Long Meadow Field Trip in Sequoia National Park

June 25, 2016, at 12 Noon
All Chapter field trips are free and open to everyone.

Long Meadow in Sequoia National Park © Elsah Cort
photo by Elsah Cort

Take a stroll with National Park Service Plant Ecologist, Erik Frenzel around Long Meadow (in the Wolverton area). Long Meadow is at 7,250 ft elevation, two miles north of the General Sherman tree in Giant Forest. This is one of the most gentle and botanically lovely walks in the front country of Sequoia National Park. The trail is flat to moderately sloping for less than two miles, looping around the open Long Meadow, with shaded portions that dip into the surrounding upper mixed conifer forest. Along the way, the group will catalogue the plants that are discovered and learn about the ecology of the meadow.

For directions, it’s best to follow the park map that is given at the Ash Mountain entrance station of Sequoia National  Park. Be prepared to pay $30 entrance fee if you do not have an annual pass. The Wolverton turn off is two miles north of the General Sherman Tree. The drive to Wolverton from then entrance station to Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park takes about 45-60 minutes.

Meet at 12 noon on the deck of the Wolverton snack shop (closed) that overlooks the meadow, where we will gather for lunch (bring your own). The guided walk will begin after lunch, around 12:30 pm.  This is a field trip for all ages and is open to everyone. Bring sack lunch, water, hat and sunscreen.

If possible, please RSVP to Ginger Bradshaw, by email at gingerbradshaw936@gmail.com
or by phone at 559-827-7604.

DIY Native Landscaping Workshop

Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 9 am-12:30 pm
College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA*
Presented by:
Melanie Keeley, Native Plant Specialist, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Cathy Capone, former owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville

NativeLandscape © Melanie Keeley
photo by Melanie Keeley

The traditional garden of expansive lawns, lolly-popped shrubs, and sporadic trees is a thing of the past.  With California’s unprecedented drought, it is time for a beautiful new model.   California native plants not only use a fraction of the water that typical gardens do, they are attractive and colorful as well.  In this class, designed for native plant novices, we will help you learn 1) how to ditch your lawn, 2) how to select tried and true native plants, 3) how to combine them for maximum effect and 4) how to design your own drought tolerant native garden.   With a plan in place, you can landscape your garden in manageable steps. This is a great opportunity to transition from a high care, water indulgent garden into a natural, sustainable low water use, beautiful garden.

Registration fee:  CNPS members – $40, Non-members – $50
Note: By joining the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society at this time, you will also be eligible to pre-order native plants, at a 10% discount, prior to our October 1 Annual Fall Plant Sale.

Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited.
Call 559-799-7438 for registration, as well as questions.
*Directions to location will be given at time of registration.

Field Trip and Rare Plant Treasure Hunt on Lewis Hill Preserve

Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 10 – 1 pm

Co-Sponsored by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust
and the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society

Field Trip Leader: Fletcher Linton, Sequoia National Forest Botanist

Lewis Hill Preserve © Sequoia Riverlands Trust

The open grasslands and blue oak woodlands of the southern Sierra Nevada foothills provide critical habitat for many native plants, along with two exceptional rare wildflowers at Lewis Hill Preserve. In 1994, the Hawkins family donated this property north of Porterville to the Kern River Research Center. Six years later, the title transferred to the Tule Oaks Land Trust, which later merged with Sequoia Riverlands Trust.

Enjoy the rare opportunity to visit this property which is mostly an annual grassland with many varieties of wildflowers that are blooming this time of year including golden stars (Triteleia ixiodes), and Ithuriel’s spear (Triteleia laxa) and two rare plants, the exquisite and fragrant striped adobe lily (Fritillaria striata) and the San Joaquin adobe sunburst (Pseudobahia piersonii). Both of these rare species are very difficult to find anywhere else in Tulare County. On the way up the hill we will put markers down where we find these elusive flowers. Alta Peak Chapter Rare Plant Team leaders, Ann Huber and Mary Merriman, will be on hand to assist in documenting the sighting of these rare plants on the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt survey forms to be turned into the State Office of CNPS.

The walk is moderate in difficulty due to the rocky ground and steep hill (700 ft), but only about one mile round trip. Bring water, snacks, sun hat and sunscreen as needed. CNPS field trips are free and open to the public.

At the end of the walk Sequoia Riverlands Trust participants can enjoy flying the kites in the breezes found on the top of the hill. Bring your own kite.

