CNPS San Diego Chapter - California Native Plant Society
Chapter Meetings

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. 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 San Diego Natural History Museum. The meeting room is handicapped accessible. (Balboa Park map and driving directions)

We usually carry a small selection of native plants at our monthly meetings. New members who sign up at the meeting will receive a free plant (if available)

3rd Tuesday of the month.
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 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!

September 15, 2015

Plant Community Garden Design
Speaker - Clayton Tschudy

Clayton Tschudy will discuss garden design by natural plant community focusing on plants available at this year’s native plant sale. Design, installation, and maintenance protocols will be presented, followed by a lively discussion focused on specific plants including species from the following genera: Manzanita, Ceanothus, Fremontodendron, Trichostema, Salvia, Eriogonum, Diplacus (Mimulus), Carex, Solidago, Epilobium (Zauschneria), Platanus, Quercus, and many more. Bring your questions with you! Now’s your chance to plan ahead and make the right choices for your native landscape.

Clayton Tschudy is a board member of CNPS San Diego and the Director of Horticulture and Exhibits at the Water Conservation Garden, a 6-acre demonstration xeriscape garden on the campus of Cuyamaca College. The Water Conservation Garden was created during the last drought in the late 90’s, and features a 15-year old Coast Live Oak woodland, and a new Native Habitat Exhibit featuring plant community-based design elements, and a wetland section fed entirely by rain water. Tschudy has been designing native landscapes throughout California for over 10 years and studied botany at Humboldt State University.


July 21, 2015

Habitat Restoration in San Diego County
Speakers - Lee Gordon & Arne Johanson

A number of foot-long springs share about a half-acre with artichoke thistle.
Can you guess what happened here?

Arne Johanson
Arne Johanson

Lee Gordon
Lee Gordon

San Diego County is blessed with enormous areas of open space lands set aside for our county’s amazing biodiversity. This blessing comes with the responsibility that we take care of these lands, much of which is now overgrown by plants that come from far away and displace our native plants. Habitat restoration programs attempt to recover degraded areas and to convert them back into stable native habitats. Healthy native habitats in San Diego County typically hold a diverse range of native plants and animals. One of the joys of walking through native habitats is the constant possibility of finding something new and interesting. When non-native plants move in, they can displace the native plants so thoroughly that all that is left is an uninteresting monoculture of weeds. Many of these invasive plants are just plain unpleasant to be around.

Habitat restoration projects in San Diego County employ different methods, with varying costs and varying results. A lot of money, typically ranging between $2,000 - $5,000/acre/year, is spent to restore habitats using traditional methods involving site acquisition (if needed), environmental approvals/permits, site preparation, grading, installation of fencing/signage/storm water controls/irrigation systems, plant installation, and long-term maintenance/monitoring/reporting. However, there has been too little native habitat restoration performed relative to the large area of disturbance that needs work.

CNPS-SD members involved in volunteer habitat restoration work have been using the Bradley method, and it is our hope to see this method used more widely in the future. The Bradley method, also called the “recruitment method”, consists of suppressing weeds near where native plants are already growing so that the native plants can expand outward, ultimately to fill the restoration area. Eliminating competition from weeds enables the indigenous native plant population to recruit and expand into the areas vacated by the dead weeds. The Bradley method is ineffective where there are too few native plants that can establish natural recruitment into an area. However, in most of the county’s open spaces, it is easily the most effective method available in terms of both cost and manpower.

Today, we are finding that many past habitat restoration efforts that did not employ the Bradley method are unfortunately unsuccessful, consisting once again of weed beds. The CNPS-SD Invasive Plants Committee is now responsible for the restoration of 3,000 acres, of which 1,100 acres have been fully restored. Our goal is to increase the rate of native habitat restoration throughout the region, and the Bradley method could make this possible.

Lee Gordon is an engineer and physical oceanographer. He has been a long-standing, vital, and very involved member of the CNPS-SD Native Gardening Committee.

