Chapter Fall Program: “Explore Calflora’s Native Plant Database”

Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7 pm

“Explore Calflora’s Native Plant Database”
presented by Cynthia Powell, Executive Director Calflora

St. Anthony Retreat, Mission Room 
43816 Sierra Dr (Hwy 198), Three Rivers

Learn about new Calflora tools for Calflora users. Calflora’s plant database hosts over two million plant occurrences, some of which have come directly from Alta Peak members. Powell will go over Calflora’s new plant photo project, planting guide, population monitoring tools, email alerts, and speak more generally about the uses of Calflora for CNPS chapters. She would also like to know how Calflora can better serve the Alta Peak Chapter and to answer any of your questions.

After 3 years as Calflora’s GIS Project Manager, Cynthia is now Calflora’s Executive Director. She graduated with her MS in GIS in 2010 forecasting Mokelumne River water supply based on MODIS remote sensing snow pack images. She’s been examining what was under that snow — plants — ever since. She now coordinates all Calflora programs, research, outreach, and advocacy, as well as fundraising and management.

The Calflora Database is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about California plant biodiversity for use in Education, Research and Conservation.  Calflora is structured as a digital library to fulfill the following objectives:

  1. to serve as a repository for information on California wild plants in electronic formats from diverse sources, including public agencies, academic institutions, private organizations, and individuals;
  2. to provide this information in readily usable electronic formats for scientific, conservation, and educational purposes;
  3. to serve public information needs related to scientific study, land management, environmental analysis, education, and appreciation of California plant life.

Calflora relies on contributors for the information it provides; the website reflects the work of many individuals and institutions.

Field Trip Saturday, October 20, 2018

Join Cynthia Powell for a hands-on plant data collecting field trip for Calflora.
Meet at 8:45 am at Three Rivers Veterans Memorial Building on Hwy 198.
Actual field trip location TBA, in the foothills. Field trip will go to around 2 pm.

from Alta Peak Chapter President, Barbara Brydolf: Did you ever go to a place and look around you, wondering what all those plants are? I certainly have. And I have friends who, mistakenly thinking I’m a plant expert, send me photos of plants to identify. Fortunately, there is a great website and app, called Calflora, for finding out exactly that. Calflora is a nonprofit organization that catalogs California plants by location, genus, common name, and a host of other search terms. I use it more than any other resource to anticipate what I will find in a certain place, and to identify a plant I don’t know. Calflora has catalogued thousands of plant records from all over California, and continues to add information through citizen science, which means that anyone can contribute to the knowledge of what grows here. Our own Mary Merriman, with her Rare Plant Surveys, has made contributions to this site. Calflora is a rich tool, and I know that there are many features that I have not used, not to mention the phone app I haven’t even downloaded yet. That’s why I’m excited that Cynthia Powell, is coming here to Tulare County to give a talk about using the website and app, and to lead a hike the following day. I hope you can join us for this unique opportunity to learn more about native plants!

photo: Lewis Hill Preserve near Porterville CA © Sequoia Riverlands Trust


What is Calflora?
Calflora is 1. a website you can use to learn about plants that grow wild in California (both native plants and weeds); and 2. a nonprofit organization responsible for providing this service. Calflora is run by the team described below. Information in Calflora comes from many sources: public agencies, non-profits, scientists, private donors, and you!
Find Out About a Plant
You can enter the common or scientific name of a plant to find out about it. Or, use the name wizard to just enter part of a name and have the wizard make suggestions. The result is an illustrated table of plants that match the name you entered. Click one of the plants in the table to learn the details about that plant — in particular, where it’s been observed in California.
Try it out!
Find Out What Plant Observations Have Been Made…
by a certain person, of a certain plant, in a certain area, or during a certain time period. The application that does this is called Observation Hotline. The observations that match your criteria are displayed as colored icons on a Google Map. Click on an observation to see photos and other details.
Try it out!
Find Out What Plants Grow in a Place
You can also choose a place and get an illustrated list of the plants that grow there. The application that does this is called What Grows Here?. You define “here” by picking a place on the map, or by choosing park boundary, place name, etc. Refine “here” by zooming in and out of the map, or drawing a polygon. Then click SEARCH to get an illustrated list of plants known to grow “here.”
Try it out!

