Spring 2017 on Coastal San Diego County

by Tom Oberbauer, Vice President CNPS-San Diego

Lest one gain the impression that the wildflowers this year were confined to the desert, I want to describe two coastal areas as well. In mid-March, I figured that Point Loma was getting close to flowering. Previous years following good rainfall seasons, the tidepool side of Point Loma will have displays of Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy), Encelia californica (California Encelia) and what used to be called Coreopsis maritima, now Leptosyne maritima (Sea Dahlia). So, on the last day that I visited the desert, late in the afternoon, I drove to Point Loma and down on the tidepool side 5 minutes before it was going to be blocked off at 4:30 pm. The afternoon light was magical on the landscape and the flowers. The Encelia californica was blooming wildly. 

Impossible Only Until We Start

By Arne Johansen, Habitat Restoration chairperson

There is an old saying: 'The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.' I was reminded of this as I described our current work area to a new volunteer. From where we were standing (surrounded by eucalyptus, Arundo and palms) I explained how our project area extends two miles downstream and another mile upstream. Then I pointed east and added that our project extends three miles along that side creek. Out loud it just seems impossibly large.

Who Knew Climate Change and Policy Was So Complicated?

By Frank Landis, Conservation Chair

We seem to be hearing that in all sorts of unexpected contexts right now (I'm writing this on May 1st), but I'm going to focus on climate change and policy again. The issue I'm struggling with is the North County Multiple Species Conservation Program (NCMSCP, because you need more acronyms). I'm on the steering committee, and the documents (hopefully) will be out this fall. We'll be dealing with it for a while, and I wanted to air the issues so that we can all start thinking about it, because it really is complicated.

It's time to vote for your environmental hero!

Vote for Robert Byrnes, the hardworking member of our Habitat Restoration crew, who is one of 3 finalists in California in the Cox Conserves Heroes contest. The winner will be named California's Cox Conserves Hero and receive a $10,000 grant for his or her environmental non-profit of choice. Bob has designated California Native Plant Society - San Diego Chapter as the recipient of any winnings. What a guy!


Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land are proud to present California's Cox Conserves Heroes program. Voting is currently open for the 2017 awards through June 24.  

About Cox Conserves Heroes 

Created in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Cox Conserves Heroes is a national awards program that honors and celebrates environmental volunteers across the country.  

How it works

The public nominates volunteers using a brief online form. Next, a panel of local civic and environmental leaders selects three finalists to be profiled online. The finalist videos are shared online with the public, who then vote for the nominee they feel most deserving of the award. Winning nominees are awareded a $10,000 donation to the nonprofit of their choosing. Finalists each receive $5,000 for their nonprofit beneficiaries. 

The awards programs is our way of honoring the unsung heroes in our communities and supporting the local organizations doing the important work of bettering our environment. Through the program, we hope to inspire more people to take an active role in community conservation.

Visit the San Diego County Fair Pollinator Trail!

Where can you find some peace and quiet after a long day at the San Diego County Fair? The Pollinator Trail.

Across the nation, pollinators are disappearing. The Pollinator Trail exhibit at the county fair provides San Diegans with a look at how they can help pollinators like butterflies, bumble bees and hummingbirds thrive. This year, the exhibit overlaps with National Pollinator Week, June 19 – 25, 2017, which aims to create awareness about the importance and plight of our pollinators.

Desert Wildflowers

by Tom Oberbauer, Vice President CNPS-San Diego

For those of you who were not able to make it out to Borrego Valley this March, I am sorry.

I must admit, growing up, I was not especially fond of desert. I had only been through deserts on family road trips to elsewhere in the southwest. We always had to leave at 1 am to get through the desert before it was too hot. I grew up favoring mountains with forests over deserts. However, during an ecology class at SDSU, we had a project in the desert in the spring and I became more interested. I began to really appreciate the deserts, the starkness of the terrain, the pockets of unique habitats and the wildflowers. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a naturalist on SDNHM ecology trips to the desert each spring.

Citizen Science with Mary Ellen Hannibal


As human animals, we’re drawn to the natural world. The impulse to observe, touch, and understand begins at birth. It’s no wonder then that, throughout human history, laypeople—philosophers, gardeners, and vagabonds alike—have contributed to the most meaningful scientific knowledge we have. As Joseph Campbell said, myth is nature speaking, and the goal of human life is to align with nature.

CALL OR WRITE your district Senator in favor of SB 249 BEFORE MAY 24!: Protect Our California Natural Areas from Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation

All forms of outdoor recreation have environmental impact, but not all forms have the same impact. As Californians, we face a continuous challenge to individually and collectively ‘do no harm’ to our common resources, so others - today and in the future - are able to enjoy them. While some forms of recreation (hiking, kayaking) demand little because the impacts are little, off-highway vehicle recreation demands a lot because the environmental damage is great. It is the nature of OHMVR activities that this environmental degradation is continuous and ongoing.

General Statement on Ants

By Greg Rubin, CNPS-SD Garden Native Committee member

Many people have been experiencing problems with many native species, such as Ceanothus, manzanita, mallow-like plants, and mounding perennials. One of the primary causes, surprisingly, appears to be invasion by Argentine ants! The increasingly hot, monsoonal weather of recent years greatly promotes them. What these ants are doing is placing insects like scale and aphids all over the ROOTS, which literally suck the life out of the plant from below, often undetected to those without the experience to pick up on the subtle clues...

Of Milkshakes and Hummingbirds: Q & A with CNPS-San Diego

CNPS-SD recently received a query from a San Diego County gardener:

Q: “I bought a manzanita at your plant sale and I am about to plant it in the ground. Before I do, is there any recommended soil amendment or fertilizer that I should use? What type of fertilizer should I use after planting, and how often?”