Directions: Going South on Highway 65 (towards Porterville), turn left at the Strathmore exit. Travel east several miles and turn right (south) at Avenue 256.  Lewis Hill is near the top of the grade on the right. Park along side of the road.

For more information contact Ann Huber at 559-561-4562.

Wildflowers on Lewis Hill Preserve © Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Lewis Hill Preserve © Sequoia Riverlands Trust

All photographs © Sequoia Riverlands Trust

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.
See jessicaorozco.wordpress.com

Tule River © Jessica Orozo

Tule River Indian Reservatin © Jessica Orozco

photo © Jessica Orozco

[all photos © Jessica Orozco]

Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery on October 10

Saturday, October 10, 2015
8 am to late afternoon

, meet at Nursery at 9:30 am

Harvest Festival at Intermountain Nursery
30443 Auberry Road
Prather, California

Meet to carpool at 8 am at Mary’s Vineyard Shopping Mall (near the McDonald’s)
at 1447 E. Noble Ave, Visalia at the Ben Maddox exit off Highway 198

In lieu of the annual Alta Peak Chapter’s native plant sale, which will return October, 2016, a special field trip is slated to visit Intermountain Nursery in Prather, one of the best Central Valley located places to find quality California native plants. A vast selection of well grown native plants, naturally adapted for drought-tolerant landscapes, will be available. The field trip coincides with the annual Harvest Arts and Peace Festival at the Nursery and will include music, art, fine crafts and artisan foods.

Alta Peak Chapter members will be with the group to answer questions about growing native plants. The nursery sales staff will also be on hand to answer questions and will help in selecting the right plant for the right place.

The group will carpool  from Visalia to Prather or participants may choose to meet at the  Nursery at about 9:30 am.  Although the Harvest Festival actually starts at 10 am, the Chapter has been invited by the owners, Ray Laclergue and Bonnie Bladen, to arrive any time after 8:30 am. Please allow room in your vehicle for any plants that may be purchased at the nursery.

This Field Trip is free and open to anyone. A map to the Nursery can be found here.  For information about the field trip, call 559-799-7438.

Intermountain Nursery[nursery grounds, photo via intermountainnursery.com]

Intermountain Nursery[herb garden, photo via intermountainnursery.com]

Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

September 19: Chapter Fall Program
“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”

October 3: Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic on October 3


presented by Cathy Capone, Horticulture Chair for Alta Peak Chapter
and Melanie Keeley, Restoration Horticulturalist for Sequoia National Park

Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 9-12 noon
Three Rivers Union School
41932 Sierra Drive (Hwy 198), Three Rivers

Growing plants in this arid, hot climate is definitely challenging, but California native plants are proven survivors!  To help plan a beautiful, drought-tolerant, low care native garden, the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is offering a colorfully illustrated, DIY native plant landscape design workshop. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn how to landscape any yard in a low care, sustainable, practical way. With a simple planting plan in place, the landscaping process can be done in manageable steps or phases.

Native plant experts, Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone, together with a combined thirty year experience in growing California native plants, will share information about the most colorful, showy, and popular native plants, including planting, care and maintenance principles. Learn ways to combine plants in a new landscape for the longest possible flowering. The landscaping workshop will guide participates in designing individual native plant gardens.

Participants are encouraged to bring photographs of existing landscapes, a rough sketch of the area to be landscaped with specific dimensions, noting sun and shade exposure, special features and concerns. The instructors will provide native plant and landscaping expertise, graph paper, pencils, beverages and snacks.

Registration fee:
$40 for members of the California Native Plant Society
$50 for non-members
Workshop size is limited and reservations are required.
Call 559.799.7438 to register.

Native Plants © Melanie Keeley[Native plant landscape with deer grass and buckwheat © Melanie Keeley]

Urban Native Plant Garden Design

[sample of a garden design for an urban setting via cnps.org]

Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

September 19: Chapter Fall Program
“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”

October 10: Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery

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

Mineral King Field Trip on September 12

Cold Springs Trail view, Mineral King, Sequoia National Park © Denise Griegophoto credit: © Denise Griego

On Saturday, September 12, 2015, join the Alta Peak Chapter for a leisurely hike along the Cold Springs Nature Trail in Mineral King, Sequoia National Park.  The field trip leader will be Interpretive Park Ranger, Josh Schultz. Participants will explore this beautiful Alpine Valley and learn about the unique challenges it presents to the plants that call it home. The aspen trees will be changing color and the group will be able to enjoy a touch of autumn in the air.