There’s a lot more to Calflora than these basic tools — you can learn about Calflora’s more advanced features at the top of this page, where you will find links to many web applications concerning California plants.

Adaptation of Plants, Animals and Humans to Wildfires: What to Expect Following the Pier Fire

Alta Peak Chapter events are free and open to the public.

Saturday, February 24, 2018  at 7pm (social time starts at 6:30)

Chapter Winter Program
“Adaptation of Plants, Animals and Humans to Wildfires:
What to Expect Following the Pier Fire”

with Dr. Jon Keeley, fire ecologist/research scientist for the United States Geological Survey
and adjunct professor UCLA

Springville Veterans’ Memorial Building on Hwy 190

Wildfires are a necessary part of the ecology of many wild landscapes in mediterranean-type climates across the globe, promoting healthy wildlands and biodiversity. After an explosive fire year in California, many questions arise as humans more commonly move into areas that are subject to burning. Dr. Keeley will provide an overview of the fire history of Sierra Nevada forests and shrublands, describing interesting ways plants and animals have adapted to survive wildfires. This talk will touch on important issues related to the wildland-urban interface, as well as the future in an era of global change.

Saturday, February 24, from 1-4 pm
Field Trip: Pier Fire Area

before Winter Program in Springville

Led by Jon Keeley and Barbara Brydolf, this field will be mostly driving along Hwy 190 above Springville with stops at various overlooks, and a short hike on steep terrain (this could be skipped by people who want to go on the excursion, but are unable to do the hike).

Meet at the Springville Veteran’s Memorial Building at 1 pm to caravan and carpool. Carpooling is encouraged, as pull-outs along Hwy 190 are limited.

After the field trip and before the program, join Chapter members for dinner at Nuevo Mexicali III restaurant in Springville, located at: 35258 Hwy 190.

The Flora, Fauna and Controversies of the Sepulveda Basin

Chapter Fall Program

A World Class Urban Restoration Project
The Flora, Fauna and Controversies of the Sepulveda Basin
Presented by Steve Hartman

Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 7 pm

Social time and doors open at 6:30 pm
College of the Sequoias – Ponderosa Lecture Hall
(Free Parking in Lot #4 on NE Corner of Campus)
915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, California

Author and dedicated conservationist, Steve Hartman is a dynamic speaker, who is a native of Van Nuys, and has spent more than three decades watching the native flora and fauna return to the Sepulveda Basin. He has served on the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area’s Steering Committee (sponsored by L.A. City Recreation and Parks) since its inception. He has also served on numerous conservation and restoration projects throughout the state. He is currently President of the Board of Directors for CNPS

In 1990, the City of Los Angeles set aside the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve to protect native plants and animals. Over 200 species of birds have been seen in the basin. Many birds, attracted by the water, gather here in the fall and winter.

photo © Steve Hartmanphoto © Steve Hartman

Thousands of native plants have been planted in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. Many other plants have volunteered — meaning grew on their own from seeds, underground shoots, or from broken pieces of plant that rooted and took hold. While certain native plants have volunteered (coyote bush, mulefat, California walnut, elderberry, western ragwort, and mugwort), many non-native plants have also taken advantage of disturbed soils or the remoteness of certain areas to invade, and in some cases, threaten to take over the landscape. There are approximately 100 native California plants found in the Wildlife Reserve, and probably an equal number of non-native plants and weedy species.    Since the Reserve is located in a flood control basin that does indeed flood, weed management will be an ongoing practice: every time the Basin floods, every weed seed (and native seed as well) in the upper Los Angeles River watershed gets caught in the Basin. As the flood waters recede, a one-half to one-inch layer of silt is left, covering up every portion of the
Basin that was flooded. This silt layer is the perfect example of exposed disturbed soil, the kind of condition that weed seeds are highly adapted to and thus can easily germinate…that is, if the seeds are also exposed to light. So weed management will be a continuing effort in the Basin.

