Spring Scholarship Applications Due April 1
The Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (Milo Baker) is looking to support students who are interested in learning about native plants or are engaged in study and/or research relating to native plant conservation, restoration, or other native plant studies.
Milo Baker provides two types of scholarships: a merit scholarship for educational expenses and a research scholarship to provide funding for research-related expenses. Awards are open to current and incoming students of Sonoma State University or Santa Rosa Junior College. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate a focus on Sonoma County flora or issues affecting plant communities of Sonoma County.
For more information and to apply, please visit the Scholarship page on our website.
News from the Nursery
Vine Hill manzanita now live in the wild in 3 locations; not just 1
– Betty Young, Milo Baker Nursery Chair
(From left to right) Lynnette gives the Pitkin planting a thumbs-up; a new home for Vine Hill manzanita; Milo Baker volunteers plant at Cunningham Preserve.
You may recall the history of our own Vine Hill manzanita. If not, let me refresh your memory of the saga of the Vine Hill manzanita.
There was until this January, only one wild population in the world of Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine Hill manzanita) at our CNPS preserve in northern Sebastopol. It is state listed as endangered; you’d think so with only one population of plants. Until 1975 that property was privately owned and most of it was a vineyard. That year, it was put on the market and CNPS purchased it.
After CNPS purchased the property, Phil Van Soelen, previous owner of Cal Flora Nursery and past chapter president, took on stewardship of this last remaining population of about 20 plants. Over the next 20 years, Phil did a wonderful job of propagating from the last remaining 20 plants and planting those clones on the rest of the property where the grape vines had been removed. Thank you, Phil, for saving this species at Vine Hill.
However, in 2020 our current CNPS steward, Sarah Gordon, noticed many VH manzanitas on the preserve were looking stressed with dead areas. Sarah called me in, since I have been involved with the root rot Phytophthora issues in nurseries and restoration sites since 2014. I tested soil in 4 areas of the preserve and got positive results. Our chapter then hired Ted Sweicki, PhD plant pathologist and leading expert in this field. He tested an additional 12 locations at the site, along with CDFA plant pathologists testing. Results were that the whole 1.6-acre preserve was infected.
Interestingly, the results from Ted showed most likely that the infection came from the remnant plants that were at the top of the hill, next to the road, probably not from planted clones, and probably moved down the hill with the water stream or on the shoes of botanists and others visiting the site. This water borne fungus-like disease moves with soil or in water. At least that is my interpretation from the results.
Therefore, in order to save this species in the wild, we needed to establish new populations of this species. Mature plants could not be moved since they are all presumed infected. The disease enters through the roots and eventually kills the plant as it travels up with water. After receiving a research permit from CFWS in January 2021, I began propagation with tip cuttings, hoping to get clean material ahead of the infection.
Meanwhile, the genomics lab at CSU East Bay collected samples from all 80 VH manzanitas (both natural and propagated) to determine whether the propagated plants that Phil did were a single clone from one natural plant or from multiple remnant plants. Phil had done an amazing job and had planted clones of almost every one of the remnant plants, 20 genetic lines in all. I used that information; to propagate cuttings in 2022 from the genetic lines I had not captured in 2021, resulting in 226 plants ready to plant this winter from 15 genetic lines. Plants from the other lines were either too infected to get clean material or no longer large enough to withstand any material removal.
Thanks to an amazing nursery volunteer team for all their help and support, especially Natasha Granoff for helping collect cuttings, Pat Sesser for helping to prep and stick cuttings, and Natasha and Lynnette for helping to test each set of plants to be sure all were disease free. The whole nursery team potted up rooted cuttings and later into large pots. Penny Dalton has helped me apply Agri-Phos (to slow infection spread), label and monitor the plants at Vine Hill.
During the time plants were growing, we found 2 protected areas with the same type of soil and received permission to plant in those 2 sites. Thanks to Sonoma Land Trust for allowing us to plant in the upper reach of the Lower Pitkin Marsh preserve and to our own Marcia Johnson for permission to plant on her part of the Conservation Easement we steward at Cunningham Marsh.
In January, we planted at these 2 preserves. 68 plants, from all 15 of the genetic lines we propagated, were planted at Pitkin Marsh. 19 plants, from 12 genetic lines, were planted in at Cunningham by our own CNPS stewards; Judith Rousseau, Alynn Kjeldson, Karen and Dan Thompson, Lynnette Bower, Marcia Johnson, Jan Lochner, and Penny Dalton.
Special thanks to Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, with whom we partner in the nursery. They donated 3 person days to haul all the plants and materials for plant protection up to the top of the hill at Pitkin Marsh. Then after our volunteer plantings were rained out twice, they planted the 50 manzanita at Pitkin, put down landscape fabric and built and applied cages at their cost. Lynnette Bower helped with that planting.
