British poisonous plants / By Charles Johnson ... Illustrated with twenty-eight coloured plates transferred from "English botany."
Author: Johnson, Charles, 1791-1880.
Call Number: QK99.J64 1856
Author: Burbidge, F. W. (Frederick William), 1847-1905.
Call Number: SB301.B87 1905
Remarks on forest scenery : and other woodland views (relative chiefly to picturesque beauty) illustrated by the scenes of New-Forest in Hampshire. In three books ... / by William Gilpin ...
Author: Gilpin, William, 1724-1804.
Call Number: DA670.N49G55 1791
A Botanical nomenclator : containing a systematical arrangement of the classes, orders, genera, and species of plants as described in the new edition of Linnæsus's Systema naturæ, by Dr. Gmelin, of Gottingen, to which are added, alphabetical indexes of...
Author: Forsyth, William, 1772-1835.
Call Number: QK96.F67 1794
Author: Marshall, Mr. (William), 1745-1818.
Call Number: SB45.M37 1803
A review of the Landscape, a didactic poem : also of an Essay on the picturesque, together with practical remarks on rural ornament / by the author of "Planting and ornamental gardening ; a practical treatise."
Author: Marshall, Mr. (William), 1745-1818.
Call Number: SB471.M37 1795
I am an enthusiast of space design.
After a two-year technical degree at École Boulle (a school of fine arts and crafts and applied arts in Paris, France), I decided to study for my master’s degree at the National School of Landscape Architecture of Versailles.
For me, work in landscape architecture is the best way to unite many different and interesting fields, such as art, sociology, and ecology. Designing spaces where people will live and have an emotional connection to their surroundings is my way of creating happiness.
I chose to do an internship in the United States to broaden my understanding of how cities here developed over time in comparison with France, which has had many hundreds of years to develop. In Chicago, I saw that the gardens were designed like the links of the city, and learned one of the reasons for this is Chicago’s motto, Urbs in horto, which means “city in a garden.”
Through my internship at the Chicago Botanic Garden, I also wanted to learn practical horticulture skills, like plant identification, choosing the right plants for certain spaces, and techniques for good plant health. For example, to improve air circulation and the growth of some vegetables, I learned to stake up tomatillos, and use trellises for beans.
I spent a total of four weeks at the Chicago Botanic Garden, working mainly in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden under that garden’s horticulturist, Lisa Hilgenberg. During Pepper Sundays, I learned that one of the special plants in the Fruit & Vegetable Garden is the bull-nose pepper—a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who was an ambassador to France and a great plant enthusiast. He made many plant exchanges with people around the world, especially France. It goes to show that plants everywhere bring people together, no matter the country or culture.
Gardens are always changing, so there were always new things to see and learn each day—not just with the plants, but also with understanding how people use the gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Visitors come to learn about plants, to enjoy their day in a beautiful place, and to be inspired. I saw how important green spaces are to people. My internship has encouraged me to share knowledge with the visitors, the interns, the staff, and volunteers. It is a true collaboration and exchange between people. For example, when I worked in the nursery, the staff and the interns showed me the breadth of the production and how the Garden is constantly trying to help people experience the Garden in a new way.
For me, the Chicago Botanic Garden, in addition to being a beautiful garden, is an amazing, open-air encyclopedia of plants and garden design, as well as a wonderful space for public enjoyment.
I am grateful to the French Heritage Society, which partners with the Garden on a collaborative internship exchange, to the Ragdale Foundation, which has hosted me, and to the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lisa Hilgenberg for giving me this extraordinary opportunity. And finally, I hope that this will be the beginning of new friendships for me.
This is the fifth year of our wonderful intern exchange with the French Heritage Society. As Lisa Ho spent her summer in Chicago, Chicago Botanic Garden employee Eileen Brucato went over to France to gain experience in three chateau gardens: Château de Brécy, Château d’Acquigny in Normandy, and Château de la Bourdaisière in Tours.