Cold Springs Nature Trail is two miles long with no significant elevation change at around 7,800 ft. It is a dirt surface with a few rocky areas. The walk will be about one and one half hours. Meet at the Cold Springs Bridge at 12:30 pm and the field trip will begin at 1 pm.

California Native Plant Society field trips are free and open to anyone. Bring lunch or a snack, water, a jacket as it may be chilly, a magnifying loop and favorite plant guide.

Directions to Cold Springs Trail: Follow highway 198 east towards the Sequoia Park entrance.  About two miles before you enter the main park, you will see a sign on your right for Mineral King Road. It will indicate 26 miles to Mineral King.The road is very narrow, winding and poorly paved in places. A few sections are still dirt. It will take about an hour and one half to reach Cold Springs from the turn off at the junction of 198.

To join a carpool, meet at the Three Rivers Veterans’ Memorial Building lower parking lot at 10:30 am. The Memorial Building is on Highway 198 at the eastern end of Three Rivers. Drive east, past the Three Rivers Elementary School on the right, past the Baptist Church, also on the right and continue east on Highway 198 for a few minutes. Drive past Reimer’s Candy, a big red shop on the left and past the closed We Three Bakery on the right. Just past the Community Presbyterian Church sign and driveway, on the right, look for a “buckwheat hedge” with rust colored flowers and behind that, a large parking lot as well as a marquee announcing the Veterans’ Memorial Building, which is also host to one of several community California Native Plant gardens.

For more information, contact Shelley Quaid, Alta Peak Field Trip Chair, at 559-623-4233.

View from Cold Springs Trail in MIneral King in Sequoia National © Denise Griegophoto credit: © Denise Griego

Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

***UPDATE: This clinic has been cancelled for the previous dates.
The new dates will be announced soon. ***

photo by Melanie Keeley[photo by Melanie Keeley]

Growing plants in our arid, hot climate is challenging and native plants are proven survivors! To help you plan your own beautiful, drought tolerant, low-care garden, we are offering a DIY native plant landscape design clinic. This workshop is a great opportunity to beautify your yard in a sensible, sustainable, practical way. Our native plant experts, Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone (combined 30 year experience growing California native plants), will teach you the most colorful, showy, and popular native plants; planting, care and maintenance principles; ways to combine plants in your new landscape for the longest possible flowering.

Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic
Dates to be announced

College of the Sequoias in Visalia
915 S Mooney Blvd, Room # 13
CNPS members $30, non-members $45
Enrollment is limited and reservations are required.
To register or for more info, contact Melanie Keeley, 559-799-7438
(Details on location will be given with registration)

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: usanpn.org


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

Annual Native Plant Sale on October 4

The Alta Peak Chapter will have its annual native plant sale on Saturday, October 4, 2014. The hours are from 9:30 to 3 pm, with a special early bird half hour for CNPS members only starting at 9 am. The plant sale will be held in the Three Rivers Arts Center on North Fork Drive. Heading east on Highway 198, turn left at North Fork Drive. Watch for plant sale sign right before Anne Lang’s Emporium. The Arts Center is the first building on the left.

CNPS members can pre-order plants with a 10% discount. Pre-order forms are due by September 22. Download order form HERE. Call Janet Fanning for order information at 559-561-3461.

Photo © Cathy Capone

photo © Cathy Capone



Field Trip: High Meadow in Giant Forest

On June 14, 2014, at 12 noon, take a stroll with National Park Service botanist, Erik Frenzel, and  plant ecologist, Ann Huber, along Long Meadow (in the Wolverton area). This is one of the most gentle and botanically lovely walks in the front country of Sequoia National Park. The trail is flat to moderately sloping for less than two miles, looping around the open Long Meadow, with shaded portions that dip into the surrounding upper mixed conifer forest. Along the way, the group will catalogue the plants that are discovered and begin a plant list for Long Meadow. After the walk, those who want to continue the botanical adventure will visit Dorst Campground to monitor the rare sunflower Hulsea brevifolia (Short-leaved Hulsea).

The meeting spot will be on the deck of the Wolverton snack shop (now closed) that overlooks the meadow. Gather here for lunch (bring your own) at 12 noon. The guilded walk will begin after lunch, around 12:30 pm. This is a field trip for all ages and is open to everyone.  Long Meadow is at 7,250 ft elevation, two miles north of the General Sherman tree in Giant Forest.

