis repens). Removal of iceplant at the second population in 2003 resulted in over 200 Orcutt’s spineflower individuals surviving in 2005, and the site has continued to support this species since.
Other SERG activities in support of Orcutt’s spineflower have included annual monitoring, both of the plant and its habitat; installation of erosion control materials and native shrubs; and site maintenance. In recent years, SERG research efforts have focused on GIS mapping to determine other potential population sites on NBPL and Cabrillo National Monument; surveying these potential sites for Orcutt’s spineflower; and pollination biology.
Michelle Cloud-Hughes is a botanist and restoration ecologist with the SERG since 1997. She began working with Chorizanthe orcuttiana in 1998, and has been the SERG Project Manager for the Orcutt’s spineflower projects at NBPL since 2006.
January 21, 2014
City Heights Vision: An Urban Community Connected to
City Heights is primed to become a national model of community-based revitalization that is uniquely grounded in education, environment, and recreation arising from a highly urbanized, densely populated, low-income, and nature-deficient community. While this area faces significant challenges, its assets are immeasurable. City Heights is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the nation and is host to rich cultural resources.
Two major projects will affect this vision: the “Living Lab” and the “City Heights Canyon Loop Trail.” The Living Lab will be located at the head of Manzanita Canyon and provide a focal point where the community engages in authentic science and conservation to understand how the world works and how they can make a difference. The Loop Trail will seamlessly integrate the urban and natural environments through a connected neighborhood and canyon trail system.
Carla Pisbe, Environmental Stewardship Coordinator. Carla is responsible for developing and implementing initiative components, working with partners, and conducting evaluations. She holds a B.A. in Politics and Latin American Latino Studies. Carla began her involvement with Ocean Discovery Institute as a student in Ocean Leaders in 2004. She utilizes her knowledge and fluency in Spanish to build meaningful relationships with the community members and ensure relevance of program content. Under her leadership, community ownership of City Heights Canyon has increased, with the majority of volunteers from the local community and the number of volunteers participating in more than one event increasing by 20% since 2004. With the Ocean Discovery Institute, Carla has led high school students in real-world research, studying the wetland ecosystems in Baja California.
December 17, 2013
Rare Trees and Vegetation Recovery
Hopefully you have been enjoying the articles by Tom Oberbauer over the last year in which he describes mini-expeditions in San Diego County to search for trees that are rare in this area and ephemeral phenomenon of a wet summer desert season.
November 19, 2013
The Plants of Baja California: Diverse, Beautiful, & Fascinating
The Baja California peninsula is a narrow strip of land stretching for approximately 1,300 km in length and ranging from 45 km to 240 km in width. Its geographic position, latitudinal span, and topographic heterogeneity have conferred a diverse assemblage of weather regimes including a Mediterranean-type, winter rainfall climate; extreme arid, hot desert conditions; and tropical, summer rainfall patterns. In addition, the region's biogeographic history and physiognomy have resulted in a wide range of vegetation types including coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak woodland, conifer forest, many desert scrub types, and tropical deciduous forest. The peninsula is also characterized by the presence of several islands varying in distance (<1 km to 240 km) from its coast, which are located in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortés) and the Pacific Ocean. This piece of land and its adjacent islands support a wealth of species diversity in many different plant families. It is estimated that the flora consists of more than 4,000 plant taxa with approximately 30% of these known only from (endemic to) the Baja California region. Many of the plants from the peninsula and its islands are distinctive and stretch the imagination in respect to plant form and structure including the bizarre Boojum Tree/Cirio (Fouquieria columnaris), the giant Elephant Cactus/Cardón (Pachycereus pringlei), and elephant trees (Pachycormus discolor and Bursera spp.).
Jon P. Rebman, Ph.D., has been the Mary and Dallas Clark Endowed Chair/Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum (SDNHM) since 1996. Dr. Rebman is a plant taxonomist and conducts extensive floristic research in Baja California and in San Diego and Imperial counties. He leads various field classes and botanical expeditions each year and is actively naming and describing new plant species from our region. His primary research interests have centered on the systematics of the Cactus family in Baja California, especially the genera Cylindropuntia (chollas) and Opuntia (prickly-pears). However, Dr. Rebman also does a lot of general floristic research and he co-published the most recent edition of the Checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Diego County. He has over 23 years of field experience with surveying and documenting plants including rare and endangered species. As a field botanist, he is a very active collector of scientific specimens with his personal collections numbering over 27,000. He is the director of the San Diego County Plant Atlas project and identifies/verifies all of the new specimens (currently over 62,000) coming into the herbarium through this scientific endeavor. As the curator of the SD Herbarium at the SDNHM, he is in charge of this dried plant specimen collection that contains over 228,000 specimens dating back to the 1870s. Dr. Rebman recently finished a new edition of the Baja California Plant Field Guide with co-author Norman Roberts that was published in June 2012. He is in the process of finishing another book entitled Ferns and Lycophytes of San Diego County that is co-authored with Annette Winner.
