August 2018 News

Save Plants

CENTER FOR PLANT CONSERVATION

The creamy flower of Ben Lombard’s buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum var. decurrens) stays in bloom for a long period, making it more conspicuous for volunteers to find on a treasure hunt. Photo by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

Save Plants

CENTER FOR PLANT CONSERVATION

August 2018 Newsletter

Volunteers are really the lifeblood of many non-profit organizations. These dedicated individuals serve in a multitude of capacities from administrative to mission-focused science to on-the-ground efforts to save species. What each of these individuals brings to the table, regardless of role, is a devotion that transcends compensation. Volunteers bring a sense of purpose to conservation that cannot be found elsewhere. These leaders, trained in so many fields and experienced in so many ways, provide not only willing hands but also essential guidance and mentoring for many of us who engage in conservation professionally. In this way, volunteers truly bind programs together in ways not possible otherwise.

This August’s issue of Save Plants highlights the role volunteers play in several critical conservation efforts around the country. Without volunteers, many of these programs could not even function, let alone achieve the level of success that they have. And while we do thank our volunteers early and often, it never hurts to do it again and again. So from me, a big thank you to all volunteers – past, present and future – that make what we do to Save Plants as successful and rewarding as it possibly can be.

The Hunt is On: Searching for Rare Plants in the Golden State

California Native Plant Society

Based on contributions from: Amy Patten, CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt coordinator

Photos by: Natalie McNear

Amy Patten, the California Native Plant Society’s new Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) coordinator didn’t venture far to lead her first hunt – Mount Hermon in the Santa Cruz Sandhills is just behind her home. But the spaces closest to us often face great threats, and this holds true for the sandhills, where 40% of the lands have been lost to mining and other development and what remains is threatened by invasive plant species. Despite the threats, the area still supports a unique community of plants and animals very different from the evergreen forests surrounding it. This uniqueness is due to the outcrops of Zayante soils, which have low water and nutrient availability. One of the plants endemic to the sandhills was the target of Amy’s RPTH, the Ben Lomond buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum var. decurrens).

Amy and her co-leader Rebekah Boettcher, a naturalist from the Mount Hermon Association, led seven amazing volunteer botanists in their July search. As the group hiked through the coastal ponderosa pine forest up to the summit of the mountain, they checked areas with bare, sandy soil for their quarry, the umbels of creamy flowers and leafy green basal leaves of the buckwheat. And find them they did: expecting to only find the species in the small, isolated area where they’d been previously observed, the group was excited to find several thousand plants in the area!

PHOTO: The Zayante sand soils of the Santa Cruz Sandhills support unique vegetation communities, rich in diversity and home to endemics such as the Ben Lombard buckwheat. Photo by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

The Hunt is On: Searching for Rare Plants in the Golden State

California Native Plant Society,
Based on contributions from: Amy Patten, CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt coordinator
Photos by: Natalie McNear

Amy Patten, the California Native Plant Society’s new Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) coordinator didn’t venture far to lead her first hunt – Mount Hermon in the Santa Cruz Sandhills is just behind her home. But the spaces closest to us often face great threats, and this holds true for the sandhills, where 40% of the lands have been lost to mining and other development and what remains is threatened by invasive plant species. Despite the threats, the area still supports a unique community of plants and animals very different from the evergreen forests surrounding it. This uniqueness is due to the outcrops of Zayante soils, which have low water and nutrient availability. One of the plants endemic to the sandhills was the target of Amy’s RPTH, the Ben Lomond buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum var. decurrens).

Amy and her co-leader Rebekah Boettcher, a naturalist from the Mount Hermon Association, led seven amazing volunteer botanists in their July search. As the group hiked through the coastal ponderosa pine forest up to the summit of the mountain, they checked areas with bare, sandy soil for their quarry, the umbels of creamy flowers and leafy green basal leaves of the buckwheat. And find them they did: expecting to only find the species in the small, isolated area where they’d been previously observed, the group was excited to find several thousand plants in the area!

PHOTO: Rare plant treasure hunt volunteers by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

Upon reaching the core of the Ben Lomond buckwheat population, the volunteers helped describe habitat characteristics of the buckwheat and the surrounding plant communities, and evaluated threats and disturbances of these rare plants. The volunteer group fanned out in a transect to estimate the size of the population: the larger group of observers was able to find plants that a single surveyor could’ve missed.

As with all of the over 20 treasure hunt outings held this year, Amy’s resulted in a better understanding of a rare species population. Besides reporting a few thousand individual buckwheat plants and expanding the area of its known occurrence, the treasure hunters were able to do the same for Ben Lomond spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana), a federally endangered sandhills endemic. The previous occurrence records for these species hadn’t been evaluated in decades and were not accurately mapped.