Arne Johanson is Chair of the CNPS-SD Invasive Plant Committee, and is also a long-standing, vital, and very involved member of the CNPS-SD Native Gardening Committee. Last year, Arne was honored with a San Diego area “Cox Conserves Heroes” award, given by Cox Communications and The Trust For Public Lands, for his exemplary community service restoring weed-infested open spaces in San Diego County back to healthy native habitats using the Bradley method.









June 16, 2015

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park Reforestation Project
Speakers - Mike Wells & Lisa Gonzales-Kramer

Young conifer saplings begin to overtop the surrounding vegetation.
Seedlings were planted on this site along Azalea Springs Road in 2009 after the 2003 Cedar Fire destroyed 95% of the conifer forest in CRSP.
For more information visit:

Lisa Gonzales-Kramer
Lisa Gonzales-Kramer, Environmental Scientist, California State Parks

Mike Wells
Mike Wells PhD, is a retired Colorado Desert District Superintendent.

The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park (CRSP) Reforestation Project is a California State Parks (CSP) initiative to restore the native mixed conifer forest in CRSP, 98% of which was burned by the catastrophic Cedar Fire in 2003. The fire intensity was so great that conifers within the park experienced greater than 95% mortality. The seed bank and cone-producing forest canopy were nearly destroyed and post-fire surveys conducted between 2004 and 2008 found minimal conifer regeneration on these formerly forested lands, while shrub cover had increased from 3% to 31%. Without active reforestation, site conversion to shade-intolerant brush and exotic annuals was likely to be permanent.

Conifer forest has become a vanishing habitat in San Diego County. Between 2002 and 2007, over 51% of the montane Mixed Conifer Forest (MCF) in San Diego County was burned by wildfires. Prior to the Cedar Fire, CRSP held approximately 20% of the MCF habitat in the County.

In 2007, the Colorado Desert District of CSP initiated a mixed conifer forest restoration project to re-establish native conifer trees at CRSP. The project consists of planting 2,530 acres of formerly forested lands in a mosaic of patches that will become centers for seed dispersal, and are expected to restore the larger conifer forest. The restored habitat will provide important protected areas for a wide variety of native and special-status species which were found in CRSP prior to the fire.

IMPORTANT NOTE: On Thursday, June 18th, CRSP staff are offering to all CNPS members a post-meeting field tour to view selected CRSP reforestation plots and to answer any additional questions. If you may be interested in attending this field tour, please send an email message to

Mike Wells, PhD, is a retired Colorado Desert District Superintendent. He was instrumental in initiating the CRSP Reforestation Project and was also manager of the CSP Prescribed Fire Program for nine years. Dr. Wells is currently a retired annuitant and science advisor to the project. He is an adjunct professor and lecturer at the University of San Diego.

Lisa Gonzales-Kramer is an Environmental Scientist and the Project Manager for the CRSP Reforestation Project. She has been involved in reforestation efforts since 1990 in the Midwest and the west. Ms. Gonzales-Kramer holds a BS degree in Biology from Adrian College and previously worked in plant pathology research.







May 19, 2015

Speaker - Lynnette Short

Overview of the CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry Program


Urban Forestry Program logo

In this presentation, Lynnette will briefly touch on the function of CAL FIRE before illustrating the details of the Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program which will include a description of California’s Urban Forests. The purpose of the U&CF Program is to establish and maintain optimal urban and community forests to help improve the quality of life of urban citizens and the quality of urban natural resources. To accomplish this, CAL FIRE’s Regional Urban Foresters provide information, education, and assistance to local governments, non-profits, private sector organizations, and the general public that help to advance Urban Forestry per the Urban Forestry Act of 1978, updated in 2010 (PRC 4799.06 – 4799.12). The structure and delivery of the U&CF Program is built upon cooperative relationships with and technical assistance to local governments, non-profit organizations, and private companies. As one mechanism for encouraging better U&CF management practices, the Program provides grants with bond funds for the many economic, environmental, and social benefits that urban society gains from urban and community forests. For example, grants are issued for tree planting, comprehensive urban forest management plans, tree resource inventories, educational programs, and innovative ideas that promote Urban Forestry in California.