October 15, 2013
This discussion details the habitat restoration efforts that have taken place at the Anstine Audubon Preserve located in Vista, Becky’s role with the Audubon Society, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) backyard habitat programs. She will discuss how the use of native plants has benefited birds and wildlife at Anstine, and its application to residential garden settings.
Becky Wilbanks, NWF-Certified Habitat Steward. Becky has been involved with the restoration of Anstine Preserve for the last 5 years. She currently works for the Imperial Girl Scouts Council as a Landscape Specialist, specifically for the development and implementation of native gardens at their Balboa site.
July 16, 2013
Robert Lauri, Ph.D. Botany, Claremont Graduate University and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 2010.
June 18, 2013
Dave Ehrlinger, B.A. geography, B.S. horticulture, has been Director of Horticulture at SDBG (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens)for for ten years. During this time I have been involved in the development of the native plant garden, fire safety garden and natural area management. I previously was involved in the Midwest in the design and management of several native plant gardens
May 21, 2013
It is often said that California shrublands are adapted to fire. However, this deceptively simple statement hides a wealth of important detail. As a start, there are many different strategies for surviving fire. Some plant species have tough root systems, and quickly resprout after fire. Other species have smart seeds that detect the passage of fire, and only germinate when the coast is clear. Yet it is a mistake to say that these species are adapted to fire. Really, they are not adapted to fire itself, but to patterns of fire, known as fire regimes. With the coming of modern society, urban development, and the resulting population boom, the Southern California fire regime has changed, and this change has dangerous consequences for California landscapes. One way to help protect native landscapes is through outreach. By doing outreach through play, we can simultaneously engage both hearts and minds, and be more effective agents of positive change.
Tim Handley is an ecologist, educator, and game designer. He's spent most of the last four years working as a quantitative ecologist for the National Park Service, but has recently switched gears, and begun designing games to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and nature through play.
April 16, 2013
Matilija Poppy (genus Romneya), a plant first collected by Thomas Coulter in the San Diego region in 1832
Three expeditions of United Kingdom naturalists collected plants in the San Diego region in the 1830s: Mr. Lightner will discuss who these explorers were, how and why they came to the San Diego region, the plants they collected here, and the natural environment they observed in the 1830s. Images of original herbarium sheets will be presented. Mr. Lightner will also answer any questions about the 2011 edition of the field-guide, San Diego County Native Plants.James Lightner, author of the local field-guide, San Diego County Native Plants (3d edition 2011). He will sign copies of the book purchased at the meeting
March 19, 2013
Whereas most native books have emphasized plant selection, this work is unique in its emphasis on native horticulture and design. In addition, this book emphasizes a Southern California perspective, with all its challenges. Success in our drier climate should translate well to the more moderate conditions north of us. Subjects include soil biology, design techniques, garden styles, landscape installation, irrigation, maintenance, pests and diseases, and fire risk reduction. Be prepared to throw everything you were ever taught about ornamental horticulture out the window. Book signing will follow presentation (based on availability).
Greg Rubin has been working as a design/build native landscape contractor for over 19 years in southern California, with more than 600 installations to date. His work has been featured in many publications and media outlets.
February 19, 2013
Larry Hendrickson - Senior Park Aide at the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks
Larry Hendrickson is a Senior Park Aide at the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks. He has worked over the last 15 years on non-native plant control within all of the parks within the District. Larry is a self-taught botanist who has been studying plants in the San Diego backcountry for over 25 years. He is also a field associate with the San Diego Natural History Museum Botany Department.
January 15, 2013
Speaker - Frank Landis
Frank Landis is the conservation and rare plant survey chair, and sits on the chapter board of directors. He likes to promote t-shirt sales during chapter meetings and solicit donations for the state conservation campaign. By training he is a botanist, with a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a masters from Humboldt State University.
November 20, 2012
Speaker - by Shannon Quigley-Raymond, San Diego River Park Foundation
Conservation of native plant habitats and connecting the public with their value is one of the highlights of the River Park Foundation’s efforts to Create, Connect and Conserve the San Diego River watershed.
October 16, 2012
Speaker - Jim Rocks
Ceanothus is a diverse North American genus in the Rhamnaceae, whose members occur in habitats ranging from sub-tropical rainforests to snow covered ridgelines.
Jim Rocks is an independent biologist in San Diego with over 13 years experience working throughout California and is a Botany Department Associate at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Through the Museum, he has taught classes on several plant families in San Diego County. Of particular interest is the Rhamnaceae because of its wide distribution, unique and beautiful species, and rare taxa.
September 25, 2012
Speaker - Susan Krzywicki
The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) San Diego County Chapter hosted the first annual CNPS San Diego Native Garden Tour, sponsored by Hunter Industries, on April 28 and 29, 2012. The two-day, self-guided tour offered exclusive access to 25 unique home gardens, private nature parks, art gardens, restoration landscapes, and public botanical gardens. The event was the region’s largest public open house of native gardens and featured on-site lectures by native landscape designers as well as expert docents who interpreted each garden.