The lack of knowledge about species is common throughout the state of California. Many rare plant occurrences haven’t been seen in decades, and many corners of the state are yet to be explored. In 2010, CNPS decided to build the RPTH program for their incredible network of volunteers to provide the CNPS Rare Plant Program and California Department of Fish and Wildlife with data that can guide conservation and management for the state’s 2,300 rare species. So, besides leading hunts, Amy coordinates RPTH efforts throughout the state, coordinating with CNPS’s 35 chapters and volunteers, as well as CNPS staff and other researchers, throughout the state.

PHOTO: Ben Lombard’s spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana) by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

The group of volunteers gather around co-leader Rebekah Boettcher to learn about the target species.

The peeling bark of a Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii).

Ponderosa pine forest

Volunteers summitted Mount Hermon for a view of the ponderosa pine forest.

PHOTOS: by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

ben lombard spineflower

Upon reaching the core of the Ben Lomond buckwheat population, the volunteers helped describe habitat characteristics of the buckwheat and the surrounding plant communities, and evaluated threats and disturbances of these rare plants. The volunteer group fanned out in a transect to estimate the size of the population: the larger group of observers was able to find plants that a single surveyor could’ve missed.

As with all of the over 20 treasure hunt outings held this year, Amy’s resulted in a better understanding of a rare species population. Besides reporting a few thousand individual buckwheat plants and expanding the area of its known occurrence, the treasure hunters were able to do the same for Ben Lomond spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana), a federally endangered sandhills endemic. The previous occurrence records for these species hadn’t been evaluated in decades and were not accurately mapped.

The lack of knowledge about species is common throughout the state of California. Many rare plant occurrences haven’t been seen in decades, and many corners of the state are yet to be explored. In 2010, CNPS decided to build the RPTH program for their incredible network of volunteers to provide the CNPS Rare Plant Program and California Department of Fish and Wildlife with data that can guide conservation and management for the state’s 2300 rare species. So, besides leading hunts, Amy coordinates RPTH efforts throughout the state, coordinating with CNPS’s 35 chapters and volunteers, as well as CNPS staff and other researchers, throughout the state.

Gathering a group of California native plant enthusiasts to search for Ben Lomond’s buckwheat endemic expanded not only the knowledge of the species to inform management, but also the local support and appreciation for the species. Besides reporting occurrence information to CDFW and CNPS, Amy can provide the landowners (Mount Hermon Association) with better management for these species. She also has a group of capable volunteers willing to return and tackle the mapping of silverleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos silvicola) – the dominant shrub of the sandhills that also happens to be a rare county endemic. CNPS will also be back to collect Ben Lomond buckwheat seed, now that they know there are enough plants to make a seed collection without impacting population viability.

CNPS is a volunteer driven organization. Chapter volunteers coordinate meetings featuring educational talks, plan outreach events in their communities, put on native plant sales, and lead field trips. And they are essential to helping CNPS accomplish conservation goals. As the new rare plant treasure hunt coordinator, Amy is excited to engage more of CNPS’s fabulous volunteers and hunt for more of California’s rare plant treasures.

If you’re interested in collecting rare plant data and/or leading field trips with local chapters, visit the CNPS webpage to sign up for their mailing list and fill out a volunteer questionnaire!

https://www.cnps.org/education/rare-plant-treasure-hunt

PHOTO: Ben Lombard’s spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana) by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

Gathering a group of California native plant enthusiasts to search for Ben Lomond’s buckwheat endemic expanded not only the knowledge of the species to inform management, but also the local support and appreciation for the species. Besides reporting occurrence information to CDFW and CNPS, Amy can provide the landowners (Mount Hermon Association) with better management for these species. She also has a group of capable volunteers willing to return and tackle the mapping of silverleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos silvicola) – the dominant shrub of the sandhills that also happens to be a rare county endemic. CNPS will also be back to collect Ben Lomond buckwheat seed, now that they know there are enough plants to make a seed collection without impacting population viability.

CNPS is a volunteer driven organization. Chapter volunteers coordinate meetings featuring educational talks, plan outreach events in their communities, put on native plant sales, and lead field trips. And they are essential to helping CNPS accomplish conservation goals. As the new rare plant treasure hunt coordinator, Amy is excited to engage more of CNPS’s fabulous volunteers and hunt for more of California’s rare plant treasures.