Lynnette will also discuss the sustainability component of the Program, as well as her work with other State agencies and researchers to develop a carbon sequestration protocol and companion accounting protocol for U&CF in the emerging carbon credit trading market. These protocols have been officially adopted by the California Climate Action Registry and the California Air Resources Board.

Lynnette Short serves as the State’s Regional Urban Forester for San Diego, Imperial and Orange counties. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry & Natural Resource Management from Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo. She started her career with CAL FIRE in 2003 as a firefighter and later took a Resource Management position in San Diego. She has been with the U&CF Program since 2006.



April 21, 2015

Speaker - Tom Oberbauer

Obscure Islands of the Pacific Coast of Baja California
Agave shawii

The Pacific Coast of Baja California is home to a number of islands that range in size from a few acres to Cedros Island that is nearly 350 sq. kilometers.  A number of islands are little known and little explored scientifically, beginning with the Coronado Islands that are visible off shore just to the south of Point Loma.  Others include Todos Santos Islands off Ensenada; San Geronimo near El Rosario; San Martin, a volcanic crater near San Quintin; and Natividad and the San Benito group near Cedros Island.  Many of them support endemic plants, and in particular, the Genus Dudleya is well represented on the islands.  Each island was formed under different conditions ranging from volcanic to odd mixes of rock material that has been smashed together in ancient continental subduction zones and later pushed to the surface.  Each island is a spectacular visual feast.
In early April, Tom Oberbauer will join a small expedition attempting to land and explore these islands.  He hopes to bring back many new pictures of the islands, but also has beautiful pictures from previous trips.  He has extensive experience examining Baja’s islands’ botanical resources over the past 36 years. He gave a presentation about Guadalupe Island to our chapter in 2010.




March 17, 2015

Speaker - Dylan Burge

Diversification of Ceanothus
Dylan Burge
Dylan Burge

The genus Ceanothus is highly diverse in California, with more than 50 species known from the State. Diversification of this ecologically and horticulturally significant group of plants is strongly associated with the unusual climates and geology of California, with many extremely rare species limited to small areas with unusual weather conditions and rock strata. This presentation will focus on the interesting story of Ceanothus diversification involving new research findings from several fields, much of it carried out by the presenter Dylan Burge. Many fascinating Ceanothus species found in San Diego County and northern Baja California will be discussed, including their evolutionary history, distribution, and ecology. Photographs of rare Ceanothus species in native habitats around California and San Diego County will be featured.

Dylan Burge grew up in rural northern California, where he developed a love for biodiversity very early on. He attended UC Davis and Duke University; conducted post-doctoral research in Australia and British Columbia; and performed field work around the world. In addition to botanical research, Dylan likes to spend time hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, and taking photographs of plants in the wild.




February 17, 2015

Speaker - Jay Wilson

Mission Trails Regional Park Has Something for Everyone

Jay Wilson
Jay Wilson

There is much more to do at Mission Trails than climbing Cowles Mountain! Jay will give an overview of Mission Trails Regional Park with its unique treasure-trove of Natural Resources which includes gems that appeal to everyone: engaging in nature activities in the Visitor Center; participating in free monthly art exhibitions and concerts; communing with nature at the Kumeyaay Lake Campground; learning about native plants and wildlife during guided nature walks, while meeting new friends with similar interests; exploring the “West Sycamore” Nature Area, the most recent addition to the Park consisting of over 1,000 acres; and much more. The presentation will emphasize endemic plant species in the Park and spur a spirited information-sharing discussion about the “natural treasures” encountered during Park excursions by audience members.

Jay Wilson is Executive Director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. A native San Diegan, Jay spent 10 years in the Marketing Department for Sea World and 5 years as Director of Marketing for the Zoological Society of San Diego. Recently, Jay worked 14 years as with Councilmembers Judy McCarty and Jim Madaffer. He enjoys computers, technology, and his grandchildren.