©2016 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org
Hey world, greetings from Southern Idaho. I’ve been up to far too much to fit into the blog, but let’s take a stab at a recap anyways (I’m no J. Chappelle-loved the drones bud). My highlights have been: spending a day botanising with the BLM (super hero-legend) Roger Rosentreter, he was state head botanist for 35 years, is an exceptional lichenologist (and has written many books on the subject) and from that couple generations of crazy mountaineer, super fun, cool as courduroy botanists-folks like Dr. Ken Robertson who inspired me to do field work. I always love learning from people like this, so many pieces of information they take for granted and have never bothered to write down that may otherwise be lost. Another social highlight was seeing the lovely Kendl Winters and extraordinary Palmer T. Lee play a show as the The Lowest Pair near Boise; after my banjo fix, I got to drive far into the Owyhee desert listening to someone play Dead on the community radio as the stars danced in a moonless night.
My trainings were really incredible and I’m very grateful for the opportunities. My first training was the Idaho Native Plant Society meeting, where I was able to explore the high precipitation refuge populations in central Idaho. These communities are very similar to the plant life of Western Washington and Oregon. The second training was the Idaho Botanical Foray. The premise of these are that folks from each of Idaho’s four university herbaria show up to an underrepresented area in their collections and collect everything in sight. This was very fun and allowed me to study the local flora with a ton of incredible botanists. What I really loved about this is that I was able to meet a ton of botanists whose vouchers I have been staring at in Digital Herbaria for the last few years. Highlights were botanisng riparian zones with Mike Mancuso, collecting at a breakneck pace on mountain wind-swept slopes with Prof. Jim Smith. As well as talking the Owyhee flora, Onagrads, and Lomatium’s with Prof. D. Mansfield. It was fun to see everyone’s collection methods and philosophies, especially as I have been collecting largely from three groups here, the Onagrads, the Apioids, and the Boraginaceae for various projects.
Our field district was ravaged by several fires over the last decade and has been struggling to re-vegetate. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about restoration protocols for re-seeding and what physiological parameters of taxa may allow for quick re-colonization and prevent cheatgrass invasion.
Another project I have been working on aside form LEPA searching is adding content to a photo field guide of the plants of our district office. I have been working on writing dichotomous keys for Erigeron, Castilleja, Eriogonum, Crepis, Penstemon, Lupinus, and a couple others. Writing keys and making line-drawings has been a highly educational and challenging task. Part of my ambitions are for the keys to be usable by folks without formal botany training, as well as making them aesthetically interesting to the forthcoming generation of millennial botanists-they are both tough curve balls to try and address, but I’m on the homestretch. At the same time I have been working on reviewing the advance copy of Flora of the Pacific Northwest- I have dozens of notes in my old version about errors, but none in the new one! Giblin and all his associates are doing incredible work on this one (and inspiring me to step it up on my own keys!).
One of the great things about focusing on a singular plant in a season is learning, and conjecturing about the ecology that allows the plant to survive in its niche. The inorganic chemistry of slickspots gives us a lot to think about, and really drives home many themes of soil science, nutrient and moisture relations, population genetics, as well as temperature and climate dynamics.
I’ve been able to explore the mountains and deserts of Idaho in my space time. No pictures can do justice to the areas I have been. I’ve been infatuated with the Owyhee desert and the high mountains of central Idaho, as well as the ranges of Northern Nevada
“Desert Dawn, rise up early, lift your song….
Smell the scent of flowers dancing on the wind,
dancing on the wind!”
-Michael Kang of the string cheese incident
sorry loose, format and essentially devoid of original photos (both above photos taken by (Steve Martin, just as funny as the one your thinking of), but if you’re in the west you understand that pictures can’t do justice to anything you want to snap one of.
In Salmon Idaho, one endemic plant species is the Salmon twin bladderpod (Physaria didymocarpa). This unique plant is in the Brassicaceae family, and there are only 8 known populations of the species. Many of these populations have not been assessed since the early 2000s, as the office hasn’t had an official botanist since 2010. So it the job of me as a CLM intern to perform population monitoring and Seeds of Success collections for the field office. The first populations monitored have been the Salmon twin bladderpod because it is so identifiable. All of the populations are in small geographic areas, as the plant requires specific environmental conditions and minor disturbances. Some of the populations are in a very robust shape, containing many hundreds of individuals. However, unfortunately, two of the eight known populations contained zero observed individuals during the field assessment. One of those populations may have been taken out in a large rock slide on a steep mountain face. As genetic diversity is so important for conservation, it was disappointing to see that some of these populations no longer exist, as it greatly increases the chance of species extinction.