If you’re interested in collecting rare plant data and/or leading field trips with local chapters, visit the CNPS webpage to sign up for their mailing list and fill out a volunteer questionnaire!

PHOTO: California Native Plant Society volunteers, by Natalie McNear, CA Native Plant Society.

chaff seed

PHOTO: While conducting surveys in Massachusettes in July, PCV Doug McGrady came across population of chaff-seed (Schwalbea americana) – a federally endangered species that hadn’t been seen in the state since 1965. Photo credit: Doug McGrady.

25 Years of Survey and Discovery

New England Wild Flower Society

Contributed by: Laney Widener

Photos by: Laney Widener, Doug McGrady, Susan Elliott, Warren King, Kate Kruesi, and Matt Charpentier

Last month, Doug McGrady, a Plant Conservation Volunteer with the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) for 15 years, created a buzz in the New England botanical world with an amazing discovery on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He found a population of the federally listed chaff-seed (Schwalbea americana), a species in CPC’s National Collection historically found in New England, but which hasn’t been seen there in over 40 years!

Doug’s discovery demonstrates how just having volunteers out looking for rare species is a boon to conservation efforts, because we cannot protect species if we do not know they are there or how they are doing. Which is precisely why the NEWFS has been running their Plant Conservation Volunteer Program (PCV) for 25 years. As the oldest rare plant monitoring program in the United States, the program utilizes Citizen Scientists to help monitor, collect seed, and manage rare plant populations across New England. PCV is a subset of NEWFS’s New England Plant Conservation Program, a program that allows member organizations to coordinate research and conservation projects.

PCVs are the essential on the ground field botanists for both the New England Wild Flower Society and each of the six New England State’s Natural Heritage Programs (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Each state has only one State Botanist, and NEWFS only a handful of conservation staff, so the PCV program allows for so much more work to be completed year to year. The program has grown to a consortium of over 120 professional botanists and over 500 amateur botanists, an impressive force which now plays a critical role in rare plant conservation in the region.

A quick snapshot of what the program accomplishes on a yearly basis demonstrates its importance: between 300 and 400 rare species surveys are completed and around 120 seed collections are added to the seed bank. For perspective, New England has about 593 taxa considered of conservation concern, ranking from globally rare to locally rare, and historic to indeterminate (a designation meaning presumed rare but not confirmed). Historic and indeterminate rankings are often written off as lost but, as the chaff-seed story demonstrates, this is not always the case.

flagging milkvetch

25 Years of Survey and Discovery

New England Wild Flower Society,
Contributed by: Laney Widener
Photos by: Laney Widener, Doug McGrady, Susan Elliott, Warren King, Kate Kruesi, and Matt Charpentier

Last month, Doug McGrady, a Plant Conservation Volunteer with the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) for 15 years, created a buzz in the New England botanical world with an amazing discovery on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He found a population of the federally listed chaff-seed (Schwalbea americana), a species in CPC’s National Collection historically found in New England, but which hasn’t been seen there in over 40 years!

Doug’s discovery demonstrates how just having volunteers out looking for rare species is a boon to conservation efforts, because we cannot protect species if we do not know they are there or how they are doing. Which is precisely why the NEWFS has been running their Plant Conservation Volunteer Program (PCV) for 25 years. As the oldest rare plant monitoring program in the United States, the program utilizes Citizen Scientists to help monitor, seed collect, and manage rare plant populations across New England. PCV is a subset of NEWFS’s New England Plant Conservation Program, a program that allows member organizations to coordinate research and conservation projects.

PCVs are the essential on the ground field botanists for both the New England Wild Flower Society and each of the six New England State’s Natural Heritage Programs (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Each state has only one State Botanist, and NEWFS only a handful of conservation staff, so the PCV program allows for so much more work to be completed year to year. The program has grown to a consortium of over 120 professional botanists and over 500 amateur botanists, an impressive force which now plays a critical role in rare plant conservation in the region.

A quick snapshot of what the program accomplishes on a yearly basis demonstrates its importance: between 300 and 400 rare species surveys are completed and around 120 seed collections are added to the seed bank. For perspective, New England has about 593 taxa considered of conservation concern, ranking from globally rare to locally rare, and historic to indeterminate (a designation meaning presumed rare but not confirmed). Historic and indeterminate rankings are often written off as lost but, as the chaff-seed story demonstrates, this is not always the case.