January 20, 2015

Speaker - Don Rideout

All about the Garden Native Tour 2015
Garden Native
Photo by James Nyun

Don Rideout will give a presentation about the Garden Native Tour 2015
to be held on Saturday-Sunday, March 28-29,9:30am-4:30pm.   
Featured gardens will be in the Cities of San Diego and Poway.  FALL IN LOVE with gorgeous gardens.  
Each landscape embodies Southern California outdoor living in a unique and personal way.

Designed with native California and other climate-appropriate plants, all take far less water, effort, and money than conventional gardens and lawns. In fact, our gardens use anywhere from 17% to 100% less water than conventional gardens!

Many homes feature:

•Edible gardens
•Artwork and hardscape from repurposed materials
•Rain barrels and bioswales
•Graywater systems
•Turf replacement
•Solar panels and much more!
TAKE PRIDE in San Diego
The Garden Native Tour represents all regions of San Diego County on a rotating basis. In 2015, we highlight:

•Old Town
•Balboa Park and North Park
•Clairemont and University City
•Carmel Valley and Rancho Penasquitos
•Poway and Scripps Ranch

ENSURE THE FUTURE health and well-being of our communities.  We strive to help people like you make great landscape choices. Your choices lead to cleaner oceans, healthier soils, and stronger pollinators. 



November 18, 2014

Speaker - Sula Vanderplank

When California Plants Go South: Mediterranean Mexico
Sula Vanderplank
Sula Vanderplank leaning on an agave.

Sula will give an overview of the distribution of our California plants in northwestern Baja California, where the California Floristic Province meets the Vizcaino Desert to the south. She will address weather, range limits, endemism, and changes in the biogeography, phenology and phylogenetic affinities of the plants in this ecotone. She will provide a brief look at ongoing projects towards improving our understanding of the flora of this region and protecting it through various conservation initiatives.

Sula is also studying the unique plants that grow on shell middens left behind by the indigenous peoples of the region. Her Master’s research suggests that the flora of these middens is distinct from the surrounding areas and habitats, and warrants further research.

Further, Sula is part of a project to assemble an inventory of all the rare and endemic plants of the California Floristic Province portion of Baja California (i.e., the northwest area of the state). Collaborators in this project include Bart O’Brien (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden), Jose Delgadillo (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California), Steve Junak (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Tom Oberbauer (AECOM), Jon Rebman (San Diego Natural History Museum), and Hugo Riemann (Colegio de la Fronterra).

Sula Vanderplank is a Biodiversity Explorer for the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. Her research has focused on the macroecology of Baja California, with an emphasis on plant distributions along the Pacific Coast of the state of Baja California and the adjacent islands. Sula also serves as Science Advisor for the Mexican land trust Terra Peninsular, through which she is involved in several collaborative projects relating to conservation in northwestern Baja California, with particular regard to the conservation of Maritime Succulent Scrub, an endangered habitat found nowhere else in the world. Collaboration with staff from Huntington Botanical Gardens and Club La Mision recently culminated in a field guide, Quail-Friendly Plants of North-West Baja California, to more than 120 plant species in this region.


October 21, 2014

Speaker - Christina Schaefer

Developing a Programmatic Monitoring Approach for
Vernal Pool Restoration on Otay Mesa
Christina Schaefer
Christina Schaefer

With increasing development pressure on Otay Mesa, a landscape that was historically dominated by vernal pool complexes, vernal pool restoration to mitigate for development projects is becoming very frequent on the mesa. To document the progress of vernal pool restoration projects over time, post-restoration monitoring methods compare data collected at the restored vernal pools (treatment) to data collected in natural vernal pool systems (i.e., control or reference sites). To minimize impacts on the remaining natural vernal pool complexes on Otay Mesa from multiple post-restoration monitoring surveys, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggested that a programmatic reference site be identified for all vernal pool restoration projects on the mesa. The vernal pool complex J-26 is one of the last remaining relatively intact complexes and was chosen to function as the programmatic reference site. Ms. Schaefer developed a programmatic monitoring program compatible with the data collection needs for vernal pool restoration projects. The data are being submitted to the San Diego Monitoring and Management Program multi-taxa database to be available for all entities that need reference data for their vernal pool restoration success monitoring.