It has been incredibly fun to do population monitoring and SOS collecting, but I am still only really now beginning the adventure. I love hiking up mountain faces, jumping over creek beds, finding caves, stumbling across antlers, and gazing out at the mountains and valleys that surround my “office.” The internship so far has been amazing because I love spending time outside and exploring new areas, and many of the places I am going to have seen very little human activity. I can’t wait to see what the next four months have in store for me!
Austen, BLM, Salmon Field Office, Idaho
I’ve just wrapped up my first month working for the BLM at the Casper field office. It’s been an excellent experience learning a variety of land and wildlife management techniques! We were thrown straight into field work on our first day, where we learned the new AIM (Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring) protocols alongside the permanent staff members. The aim (ha ha) of implementing these new protocols is to standardize procedures across departments, so that data from different projects can be consolidated and used to inform future operations. It was a very unique experience because the permanent field staff were also learning the protocols for the first time, which allowed us all to get to know each other while we worked through each activity. The techniques learned included characterizing soil horizons, evaluating soil stability, determining vegetation cover and density, and estimating plant diversity.
One of the primary management objectives of wildlife biologists in Wyoming is the preservation of the Greater Sage Grouse. The Sage Grouse is an indicator species for the deceptively diverse sagebrush steppe ecosystem, meaning that a regular abundance of Greater Sage Grouse indicates that the surrounding ecosystem is stable and healthy. Part of the work of the BLM is to monitor cattle grazing on public areas of sagebrush steppe. The wildlife biologists can then make recommendations on whether those areas are available for additional grazing, or if the cattle should be diverted elsewhere to allow the environment to recuperate. I was able to assist in completing these range-land health assessments.
Additionally, I have been aiding wildlife biologists in monitoring a number of nearby raptor nests. These include both natural nests as well as artificial nesting structures. Any active nests are protected by a buffer zone that prevent any kind of oil and gas development within those areas. We were able to observe a variety of different species including golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, and burrowing owls.
Finally, I was able to participate in Environmental Education day, a public outreach event with a local boys and girls club. We spent some time planting trees and discussing ecosystem health before I gave a brief presentation on the wildlife of the sagebrush steppe. I exhibited a stuffed sage grouse and a number of different game animal horns/antlers, which the kids were very excited to interact with.
The city of Casper is located in central Wyoming, very close to a number of amazing natural places. On the weekends I’ve enjoyed hiking and exploring these areas, which include Medicine Bow National Forest, Bighorn National Forest, and Grand Teton National Park. Overall, the first month of the internship has been a very positive experience and I look forward to learning a great deal more!
Getting to Wyoming was an incredible experience in itself but once I got here I got to learn so many new things. We started out by learning the new Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy to collect quantitative information on Sagebrush habitat. During that time I got to meet a few other interns that work with our Range and Hydrology staff from the Casper Field Office, where I report for work everyday. We all worked together to learn the new protocol within the Stagebrush Steppe Ecosystem.
For most of my internship I get to work with wildlife, which is a great experience. I have done a lot of nested frequency surveys to check Greater Sage Grouse habitat. I have also been doing raptor nest and artificial nesting structures surveys during which I got to see many red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, and ferruginous hawks with their young in nests.
I also got to participate in an Environmental Education Day, where I taught children about ecosystems and food webs. This whole month has been a wonderful experience so far and I look forward to the remainder of this internship!
I’m getting over the “what should I be doing” phase. For the benefit of future interns or those that are still figuring it out, this how I got organized.
Like many others, my internship is focused on the Seeds of Success program; collecting “workhorse” species for research and restoration. Like many others I relocated for my internship and was/am unfamiliar with the native flora. Before deciding what to collect there are a few necessary resources:
- Previous SOS collection records in your area (you can’t repeat collections from last three years, older collection sites might be helpful)
- A map showing land management (you can only collect from BLM land)
- ID books/keys/online resources (to learn and ID plants)
I am organizing our previous SOS records and herbarium vouchers at our office for next year’s intern. Maps and books should be relatively available at the office but if interns wanted to get one ahead of time as an intro, I’d recommend Sagebrush Country, by Ronald Taylor as a great introduction to and resource for common plants and communities.