Over his years of volunteering, Doug, the discoverer of the chaff-seed population has garnered a reputation as someone who finds new populations of plants every year. Recently he has expanded his volunteer role by taking a role on the Rhode Island Task Force professional advisory group. And he is just one of the 500 or so volunteers involved in the program. There is also Warren King, a plant enthusiast, who has been a PCV for 12 years and has been added to the Vermont Task Force professional advisory group. Warren has studied Eastern Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium vanbruntiae), another National Collection species, for many years, publishing his surveys and studies of this rare Vermont species in the Journal of the New England Botanical Club, Rhodora, earlier this year. Clearly the program tends to attract and retain passionate volunteers committed to conservation and the study of botany.

Key to retaining such dedicated volunteers, NEWFS works hard to give back to them. Every year field trips are planned for the PCVs to a site of botanical interest, often to an area where rare species are found. These field trips allow volunteers to lean about a specific species or ecosystem from a professional botanist. At their spring training, or refresher, sessions, guest speakers come and give an educational or entertaining talk and the state heritage program staff are invited to come and talk directly with the volunteers. Each season ends with a “Wrap Up,” a volunteer appreciation event with a potluck and review of the field season. Wrap Ups provide space for volunteers to share stories and photos of their field season, reflect on what could be improved, and connect with all the other volunteers. NEWFS also recognizes the volunteer in each state who submits the most seed collections with a “Bountany” prize (a portmanteau of bounty and botany). They plan to further incentivize submission of survey forms this year by offering unique patches and stickers.

Like most plant life on the planet, rare plant species in New England face the four horsemen of the ecological apocalypse: habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and invasive species. The contributions of NEWFS’s volunteers over the past 25 years and future contributions will help provide information to improve management and conservation decisions for these rare plant species as they face these challenges. Running a regional rare plant monitoring program is a huge endeavor, and without the help of volunteers, the New England program could not exist at the scale it does today.

For more information about the PCV program, check out the NEWS website.

PHOTOS: (Clockwise – from top left) Plant Conservation Volunteer Deb Parella is collecting seed off of hairy wood-mint (Blephilia hirsuta); Vermont volunteer Katie Kruesi makes a seed collection of the threatened highlands rush (Juncus trifidus) earlier this month; Volunteers helping to monitor Coast violet (Viola brittoniana) at a project site New England Wild Flower Society has been managing for 10 years in Massachusetts; Alpine goldenrod (Solidago leiocarpa) on a ridge top line in New Hampshire. Photo by Matt Charpentier; Volunteer Warren King and Aaron Marcus, Assistant Botanist for Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, use their “forensic” botany skills to find a rare plant at a November Volunteer Wrap-Up meeting. Photo by Susan Elliott, VT PCV, 2017; Coast violet (Viola brittoniana) in Massachusetts. Photo by Laney Widener; Shoreline of Lake Champlain, VT in 2016 when one of the worst droughts in New England exposed lakeshore areas and many rare species occurrences were either discovered for the first time or rediscovered after being historic for 25 years.

Over his years of volunteering, Doug, the discoverer of the chaff-seed population has garnered a reputation as someone who finds new populations of plants every year. Recently he has expanded his volunteer role by taking a role on the Rhode Island Task Force professional advisory group. And he is just one of the 500 or so volunteers involved in the program. There is also Warren King, a plant enthusiast, who has been a PCV for 12 years and has been added to the Vermont Task Force professional advisory group. Warren has studied Eastern Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium vanbruntiae), another National Collection species, for many years, publishing his surveys and studies of this rare Vermont species in the Journal of the New England Botanical Club, Rhodora, earlier this year. Clearly the program tends to attract and retain passionate volunteers committed to conservation and the study of botany.

Key to retaining such dedicated volunteers, NEWFS works hard to give back to them. Every year field trips are planned for the PCVs to a site of botanical interest, often to an area where rare species are found. These field trips allow volunteers to lean about a specific species or ecosystem from a professional botanist. At their spring training, or refresher sessions, guest speakers come and give an educational or entertaining talk and the state heritage program staff are invited to come and talk directly with the volunteers. Each season ends with a “Wrap Up,” a volunteer appreciation event with a potluck and review of the field season. Wrap Ups provide space for volunteers to share stories and photos of their field season, reflect on what could be improved, and connect with all the other volunteers. NEWFS also recognizes the volunteer in each state who submits the most seed collections with a “Bountany” prize (a portmanteau of bounty and botany). They plan to further incentivize submission of survey forms this year by offering unique patches and stickers.

Like most plant life on the planet, rare plant species in New England face the four horsemen of the ecological apocalypse: habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and invasive species. The contributions of NEWFS’s volunteers over the past 25 years and future contributions will help provide information to improve management and conservation decisions for these rare plant species as they face these challenges. Running a regional rare plant monitoring program is a huge endeavor, and without the help of volunteers, the New England program could not exist at the scale it does today.