There are scant historical records depicting the habitat of the Sepulveda Basin before it was dammed in the 1940’s. While the soft-bottomed portion of the Los Angeles River has always been a “wildlife area,” it wasn’t until the late 1970’s when the Army Corp of Engineers began to revegetate the east portion of the Sepulveda Basin with California native plants. Since then, the 200-acre Wildlife Reserve was established and the Bull Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project was completed. Alas, in December of 2012, the Army Corp destroyed 43 acres of wildlife habitat.

Located in the San Fernando Valley near the intersection of the 101 and 405 Freeways, the 2,000-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area is a flood control basin managed by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks. Features include two parks, an 80-acre sports field, an archery range, three 18-hole golf courses, Balboa Lake with boat rentals and fishing, the Balboa Park and Sports Center, playgrounds, a velodrome, bike paths, hiking trails, tennis courts, a Japanese garden, an off-leash dog park, a premiere wildlife preserve, and the only unpaved stretch of the Los Angeles River.

Chapter Winter Program on February 6, 2016

“A Botanical Exploration of the Tule River South Fork Watershed”
presented by Jessica Orozco, graduate student in botany at Claremont Graduate University

February 6, 2016 at 7 pm,
Doors open at 6:30 pm for meet and greet time

Springville Veterans Memorial Building on Highway 190 in Springville
Link to map for location.

Tule River Drainage © Jessica Orozco[photo © Jessica Orozco]

Jessica Orozco has spent the past three years exploring the area south of Springville, within the drainage of the South Fork of the Tule River, including the Tule River Indian Reservation, carefully documenting her wanderings and vegetation surveys with color slides. The Tule River Indian Reservation was established in its current location in 1873 in the ancestral land of the Yaundachi Yokuts people of the Central Valley. Leaders of the Tribe, and those responsible for managing these tribal lands, have offered Orozco support as she has surveyed the area as they understand the mutual gain from her botanical explorations.

The slide program will describe vegetation that includes oak woodland, grassland, chaparral, riparian areas that changes seasonally along the river and temporal streams, as well as coniferous forests and Giant Sequoia groves. This is a special, and mostly unexplored place, with a river that drains mountains with giant Sequoias, foothills that lie adjacent to and beyond Cow Mountain, and includes the entire Tule River Indian Reservation. Slate Mountain is the eastern boundary of the lands, and to the west, Lake Success takes water from the three forks of the Tule River.

Slate Mountain is an ideal place for a floristic study because it represents a botanical black hole.  Access to the area by botanists has been previously limited as is the case with many tribal trust lands in California.  Poorly documented plant diversity on tribal lands, including the Tule River Reservation, speaks to the need for collaboration between Native American communities and interested plant and animal biologists. All benefit from exchange of knowledge, working together towards an improved understanding of the California flora.

As a graduate student in botany, Orozco’s interests lie in the floristics of the California flora. She is also interested in researching the relationships between people, culture and plants and how anthropogentic forces have influenced plant selection and  distribution of species. She is currently a Director-at Large for Southern California Botanists and is a student representative for botany on the graduate student council at Claremont Graduate University (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, CA). She currently a recipient of the Ford Fellowship and CNPS research grant.

For more information, call 559-561-1907.

Tule River © Jessica Orozo

Tule River Indian Reservatin © Jessica Orozco

photo © Jessica Orozco

[all photos © Jessica Orozco]

Fall Program Set for Saturday, September 19

“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”
presented by Bobby Kamansky, Biologist and Ecological Consultant

Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 7 pm

Meeting and Greeting at 6:30 pm
Three Rivers Arts Center
41673 North Fork Drive

This program is free and open to the public.

For this timely program, Three Rivers’ own Bobby Kamansky will be sharing his perspective and considerable experience on landscaping and restoring lands using California native plants. He will describe landscape methods and designs he has found that will minimize water use, while increasing drought resilience as well as beneficial insects, pollinators, birds and other desirable animals. Using various examples, he will compare, contrast and illustrate site concepts, plant color pallets and costs.  Applying these practical principles in many kinds of landscapes will conserve essential natural resources, while creating an appealing, sustainable and successful landscape in the increasingly challenging climate.