The other main challenge that I’ve come across is deciding what to spend my time trying to collect. Initially my “plan” was to collect anything native and abundant, assuming that it was a workhorse species that would potentially be useful. The problem with this is that without prioritization and past records for reference, the same few dominant species risk being collected each year. I suggest that early in the season interns talk to both their local mentor as well as their state botanist. By doing this I came up with the following set of priorities for my office:
1. Whatever my office wants to collect for local purposes (fire restoration, sage grouse feed, etc).
2. POSE for USFWS project. This is a great basin wide effort where we will be collecting POSE across ecoregions and seed zones. Goal is 5-10 population collections per ecoregion and per seed zone. Each of these will get processed as SOS and the extra will be available for this project.
3. Statewide priorities species for restoration. Again the goal is 5-10 per ecoregion per seed zone. Process for SOS and collect extra seed: POSE, bluebunch wheatgrass, great basin wildrye, idaho fescue, indian rice grass.
-Pollinator forbs: Three nesting and three nectar plants per season (spring, summer, fall). Some plants will be nesting and nectar plants.
4. Finally, target species that are on the long “target” list that have never been collected in our area before.
Obviously priorities will change from office to office, and may change by next year, but in each specific context, priorities allow the collector to focus their efforts on what will be most productive. Instead of choosing native plants randomly or even randomly off the “target” list of 150 species I now know to focus on certain species that will go towards existing projects. I am also organizing maps of seed zones and ecoregions for the following intern, as well as putting together a list of pollinator species to use alongside the more comprehensive target list.
I hope this, in conjunction with the indispensable SOS training in Chicago, will serve to cut down on the confusion/learning curve before getting out to start collecting next time around. There’s a lot to catch up on for a new person and because of the time sensitivity of seed collection this can mean missing out on some species or wasting resources more generally. There’s only so much time in the season so I’m hoping to use it well.
I am close to two-thirds through my internship. I feel like getting to know the area and scouting populations was a distinct part of my internship. Making seed collections was a sudden chaotic second part of my internship. Since my last post to the blog, we at the Mother Lode Field Office have doubled our SOS collections, from 9 to 18. As I have revisited sites to increase the size and diversity of collections, I have been able to start collections of other species. Targeting multiple populations in one area has been an efficient way of making collections. Since arriving back from the training at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a Youth Conservation Corps team has been working at our office. The training helped prepare me for speaking with this crew about Seeds of Success as they have joined me in the field for collections. I have also spent considerable time processing the collections, i.e. organizing photos, scanning data forms, shipping seeds, and confirming species identifications at the UC Davis Herbarium. As for the remaining two months of my internship, I hope to make a few more SOS collections and then wrap up the post-collection tasks. Beyond that is a bit of a mystery. I will likely be working at a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Plant Materials Center. I am keen to learn more about where and how some of the working collections from this year could be utilized for restoration. Some collections were too small to incorporate into SOS, so finding a use for those is important to us. Thistle eradication, in part through rotational grazing, has been ongoing on some grass lands at our field office. The needle grass that I collected may be utilized there. As we have collected multiple species from particular locations, it would be great to see those species utilized together for restoration. For instance, larkspur, checkerbloom, and iris collected from one oak woodland could be established at an adjacent woodland. The chaparral near Mokelumne Hill that burned last year has been a prolific collection site, including Zigadenus exaltatus, Calochortus monophyllus, Camissonia hirtella, Scrophularia californica, and hopefully a couple more species soon. Maybe that suite of plants will be critical to future fire restoration in the Sierra Nevada foothills someday. Then again, maybe they will be incorporated into someone’s research of fire ecology. Either way, I hope to hear about it. Check out some of my favorite seeds of the season below, and enjoy your internships!
BLM Mother Lode Field Office, CA
The weeks since Chicago have been so busy and exciting! I was thrilled to get back to Washington–that brief time spent in the the dense, muggy Midwest renewed my appreciation for my new home and was enough to remind me why I am never, ever moving back to that climate! I’m forever grateful that I was placed in Washington–it’s funny how sometimes you don’t even realize a place is wrong for you until you move somewhere else.
Now that the constant stream of traveling and training that defined our spring is over, we’ve been getting down to business with our ESR work and making plans for the rest of the field season. With this planning comes the realization that the task ahead of us is nothing short of monumental. On a map, the many parcels that we need to survey for weeds look small and manageable. But after being out to some of the smallest, and still spending hours and hours combing these areas for noxious weed populations, I admitted to myself that it’s going to be a lot slower going that I’d imagined. I’m not complaining–the work is tough, but enjoyable–but I’m definitely overwhelmed. Managing land, even the relatively small amount of land that the BLM owns in WA, is a HUGE job! There’s just so much area to cover, and so little time. Luckily, the fact that we are only surveying areas that burned recently narrows our focus a bit. Not much though–last summer was one of the worst wildfire years in Washington’s history.