Those people who are interested in carpooling can meet at 10:45 am at the Three Rivers Memorial Building on Highway 198 in Three Rivers. If you decide to drive to Wolverton on your own, follow the signs on the Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park.  The Wolverton turn off is two miles north of the General Sherman Tree. The drive to Wolverton from the Ash Mountain entrance station to Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park takes about 45-60 minutes (maybe longer if there is road construction). For directions, it’s best to follow the park map that is given at the entrance station of the park. Be prepared to pay the $20 entrance fee to the park if you do not have an annual pass.

Bring sack lunch, water, hat and sunscreen as needed.

A special group campsite has been reserved for Saturday night, if you are interested. Please RSVP by June 7 to Ann Huber at ahuberdas@gmail.com or call 559-561-4562

High Meadow in Giant Forest, © Elsah Cort[photo © Elsah Cort]

Design and Plan a Native Plant Garden

Native Plant Garden Design Clinic

Held from 9-12 noon, choose from two dates, either
September 14, 2013 in Three Rivers
or September 28, 2013 in Porterville

The clinics will be taught jointly by Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone.
Keeley is the Restoration Horticulturalist for Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks.
Capone is owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville.

Pre-registration is required for clinics. Class size is limited.

To register for September 14, call 559-799-7438.
To register for September 28, call 559-361-9164.
CNPS members $10, non-members $25
California Poppy © Melanie Keeley[photo © Melanie Keeley]

Growing plants in our extreme climate is challenging and our amazing California native plants are proven survivors!  Having a simple planting plan with compatible plant selections will help make your landscape a beautiful success.  This workshop is a great opportunity to make progress in beautifying your surroundings, while creating bird and butterfly habitat in a natural and sustainable way. With a plan in place, you can break down the landscaping process into manageable steps or phases.

You will be introduced to a basic palette of native plants, and then you will be able combine them for compatibility and longest possible flowering.  Relevant and informative reference books and posters will also be available to purchase during each clinic. Plants will be available for sale at the Chapter’s Annual Native Plant Sale on October 5 at the Three Rivers Arts Center from 9:30 am to 3 pm.

Bring the following items (as best you can):

  • photos of the existing landscape
  • rough sketch of area to be landscaped, with a directional “North Arrow”, dimensions, noting sun and shade exposure and special features or concerns
  • soil sample (1/4 cup)

The Chapter will supply:

  • native plant and landscape design expertise
  • graph paper and pencils
  • beverages and snacks

Melanie Keeley has had a breadth of professional experience over the past twenty-five years, working on varied aspects of California native plants.  As restoration horticulturalist, she currently runs the Ash Mountain Native Plant Nursery at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where she oversees the production of plants used to revegetate approximately two dozen parks-wide restoration projects.

As an independent consultant, Keeley has specialized in the cultivation and propagation of California native plants.  Some of the contracts she has undertaken include planning, supervising, and monitoring land restoration projects, floristic and surveys, education, interpretation, freelance author, and nursery development. With the Redbud Garden Club, she assisted with the design and installation of five public native plant gardens in Three Rivers. You can see these gardens at the Three Rivers Post Office, the Veterans Memorial Building, the CAL Fire Station, the Tulare County Fire Station and the Three Rivers Public Library. Keeley is currently President of the Alta Peak Chapter.

Cathy Capone is the owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville, which she started in the late 1990’s. Her interest in gardening began early in life where gardening in the sand dune soils of the Sunset District of San Francisco was easy but much different than the Central Valley and Foothills. She completed coursework in arboriculture at Canada College. Extended time spent in the coastal redwood forests, both as a resident and later as a naturalist at an outdoor education camp, provided a native plant aesthetic to her landscape knowledge.

After moving to Porterville, Capone became actively involved with the Tule River Parkway Association and held the position of President of the association for a decade. During this time the need for locally specific native plants became apparent.  She has written and managed a number of grants for tree planting and small park development

Annual Native Plant Sale in Three Rivers

Saturday, October 5, 2013
from 9:30 am to 3 pm
(Head start for California Native Plant Society members: Doors open at 9 am)
Admission is free and open to the public.

beautify your surroundings
create a bird and butterfly habitat
make a water-wise garden

Cal Native Plant Photos © Melanie Keeley

Now in its twentieth year, the sale will held inside the Three Rivers Arts Center located just over the bridge on North Fork Drive in Three Rivers. Follow signs on Highway 198 to turn on North Fork Drive (Anne Lang’s Emporium is on the corner.)