Kamansky, owner and principal biologist for Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting, has nearly twenty years of biological and ecological experience across a broad range of project complexities, habitats, communities and ecosystems on two continents.  Knowledgeable and passionate about all things natural in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and throughout the Central Valley, he has accumulated an impressive resume managing land planning projects, doing biological assessments and impact studies, research, restoration projects on a variety of habitats. His expertise includes planning for endangered species conservation and restoration, natural lands management and restoration, mapping, and natural resource interpretation.

NativeLandscape © Melanie KeeleyCalifornia Native Plant Garden Landscape” © Melanie Keeley

Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

October 3: Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

October 10: Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery

An Introduction to Phenology Workshop on Feb 28

An Introduction to Phenology Workshop:
Tracking plants to Detect Responses to Climate Change
Winter Program on Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 2 to 4:30 pm
Three Rivers Arts Center on North Fork Drive in Three Rivers

Ann Huber, a biologist with the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, will lead an introductory workshop about phenology, the study of the various seasonal developmental stages that plants and animals undergo, such as leafing and flowering, migration of birds, and emergence of insects.

Do you like to observe plants? Are you interested in how an observation, such as the first day that a lilac blooms, or how the first opening of a flower on a California buckeye tree, might help us understand how native plants respond to changes in climate? If you have ever noted a sycamore tree’s leaves changing color and dropping, you were making a phenological observation.

Paying attention to phenological changes is not a new phenomenon for people, but linking these observations in native plants to the current changes in climate that we are observing is a relatively new field. Scientists are looking for help from all corners of the globe with people observing plants. Much more is known about agricultural plants than native California species.

After about a one hour presentation, participants of this workshop will move outdoors to get hands on experience with Nature’s Notebook, a free online resource produced by the National Phenology Network.  When you participate in Nature’s Notebook, your observations are added to a national database that scientists and land managers can access for research and make better informed decisions about natural resources in their care.

You will also be introduced to the free resources available for observing native plants in our area via the California Phenology Project’s website. While it can serve a greater purpose, it’s also a lot of fun to observe nature!

Alta Peak Chapter programs are open to everyone.
Bring a hat, pencil, notepaper and clipboard.
Call 559-561-4562 for more information.

Directions to Three Rivers Arts Center: Go east on Highway 198 to Three Rivers. Turn left on North Fork Drive. Cross bridge over Kaweah River. The Arts Center is the first building on left.

National Phenology Project Website:


photo credit: Lynn Firpo “Observing a California Buckeye Tree in the Foothills”

Special Program: Landscaping with California Native Plants

Making the Switch:
Landscaping with California Natives
for Regional Beauty and Water Conservation

Friday, September 26, 2014, from 7-9 pm

Alta Peak Chapter Fall Program presented by Melanie Baer-Keeley
To be held at College of the Sequoias, 915 S. Mooney, Visalia
Program will be in the Hospital Rock Building, Room 134. Park in lot 4, North of the COS Theater.
You will need to buy a daily parking pass from a kiosk in the parking lot.
Link to COS campus map.

Consider this presentation a short-cut to transforming your yard into a beautiful, natural haven, that is low care and uses significantly less water. Become familiar with which of California’s many native species work well in the Central Valley’s hot, dry climate. Learn best practices for landscaping with them, whether you are integrating them into an existing garden, or removing your lawn and starting from scratch. Drought tolerant native plants will be colorfully illustrated, showing growth habit and desirable characteristics. Maximize your garden’s blooming seasons, create habitat for birds and butterflies, and learn simple, manageable landscaping principals to enable you to make the leap into a less stressful, more sustainable way of gardening.

Melanie Keeley has many years’ professional experience focused on a variety of aspects involving native plants: education, conservation, cultivation, propagation, landscaping and even botanical illustration. She is currently Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ horticulturist/botanist and is also the president of the Alta Peak Chapter,

For more information call 559-799-7438.

Photo © Cathy Capone

photo © Cathy Capone

Re-imagining the California Lawn and Garden
 Using California Native Plants

Alta Peak Chapter Fall Program
September 15 , 2012 at 7 pm

Presenter: Bart O’Brien
Horticulturalist and Director of Special Projects
at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont

Three Rivers Arts Center
Directions: east on Highway 198 to Three Rivers. Turn left on North Fork Drive (just before Anne Lang’s Emporium).The Arts Center is the first building on the left after crossing the bridge over Kaweah River.

Bart O’Brien is one of the authors of Reimagining the California Lawn, along with Carol Bornstein and David Fross. They are visionary horticulturalists, who also wrote the award-winning book California Native Plants for the Garden. In this program, he will share his passion for water-wise plants and landscapes to help us discover the many possibilities and pleasures that come with reimagining our California lawn and garden.

This talk will cover the basics of gardening with California native plants (What is a California native plant? Why should I be interested in growing these plants? Why are these plants different from the usual plants found in nurseries?) as well as providing examples of some of the most beautiful and useful native plants from some of our best gardens and landscapes. These spectacular plants are then showcased through the prism of our five senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound.


Bart O’Brien is Director of Special Projects at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in Claremont an educational institution dedicated to research, conservation, and horticulture of California. A fifth generation Californian, he is an authority on the native flora of the state and of northern Baja California, Mexico and is an accomplished collector, grower, photographer, lecturer, and author.

His most recent publication is a 514 page edit of a Percy Everett manuscript which was completed and published online earlier this year (2012) and is titled Second Summary of the Horticulture and Propagation of California Native Plants at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1950-1970. Bart’s ongoing work with the rivers of Los Angeles County resulted in the collaborative publication of the Los Angeles River Master Plan Landscaping Guidelines and Plant Palettes for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in 2004, and his Plant Lists for the San Gabriel River Watershed for the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy in 2007.

Bart was named Horticulturist of the Year in 2005 by the Southern California Horticultural Society. O’Brien was listed as one of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California” by the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times/West Magazine (Aug. 13, 2006). Bart was also editor of Fremontia, the journal of CNPS, from 2006 to 2009.

Also, Bart is currently working on a wide array of native plant projects, including the following:

• Leading the rare, endangered, and endemic vascular plants of northwestern Baja California, Mexico project (primarily funded by the Jiji Foundation; The project cooperators are: José Delgadillo Rodriquez, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, Mexico; Steve Junak, Herbarium Curator, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara; Thomas Oberbauer, Chief Land Use Planner, San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use, San Diego; Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany, San Diego Museum of Natural History, San Diego; Hugo Riemann, Departamento de Estudios Urbanos y del Medio Ambiente, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico; and Sula Vanderplank, Herbarium Collections Manager, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont).

• Co-curating (with John Wickham of the Theodore Payne Foundation, Carolyn Bennett, and Kitty Connolly of The Huntington) the exhibit When They Were Wild of California native plant folk art at The Huntington’s Boone Gallery in the spring of 2013.

Summer Program: Native Plant Restoration

“Native Plant Restoration 
in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks”

June 30 , 2012  10am to 2 pm
Presenter Melanie Baer-Keeley
, Restoration Horticulturist for the National Parks

Melanie will lead a tour of the Ash Mountain Native Plant Restoration Nursery facilities and give a talk on restoration projects within the Parks.  Bring a sack lunch, water and hat for lunch along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. 
The nursery is at an elevation of about 1700′, and the tour involves a short, slow, mild walk on roads and gravel (not handicapped accessible).  For lunch along the river, we will walk down a gentle 1/4 mile zig-zag trail that drops down about 300 feet. Most any ambulatory individual can make this short walk, taken at one’s own pace.

Directions: take Hwy 198 to Three Rivers, meet in the parking lot of the Three Rivers Memorial Building on the right hand side of the highway at 9:30 am. Please bring your Park Pass if you have one. We will carpool to the Ash Mountain Visitors Center, a short distance past the Park entrance station.

(photo by Melanie Keeley)

Winter Chapter Program: “A Cross Cultural Walk in Southern Chile: Agriculture and Wildflowers”

Join us on January 27 , 2012, at 7 pm for our Winter Program: “A Cross Cultural Walk in Southern Chile: Agriculture and Wildflowers” with presenter, Maria Ulloa
, Forest Planner for the Sequoia National Forest 
and Giant Sequoia National Monument in Porterville.

Originally from Vegas de Itata, province of Concepcion in southern Chile, for the last 30 plus years Ulloa has travelled back and forth to visit her family.  Each trip has been an opportunity to explore the countryside and its beautiful native flora and fauna.  Most photographs have been taken from Concepcion to Punta Arenas and Santiago to Valparaiso.

Chile is a long and narrow country on the southwest coast of South America and extends for approximately 2,800 miles (4,300 km) from north to south. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Andes Mountains. Central Chile has a Mediterranean climate with an extremely dry desert in the north (Atacama), a rainforest landscape to the south (Lakes Region), colder climate at the Strait of Magellan, and ice in Antarctica.

Continental Chile is isolated biologically on the north by the Atacama Desert, to the east by the Andes, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica to the south. Chile has 7 distinct climates that contain diverse vegetation types, including hyper arid desert, summer-dry scrublands (chaparral), the dry cold Puna of the high Andes, temperate rainforest in the Lakes Region, and Patagonian steppe in the Austral Region (Strait of Magellan). The Chilean flora includes about 5,082 species of vascular plants. Of these, 2,561 are endemic to Chile. High endemism is due to the presence of habitats with distinctively different conditions where plants cannot migrate from one location to another and are forced to evolve independently within that particular habitat.

More about Maria Ulloa:  She has a B.S. in Agronomy and Soils from Washington State University, and postgraduate education in Botany from California State University, Chico.  She has 25 years of experience with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management mostly as a Botanist. She has worked on the Clearwater, Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity, and Siskiyou National Forests and the Colorado Plateau of Southeastern Utah for the Utah State Office of the BLM.  She has been on the Sequoia for the last two years. Her favorite activities are botanizing and hiking.  She says, “It takes, me a long time to reach my destination if wildflowers are visible.”

The meeting will be held at the Conference Room in the Student Center at Porterville College. Directions: take the College exit off of Hwy 190, after entering into the College, park towards the western end of the lot, and there will be a sign to the Student Center building.

Annual Native Plant Sale and Fall Program on Fire Safe Gardens

The Alta Peak Chapter will have its annual Native Plant Sale at the Three Rivers Arts Center on October 1, 2011, from 9 am to 1 pm. The Plant Sale will be in the backyard of the Arts Center, where it has been held for many years. Chapter members can pre-order plants at a 10% discount using the plant order form recently mailed out with the Fall Chapter Newsletter. If you need an extra form, you can download a pdf file here. The deadline for submitting a pre-order is September 19, 2011. Call Janet Fanning at 559-561-3461 for more information.

The Fall Program will also be held on October 1, 2011, at 2 pm inside the Arts Center.  Melanie Keeley, the Restoration Horticulturalist for Sequoia National Park will speak on “Planning, Planting and Maintaining 
your Native Landscape for Fire Safety”. Having a fire-safe landscape is a responsibility that comes with living in the hot, arid foothill regions of California.  While it is true that the life cycle of some California native plants are adapted to fire, it is important to retain, but manage native vegetation.

These plants perform essential functions such as watershed protection, slope stabilization, wildlife food and cover, as well as give unique character and beauty to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Proper maintenance in mature gardens and sound planning of new plantings can reduce the risk of fire not only to our own properties, but those of our neighbors.

Fire Safe Garden
at the Cal Fire Station in Three Rivers.
(Photo by Marcia Goldstein)

The 5th Annual Green Faire will be held inside the Arts Center, organized by the group that puts together the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend (TREW), that calls themselves the TREW Crew.

Alta Peak Chapter Program
: Native Plants in the Urban Garden

“Native Plants in the Urban Garden”
presented by Cathy Capone
April 16, 2011 at 11 am
Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville

Our Chapter program is combined with an all day open house at the Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville. As part of our recognition of California Native Plant Week, a new annual observance Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California for the third week of April, Cathy Capone will open her native plant nursery and demonstration garden in Porterville for a CNPS tour, from 10:30-3 pm. This could serve as an introduction to how our local natives look in garden settings.

The Chapter Program starts at 11 am, when Cathy will talk about how to mix native plants within an urban garden framework. Using natives, as minimal to low water use plants, can create a wildlife friendly, low maintenance garden. Cathy will conclude her program with a guided tour of the nursery. She will be on hand all during the day to answer questions about growing and propagating native plants.

Plants and CNPS books and posters will be available for sale.

Bring a sack lunch and spend time with friends on the patio. Coffee, tea, and lemonade will be provided. Children are welcome, however, there isn’t a child safe play yard, so supervision is needed. Please park on the street, as there is limited on site parking.

806 W. Westfield Ave in Porterville
Traveling on Hwy 65 through Porterville, take Henderson Ave exit, turn left. Travel east on Henderson 1/4 mile, turn left on Indiana. Go 1/2 mile to the end of Indiana. Indiana stops at Westfield Avenue. House is directly across intersection, with white block fence and tall trees. Please park on the street.
Call 559-361-9164 for more information.

Chapter Winter Program…postponed.

The Alta Peak Chapter usually has its Chapter Winter Program in February. But, due to family health issues from two prospective speakers, we have decided to postpone the meeting. A newsletter will be published later in February.  Planning is in the works for a special field trip day to the Porterville native plant nursery run by Alta Peak Chapter Horitculture Chair, Cathy Capone. Details about this event will be posted on this website later, as well as printed in the newsletter.

Fall Chapter Program

October 2, 2010

What’s Cooking in the Foothills 600 Years Ago?
Native Americans and Our Local Native Plants

Presented by Mary Gorden*

Starts at 2 pm at the Three Rivers Arts Center.
Turn left on North Fork Drive, from Hwy 198.
Arts Center is first building on the left.

Have you ever wondered if you could survive without all the comforts you now enjoy? It is hard to imagine what life was like many years ago. Six hundred years ago the people in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills lived a comfortable life. Historic evidence indicates that hunter-gatherers did about everything that farmers do. They probably didn’t work as hard.

At this time the locals were tribes who each spoke a dialect of the Yokuts language and lived in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Their neighbors, the Monache, who lived higher in the mountains, were a cultural mix of Shoshone-Piute and Yokuts speakers. We will take a brief glimpse at their technology and lifestyle as recorded by ethnographers at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Their technology was sophisticated and complex. The women’s skillful weaving ranks them among the best basket makers in the world. Their knowledge of plants was extensive and is useful to us today because native plants are better suited to our environment.

In 1918 C. H. Merriam, a biologist, stated that everyone should be eating acorn because of its high nutritive value. John Muir often carried acorn bread on his tramps through the mountains because it was the most compact and nutritious food he had ever eaten. Besides acorns, the natives ate a wide variety of plant foods. We will look at how women prepared and stored plant foods and medicines.

In addition, we will calculate the amount of plant material it would take to make a house, baby cradles and other items. While we cannot return to a hunter-gather way of life, we can appreciate the knowledge, ingenuity and technical skill that the Native Americans in the foothills and mountains displayed.

*Speaker, Mary Gorden is a retired teacher who taught elementary and high school, in addition to college classes for teachers in history and archaeology. The class on Native Plants and Their Uses was the product of her research of early ethnographers in the San Joaquin Valley who recorded the culture of the Native Americans. Mary also worked as an archaeological assistant for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. She is particularly interested in San Joaquin Valley Yokuts’ cultures and the conservation of historic and prehistoric sites in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and foothills. One project was the restoration of one of Shorty Lovelace’s cabins in the Sierra National Forest.

Mary has been active in volunteer site monitoring and recording in conjunction with the South Sierra Archaeology Society. She has served three terms on the Bureau of Land Management Regional Resource Advisory Committee as the representative for historical and archaeological interests.  She is a recipient of the President’s award for volunteer contributions to the Bureau of Land Management. She is active in the Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth.


This program is held in conjunction with the Green Faire, part of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend.

Interesting Native American sites:
The National American Indian Museum is part of the Smithsonian, also on facebook.

Deborah Small’s ethnobotany blog.

Grinding rose petals and rose hips to make a tea, from article about Native Plants for Food and Medicine Class.