Christina Schaefer is originally from Germany where she studied landscape ecology and resources management. As a restoration ecologist, she specializes in the restoration of vernal pools. Christina restored her first vernal pool in San Diego in 1992 with Dr. Ellen Bauder, and has planned and installed many vernal pool restoration projects since then. While preparing the Vernal Pool Conservation Strategy for the North County MSCP, she also assisted Dr. Bauder with data collection for the Hydro-geomorphic Model for vernal pools.  Recently, she assisted SANDAG as expert advisor on the City of San Diego’s Vernal Pool Habitat Conservation Plan.






September 16, 2014

Speaker - Greg Rubin

California Native Landscaping Protocols
Greg Rubin
Greg framed by a gnarled manzanita branch

In this presentation Greg will be outlining the specific ways in which California native landscape protocols differ from an ornamental horticultural approach, and the justifications for each. This is the result of Greg’s nearly 30 years of practical experience in hundreds of different situations throughout Southern California. Topics will include commercial growing, site preparation, plant selection, planting season, planting techniques, irrigation, and maintenance. Greg will also discuss some of the controversies surrounding the use of these different approaches, and the impact this has had on the growth of the industry.

Greg Rubin is a native landscape design/build contractor having worked on over 700 native landscapes in southern California. Greg is a popular lecturer, has written numerous articles on native landscaping, has been featured in a number of periodicals, and co-authored the book "The California Native Landscape" with Lucy Warren, published by Timber Press.


Speaker - Anne Fege Ph.D.

Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness - Affected Primarily by the Forces of Nature

Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary Logo

The Wilderness Act was historic and inspirational, signed on September 3, 1964. Fifty years later, it endures and still inspires. Please join CNPS, Anne Fege and many others this evening in celebrating the history and now the vastness of the National Wilderness Preservation System, 109 million acres in 44 states. Locally, Agua Tibia Wilderness was established in 1975; Hauser, Pine Creek and San Mateo Canyon wildernesses followed in 1984; and others in the 1994 California Desert Protection Act.
The Wilderness Act states that “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…. [These areas are] affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable.” For San Diegans, this means that we are within an hour’s drive of wilderness areas that have quiet, dark sky, wind, weather, and native plants. 
The Wilderness Act provides for areas with “outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation… [and have] ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.” Native plants have a special place and protection in wilderness. Our legacy will be to keep these wilderness areas affected primarily by the forces of nature, to use and enjoy wilderness, to restrict human imprints, and help secure the enduring resource of wilderness.

Anne S. Fege, Ph.D., is a CNPS member; retired Forest Supervisor, Cleveland National Forest (1991-2004) and National Wilderness Program Manager, Forest Service (1988 to 1991); and is currently Chair of the Community Forest Advisory Board, City of San Diego, and Program Manager of the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative (part of the San Diego Science Alliance).

July 15, 2014

Speaker - Mike Wilken

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany:
Native Plants and People on the Frontier of the Californias

Mike Wilken
Mike Wilken at sunset

The Kumeyaay Indians (also ‘Iipay–Tiipay or Diegueño in the United States, or Kumiai in Mexico) have inhabited the landscapes of northern Baja California, Mexico, and southern California since long before European contact, originally making a living as mobile hunting, gathering, and fishing peoples in the region’s varied environments. The division of Kumeyaay territory in 1848 by two distinct nation states imposed on the region an international boundary as well as separate political and economic structures, cultures, and languages. Historical processes have reduced Kumeyaay territory and population, and transformed indigenous life-ways, yet a few elder Kumeyaay still speak their native language and maintain cultural knowledge of the environment.

This presentation will explore the questions of how contemporary ethnobotanical knowledge of Baja California’s Kumeyaay Indians makes new contributions to scientific research of diachronic human–plant interactions in the study area, and how this knowledge can inform Kumeyaay cultural and linguistic revitalization through its incorporation in interpretive exhibits. This information is a synthesis from interviews conducted with 16 Kumeyaay plant specialists, documenting Kumeyaay knowledge of traditional uses for 47 native plants as food, medicine, tools, construction materials, and ritual resources covering indigenous nomenclature, plant scheduling, harvesting, processing, and consumption, as well as cultural meanings associated with plants. Archaeological, historical, ethnographic, linguistic, and botanical literature to situate the Kumeyaay ethnobotanical data will be reviewed in a regional and diachronic context.