These 2 preserves allow the Vine Hill manzanitas to develop into a functioning habitat. But just for insurance most of the other VH manzanitas we grew were taken to Botanical Gardens: East Bay at Tilden, UC Berkeley, San Francisco (Strybing), San Francisco State, UC Santa Cruz, Humboldt, and Mendocino. Thanks again to Penny for driving and her company on those trips.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO SAVE A SPECIES
If you would like to help to water and monitor our two new populations of Vine Hill manzanita, please contact me, Betty Young email@example.com, 707-695-4257.
Plant of the Month
March Plant Walks
Sunday March 5, 11:00-3:00
Rescheduled from February 28
Monday March 13, 1:00-4:00
Tuesday March 14, 3:00-5:00
Sunday March 19, 11:00-3:00
For more details about our plant walks please check our website.
2023 North Bay Science Discovery Day – Volunteers Needed
– Milo Baker Chapter Education/Outreach Committee
When: Saturday, March 11, 2023 | 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Please sign up for Volunteer Opportunities #1 or #2 listed below. To sign up for one or more shifts - please CALL Virginia at 707-217-9815 or email Catherine firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and we’ll send you instructions. THANK YOU for signing up for one or more shifts to help us make NBSDD a big success!
Volunteer Opportunity #1
Location: Sonoma County Fairgrounds
We need volunteers to meet us at the shed behind the Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center on Yulupa Ave. to load materials from the shed into one or more cars/vans/trucks. We plan to arrive at the fairgrounds around 3:00 where the NBSDD organizers will open a gate for exhibiters. We are likely to be finished with the setup by 5:30 pm. (It could possibly take longer.)
Date/Time: Saturday March 11 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Volunteer Opportunity #2
We need you to bring us plant specimens!!! List of plants to collect (from your own property) for NBSDD – by Fri. March 10 or Sat March 11.
Please bring native plant specimens to the fairgrounds on Friday. evening 4:00 to 5:30 pm OR Sat. morning 9:00 to 10:00 am. If you can’t drop things off at the fairgrounds – please arrange to drop off at Virginia’s place in Santa Rosa or Catherine’s place in Sebastopol – whichever is closer. Detailed times/location of drop-offs to be announced by March 1.
Native plant specimens needed: For our exhibit table, we need leaves/needles, branches/stems, roots/rhizomes/bulbs, and seeds of native plants from our region. You can trim or clip materials from your own yard OR bring potted specimens – make sure that if you bring pots with live plants, you LABEL each plant clearly so we can return it afterwards!
Perennials: ferns, heuchera, marah (manroot), buckwheat, lupine, iris, monardella, Phacelia, salvia, triteleia, wyethia, succulents.
Shrubs/vines: manzanitas, baccharis, ceanothus, lonicera, coffeeberry, ribes, wild grape/vitis, elderberry, snowberry, California blackberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry, twinberry.
Deciduous trees: bigleaf maple, madrone, bay, sycamore, alder, buckeye, hazelnut, cottonwood.
Conifers: cypress, hemlock, nutmeg.
Virginia, Catherine, Susan, and April are taking care of oaks, redwood, pine, firs, and willow already. THANK YOU for finding diverse specimens that show the biodiversity that thrives in oak woodlands! Native plants you think of that we left off this list are also welcome. And remember – ONLY collect these leaves, stems/bark, roots/rhizomes/bulbs, and seeds from your own property or from a neighbor’s property with their permission. DO NOT collect from parks!!!
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
This is a photo of the Kiwanis group that came out to Doran Beach on 11/11 to pull ice plant. They were fantastic and had members of the high school club with them as well. They have cleared over 1000 sq. ft.!!!
Living Learning Landscapes Workday – second Friday of the month (9:30 am - noon). Meet at 1808 Albany Drive in Santa Rosa. Please RSVP to April Owens email@example.com so we know to expect you!
Weekly Doran Beach Ice Plant Removal – every Wednesday (9:30 am - 11:30 am). Meet at 9:30 at the Cypress Day Use parking lot, west end. Bring clippers and gloves and knee pads if you like. One of the most pleasant workdays happens every week – a trip to Doran Beach to pull ice plant. We are clearing out the ice plant that is in the marshland to make room for natives. It is very visual and quite satisfying, with the sound of the waves, birds and foghorn.
Bodega Head Ice Plant Removal Project – second Sunday of each month (10:00 am - 1:00 pm). CNPS is leading volunteers at Bodega Head to save native species from getting smothered by ice plant. Meet at the main parking lot near the bathrooms. Bring water, clippers and gloves if you have them. Text Alynn at 707-321-1748 for more information and to let us know that you are coming.
For more information, please visit the Volunteer Opportunities page on our website.