Sunday, March 1, 2020, 9:00 am, Coreopsis Hill (in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes)
The Annual Hike to Coreopsis Hill (in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes), is scheduled for Sunday, March 1, 2020 from 9am to around noon. This hike is sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Chapter of CNPS and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It will be led by Jenny Langford, Lauren Brown, Dirk Walters, and other local botanists and volunteers. The hike will begin at 9:00 AM (please plan to arrive between 8:45 and 9:00), leaving from the south end of Beigle Road at the USFWS access road (fenced road). It will be a casual walk through the dunes to the top of Coreopsis Hill. This is a moderate hike, about 3 hours round-trip. Dress in layers, bring water and snacks, and have your “Dune Mother’s Wildflower Guide” by Dr. Malcolm McLeod for the trip. Long pants and closed shoes are recommended as the habitat is coastal dune scrub and there is the possibility of poison oak and ticks in the natural dune areas (we will watch for and point these out so they can be avoided).
For more information call Lauren Brown at 460-6329 or 570-7993. Heavy rain cancels this trip (light rain, bring appropriate clothing).
NOTE: Pets, smoking, or alcohol are not allowed on the Refuge, including the parking area, or other properties accessed during the hike (i.e., State Parks and Private Property). Pets may not be left in cars in the parking areas.
Directions from the north: Take Hwy 101 south from San Luis Obispo. Turn right (west) at the new Willow Road off ramp (Exit 180). Proceed west on Willow Road for about 4.3 miles, to Highway 1. Turn left (south) on Highway 1 and proceed for 2.7 miles, to Oso Flaco Lake Road. Turn right (west) on Oso Flaco Lake Road. Proceed west on Oso Flaco Lake Road for 2.5 miles to Beigle Road. Look for a 6’ tall wire mesh fence and steel gate.
Directions from the south: Take 101 north to Santa Maria and take the Main Street exit toward the town of Guadalupe. Turn right onto Highway 1 and head north to Oso Flaco Lake Road (about 3 miles north of Guadalupe), turn left onto Oso Flaco Lake Road and proceed 2.5 miles to Beigle Road (on left).
Parking: We will have people posted at the entrance of the USFWS fenced road to direct parking. The gate will be open around 8:30. Please do not park on Oso Flaco Lake Road near the gate as there is not much room and it could be hazardous. There should be plenty of room to park along the acccess at Beigle Rd. If you need to use a restroom before the hike (there are none along the hike route). the Oso Flaco Lake State Park lot is another ¾ miles west of Beigle Road
Additional Information: The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes-Point Sal Coastal Area contains the largest, relatively undisturbed coastal dune tract in California and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974. Five major plant communities are represented including pioneer/foredunes; coastal dune scrub; riparian woodland; coastal dune freshwater marshes, ponds, and swales; and active interior dunes. The flora includes many endemic plant species and the dunes habitats support numerous rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals.
Our Chapter would like to thank the anonymous donors of $1,000 to the Malcolm McLeod Scholarship Fund. This fund supports student research and has aided many students in projects that have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the flora. If you would also like to help students in their research, please look at our web page on the fund.
Oval Leaved Snapdragon
Drawing by Bonnie and article by Dr. Malcolm McLeod below appeared in the November, 1991 Obispoensis.
When you read it you will see lots of similarities with our current drought situation as well as the much hoped for possibilities of an excellent rain year. Yea, el Niño! If we get the rain, we just may have a once a decade or so treat to witness. We can only hope. Malcolm was a long-time member of our chapter who served several years as out chapter president. He served many years as our rare plant coordinator. Malcolm mentions many names of people who came to see this rare event. They are a whose who of local last generation including naturalist-rancher Eben McMillan and botanists Clare Hardham and Clifton Smith. In 1991, the Carrizo Plains area was not yet a National Monument but a Natural Area administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Nature Conservancy. It’s the presence of this species, as well as number of other plant and animal species, that aided in it being designated a National Monument in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.
– Dirk Walters, illustration by Bonnie Walter
Title: February Chapter Meeting Featuring Natalie Rossington
Location: San Luis Obispo Vets Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo
Program: Natalie Rossington, a Master’s student at Cal Poly. Natalie is studying how rare species are able to exist near common and widespread relatives by investigating reproductive barriers between Layia jonesii, a rare serpentine endemic, and Layia platyglossa in Reservoir Canyon.
She investigated both pre-zygotic and post-zygotic barriers using a combination of field and greenhouse experiments. She will present her results and discuss how these results help us understand how rare, serpentine endemics survive and persist.
Natalie Rossington received an undergraduate degree in Soil Science at Cal Poly. She is a Malcolm McLeod Scholarship awardee. She enjoys botanizing in the spring, photography, and cooking in her free time. She grew up in Santa Barbara and currently lives in Morro Bay.
Start Time: 19:00
Bequest from Joan O’Donell
The San Luis Obispo Chapter of CNPS recently received a generous surprise in the form of a bequest from wildflower lover Joan O’Donnell. Joan’s daughter Paddy McNamara contacted CNPS to let us know that her mother passed in March of 2013 and that Paddy, Joan’s husband Laurence, and Joan’s other daughter Cathleen Scott would like to honor their mother’s memory by making a donation to our chapter in the form of a gift of $3,000.