Last week Katherine, Gabe, and I camped out for work for the first time. I wasn’t sure how well I’d handle it, since I REALLY hate going to bed dirty, and trekking through the burns somehow coats even the clothed parts of me with a layer of dirt and ash. I toughed it out though, and it wasn’t as bad as I expected (at least, not once I’d used half our water supply to scrub my legs clean! I’m only exaggerating a little here.) We’re camping again tomorrow night, so this time I’ll be sure to bring my own, personal water supply!
Since we had both Friday and Monday off this past weekend courtesy of our 4-10 schedule and 4th of July, Katherine and I took advantage of our four days off by heading up to Vancouver and taking a mini-vacation! Highlights of the trip included a hike in the breathtakingly beautiful temperate rain forest, a trip to the aquarium, a brewery tour, dinner at Dark Table (a restaurant where you eat in the pitch black!) and making fun of the way Canadians say “out” and “about”. Though we were sad to leave, the bacon cheeseburgers we had upon our return made me glad to be back in the good ol’ USA.
Katherine Schneider, BLM, Wenatchee, WA Field Office
I’m Laura, one of those rare East Coast CLM interns. I’m working for the Greenbelt Native Plant Center in Staten Island and living in Brooklyn. Being placed in New York City was not what I expected, though it was definitely a blessing in disguise, even though living in a big city with all its crowds and traffic can sometimes be a lot.
Anyways – onto the plants! I’m working for Seeds of Success – a program through the Bureau of Land Management that aims to collect wild native seed for research, conservation, and restoration. As interns, our goal is to make 100 seed collections per team, each of 15,000-30,000 seeds. Since most seed is ripe in the fall, the first few months of our internship mostly consist of getting to know our target collection species and scouting out different parks and preserves to see what’s growing, if there’s enough to collect, and monitoring its phenology (when it blooms and when the seed is ripe).
Getting to know 200+ species is definitely a challenge, but I’m getting better at it the more I slow down, make careful observations, and consider the habitat that the plant is growing in. Some plants are easier to remember than others because, well, they’re really cool – something all plant lovers will understand. Here are a few of my favorites:
This little squirt, the common glasswort, grows as the edges of salt marshes and turns bright red in the fall. Its small, squishy, and adorable.
Did you know that the east coast has a native cactus? The eastern prickly pear grows in sandy areas along the coast and has showy yellow flowers that pollinators (and botanists) love. Each flower lasts a single day, but each cactus pad produces many flowers that bloom throughout late spring and early summer.
I’m used to seeing the flowers of the great laruel (Rhododendron maximum), but I was instantly drawn to the flowers of its relative, the mountain laurel. They’re unique and delicate, and they go quite well with its elegant evergreen leaves.
The beach pea! All Fabaceae (the pea/bean/legume family) are adorable, but the beach pea really takes the cake. I actually took this picture on a beach in the south shore of Massachusetts – it would have made a great collection if it was in New York!
Until next time,
Seeds of Success Intern
Greenbelt Native Plant Center, Staten Island, NYC
Wyoming- big skies, big landscapes, and lots of sagebrush. While there are some things I don’t enjoy (mostly the heat), Wyoming is a pretty great state. I love watching pronghorn run across the sagebrush and dodging young calves as they scamper away from our car as we drive to our field sites. Even the afternoon thunderstorms add a certain excitement to the day.
Lander is a great town. With a population of 7,400 people, it’s big enough to have almost everything you could need- two grocery stores, one movie theater, a library, and gas stations galore. Plus, the mountains are only six miles away- what more could you ask for?
It’s been a month since I started work at the BLM. Over the past few weeks I have gone out with field crews monitoring prairie dogs and sage grouse, visited rare plant populations, met some of the other CBG interns at the workshop in Chicago, and identified lots and lots of plants.