For more information about the PCV program, check out the NEWFS website.

PHOTO: Eastern Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium vanbruntiae), in Vermont. Photo by Warren King, VT PCV and Task Force member, 2018.

Wandering Washington with Rare Care Volunteers

University of Washington Botanic Gardens

Based on contributions from Stacy Kinsell

Photos from: Stacy Kinsell, Wendy Gibble, Beverly Linde, and Catherine Hovanic

This July, the Tiffany Springs Campground in the Okanogan National Forest was briefly invaded by volunteer botanists. The 18 volunteers were gathered for the annual Monitoring Weekend event held by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ Rare Plant Care and Conservation (Rare Care) program. Each year a location with many historical records of rare plants that have not recently been visited is chosen for the volunteer crews to put their skills to work. Over the three days of this year’s event, the volunteers completed 35 reports for historical locations on 9 different species – making it the most productive Monitoring Weekend on record!

The event demonstrates the hard work and dedication of the volunteer citizen scientists which help power Rare Care. The volunteers are passionate about the natural world and plant conservation, and eager to help. The program recruits for three types of volunteer work: rare plant monitoring, seed collecting, and seed cleaning. But the bulk of the volunteer efforts go towards the monitoring efforts, with over 100 volunteers willing to navigate across remote areas of public – and sometimes private – lands, climb up cliffs, wade through head-high nettles, and brave the elements in search of rare plants. Though the volunteers are provided with training, including orienteering, the volunteers work on their own. Rare Care staff provide them any historical data and maps, but it is their responsibility to research the plant ahead of their trip, be able to correctly identify it from possible look-a-likes in the area, research how to best reach their site, and then of course take all the monitoring data.

The data volunteers collect are then shared with the Washington Natural Heritage Program to update inventories on rare plant populations across the state, and will be used for land management decisions and conservation planning. Rare plant monitors perform one of the critical first steps of conservation by visiting known populations of rare plants, collecting data on the population, and reporting any threats observed during the visit. In many cases these sites haven’t been visited in over a decade or more.

For some species of interest, monitoring may be more frequent than others. A couple of ongoing Rare Care monitoring projects with various partners are centered around species that area also in the CPC National Collection: Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana var. calva) and Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus). Both these species are endemic to the Wenatchee region and face various threats, from development to changes in fire regimes.

Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow is a perennial herb with beautiful pink inflorescences. Federally listed as endangered, the species occurs in only five locations. Partnering with the Department of Natural Resources, each year Rare Care volunteers count individual plants and map populations in order to study population trends over time.

Whited’s milk-vetch known from only eight populations scattered along only a couple of drainages. Rare Care volunteers have been working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to monitor the largest of these populations through annual counts of individual plants in permanent transects and tracking the different life stages to better understand recruitment and mortality. Back at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, seeds have been propagated for outplantings with the BLM.

PHOTO: Volunteer Bill Brookreson flags milk-vetch. Photo by Catherine Hovanic.

flagging milkvetch

Wandering Washington with Rare Care Volunteers

University of Washington Botanic Gardens,
Based on contributions from Stacy Kinsell, Photos from: Stacy Kinsell, Wendy Gibble, Beverly Linde, and Catherine Hovanic

This July, the Tiffany Springs Campground in the Okanogan National Forest was briefly invaded by volunteer botanists. The 18 volunteers were gathered for the annual Monitoring Weekend event held by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ Rare Plant Care and Conservation (Rare Care) program. Each year a location with many historical records of rare plants that have not recently been visited is chosen for the volunteer crews to put their skills to work. Over the three days of this year’s event, the volunteers completed 35 reports for historical locations on 9 different species – making it the most productive Monitoring Weekend on record!

The event demonstrates the hard work and dedication of the volunteer citizen scientists which help power Rare Care. The volunteers are passionate about the natural world and plant conservation, and eager to help. The program recruits for three types of volunteer work: rare plant monitoring, seed collecting, and seed cleaning. But the bulk of the volunteer efforts go towards the monitoring efforts, with over 100 volunteers willing to navigate across remote areas of public – and sometimes private – lands, climb up cliffs, wade through head-high nettles, and brave the elements in search of rare plants. Though the volunteers are provided with training, including orienteering, the volunteers work on their own. Rare Care staff provide them any historical data and maps, but it is their responsibility to research the plant ahead of their trip, be able to correctly identify it from possible look-a-likes in the area, research how to best reach their site, and then of course take all the monitoring data.

