RPTH Awards: General info and rules
Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
2012 RPTH Award winners
The 2012 field season produced some spectacular results, and we’d like to thank all of the CNPS Chapters and volunteers who made it all happen. The 2012 award winners are listed below.
- Chapter Awards
1st Place: Creosote Ring
2nd Place: San Diego
3rd Place: San Gabriel Mountains
Significant Chapter Contributions: East Bay and Mount Lassen
- Individual/Team Awards
Most occurrences updated:
1st Place: Belinda Lo
2nd Place: Clyde Golden
Most trips led: Kathy LaShure and Frank Landis
Most trips attended: James Roberts
Most volunteer hours: Tom Persons
Significant individual contribution: Tim Thomas
- Photo Contest
1st Place: Clyde Golden - Delphinium purpusii
2nd Place: Will Spangler - Delta mud flat treasure hunters
3rd Place: Ron Coley - Hibiscus lasiocarpos var. occidentalis
- Essay Contest
1st Place: Will Spangler - Rivers for Change hunts for treasured plants
2nd Place: Jane Strong - The Paintbrush Quest
3rd Place: Amber Swanson Untitled
- Partner Organizations
Desert Survivors Club
Marin Municipal Water District
Friends of Juniper Flats
Rivers For Change
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
- All 2012 RPTH Participants
- Project Supporters
Bureau of Land Management
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
U.S. Forest Service
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
California Department of Fish and Game
, one of the many rare plants documented by the Creosote Ring subchapter. Photo by Kathy LaShure.
1st place: The Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter submitted the most rare plant occurrences this year. Trip leader Kathy LaShure organized and led nine trips, documenting many rare plant occurrences from the southern Sierra Nevada. Although it’s a small subchapter, the Creosote Ring members filed in force this summer, and they had great success in finding and documenting their local rare plants. Thank you for your inspiring efforts!
(Nutall’s lotus, Rank 1B.1) One of the rare annuals documented by the San Diego CNPS Chapter. Photos by Frank Landis.
2nd place: The San Diego Chapter continued in their second year of surveying coastal dune annuals. With their commitment to repeated observations of these rare plant populations, which can vary considerably from year to year, San Diego CNPS is helping California State Parks to better understand the ecology of rare dune annuals and how to best manage them. Thank you for your dedication to the dunes!
Jane Tirrell, dedicated volunteer for the Lily Springs Study Area survey, photographing wildflowers in the San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Graham Bothwell.
3rd place: The San Gabriel Mountains Chapter undertook two projects this year. First, they finished up their phenology study of the Lily Spring Study Area, and in the process documented a number of additional rare plant occurrences. Second, they embarked on their “Paintbrush Quest”, with the goal of searching for historical locations of their chapter’s logo plant, Castilleja gleasoni (Mt. Gleason paintbrush). Thank you for contributing your expertise to important ecological areas!
Significant Chapter Contributions
Brazilian watermeal (Wolffia brasiliensis
) found on a trip with the Mount Lassen Chapter. This is probably the smallest rare plant ever documented on a RPTH trip. Photo by Ron Coley.
The Mount Lassen Chapter had a successful second year of rare plant hunting. Chapter leader Ron Coley organized trips to retrace the footsteps of the botanist Vern Oswald. The weather was highly uncooperative this year, and suppressed some of the annuals on their hope-to-find list, but they were successful in locating several historical rare plant occurrences, including the tiny water plant Wolffia brasiliensis (Brazilian watermeal).
The East Bay Chapter put a twist on the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt with their Adopt a Rare Plant Program. In this unique program, volunteers agree to adopt a rare plant and survey for that species over a two-year period. This resulted in East Bay Chapter members adopting several rare plant species and submitting their survey data from the 2011 field season. Surveys continued in 2012, and we look forward to those results in the coming months.
Belinda Lo (front, yellow shirt) and other RPTHers taking a break from a grueling hike at the Leonardi Falls Botanical Area. Photo by Danny Slakey.
Most occurrences: Belinda Lo, a seasonal botanist for the El Dorado National Forest and former intern at CNPS, went beyond the call of duty in her summer work documenting rare plant occurrences, and did a phenomenal job of documenting rare plants in her free time as a volunteer. Belinda also helped lead some of the Northern California RPTH trips organized by CNPS staff. Great work, Belinda!
Most trips led: Kathy LaShure has been an outstanding leader of rare plant treasure hunts with the Creosote Ring Subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter for the past two years. Her thrill-of-the-hunt leadership style inspires and motivates chapter botanizers in traveling to our beautiful mountains in search for rare plants. Many thanks, Kathy.
Most trips led: Frank Landis has headed up the San Diego Chapter’s Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for the past two years, and has probably led more total trips than any other volunteer. Our hats are off to Frank for his outstanding efforts and continued dedication to understanding rare plant ecology and conservation. Great effort Frank!
Most trips attended: Wahooo! to James Roberts, a highly dedicated volunteer who mustered for many, if not most of the coastal dune trips of the San Diego Chapter. Thanks for your enthusiasm James!
Most volunteer hours: Tom Persons contributed over 100 hours on weekend trips in the Mojave & Sonoran Deserts. Tom is a talented naturalist and field ecologist, involved in outdoor leadership and restoration projects in the greater Los Angeles area. Thanks for making our trips so much fun, Tom!