Mike Wilken is an anthropologist whose research and advocacy work with Native Baja Californians has explored traditional arts (pottery, basketry, oral narratives and song), ethnobotany, history, languages and cultural landscapes of the indigenous peoples of the northern Baja California region for over 30 years. He has worked closely with native artists and traditional authorities to foster cultural revitalization and sustainable community development.




June 17, 2014

Speakers - Fred Roberts & Bob Allen

Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains

Bob Allen
Bob Allen and Fred Roberts book signing

In a bold new approach, this field guide presents wildflowers of cismontane southern California and some of the associated wildlife (guilds), making it much more than a traditional wildflower guide. It includes sections on geology, geography, flower parts, scientific names, plant communities, field safety, and places to go wildflower-watching, all accompanied by photographs and illustrations. In addition to common and not-so-common wildflower species, it presents rare plants not found in other field guides such as Munz’s onion; Braunton’s milkvetch; Encinitas baccharis; small-flowered morning-glory; heart-leaved pitcher-sage; chaparral beargrass; Allen’s daisy; Hammitt’s clay-cress; big-leaved crownbeard; and several unique button-celery, brodiaeas, mariposa lilies, spineflowers, tarplants, live-forevers, monkeyflowers, monardellas, navarretias, and phacelias. Guilds include milkweed, cactus, California sycamore, California buckwheat, California lilac, yucca, and cattail. Associated species include insects such as monarch butterfly, goldenbush borer beetle, snowberry clearwing moth, and native bees; and birds such as coastal California gnatcatcher, cactus wren, Anna’s hummingbird, and phainopepla.

The book (2013) is in paperback with durable cover; 10 x 7”; 500 pages; 2,300 color photos, 363 illustrations, 1 regional map, and 11 trail maps.

Bob Allen is an instructor, photographer, and entomologist/ botanist who specializes in pollination.

Fred Roberts is a botanist, photographer, and artist specializing in plants of Orange County, oaks, rare plants, and lilies and their relatives.




May 20, 2014

Speaker - Dr. Norrie Robbins

What is a native plant? When did it arrive? How do we know?”

Norrie Robbins
Dr. Norrie Robbins biting a native willow stem

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
in Southern California

John Randall
John M. Randall

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

James Hung
James Hung holding a net to collect bees.

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)

Michelle Cloud-Hughes
Michelle Cloud-Hughes with chainsaw,
performing habitat restoration work to protect Orcutt’s spineflower populations
at Naval Base Point Loma

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
Science, Conservation, and the Natural World

Carl Pisbe

Speaker - Carla Pisbe

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


Tom Oberbauer

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.
As we all know, San Diego County is unique for its biological diversity but it is surprising that there are locations that remain remote and isolated for a county with over three million residents and major agricultural pursuits. 
This county supports species from the north and from the south and from the east in the desert regions.  
For the December program, Tom will highlight the explorations he has written about with visual images including the search for the Madrone, the search for Big-leaf maple and some views of desert monsoon. 
He will finish with a short set of photos from San Clemente Island illustrating a vegetation recovery that is just short of miraculous.

November 19, 2013

The Plants of Baja California: Diverse, Beautiful, & Fascinating
Jon Rebman

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

Anstine Audubon
Anstine Audubon Nature Preserve - a Native Plant Success Story

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
Orchids of Southern California

This discussion details the 16 species (7 genera) of orchids that grow within southern California, including their locations and habitats. The somewhat controversial topic of placing the well-known genus Piperia within Platanthera will also be discussed. This presentation is based on a publication that will be submitted by Dr. Lauri to Crossosoma later this year.