The data volunteers collect are then shared the Washington Natural Heritage Program to update inventories on rare plant populations across the state, and will be used for land management decisions and conservation planning. Rare plant monitors perform one of the critical first steps of conservation by visiting known populations of rare plants, collecting data on the population, and reporting any threats observed during the visit. In many cases these sites haven’t been visited in over a decade or more.

For some species of interest, monitoring may be more frequent than others. A couple of ongoing Rare Care monitoring projects with various partners are centered around species that area also in the CPC National Collection: Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana var. calva) and Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus). Both these species are endemic to the Wenatchee region and face various threats, from development to changes in fire regimes.

Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow is perennial herb with beautiful pink inflorescences. Federally listed as endangered, the species occurs in only five locations. Partnering with the Department of Natural Resources, each year Rare Care volunteers count individual plants and map populations in order to study population trends over time.

Whited’s milk-vetch known from only eight populations scattered along only a couple of drainages. Rare Care volunteers have been working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to monitor the largest of these populations through annual counts of individual plants in permanent transects and tracking the different life stages to better understand recruitment and mortality. Back at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, seeds have been propagated for outplantings with the BLM.

Since it began in 2001, Rare Care volunteers have monitored over 330 species of plants, mosses, and lichens listed as endangered, threatened, or sensitive by the natural heritage program. And monitoring really does matter: the data collected by volunteers on the Washington state endemic grey cryptantha (Cryptantha leucophaea) led to a change in status from sensitive to threatened and brought much needed attention to the conservation needs of the species. Volunteers revisited 33 of 46 sites, documenting a 75% population decrease at over 10 of the sites. Rare Care worked with the BLM to monitor known locations, survey for new ones, and, fortunately given the decline, to collect seed from various locations.

Rare Care staff make sure to recognize their volunteers in a number of ways throughout the year. At an annual appreciation event held toward the end of each summer, all UW Botanic Garden volunteers enjoy the gardens with food and drink, receiving awards, and sharing stories. Within Rare Care, volunteers are invited to annual forums in various locations around the state where experts are brought in to speak about various topics ranging from pollinator identification to navigation techniques. At these forums, a special volunteer is honored for their accomplishments with a gift and later featured in the bi-annual newsletter. But, as a passionate group, the volunteers keep at it because of the importance to conservation and the amazing work they do.

To learn more about Rare Care, and the volunteer opportunities they offer, check out their University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ site.

PHOTO: Volunteer Bill Brookreson flags milkvetch. Photo by Catherine Hovanic.

Since it began in 2001, Rare Care volunteers have monitored over 330 species of plants, mosses, and lichens listed as endangered, threatened, or sensitive by the natural heritage program. And monitoring really does matter: the data collected by volunteers on the Washington state endemic grey cryptantha (Cryptantha leucophaea) led to a change in status from sensitive to threatened and brought much needed attention to the conservation needs of the species. Volunteers revisited 33 of 46 sites, documenting a 75% population decrease at over 10 of the sites. Rare Care worked with the BLM to monitor known locations, survey for new ones, and, fortunately given the decline, to collect seed from various locations.

Rare Care staff make sure to recognize their volunteers in a number of ways throughout the year. At an annual appreciation event held toward the end of each summer, all UW Botanic Garden volunteers enjoy the gardens with food and drink, receiving awards, and sharing stories. Within Rare Care, volunteers are invited to annual forums in various locations around the state where experts are brought in to speak about various topics ranging from pollinator identification to navigation techniques. At these forums, a special volunteer is honored for their accomplishments with a gift and later featured in the bi-annual newsletter. But, as a passionate group, the volunteers keep at it because of the importance to conservation and the amazing work they do.

To learn more about Rare Care, and the volunteer opportunities they offer, check out their University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ site.

PHOTO:Whited’s milk-vetch in bloom, an endemic to the Wenatchee area, is found only in eight populations scattered along a couple of drainages. Photo by Wendy Gibble.

PHOTOS: Clockwise from top left: University of Washington volunteers discuss plans; bloom of Wenatchee Mountain checkermallow, an endemic to the state of Washington and federally listed as endangered; Rare Care volunteers hiking; Rare Care volunteers discuss notes; Volunteers survey for obscure buttercup at Dalles Mountain Ranch near the Columbia River.