Gardens showcased in the 2012 CNPS San Diego Native Garden Tour extended from Fallbrook to Chula Vista and were designed by landscape architects, landscape designers, master gardeners, and garden enthusiasts.
Over 550 registrants attended and the feedback was excellent.
Now you can see highlights from the tour and learn how the event was received in the press, the public and amongst professionals and homeowners. Join us for a virtual tour of the properties and the event.
Susan Krzywicki, Chair of the CNPS SD Chapter Gardening Committee will present. Our gardening Committee formed several years ago and the high-profile project we identified was a Native Garden Tour. The tour took a tremendous group effort and I look forward to sharing our experiences with you.
July 17, 2012
Speaker - Fred RobertsThe live forevers, members of the genus Dudleya, are a popular and easily recognized group of succulent plants. They have been assigned to one of three groups depending on whether their flowers are united into a tube or open and star-like, originate from underground corms or form rosettes of either flattened or finger shaped leaves. Of the about 45 species are found in southwestern North America. About 25 percent of these are found in San Diego County. If you expand that area to include mainland Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and northern Baja California south to Cabo Colonet, the region includes well over half of all known species. Many live forevers are narrow endemics often found in dramatic settings along cliffs, sea bluffs, and vanishing landscapes. If you have seen them in flower, you know they are a delight to find and observe. Tonight, join Fred Roberts, the Chapter Rare Plant Botanist, as he tells us about this interesting group of plants. Learn something about which habitats we can expect to find them, their rarity status, the characters used to separate them, and the diversity of forms growing within our region.
Fred Roberts previously worked as an Assistant Herbarium Curator at UC, Irvine and a botanists for the US Fish and Wildlife Service but is now an botanical consultant, author, and artist. Fred is better known for his work on Orange County plants and oaks but he has always had a passion for the genus Dudleya.
June 19, 2012
Speaker - Phil Roullard
Border Field Restoration
Using aerial images and images that illustrate the above impacts, a short explanation is given as to what events have led to the alteration of the habitat at Border Field and what has and is being done in order to restore the habitat of a five acre parcel of land with native plants using community sourced volunteer labor.
Phillip Roullard has worked for California State Parks for the last 11 years. For the last six years Phil has worked at Border Field removing invasive plants, then restoring habitat by revegetating with native plants.
May 15, 2012
Speaker - Rick Halsey
Join us to discover and explore what led Everett Ruess to write, "During the last few weeks, I've have been having the time of my life. Much of the time I feel so exuberant that I can hardly contain myself. The colors are so glorious, the forests so magnificent, the mountains so splendid, and the streams so utterly, wildly, tumultuously, effervescently joyful that to me at least, the world is a riot of intense sensual delight." We all have stories to tell about why a favorite natural place, a particular species, or our personal alchemist inspires us. It's time to consider those stories, to rejoice in the lessons nature can offer, and embrace the wildness within.
Our presenter, Richard W. Halsey, is a photographer, writer, and director of the California Chaparral Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving native shrubland habitats throughout the world and supporting the creative spirit as inspired by the natural environment.
April 17, 2012
Speaker - Vince Scheidt
March 20, 2012
Speaker - Carla Pisbe
The Ocean Discovery Institute empowers young people from urban and diverse backgrounds to create safe and healthy habitats. These efforts focus on City Heights’ canyons, where the community is actively transforming nature into safe and healthy places for urban youth to play, learn and explore.
Carla Pisbe is the Environmental Stewardship Coordinator at Ocean Discovery Institute. Her work engages the community she grew up in, involving toddlers through seniors in science and conservation programs. She holds a B.A. in Politics and Latin American Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
February 21, 2012
Speaker - Dr. G. Timothy Gross
This presentation will examine what archaeologists have found in the archaeological record in the San Diego region that informs us about the use of native plants. Stone and ceramic artifacts give clues to plant use, and the remains of plants help to fill in the story. Charred seeds, charcoal, pollen and phytoliths give information on plants used by prehistoric Native Americans, as well as those used in the historic period. Although food is the most often considered aspect of ethbnobotany, other aspects of plant use such as their use as building material, firewood, and mastics will also be discussed. The San Diego area will be compared to other areas like the Southwest and Great Basin where much more detail is preserved in the archaeological record about the interaction of plants and humans.
Dr. Gross earned his bachelor's in Anthropology from San Diego State University. His masters and doctorate are from Washington State University. He has been involved in the archaeology of the Western US for over 40 years. He teaches at the University of San Diego and consults for Ecology and Environment, Inc.
January 17, 2012
The presentation will focus on two main topics. The first is SDCL’s proposal to dedicate approximately 10,000 acres of city-owned land for permanent open space and parkland. His second topic will be about aspects of their Canyon Enhancement Planning (CEP) Committee, created in 2009, as a guide for community stakeholders that facilitates a systems approach for integrating our natural open spaces with the fabric of the urban environment. These aspects include visual and physical canyon access, restoration, preservation, environment-based education and ecologically sensitive recreation. The pilot for the program is Manzanita Canyon in City Heights and the on-the-ground benefits are already materializing.
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