Photo Contest Winners
Click on the photos to see larger, high-resolution images
1st Place – Clyde Golden
Delphinium purpusii (rose-flowered larkspur, Rank 1B.3) by Clyde Golden.
2nd Place – Will Spangler
Delta mud flat treasure hunters Danny Slakey and Bob Stahmer, by Will Spangler.
3rd Place – Ron Coley
(woolly rose-mallow, Rank 1B.2) by Ron Coley.
Essay Contest Winners
1st Place – Rivers for Change hunts for treasured plants
Will Spangler wrote an excellent essay on rare plants of the Delta and our kayaking trip to search for them. See the article on our Stories From the Field page.
2nd Place – The Paintbrush Quest
Jane Strong recounted the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter’s quest to search out and document all the known occurrences of their chapter’s logo, the Mt. Gleason paintbrush Castilleja gleasoni, Rank 1B.2)
3rd Place – Untitled
Amber Swanson, former RPTH coordinator contributed a lively account of the Castle Mountains trip in the Mojave Desert.
Significant Individual Contributions
Several Rare Plant Treasure Hunters made other outstanding contributions to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt throughout the field season, and we are grateful for their interest and contributions to the program. Tim Thomas brought his expansive knowledge of the desert flora as well as the Cottonwood Basin in the Eastern Sierra to several RPTH trips. David Popp hosted Rare Plant Treasure Hunters for a weekend trip at his cabin in Quincy. Jade Paget-Seekins, a seasonal botanist with the El Dorado National Forest, shared her knowledge of the local flora on several trips that she attended and helped lead. John Dye of Rivers for Change was able to acquire free kayak rentals, helped us navigate channels of the Delta, and even paddled in a few RPTHers on tow lines in order to bring us back in a timely fashion. Thank you all for your generous contributions.
Habitat Works packed a good handful of trips with inquisitive newbies, who went away aglow with the discovery of the desert’s magic and hidden secrets. Habitat Works is a volunteer environmental stewardship group, working to improve natural habitat conditions throughout Southern California.
Desert Survivors Club
The Desert Survivors Club joined several trips this season, bringing volunteers from far afield. Desert Survivors is an affiliation of desert lovers committed to experiencing, sharing and protecting desert wilderness wherever they find it.
Marin Municipal Water District
The Marin Municipal Water District teamed up with CNPS to lead several RPTH trips on Mt. Tamalpais this season. MMWD Vegetation ecologist Andrea Williams and several interns led the surveys, and participants included environmental consultants from WRA, Marin CNPS Chapter Members, and other volunteers. They brought out over 50 volunteers on 4 trips, and were able to document many new and historical occurrences on the mountain!
Rivers for Change
Rivers for Change made it their goal to paddle 12 California rivers from source to sea in an effort to bring awareness to the threats they face. As part of this project, Rivers for Change members John Dye and Will Spangler helped lead and organize a survey for rare plants in the Delta, and even provided RPTHers with some great rental kayaks.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt has teamed up with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) in an effort to enable adventurers who will be visiting remote parts of the state to document the rare plants they encounter on their trips. The primary initiative of ASC, based in Missoula, Montana, is to facilitate partnerships between adventure athletes and the researchers who need them to collect data all around the world, so Rare Plant Treasure Hunters who travel out of state may want to contact ASC for help in planning their upcoming adventures. ASC has already connected some amazing athletes and aspiring botanists to the Rare Plant Treasure, and we look forward to working with them in the future.
Friends of Juniper Flats
Friends of Juniper Flats’ mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the natural and cultural values of the Juniper Flats, Arrastre Canyon, and Grapevine Canyon areas for future generations by supporting BLM efforts to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the area, encouraging responsible multiple use of the area, assisting the BLM to ensure adequate management of the area through implementation, monitoring, corrective actions, and enforcement; and educating the public about responsible use of the area. We are grateful for FoJF’s efforts under challenging conditions!
All 2012 RPTH Participants
We had an amazing turn out of volunteers this year, and we want to thank and acknowledge each and every one of you who hunted rare plants in our beautiful mountains and deserts. You are at the heart of the mission of the RPTH program, and we could not accomplish anything without your continued interest and dedication. THANK YOU! (If your name is missing from the list, please let us know, and we’ll get you added right away!)
Jean Pierre Dermedjian
Kye Ok Kim
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for a third year, with a grant that provides for rare plant survey work on BLM lands in California’s deserts. Work on the BLM’s desert lands is particularly important, given the threats to California’s deserts from proposed solar and wind energy projects.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
NFWF has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for 3 consecutive years, with a grant that provides funding for rare plant surveys in California’s deserts and adjacent, semi-arid Forest Service Lands. Work on the California’s deserts is particularly important, given the threats from proposed solar and wind energy projects.
U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
The USFS began supporting the project with a cost-share agreement to perform rare plant surveys on Forest Service Lands in 2012. Forest botanists have been especially helpful in setting survey priorities, providing access, and even joining in on some trips!
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG)
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has been an important supported of the RPTH, providing office space for CNPS staff and rental vehicles. Their support allows for the project to have a “home base” in southern California.
California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG)
The CDFG has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt by providing office space for CNPS staff, covering printing and computing costs, and prioritizing desert data entry in the CNDDB. Their support has been a tremendous benefit to the program.