SO BE FREE (Bryophyte Chapter) Weekend

03-29-2019 - 04-01-2019 All day

The Twenty-Fourth Annual
Spring Outing
Botanical Excursion
Foray, Retreat, and Escape to the Environment
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO BE FREE 24 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brought to you by the Bryophyte Chapter of the California Native Plant Society!

Friday to Monday, 29 March to 1 April 2019
Rancho El Chorro in San Luis Obispo
Coordinators: Ken Kellman, Ben Carter
Founded in 1996, SO BE FREE is a series of West Coast forays started by the Bryolab at UC Berkeley, but open to all botanists. The main focus is on bryophytes, but we also encourage experts on other groups to come along and smell the liverworts. We welcome specialists and generalists, professionals and amateurs, master bryologists and rank beginners. SO BE FREE is held each spring, somewhere in the Western US, associated with spring break at universities. Evening slide shows and informal talks are presented as well as keying sessions with microscopes. In addition to seeing interesting wild areas and learning new plants, important goals for SO BE FREE include keeping West Coast bryologists (and friends) in touch with each other and teaching beginners. To see pictures and information from past outings, visit the SO BE FREE website at:

☛ One important function of this year’s SO BE FREE will be to serve as the annual meeting of the Bryophyte Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. See: for
details, and to join!

The 2019 SO BE FREE will be held in San Luis Obispo County, one of the botanical gems within
California. Midway along the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo offers strong moisture gradients, a tremendous diversity of geological substrates and abundant open spaces that have been only lightly explored bryologically. Vegetation types range from moisture-loving closed cone coniferous forests near the coast to arid desert scrub in interior regions, with a diversity of chaparral and woodlands in between. The region is known floristically as a zone of transition, with representation of northern species in mesic areas, southern species in the drier coastal regions and even Mojave desert species in the eastern part of the county. Foray destinations will include Los Padres National Forest, many of the open spaces surrounding the city of San Luis Obispo, a private ranch in the interior and some of the best wildflower destinations in the state, all of which promise to be very rich in ephemerals, Bryaceae and Pottiaceae.

Beginners are very welcome to SO BE FREE, and this year we will again have a workshop session for beginners at the start of the event. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning we will have field trips to satisfy all participants from neophyte to nerd! Field trip details are to follow. Access is being sought for private, State, and Federal lands.

Interested? View PDF Flyer with Registration Information

Related upcoming events

  • 03-22-2020 All day

    On Sunday, March 22, learn about the native plants that thrive along the Pecho Coast Trail and discover their medicinal uses. California Native Plant Society botanists Kristin Nelsen and Bill Waycott along with Pecho Coast Trail docents, will be helping you explore the beauty of the local flora and learn how the Native Americans and pioneers utilized these plants for their nutritional and medical uses.

    The hike is 3.75 miles round trip and will depart from Port San Luis at 9:30 am. Return time is around 1:30 pm. The hike is along the coastal bluffs leading out to the Point San Luis Lighthouse, with a break being taken at the Lighthouse's events building.

    You will be given a guidebook to take home, and a luncheon will be provided by the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers featuring the opportunity to taste some of the edible plants that are found along the Pecho Coast Trail. It is recommended that you wear sturdy footwear like hiking boots, bring water, and carry a light jacket for the hike.

    This event is a fundraiser for the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers in honor of their 130th Anniversary. The fee of $50 per ticket goes directly towards the restoration effort of this beautiful historic site. This is one time event only, so get your tickets today!

    Tickets or questions, contact Sally Krenn (805) 550-0150

    (Editor’s Note: Geological substrates are Jurassic basalts along most of the train, and Cretaceous sandstones at the lighthouse. Beautiful examples of pillow basalt, erupted in deep ocean water at an ocean ridge, can be seen at the base of the slope at Port San Luis.)