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)
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!
May 17, 2016
Hiding in Plain Sight: New Cactus Species in the California Desert
Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis is a newly-described cactus found in San Bernardino, Riverside, and northern Imperial counties. Michelle’s presentation will describe how this historically-misidentified cholla was determined to be a distinct new species based on the characteristics that distinguish it from similar cholla species. Detailed information will be provided on where to see “the chucky cholla” as well as many other intriguing succulents found in the same areas.
Michelle Cloud-Hughes is a botanist and restoration ecologist specializing in desert flora and ecosystems. She has been involved in many rare plant surveys and other botanical and restoration projects throughout the southwestern U.S. in her 19-year career. Her main love and research interest is Cylindropuntia (chollas) of the southwest.
April 19, 2016
Native Gardening and Edible Landscaping
Come get some tips for integrating CA native plants into edible landscapes. We will discuss specific plants that lend themselves toward being incorporated in or alongside edible garden areas.
Ari Tenenbaum is the co-founder and lead designer of Revolution Landscape. Ari holds a B.S. in Plant Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He applies his wealth of plant knowledge and environmental solutions to create innovative, vision-driven designs.
March 15, 2016
Without Insects, Plants Would be Boring
The diversity of flower shapes, colors, and sizes inspires gardeners, artists, and wedding planners around the world. Similarly, the diverse and variable chemistry of plants creates the flavors and aromas that inspire chefs and perfumers. The love-hate relationship that insects have with plants drive this diversity. Floral aroma and color attract pollinators to help plants reproduce, and the pungency of some of your favorite herbs evolved as feeding deterrents. Join our speaker, Dr. Michael Wall, to celebrate our six-legged friends and discover the ways they have shaped and have been shaped by plant diversity.
Dr. Michael Wall is the Curator of Entomology at the San Diego Natural History Museum. He got his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Botany before turning to “the dark side” with a PhD in Entomology. He is a “stinkbug taxonomist” by training, but is currently studying patterns of endemism and local insect biodiversity.
February 16, 2016
The Environmental Benefits of Trees on an Urban University Campus
Trees play an important ecological role within the urban environment, as well as supporting public health and providing aesthetic values to cities. However, even when the general benefits of urban trees are understood and desired, it is difficult to manage and maximize their use without quantitative information on the direct benefits of an urban forest. The University of Pennsylvania is situated on a rapidly growing and highly urbanized campus that, as of the summer of 2015, contained over 6,000 trees. For her master’s thesis, Corey Bassett, with the help of a team of interns, collected field data and used software designed by the USDA Forest Service (i-Tree Eco) to quantify the ecosystem benefits that the University’s urban forest conveys to its community. This presentation will explore the value of urban trees, the positive implications of Corey’s study to urban planners, and the relevance of this research to San Diego.
Corey Bassett is a recent East Coast transplant from Philadelphia, PA. She completed her Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in December 2015. In Philly, she gained experience in urban forestry, arboriculture, and natural resource management though her jobs with the University’s Landscape Architect and at the Morris Arboretum. Corey is excited to be in San Diego and learn about the local landscapes and native plants while she seeks a professional position in the ecological restoration and environmental planning fields.
January 19, 2016
How Do We Use Native Plants In Our Gardens and Developed Spaces to Conserve Habitat, Water, Resources, and Money Sustainably?
Are we operating by nature’s rules? What are those rules? Do we know? How do we keep from violating them? Wayne Tyson will rely on his relevant experiences over the last 60+ years (including farming, ranching, hiking/hunting/fishing, gardening, landscaping, forestry, travel, park planning/design/management, and consulting in ecosystem restoration) in an attempt to merge these and other conceptual frameworks in a critical review of basic principles and elements of doing ecosystem restoration (including his own past practices and some mistakes!). This presentation will examine some ways to reconcile the needs and works of humankind with those of the earth and its life, and the role of native plants in that pursuit. Audience interaction is strongly encouraged!
Wayne Tyson worked for the City of San Diego for over 11 years and then operated a consulting business in ecosystem restoration for 21 years before "retiring." Previous jobs have included dry-farmer/ rancher, slaughterhouse worker, tree "surgeon," nursery worker, landscape architecture draftsman/designer, forester, and parks construction inspector/manager/planner. He now spends most of his time in the backcountry of the western U.S.
December 15, 2015
San Diego County Mountains and Foothills and the Rare Plants on their Unusual Soil Types
During the spring and summer of 2015 Tom Oberbauer participated in surveys sponsored by SANDAG with AECOM to find a number of lesser understood rare plants. A number of interesting mountains were visited ranging from Otay Mountain, San Miguel Mountain, and Lawson Peak to Potrero, Syquan, Guatay and Black Mountains and Cuyamaca Peak. Most of these mountains have gabbro (black granitic rock) substrates that have high concentrations of magnesium and iron similar to serpentine, but others are composed of metavolcanic rock that remains from the Cretaceous period when parts of San Diego County existed as an island arc with volcanos 15,000 to 18,000 feet high. Packera ganderi (Packer’s ragwort) is one of the most wide ranging species encountered; however, Nolina interrata (Dehesa beargrass), Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland sage), Calochortus dunnii (Dunn’s mariposa lily) and Lepechinia ganderi (Gander’s pitcher sage) were just a few of the other sensitive species observed. Tom also visited Miller Mountain and Brodiaea santarosae (Santa Rosa Basalt brodiaea) in a very obscure part of San Diego County. Tom has written a couple of articles for the newsletter about the individual treks to these mountains and will provide more in the coming months. In the December program, Tom will present a visual tour of these areas and their unique resources.
November 17, 2015
Fall- and Winter-blooming Plants and Plant Groups of
Just because it is late fall doesn’t mean there are no exciting botanical discoveries to be made! This presentation will highlight often overlooked fall- and winter-blooming plants and plant groups of San Diego and adjacent counties, and will hopefully inspire you to forget about your Thanksgiving meal planning and Christmas shopping lists for a while and get outside! Time permitting, a game will be played at the end to test your knowledge of our fall- and winter-blooming plants.
Michelle Balk is a biological consultant with over 14 years of experience in Southern California. She has co-instructed workshops on basic plant identification, asters, and rare plants of Southern California for CNPS and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens. Her favorite plant genera are Eriogonum and Chamaesyce.
October 20, 2015
San Diego Native Edibles: A Gustatory Exploration of the Chaparral
San Diego’s native plants offer a diversity of flavors, even in the driest seasons. This presentation is an introduction to easily identifying and ethically foraging plants with edible qualities. Native Plant enthusiasts will gain insight and learn about tools for finding and preparing unique dishes from Nature’s Pantry.
Marya Nash studied botany at Western Washington University. It is her lifelong passion to learn about and to share wild resources and places with others.
September 15, 2015
Plant Community Garden Design
September 15, 2015
Plant Community Garden Design
July 21, 2015
Habitat Restoration in San Diego County
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
Young conifer saplings begin to overtop the surrounding vegetation.
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 Lisa.Gonzales-Kramer@parks.ca.gov
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
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
March 17, 2015
Speaker - Dylan Burge
Diversification of Ceanothus
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
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
Don Rideout will give a presentation about the Garden Native Tour 2015
November 18, 2014
Speaker - Sula Vanderplank
When California Plants Go South: Mediterranean Mexico
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
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.
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