Employment Opportunities

Field Botany Technician (invasive plants) at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

In collaboration with the Angeles National Forest, you’ll work in a team to assist the field crew lead and director of conservation programs with invasive plant management in the Angeles National Forest. Duties include hand removal of invasive plant species, herbicide application, rugged backcountry hiking, and some GPS mapping of plant populations. Must approach all tasks with respect for natural, cultural, and fiscal resources, as well as co-workers, volunteers, partner agencies, and organizations. This is a full-time temporary position (40 hours a week for one year, with possibility of extension, starting in July or as soon as positions are filled). Learn more here.

Biological Scientist, Seed Bank Manager: Forest Service Nursery/Seed Extractor

Deadline: 09/01/2018

Overview: This position is located at a Forest Service Nursery/Seed Extractory. The incumbent is responsible for implementing seed operations and managing seed stores for reforestation and vegetation restoration activities.

Position: Biological Scientist, Seed Bank Manager

Location: Camino, CA

Compensation: GS-0401-07/09 PFT

Who may apply: Open to all.

See the full announcement 

The vacancy announcement for this position will be posted in the USAJOBS Website

The Humboldt-Toiyabe (H-T) National Forest, Santa Rosa Ranger District Zone Botanist position

GS-0430-07/09/11 with a target series and grade of GS-0430-11

Series/Grade: GS-0430-07/09/11

Title: Zone Botanist

Duty Station: Winnemucca, Nevada with possible alternative locations in Elko or Wells.

Tour of Duty: Permanent – Full Time

Housing: Not available

Email completed Outreach Notice Form to: Joe Garrotto District Ranger, at jgarrotto@fs.fed.us. Please reply by August 15, 2018.

PhD research assistantship in the Department of Entomology/Nematology at the University of Florida

Position: PhD research assistantship

Location: The student will be located at the main campus of UF in Gainesville, Florida. Gainesville is a lively college town offering a strong arts and music scene along with plentiful outdoor recreation activities. UF was recently ranked in the top 10 public universities in the U.S., and UF’s Department of Entomology and Nematology was rated best in the world in 2017.

Deadline: 08/31/2018.

A PhD research assistantship in the Department of Entomology/Nematology at the University of Florida is available starting spring semester 2019 in the laboratory of Dr. Rachel Mallinger. The successful candidate will conduct research on blueberry pollination ecology in collaboration with Dr. Patricio Munoz and the Blueberry Breeding and Genomics Lab at UF. Potential research topics include investigating variation in pollinator visitation across blueberry genotypes, determining the role of floral traits in mediating pollinator attraction, and evaluating factors that influence pollination success including farm size, farm management, or pollinator behavior. The student will join a growing and active research group, and will have the opportunity to engage in extension with Florida blueberry growers.  Learn more here.

Highlights from the 2nd International Seed Longevity Workshop

A report from Dr. Joyce Maschinski, CPC Vice President of Conservation and Science

The 2nd International Seed Longevity Workshop convened in Ft. Collins, CO, in August 2018. Hosted by our colleagues at National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation Christina Walters, Lisa Hill and company, the workshop provided an opportunity for lively exchange and interesting presentations. Joyce Maschinski gave an oral presentation entitled, “Improving success of seed reintroductions.” This presentation highlighted a recent Restoration Ecology paper co-authored with Jennifer Possley, Christina Walters, Lisa Hill, Lisa Krueger, and Dallas Hazelton. Attended by renowned seed scientists from around the world, topics focused on current understanding factors influencing long- and short-term survival of seeds in natural and highly controlled environments. Great discussions ensued regarding testing seed ageing, challenges of analyzing seed longevity, patterns of desiccation intolerance in seeds, and improving seed banking practices.

Ten notable take home messages follow:

  1. Genetic and biochemical markers associated with seed ageing are being discovered in model and crop systems.
  2. Artificial or experimental ageing treatments may impose unrealistic conditions on seeds and many questioned the utility of outcomes from these tests.
  3. Even though great variation in germination performance causes headaches for seed bankers, expect variation in germination across accessions. Don’t let it get you down.
  4. RNA may be a more reliable predictor of seed ageing than declining germination rates, because many factors influence the percent germination we are able to observe.
  5. Categorizing seeds based upon presence or absence of chloroplasts and quality and quantity of lipids may help explain desiccation tolerance and best storage practice required.
  6. Frustrated gorilla molecular motion helps explain why even seeds held in liquid nitrogen will experience ageing and can’t be expected to live forever.
  7. Cool new technological tools may help improve seed quality testing.
  8. Impressive data sets for 17500 species at Kew and 37 years of germination data for tree species at Alberta Tree Improvement and Seed Center (not to mention some very clever analytical scientists) are helping us understand patterns of longevity of seeds in storage.
  9. Understanding seed traits such as dormancy, season of natural germination, seed size, length of time a seed is held on the plant before dehiscing, and desiccation tolerance, can contribute to restoration and seed banking success.
  10. Hawaiian seeds of 244 taxa tested in multiple treatment regimes for varying durations revealed freeze-sensitivity in several genera Santalum, Cyanea, Delissea, and Lobelia and in families Urticaceae, Cyperaceae, Rubiaceae, Campanulaceae and importantly outline recollection intervals needed to secure the rare species ex situ.