Robert Lauri, Ph.D. Botany, Claremont Graduate University and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 2010.
His dissertation title was “A systematic study of Piperia (Orchidaceae) and close relatives in Platanthera s.l.
He currently works as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University teaching biology.


June 18, 2013
Native Plants

Native Plants at the San Diego Botanic Garden

The natural areas here include southern maritime chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and riparian areas. These and some of the significant species will be presented. Other native plant-related features here include our native plant garden, “California Gardenscapes,” the Fire Safety Garden, and our newly renovated Native Plants, and Native People Trail. Recently developed educational materials will be presented. The challenges of invasive species and their control will be described. Future plans include involvement with the Center for Plant Conservation working with state and federally listed species such as Del Mar Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp. crassifolia), Encinitas baccharis (Baccharis vanessae) and Orcutt’s Hazardia (Hazardia orcuttii) as well as habitat restoration.

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

Fire and Flora:
Stories of fire ecology in California shrublands and of new outreach efforts designed to engage hearts and minds through play


Fire and Flora

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.
In his talk, Tim will review some of the more interesting and pressing issues of Southern California fire ecology, and then introduce his new game, Fire and Flora, which is designed to teach these issues to the general public. Interested members, friends, and family are invited to attend a botanical gaming session on the day after the talk, at 11AM on 5/22 in room 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park (same place as the talk).

Tim Handley

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
San Diego County Native Plants in the 1830s:
The San Diego collections of Coulter, Nuttall and HMS Sulphur with Barclay and Hinds


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
The California Native Landscape - an introduction to the new book from Greg Rubin and Lucy Warren


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.
Lucy Warren is a Master Gardener and well known regional gardening professional/author involved with many horticultural organizations and events. She was past editor of California Garden magazine.

February 19, 2013
Sahara Mustard Control Efforts in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Larry Hendrickson - Senior Park Aide at the Colorado Desert District of California State Parks

Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii), a non-native annual plant, has become a serious threat to the annual wildflower fields in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and throughout the Southwestern United States. This talk will focus on practical experiences controlling the mustard in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the importance of educating the public to threats that all invasive weeds pose to our wildlands.    

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
San Diego Rare Plant Treasure Hunt: 
thoughts on a "breakable survey"


Speaker - Frank Landis

The San Diego Chapter participated in the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure hunt for the last three years.  Since there are insufficient resources and people to survey all the sensitive plants in the County, we have attempted to identify species that are "falling through the cracks," that have not been surveyed recently or thoroughly, and to survey these plants.  In performing these surveys, over thirty volunteers have found over fifteen million plants, and I will discuss our process and findings.
This work illuminates a bigger idea, which I call "the breakable survey."  Surveys are vulnerable to failures in survey protocols, vulnerable to loss of institutional memory through personnel turnover, and vulnerable to simple lack of communication among interested parties.  The idea of a "breakable survey" is to design a survey that will survive such failures, especially one that uses minimal resources.
In running the rare plant survey, I set out to create a "breakable survey," a program that I could hand off to other people with minimal loss of data and continuity.  I will use the details of the survey, from set up, through execution, to data distribution, to discuss what has and has not worked.  Information sharing has been the key to our successes.  Given the increasing limits on conservation resources, failure-proofing survey protocols will be an increasingly useful part of monitoring sensitive plant populations.

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
From the Headwaters to the River Mouth, conservation and stewardship of native plant habitats in the San Diego River watershed- 3 case studies