10% Discount on plants for pre-orders made by September 16
for California Native Plant Society members only.
Download pre-order form here.
Call Janet Fanning at 559-561-3461 for questions about pre-orders.


In addition to a great selection of California native plants from Cal Natives Nursery and Intermountain Nursery, the Chapter will be offering a wide variety of inspiring books on topics related to native plants, wildlife and habitat gardening, natural history, regional plant identification….so, stop, shop and enjoy our book sale on Saturday as well. Volunteer horticultural experts will be on hand for questions and to give helpful advice.

The Chapter also needs volunteers to help, on Friday, October 4, at 10 am to unload and set up plants, and on Saturday during the sale itself. Please call Melanie Keeley, at 559-799-7438, to join the volunteer list.

While California’s native plants have graced gardens worldwide for over a century, few of the landscapes designed for our state’s gardens reflect the natural splendor for which California is famous. By gardening with native plants, you can bring the beauty of California into your own landscape while also receiving numerous benefits. Native vegetation has evolved to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. This long process brings us several gardening advantages:

  • Save Water: 
Once established, many native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
  • Low Maintenance:
 Low maintenance landscaping methods are a natural fit with native plants that are already adapted to the local environment. Look forward to using less water, little to no fertilizer, little to no pesticides, less pruning, and less of your time.
  • Pesticide Freedom: 
Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and watersheds.
  • Wildlife Viewing: 
Native plants, birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and interesting critters are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife prefers native plants.
  • Support Local Ecology: 
As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with California natives can provide a “bridge” to nearby remaining wildlands.

The California Native Plant Society, through its nearly 10,000 members and 33 regional chapters, has been working to represent the public’s interest in protecting California’s beautiful native plants and their habitats since 1965. Run by professional staff and volunteers, CNPS is a 501(c)3 organization active in promoting public education about native plants and the use of sound plant science in advocating for conservation of natural areas throughout the State of California. To learn more about CNPS, please visit our website at cnps.org.

Annual Native Plant Sale on October 6

Download Pre-Order form at this link.

Can you help the Chapter to share the gift of growing natives?
October 6 , 2012 from 10-4 pm*
(*or until all plants are sold)

CNPS members will be allowed into the plant sale 
for the first hour, from 9-10 am.

The Chapter’s Annual Native Plant Sale will be held in the backyard of the Three Rivers Arts Center. You will find an enclosed pre-order form, with a discount given to Chapter members. We do our best to fill the pre-orders, but sometimes plants are not available from the nurseries as the plant sale gets closer. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Volunteers are needed to help set up the plant sale on Friday, October 5 at 10 am. Cathy Capone and Melanie Keeley will be the leaders for this important task. Cathy will be arranging the plants and Melanie will be making sure all the ordered plants are on the truck from Intermountain Nursery. We will also have plants from Cathy’s nursery in Porterville, Cal Natives. We are so fortunate to have these two wonderful nurseries supplying us with locally grown native plants.

Janet Fanning will be in charge of all pre-orders and sales. Please call Janet, at 559-561-3461, for more information or to volunteer for the Native Plant Sale on Saturday. Please join us!

Green Faire is coming on October 6

Alta Peak Chapter will be the sponsor and organizer for the 6th Annual Green Faire, that will be held in conjunction with the native plant sale at the Three Rivers Arts Center. Environmental groups and non-profit organizations may have a complimentary table/booth to share information with the public.

Artists and crafts persons are invited to sell their work in booths, both inside, outside, and in part of the parking lot of the Arts Center.  Artwork can be in any media but must be inspired by the natural world, or be made from recycled materials, or reflect aspects of environmental concern. Booth sizes are variable and not necessarily the standard 10 x 10 ft square. Booths are available both inside the Arts Center and outside, in the front yard and part of the parking lot.  The Green Faire will also be part of the First Saturday arts event that day. Booth fee is $10, payable to CNPS. No percentage of sales is required.

Deadline for booth registration is September 28, and must done by calling Elsah Cort at 559-561-4671. Booths must remain open from 9-4 pm.