CPC had good representation at this meeting. In addition to our National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation colleagues, other CPC conservation officers present included Matthew Albrecht and Meg Engelhardt from Missouri Botanical Garden, Phillip Gonsiska from Bok Tower Gardens, Marian Chau from Lyon Arboretum, Dustin Wolkis from National Tropical Botanic Garden and Joyce Maschinski from SDZG and CPC.

Highlights from the 2nd International Seed Longevity Workshop

A report from Dr. Joyce Maschinski, CPC Vice President of Conservation and Science

The 2nd International Seed Longevity Workshop convened in Ft. Collins, CO, in August 2018. Hosted by our colleagues at National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation Christina Walters, Lisa Hill and company, the workshop provided an opportunity for lively exchange and interesting presentations. Joyce Maschinski gave an oral presentation entitled, “Improving success of seed reintroductions.” This presentation highlighted a recent Restoration Ecology paper co-authored with Jennifer Possley, Christina Walters, Lisa Hill, Lisa Krueger, and Dallas Hazelton. Attended by renowned seed scientists from around the world, topics focused on current understanding factors influencing long- and short-term survival of seeds in natural and highly controlled environments. Great discussions ensued regarding testing seed ageing, challenges of analyzing seed longevity, patterns of desiccation intolerance in seeds, and improving seed banking practices.

Ten notable take home messages follow:

  1. Genetic and biochemical markers associated with seed ageing are being discovered in model and crop systems.
  2. Artificial or experimental ageing treatments may impose unrealistic conditions on seeds and many questioned the utility of outcomes from these tests.
  3. Even though great variation in germination performance causes headaches for seed bankers, expect variation in germination across accessions. Don’t let it get you down.
  4. RNA may be a more reliable predictor of seed ageing than declining germination rates, because many factors influence the percent germination we are able to observe.
  5. Categorizing seeds based upon presence or absence of chloroplasts and quality and quantity of lipids may help explain desiccation tolerance and best storage practice required.
  6. Frustrated gorilla molecular motion helps explain why even seeds held in liquid nitrogen will experience ageing and can’t be expected to live forever.
  7. Cool new technological tools may help improve seed quality testing.
  8. Impressive data sets for 17500 species at Kew and 37 years of germination data for tree species at Alberta Tree Improvement and Seed Center (not to mention some very clever analytical scientists) are helping us understand patterns of longevity of seeds in storage.
  9. Understanding seed traits such as dormancy, season of natural germination, seed size, length of time a seed is held on the plant before dehiscing, and desiccation tolerance, can contribute to restoration and seed banking success.
  10. Hawaiian seeds of 244 taxa tested in multiple treatment regimes for varying durations revealed freeze-sensitivity in several genera Santalum, Cyanea, Delissea, and Lobelia and in families Urticaceae, Cyperaceae, Rubiaceae, Campanulaceae and importantly outline recollection intervals needed to secure the rare species ex situ.

CPC had good representation at this meeting. In addition to our National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation colleagues, other CPC conservation officers present included Matthew Albrecht and Meg Engelhardt from Missouri Botanical Garden, Phillip Gonsiska from Bok Tower Gardens, Marian Chau from Lyon Arboretum, Dustin Wolkis from National Tropical Botanic Garden and Joyce Maschinski from SDZG and CPC.

Events

August 26-30, 2018
  Association of Zoological Horticulture Annual Conference, Winnipeg, Canada. For more information, click here.

September 13-14, 2018  
State of the World’s Fungi Symposium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. More information here.

October 23-25, 2018  Natural Areas Conference, “Building Resilience: The Future of Natural Areas”.  Indiana Memorial Union, Bloomington, Indiana. More info here.

SAVE THE DATE May 2-4, 2019, CPC National Meeting at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe Illinois. More information.

PHOTO: Coast violet (Viola brittoniana) by Laney Widener.

The Center for Plant Conservation Newsletter
Contributing editor/writer – Christa Horn.
Managing editor – Maureen Wilmot.
Design and development –  Forest Design LLC.

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By | 2018-08-15T22:13:54+00:00 August 10th, 2018|news|0 Comments

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