One of my favorite days was during my first week of work. It was the day we visited the main population of Yermo xanthocephalus, a rare plant that is endemic to Wyoming and can only be found in the Lander Field Office. The plant was not discovered until 1991, when a botanist came across it while doing surveys for a proposed gas pipeline. Needless to say, the pipeline was laid elsewhere.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the second Yermo population with our field office’s botanist. She had received reports of strange activity in the area, so we went to investigate. When we got to the site, we thoroughly searched the areas that the plant was last seen in. One of the points no longer contained any plants, and another had only one. There were PVC pipes in the ground around the area, and new tracks near the population. On the bright side, the view from the area was incredible.
It was amazing to see such a rare plant and all of the effort that goes in to monitoring it. While I don’t think rare plant monitoring is in my future, it was interesting to learn about the process and politics of protecting plant populations. It is important work, and hopefully it will allow rare plants like the Yermo to exist long into the future.
Hour 1 of downtime in the office waiting for the conference call. First time in weeks that we’ve been stagnant.
Hour 3 of the post-holiday struggle. Few hours of sleep and an early start means a rough morning and the hope of a nap.
Hour 8 of quiet after the fireworks ceased. The entire city went a little crazy, and the neighbors put on an impressive display.
Hour 22 since the parade began. Most of it was an all-out war with spectators chucking water balloons and paraders flinging candy.
Hour 48 of having no voice. The sore throat of last weeks progressed to a cold, and pushing through the weekend cost me the ability to communicate.
Hour 88 since the first guest arrived. Out-of-town CBG interns and friends visited for a fun, high-energy weekend.
Hour 111 of being out of cardboard for the press. The many voucher specimens are slow to dry without a functioning space heater in the drying cabinet.
Day 43 of loving Lander.
***To some extent, I live day-by-day here. This is a snapshot of my current experience. There is so much more to this internship than is implied here ~ and maybe the next blog post will reflect this ~ or maybe not.
BLM – Lander Field Office.
The exposed mudflats of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in the image above reveal the current state of one of the largest ever salt marsh restoration projects on the East Coast, spanning 4000 acres. Before Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the refuge had long been managed as impounded freshwater wetland habitat to suit the preferences of fishers and hunters, but the powerful storm sent saltwater rushing into where it once belonged, killing the life which could not tolerate it. Our good friends with U.S. Fish & Wildlife decided it would be best to create a salt marsh where salt marsh once stood.
Indeed, all along the Mid-Atlantic coast, restoration efforts are underway to re-create quality, more resilient ecosystems where Sandy has wounded the land. These efforts require A LOT of plant material, but as we botanists know, not all plant material is genetically equal for the conservation of life and land. Plants populations that have evolved to inhabit the shores of Long Island do not fare as well when planted on the shores of Delaware. Sandy has, in a way, done conservationists the favor of opening our eyes to the lack of stockpiles of genetically appropriate plant materials for disaster response in the East. The prudent folks at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank, which we affectionately call MARSB (mars-bee), are working hard to resolve this issue. Land managers up and down the coast are anxiously awaiting the seeds we collect for their projects. This, friends, is how I find myself as a wild seed collector living in the heart of Brooklyn. It has been a sweet dream thus far.
My partner and I have been assigned the task of collecting in the state of New Jersey. Though we have barely begun to explore all of the diverse, beautiful conservation lands for which we have permits to collect, we have had our fair share of adventures, and have seen innumerable neat plants. One of my favorites is the swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), which made the trek through catbrier (Smilax) thorns, ticks, and mosquitos worth every bite.
We’ve explored dunes, saltwater and freshwater marshes, forests, swamps, and bogs. Those who know New Jersey know its famous Pine Barrens and the “Pineys” that call the infertile land home. Let me tell you, Pineys know how to claim a beautiful landscape for their home. I loooove the Pine Barrens. It seems that I’ve been too immersed in the beauty to snap a picture for y’all. Imagine sparsely placed pitch pine (Pinus rigida) and scrub oak (Quercus illicifolia), blueberries and numerous other Ericaceae members (my favorite plant family, which includes the swamp azalea), and the occasional naked patch of sandy spodosol (soil talk). Next time I’ll snap a photo haha.
So far, we’ve mostly been scouting out populations for future collection, but we have managed to make a handful of collections already.
Though there is so much collecting yet to be done this season and beyond, I dare say the next time a hurricane the likes of Sandy hits, MARSB’s vaults will be ready to dole out relief.
Well, I think I’ve spent enough time on the computer for today. It’s time I go outside and do some botanizing. There are loads of fun plants to see in NYC if you have the eye for them. I’ll leave you with a few photographs before I go.