It was their intent to assist in CNPS’s efforts to conserve California’s native plants and to give lasting joy to others who also treasure the experience of seeing local wildflowers in bloom through their donation.
Some of the family’s fondest memories of Joan and one of her greatest delights were taking rides throughout the Central Coast to look at wildflowers. Joan O’Donnell grew up in Pasadena, lived for a while in Santa Barbara, and eventually settled in Arroyo Grande during the late eighties with Laurence. She was a dedicated home maker and kept a large garden at their home in Arroyo Grande.
Joan would wear big hats and large sunglasses and would load the family into the car to drive around local natural areas in search of wildflowers. Matilija poppy, California poppy, and lupine were some of her favorites. Joan was 90 when she died.
On January 9, 2013 the chapter board voted unanimously to place this donation into the Malcolm McLeod Scholarship Fund, which supports college students’ botany and plant ecology research projects. Environmental regulations, land use determinations, and policies that protect and conserve California’s native plants are in part based on science to help inform these decisions, so the board felt that this was an appropriate use of the funds.
We are deeply grateful for the O’Donnell’s gift and for the family’s generosity through support of CNPS. The future of CNPS and our ability to continue to conserve, protect, and advocate for California’s native plants and our botanical legacy depends largely on these types of contributions. Planned giving and bequests like this are ways to help ensure the future of California’s natural habitats and the diversity of plants that reside within them.
If you would like more information regarding donations of this nature please contact any of your local CNPS representatives and visit our website for more information at http://support.cnps.org/page.aspx?pid=353.
Vernal Pools occur where there is moderate to large sized “natural” depression with no outlet. The depression has to be large enough to capture enough rainfall to fill the pond to some depth. The water collects in the lowest point in the depression. There also must be an impervious layer under the pond that prevents the water from seeping deep into the soil. This impervious layer is usually a layer of calcium carbonate that forms where water seeping downward due to gravity is balanced by pull upward caused by evaporation. True vernal pools are a desert or semi-desert phenomenon. I suspect it goes without saying that not all temporary pools are vernal pools. For example, in San Simeon State Park there are extensive interlocking shallow pools surrounding small hillocks that are filled up by winter rains and are gone by summer. These are formed by animals that dig out the depressions and pile up the excavated dirt to form the mounds. This allows the animals a drier den during the rainy season. Back East, where it rains or snows most of the year, you will find temporary ponds that will last from many months. These are colonized by ordinary species more or less identical to those that inhabit the forest around them. Vernal pools will only last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on their size and the amount of rainfall.
For the second Obispoensis of this year, we are doing a repeat of a drawing Bonnie did for the banquet cover back in 1993. We’re repeating this particular drawing because of the drought and in the hope that it will serve as sign that we really, really need rain! It was originally done in honor of Dr. Wayne Ferren’s (then Curator of the Herbarium at U.C. Santa Barbara) program entitled “Creation and Restoration of Vernal Pools at Del Sur Reserve near Isla Vista, California.” The vernal pool in Bonnie’s drawing is one that occurs off the road to leading to Cerro Noroeste from California State Highway 166. It is on a shelf in the otherwise steep slopes of that mountain’s foothills. This particular pool is a favorite stop for CNPS-SLO, especially when there has been enough rainfall to fill it.
It is when the vernal pool lasts for weeks that they become particularly interesting. For plants, vernal pools are a particular challenge. The first plants to appear are those that can stand total emersion in the water. These are aquatic plants that usually live totally submerged in the water. Because the water is going to last for a very short time, these aquatic plants must have an accelerated life cycle to get from germination to fruiting. As the pool begins to dry up, plants that can tolerate saturated soils begin to germinate in a ring just inside and upslope from the water’s edge. Again these plants have a difficult environment. They begin life with too much water and end up high and dry as the pool constricts away from them. The end result of this process is a series of bands produced by various species that get their start under different soil water conditions. This banding is easily visible in Bonnie’s drawing. One genus that is particularly typical of vernal pools Downingia. It is they that form a spectacular bluish band around the pool. Bonnie included a drawing of the flower of the common Downingia species found in this particular pond. It is Downingia cuspidata.
Bonnie’s drawing was taken from a photograph, lost many years ago, that was taken on a chapter field trip to Mount Able and Mt. Pinos. Although the person shown in the drawing is drawn much too small to be recognized, notes from the time indicate that it is Sybil McLeod who served CNPS-SLO chapter in many different ways. Yes, she was also the wife of Dr. Malcolm McLeod who was a past CNPS-SLO President, Historian, and for many years the Rare Plant Committee Chairman. To be a committee chair in this chapter usually means you do all the committee’s work.
Congratulations to Natalie Rossington
CNPS-SLO is awarding the McLeod Scholarship to Natalie Rossington, a Master’s student studying Biology at Cal Poly where she also received an undergraduate degree in Soil Science. She enjoys botanizing in the spring, photography, and cooking in her free time. Natalie grew up in Santa Barbara and currently lives in Morro Bay.
Natalie Rossington will be studying the distribution and ecology of native populations of Layia jonesii and Layia platyglossa in Reservoir Canyon by using a reciprocal transplant. She will also investigate the pre-zygotic and post-zygotic barriers between the two species by performing a hybridization study. She hopes to find new populations of L. jonesii throughout San Luis Obispo County during Spring 2014 and 2015.
Read more about the McLeod Scholarship