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.
We do that through three avenues of engaging the public in their stewardship: headwaters conservation, urban open space restoration, and community native plant gardens. 
This presentation will focus on 3 sites, one from each type; the audience is encouraged and will learn how to participate in an upcoming urban riparian re-vegetation project in December. 
Eagle Peak Preserve is a 516 acre nature preserve owned by the San Diego River Park Foundation.
While primarily Coastal Sage Scrub, EPP also contains oak woodland (including Engelmann Oak (quercus engelmannii), native grassland, chaparral, and riparian habitats.
In 2007, fire burned approximately 85% of the Preserve. We will share results and photographs from the newly completed 5-year fire recovery photo monitoring completed on November 10, 2012.  
Our Friends of the River Mouth group care for and conserve the coastal dune habitat at the River’s Mouth and have revived and protect a previously undocumented population of Salt Marsh Bird’s Beak (Chloropyron maritimum ssp. maritimum). 
The Point Loma Native Plant Garden hosts a variety of native plant species as well as our native plant nursery and is the base for our newest effort, Home to Nature, a program to engage youth in growing native plants for habitat restoration projects in the watershed. 
Shannon Quigley-Raymond, Healthy River Healthy Communities Program CoordinatorIs a San Diego native with a B.S. Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, from UCSD, and has been with the Foundation for 5 years.  She is involved in riparian habitat restoration, invasive non-native citizen plant surveys, biological monitoring, and habitat assessments for the Foundation’s conservation lands.   

October 16, 2012
Ceanothus in San Diego County
Threats and Endemism


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. 
California, with its climatic, edaphic, and topographical diversity, is the center of the distribution of Ceanothus with more than 80% of known taxa. 
The remarkable variety of habitats in San Diego County support at least 17 Ceanothus taxa, several of which are endemic to the region. 
The ecological complexity of the genus and its distribution within the County will be discussed followed by a focus on the endemic and near-endemic Ceanothus taxa within the region (C. cyaneus, C. otayensis, C. verrucosus, C. ssp. nov.). 
These species have unique distributions and life histories and face challenges and threats due in large part to urbanization and population growth. 
The wide variety of Ceanothus species and cultivars for the garden and landscape will also be briefly discussed. 

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
Experience the Inaugural 2012
San Diego Native Garden Tour


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
The Live Forevers of San Diego County & adjacent Southern California and Baja California, Mexico


Speaker - Fred Roberts

The 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
Border Field Restoration


Speaker - Phil Roullard

Border Field Restoration
The presentation gives a brief history of the impacts that have occurred at Border Field State Park from natural influences, agriculture, the military and DHS infrastructure construction projects.

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
Awakening the Wildness Within


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.
Mr. Halsey has been a teacher of natural history for over thirty years.

April 17, 2012
On The Brink:
The Ten Most Endangered Plants In San Diego County

Speaker - Vince Scheidt

San Diego County, near the southern end of the California Floristic Province, has long been recognized as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The County’s rich botanical diversity includes an extraordinary number of rare plant species, some of which have become critically endangered due to the region’s extreme growth during the 20th Century. This presentation will describe the ten most endangered plants in San Diwego County, all of which are bear extinction in the wild, based on an analysis of relevant data sources and the presenter’s thirty years of local field experience.

Vince Scheidt has been a local environmental biologist for over 30 years. He is a member of the CNPS State Board of Directors and the Chair of the 2012 Conservation Conference Committee. He is also a recovering herpetologist.

March 20, 2012
Watershed Avengers

Speaker - Carla Pisbe

Watershed Avengers

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
Archaeoethnobotany: Plants in San Diego's Archaeological Past

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
San Diego Canyonlands - Current and Future Activities

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.

Eric Bowlby, a Massachusetts native, moved to San Diego in 1976. He got involved in environmental activism when he and a group of SDSU Urban Planning students started  a non-profit to oppose the trolley route through the wetlands in Mission Valley. He served as Executive Chair of the Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter in 1999 and 2000 and stepped down to take a part time job running the Sierra Club’s San Diego Canyons Campaign.  In 11 years Bowlby built the Canyons Campaign to three full-time staff positions and developed over 45 neighborhood-based friends groups for San Diego's canyons and creeks.  In 2008, along with several other community leaders, Bowlby established a new non-profit, San Diego Canyonlands, dedicated to restoration, preservation and protection of San Diego’s wonderful canyons.  Bowlby has also served for over eight years on the City of San Diego Wetlands Advisory Board and the City’s Open Space/Canyons Advisory Board.

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[Dedicated to the Preservation of California Native Flora]
California Native Plant Society, San Diego Chapter
c/o San Diego Natural History Museum - P.O. Box 121390, San Diego, CA 92112-1390 -