Susanville, here we go!
After a long week of car breakdowns and traveling, I finally arrived to Susanville. Overall, it’s been a crazy few months, so try to keep up!
About a month ago, I graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before graduation, I was on a very small island in the Sea of Cortez doing research on the Cardón cactus. The day after I finished school, I was on my way to Los Angeles for a couple of days before my flight to Chicago. After the workshop, I found myself packing up my things, again, and heading north. So, I haven’t had much time to process what it means to be a college graduate, especially since most of my life I’ve identified as a student. Part of me still thinks I’m going back in September…
I’ve only been in Susanville for a week now, but it feels much longer. I was very nervous to move to a place where the population is smaller than my school. I was especially nervous to be away from my friends and family, as this meant, starting over. But moving on is refreshing. Change is good, right?
During the Chicago workshop, I got to meet all of the other interns. Most of the interns had already started, so I got a lot of insight on their projects and what to expect from small towns. We shared a lot of great stories about the unique folks one comes across while being in the middle of nowhere…so many great stories! I even ran into a friend from UCSC, and got to meet Alia and Jillian, the other interns I’ll be living with for the next five months!
The workshop was great and I learned a lot about the history and relevance of the Seeds of Success program, but I am happy to finally be working. My first week at the Eagle Lake Field Office was tiring and hot, but awesome! My favorite part was being assigned my own Jeep, Callie, previously known as Trash Jeep, but now named after the genus Calochortus. On the first day, Alia, Jillian, and I, got a tour of Susanville, and the areas we’ll be working in. The following two days, we collected seeds from Elymus elymoides var. californicus (Squirrel tail grass) and monitored some special status plants, such as Ivesia aperta (Sierra Valley mousetail) and Astragulus pulsiferae (Ame’s milkvetch). We also spent some time familiarizing ourselves with the Artemsia spp, which took a long time, since they all look the same to me. On a more exciting note, I got to see Calochortus macrocarpus, which is about ready to fruit! Oh, and we also met a couple from the office who need dogsitting for the next three weeks! They happen to live in a beautiful house, with a beautiful landscape and four beautiful dogs!
I’ve been very excited about this opportunity, because I get to learn a lot about plants every day! The flora is a lot different from what I am used to seeing in the Redwood forest and on the coast. I’m also very excited for the three day weekends, because Susanville is located in such a pretty area. So far, I’ve seen Antelope Lake and Lake Almanor! I got some pretty amazing views of snowy Lassen while driving around the Plumas Forest. This weekend, I’m heading to Truckee for some socializing, and Quincy for some bouldering!
I’d say, life after graduating is not bad.
So there I was,in the heart of the Mojave Desert, minding my own business searching for rare plants. When I heard a sound. At first I tried to convince myself it was just the hum of power lines, but no. It wasn’t a hum–it was more of a click, and it seemed to be emanating from the nearest creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). Actually, now that I was listening for it, I realized that most of the creosote bushes around me clicking away as well. A number of explanations floated through my mind: sentient trees, maybe I’d finally found my way into Narnia, bowtruckles, dehydration?, maybe my field partner was punking me, or it could be an insect.
Occcam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is the most likely, so while I was really hoping for Narnia, I decided to go with the idea of an insect. To test my theory, I picked up a rock and threw it at the bush. I expected a grasshopper or something to hop away and that would be that. However, rather than silencing the creosote or scaring away an insect, my actions caused a renewed volley of even louder clicks. Great, just great–I made it angry.
Fascinated, I grabbed another rock. A little further experimentation confirmed that the initial result held true for the bushes in the immediate surrounding area. At that point, my field partner Kate found me accosting the local flora and demanded an explanation. Without any further details to go on, we did what any self-respecting millennial would do–we Googled it.
According to Google, the most likely sources of the mysterious clicking were Desert Clicker grasshoppers (Ligurotettix coquilletti). Apparently, a male Clicker will likely spend most of its adult life on a single creosote bush. They are extremely territorial for both feeding and mating purposes–the word on the web is that shrubs are more desirable if they have a lower concentration of the protective phenolic compound nordihydroguaiaretic acid. (I guess the leaves taste better.) That explains why, rather than scaring the grasshopper away, a rock to the bush incited verbal reckoning.
I guess I learned my lesson!
Needles, CA Field Office
Bureau of Land Management