Green Home Tour: Sunday, October 7
Tours start at 12 noon and at 1 pm

Five special sites, located throughout Three Rivers, are on the Green Home Tour, which is now in its 6th year and is part of the Annual National Solar Tour. Each location showcases active or passive solar powered, incorporate recycled materials, earth forms and other natural materials.  One site is a multi-purpose garage, gym, and yoga studio built to Leed gold certification. A 6.5 KW solar system is mounted on the roof, and a west facing green living wall helps cool the space, and is a lovely hanging garden. Besides being innovative, all the sites are quite beautiful. Reservations are required for the two tours, one starting at 12 noon and the other at 1 pm. The groups will carpool to the locations.

Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple.
Call the Tour Organizer, Mona Selph, at 559-561-4676 to reserve a place.
Proceeds go to the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund for assisting with our local issues.

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.

Summer Field Trips

For all Alta Peak Chapter  field trips, hikes, and walks, bring your own water, whatever food you want, sun hat, and sun screen.  The elevation for these summer field trip sites is around 7-9000  feet.

For more information call field trip leader, Joan Stewart, at 539-2717.

June 11: Jordan Peak
If, and this is big question, the North Road is open, and snow is mostly off ground, this would be  time to see the Erythronium in bloom, in addition to 40-50 other plants along the trail. People come from far and wide to see this lily, one of several in genus, each found only on its own mountain top, along the Sierra crest. The climb from trailhead is just over 2 miles. The peak is about 9100 feet elevation. As in former years, we meet at 10 am at the junction of North Road and the end of Highway 190, just beyond Quaking Meadow turnout.

July 9: Meadows along North Road
Some of Joan’s favorite plant/flower wanderings are in and around meadows that lie along North Road.  Each different, each special for one or another reason.  We’ll again meet at 10 am and carpool from the junction mentioned for Jordan Peak, about 24 miles from Springville.

August 6: Nobe Young Meadow
Nobe Young Meadow is historically significant as a site used by early horseback Forest Service high country rangers. It is found off Western Divide Highway about eight miles beyond the North Road junction, about 1.4 miles up Crawford Road, west of the Western Divide Highway.  Joan has spectacular color photos of this meadow from previous visits.

photo by Cathy Capone

Alta Peak Chapter Field Trips for Spring 2011

Read the details and dates for the Chapter’s field trips planned, so far, on this field trip calendar.

Call Joan Stewart, at 539-2717, to confirm details 
about each field trip, like where to meet at 10 am.

Summer Field Trips at higher elevations will be planned for June and July, and will be featured in our next newsletter coming out in late May. An up-to-date field trip schedule will be posted on the this website as field trips are scheduled.

Children’s Field Trips:Making a Nature Treasure Map

The Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is offering two special Spring field trips for children, inspired by the wonderful, new CNPS curriculum, “Opening the World Through Nature Journaling”, created by John Muir Laws and Emily Bruenig.

Saturday, March 5, 2011
and/or Saturday, April 2, 2011
from 9 am to 12 noon
Case Mountain BLM land in Three Rivers
Led by Elsah Cort, with Joan Stewart

Each child will be given a “nature sketch journal” and a pencil to document the nature walk, creating a map of their own discoveries as they hike, with thumbnail sketches to capture quick notes. They will construct a map of treasures found along a trail as we walk and stop and look.

Unlike other activities that are done in one spot, the treasure map is made along the trail while hiking and stopping in several places. The group will move slowly along the trail, looking for interesting nature discoveries that the kids can map as they go, with quick sketches and inventing place names along the way.

These field trips are designed to encourage children to notice nature up close, and drawing skills are not emphasized at all. The curriculum was developed by Jack Laws, who was the enthusiastically received Alta Peak Chapter program speaker at the Green Faire in October of 2009, in collaboration with Emily Breunig, an English and writing instructor.

Any local artist, botanist or plant lover who would like to volunteer with the children for these outings can contact Elsah Cort. More treasure mapping field trips may be planned for the summer at higher elevations in Sequoia National Park, and in the Autumn for observing nature in other seasons.

This interdisciplinary combination of art, science, writing, and observation exemplifies the California Native Plant Society’s goals in creating educational programs: to engage students of all ages in the incredible natural world of California, to inspire them to keen observations of the wild places in their own backyards, and to foster in them a desire to protect these unique habitats.

Reservations are required for these field trips, so the Chapter can make sure each child receives a nature journal. The age limit for these field trips are from 7-12 years. Adults are welcome to come with their child. It is suggested that each child bring a hat, a knapsack, drinking water, and snacks or a sack lunch. Each child will receive an artist’s sketch journal, pencil and eraser. They should wear long pants, or jeans, and good walking shoes. Optional items could include a small magnifying glass, their favorite pencils and a portable pencil sharpener. The group leader will have some magnifying glasses and pencil sharpeners to loan. Also, make sure that the kids have a bathroom break before the meeting time of 10 am.

Meet at the end of Skyline Drive in Three Rivers, at the gate to the BLM property. Park on the side of the road, being careful not to block private driveways or the right of way for traffic. Please carpool if you can.

Call Elsah Cort at 559-561-4671 to reserve a space and field journal for your child. Each field trip will be limited to 15 children, so sign up early.

More educational resources can be found on the CNPS website at http://cnps.org/cnps/education/resources.php.

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.

A new native plant children’s curriculum…

“Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts”, a curriculum written for CNPS by John Muir Laws and Emily Brueunig, teaches children to become keen observers of the natural world by drawing and writing about the plants and animals in situ. In a set of nested exercises, students use games to gain confidence in drawing and writing as a way to gather information. Later, they employ these skills to put together a field guide, make treasure maps, and to write short stories and poems. John Muir Laws says,

“Keeping a field journal develops and reinforces the most important science process skills; observation and documentation. All other parts of the process of science depend on these skills. We assume that we are naturally good observers, but learning to really see is a skill that must be learned and developed. Journal activities tie directly to the State of California science framework content standards and the visual and performing arts framework content standards.”

We would like to know who uses the material and how it is used for grant and goal purposes. In the near future, we will send you a request to evaluate the curriculum after using it. For this reason we request your email address. CNPS will not share your email address with other organizations or entities.

Questions? Please contact CNPS Education Program Director, Josie Crawford, at jcrawford@cnps.org or (916) 447-2677 ext 205.

Alta Peak Chapter would love to have someone join our board who would like to help schedule some children’s events, like special field trips geared just for kids.
Contact us
if you feel a nudge about this. You don’t have to be a plant expert, just someone who knows how to make some phone calls and organize a little calendar of events.

Learn about Sierra Alpine Plants…

One of the programs in the Sequoia Speaks Series, presented by the National Park Service.

Taking the Long View: park biologists and citizen scientists working together to monitor alpine plant communities
Saturday, February 19, 2011 from 7-8 pm
Three Rivers Arts Center on North Fork Drive

Join Sequoia Park Plant Ecologist, Sylvia Haultain, on a stunning photographic tour of the plants and animals that live above treeline. She will highlight the parks’ participation in the international Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments (GLORIA) network and the newly established High Sierra monitoring sites in the Mt. Langley area. Discover an exciting new program that engages you, citizen scientists, in documenting changes in the timing of life cycle events of local plants. Your observations can contribute to our understanding of local climate change effects.

For more information, please call 559-565-4212.

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.

Yokohl Valley Revisted

Running from January 13-February 26, local artists, interested in the future of Yokohl Valley, have contributed artwork to a new exhibit at the Tulare Historical Museum.

“Storm Over Yokohl Valley” © Mona Fox Selph

The exhibit will include various media including oil, acrylic, watercolor, photographs and sculpture. All entries will relate in some way to Yokohl Valley.

The exhibit follows a similar show held at Arts Visalia in 2009 intended to bring attention to development plans for Yokohl Valley, located in the Sierra foothills east of Exeter. The J.G Boswell Company wants to build Yokohl Ranch, a 36,000-acre project to be developed in stages with a planned community of 10,000 homes, golf courses, parks and a reservoir.

Mona Fox Selph, a Three Rivers artist, attended an informational meeting on the project in 2008. She became very concerned and wanted to raise awareness about the plans for Yokohl Valley. She organized the first show at Arts Visalia, “Views of Yokohl Valley,” with help from Carol Clum, Laurie Schwaller and Shirley Blair Keller. “It was well attended and received,” Fox Selph said. “I felt that the idea needed to be repeated at other locations so that more people could think about the issue and the impact development would have.” The Tulare City Historical Society, which operates the Tulare Historical Museum, has not taken a position on the Yokohl Ranch development.

Call 559-686-2074 for more information.

For more information about the Yokohl Valley project contact Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth.