Celebrating Wildflowers News 2007

December 2007

Wasatch Shooting Star Surveys 2007

shooting star

This summer, surveys for the rare Wasatch Shooting Star resulted in a documented DOUBLING of the population as well as expansion of the population range into Little Cottonwood Canyon. Prior to 2007 surveys, this plant had only been found in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Snowbird funded the survey team, the Utah Native Plant Society donated volunteer hours to assist in the surveys, Red Butte Gardens Conservation Center monitored existing plots, and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest coordinated the project, including data collection sheets, EO standards and more.

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September 2007

Peninsula Point Lighthouse is a Guidepost in Monarch Migration - September 2007

Picture of a woman kneeling recording information about a milkweed on a clipboard.

Today Peninsula Point is a NatureWatch and Watchable Wildlife Site - Michigan's "Point Pelee"-- where visitors and volunteers come to see and study the monarch butterflies (in late summer) that congregate near the Lighthouse, several hundred at a time waiting a favorable wind to cross Lake Michigan to the Door County Peninsula Wisconsin. (A great variety of shorebirds and upland spring and fall migrant birds also pass through!) But it hasn't always been this way.

Plant It and They Will Come - September 2007

Picture of monarch butterfly caterpillars on milkweed.

Monarch caterpillars and chrysalis are found on milkweeds planted in native prairie and pollinator gardens at the Wayne National Forest office in Nelsonville, Ohio.

While maintaining newly planted prairie and pollinator gardens at the Nelsonville office, students Nick Galentin and Edward Entsminger came across some new visitors. These visitors were not of the two-legged form, but instead multi-legged variants eating milkweed leaves.

Prairie Planting at Milwaukee's Urban Treehouse Site on National Public Lands Day - September 2007

man and children planting native plants at the Milwaukee Urban Treehouse

The USDA Forest Service's Milwaukee Regional Office and the America's Outdoors Center (U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) celebrated National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 29, at Lynden Hill, home of Milwaukee’s Urban Treehouse site. The Urban Treehouse site is a 3-acre green space in the heart of Milwaukee, where neighborhood residents and school children can come to learn about the values of green spaces and gardening with native plants. The main event of the day was the planting of over 300 native plants on the prairie mound.

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August 2007

Chippewa National Forest Unique Partnership Saves Showy Lady Slippers - August 2007

showy lady slipper.
The Showy Lady Slipper is the official state flower of Minnesota.

The Chippewa National Forest in North Central Minnesota is developing a unique public-private partnership to mitigate and reduce impacts of a highway upgrade along 15 miles of Trunk Highway 39, the Ladyslipper Scenic Highway. The major challenge of the partnership is to ensure that a population of several thousand Showy Lady's Slippers, the state flower of Minnesota, are not irreparably damaged or eliminated during the highway upgrade.

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Linda Parker, Forest Ecologist Receives the Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers Award for 2007 - August 2007

Linda Park with Professor E.O. Wilson.
Linda R. Parker, the Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers award recipient, with Professor E.O. Wilson, of Harvard University during a National Pollinator Week reception held at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers award recognizes a forest service individual who throughout their career has demonstrated dedicated leadership, excellence in natural resource management, and outstanding commitment to working with other agencies, states, tribes, non-government organizaitons (NGOs), and volunteers in the field of botany. The scope and significance of the nominee’s contributions to the native flora of North America are noteworthy and considerable.

The 2007 National Celebrating Wildflowers award goes to Linda Parker who has made an important impact on the identification and development of native plant protocols, new directives, training and workshops, methodology, and research. She garnered numerous partners and volunteers in the process.

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Great Divide Native Garden Project (From Lawn to Garden) - August 2007

Whats Happening Here? sign.
A sign was erected to inform visitors as to what is happening on the Great Divide's garden site.

The Great Divide Ranger District, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Glidden, Wisconsin, developed a Native Plant Garden at their district office site. The Native Plant Garden began as an idea in early 2005. After a preliminary site search, a garden location was selected after consultation with district staff at the Glidden office (where the garden would be placed). They chose a site with high visibility, both to offer a place for visitor education as well as to help "beautify" the office grounds and reduce the area's mowed lawn.

Besides providing a source for public education and enjoyment, an added benefit of the native garden is it provides the Forest with a ready source of seed for a variety of projects. As the season progresses, a percentage of the available seed is harvested from the garden by hand and stored for future projects. These may include seeding projects in campgrounds, along trails, in wildlife openings, or on temporary woods roads following closure.

Regardless of the time of year, the Great Divide Ranger District invites you take a moment to walk about and enjoy their garden.

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July 2007

Canadian Intern Boosts Monarch Conservation Program - July 2007

(Ohio, Canada) – "The trees are dripping with Monarch butterflies. From dusk until dawn, they roost on leaves and branches at the forest edge," Victoria Moran said, describing a scene at Point Pelee National Park, Canada, which is the last stop for Monarchs migrating south before reaching Lake Erie.

Moran is Canadian, and has beenparticipating in a 3-month international internship for the NPS [National Park Service] Park Flight Migratory Bird Program. Her internship is shared between Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio, and Point Pelee. "These two parks, surrounded by urban and agricultural areas, provide veryvaluable green spaces for migrating species," said Moran.

At Cuyahoga, Moran developed in-depth plans for observing and conserving migratory species with an emphasis on birds such as warblers. She hopes the plans will become pilot studies,which will help us learn more about migrating species and the habitat they need to survive. "Cuyahoga already has many, knowledgeable volunteers who assist with bird and butterfly monitoring efforts. These citizen scientists are the glue holding the monitoring program together. My goal was to provide insights into strengthening these programs, which are so critical to preserving these beautiful species."

Monarch migrations are underway, but intensify in September and October. NPS contacts: Lisa Petit, 440-546-5970; Gerry Gaumer, 202-208-6843.

- A National Park Service "Parktip"

Goblin Fern - July 2007

goblin fern with an inset photo of a red backed salamander next to a goblin fern.
A view of goblin fern with an inset photo of red backed salamander found near it.

"One more reason to monitor: If you do not look, you will not find."

Most rare plant surveys on the Huron-Manistee National Forest are conducted for areas of proposed logging and other planned activities, which are usually in less rich habitat types. On July 20, 2007, Christie Sampson and Greg Schmidt were testing the applicability of a vegetation sampling protocol on different vegetation types in conjunction with a routine project rare plant surveys. They found Botrychium mormo (Goblin fern), a first for the Huron-Manistee, and probably the southern-most occurrence of this species in Michigan.

Had Schmidt and Sampson not been on their hands and knees looking carefully to identify all species present within a square meter area, this species in all likelihood would not have been found. The lesson (in moderation) is to slow down, wander off the preordained routes, and get down on your knees and look.

Washburn Ranger District Efforts Support Eco-municipality Goals - July 2007

the Washburn district office of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
The newly landscaped front entrance of the Washburn district office of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest shows the beauty and versatility of native plants in landscaping. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

In search of a source for local, native plant seed to re-vegetate disturbed areas, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest embarked on a plan to collect and grow their own seed. Native seed plots were started at several of the District Ranger offices including the Washburn office. Several local businesses were contracted for these projects.

One of the projects was to install a rain garden to deal with "Lake Washburn", the name coined by District staff for an area near the parking lot where a "lake" appears for several days after a substantial rain or spring thaw. Fourth grade students from Washburn Elementary School helped with the planting of the rain gardens.

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American Elm Restoration on the Chippewa National Forest - July 2007

neighborhood street bordered and shaded by large mature American elm trees.
American elm lined street, quintessential America. Photo by Jack H. Barger, U.S. Forest Service.

The Chippewa National Forest is initiating a project in 2007 to restore the American elm to the Forest’s landscape. Seedlings from crosses of native American elm trees with American elm strains with high levels of tolerance to Dutch elm disease (DED) will be established in areas where the trees can naturally regenerate and spread. The process of regeneration will allow American elms with genetic DED tolerance to co-evolve with the exotic DED fungal pathogen (Ophiostoma ulmi), to ensure this valuable tree species will not be lost from the Forest’s landscape.

Partners in this effort are Northern Research Station, Delaware, Ohio; Northern Research Station, Grand Rapids, Minnesota; State & Private Forestry, St. Paul, Minnesota; State of Minnesota, and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Read More (PDF, 306 KB)…

Forest Service Researcher Honored for Her Efforts to Develop Biological Knowledge and Seed Supplies of Native Species for Restoration - July 2007

Nancy Shaw working in a greenhouse.
Nancy Shaw working in the greenhouse at the Lucky Peak Nursery, Boise, Idaho.

Nancy Shaw of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aquatic Sciences Laboratory, Boise, Idaho, has been honored for her efforts to develop biological knowledge and seed supplies of native species for restoration. Nancy Shaw has worked with numerous researchers, federal and state agencies, and private seed growers across the western U.S. to advance the science of native plant propagation and use in restoration. She has presented more than 60 invited presentations at natural resources meetings and symposia, and has published her research findings in a wide variety of outlets. Nancy's work has improved the availability of genetically appropriate seed of native forb, grass, and shrub species so that land managers will have more choices and will be more successful in their rehabilitation and restoration plantings.

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June 2007

USDA Forest Service Monarch News - Monarch Garden Installed on Grand River Ranger District, Dakota Prairies Grasslands - June 2, 2007

Picture of pollinator garden event.

Children from the local girl scouts and boy scouts, scout leaders, and staff of the Grand River Ranger District, Dakota Prairies Grasslands, Lemon, South Dakota, created a pollinator garden. The pollinator garden was planted to help protect the biodiversity of local pollinators to give us the chance to see butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other friendly fauna. Many seeds were scattered to create a high density of diverse plants to attract pollinators. This garden will contribute to a healthy and sustainable future for generations of both pollinators and people! Almost 80% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization, and about 200,000 species of animals act as pollinators.

Read the Complete Newsletter (PDF, 170 KB)…

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: New Century Snapshot - Students Learn a Lesson that Keeps on Growing - June 2007

Lakewood-Laona's Nicole Shutt assisting students with planting.
Lakewood-Laona's Nicole Shutt assists students with planting.

Lakewood and Laona, Wisconsin - What do you get when you mix eighty-one children with twenty species of plants and two offices? A whole lot of fun and learning that keeps on growing!

In October 2006, the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District initiated a two-year agreement to create a supply of locally-collected native plant materials for restoration projects while connecting local students with the land on which they live. The District partnered with the Nicolet Distance Education Network (NDEN) to involve third and fourth grade students from the Laona and Wabeno Elementary Schools in the installation of gardens at both District offices for the Forest's Native Plant Program.

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NEW Website! - The Monarch Butterfly in North America - June 26, 2007

Monarch Butterfly

A new website, The Monarch Butterfly in North America, has been officially launched! The Monarch Butterfly website is a gateway to news, information, activities, and resources about the biology and conservation of this fascinating insect. This website is a cooperative effort with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) and agencies of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture dedicated to educating the public and increasing understanding monarch butterfly biology and conservation. Check it out!

The Monarch Butterfly in North America…

National Pollinator Week - June 24-30, 2007

The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 24-30, 2007 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Senate (S.Res. 580) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Resources are available on the Pollinator Partnership's website regarding Pollinator Week events happening across the country.

Pollination Stamp Series to be Released by the U.S. Postal Service on June 29, 2007

The stamp block featuring the pollinators forming the central starburst.

The stamp block featuring the wildflowers arranged in the center.

The U.S. Postal Service will release a four-design, 20-stamp Pollination booklet this summer. The four designs depict: two Morrison's bumble bees paired with purple, or chaparral, nightshade; a calliope hummingbird sipping from a hummingbird trumpet blossom; a lesser long-nosed bat preparing to "dive" into a saguaro flower; and a Southern dogface butterfly visiting prairie, or common, ironweed. The design emphasizes the ecological relationship between pollinators and plants and also hints at the biodiversity necessary to ensure the future viability of that relationship. The four designs are arranged in two alternate blocks that fit together like interlocking puzzles. In one block, the pollinators form a central starburst. In the other, the flowers are arranged in the center.

May 2007

Pollinating Wyoming - May 25, 2007

Oregon Trail Elementary (Casper, Wyoming) and the Bureau of Land Management celebrated National Pollinator Week early by planting flowers that will attract monarch butterflies. Forty fifth-graders from Oregon Trail Elementary school planted three butterfly gardens at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. The butterfly gardens are part of the Bureau of Land Management's "Hands on the Land" program, a nationwide endeavor to partner federal agencies with schools and get kids outside where they can receive environmental education.

Bureau of Land Management Monarch News - Monarch Gardens Installed at National Historic Trails Interpretive Center - May 24, 2007

Picture of a Trails Center employee talking to Oregon Trail Elementary students and teachers.

Teacher, Janet Wragge, and 5th graders from Oregon Trail Elementary School and Gayle Irwin and Jason Vlcan National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), planted three monarch butterfly way stations at the Trails Center in Casper, Wyoming, on May 24, 2007. The 5th graders brought some of their own plants they grew at school using Monarch Way station seed kits. The kits include six varieties of milkweeds, and six general nectar plants. Milkweed is used by the butterfly larvae, and nectar plants are used by the adults. Thanks to these students, Trails Center visitors can now observe the colorful orange and black butterflies resting atop colorful native flowers in a beautifully planned garden.

Read the Complete Newsletter (PDF, 201 KB)…

Bear Grass Prescribed Burn for California Indian Basketweavers - May 2007

bear grass flower.
Bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax) flower.

The Plumas National Forest Feather River Ranger District botanists, archaeologists, fire personnel and California Indian Basketweavers Association burned two and a half acres of bear grass, Xerophyllum tenax, on Friday May 18, 2007, on the Feather River Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest. This prescribed burn was at the request of the California Indian Basketweavers Association. Prior to the burn, monitoring transects were established to compare the total number and percent cover of plants before and after the burn.

California Indian basket weavers have used bear grass for thousands of years and the plant is an essential element in traditional Maidu basketry art and culture. Bear grass that has not been burned is not useable for basket weaving. Many weavers in this area are currently out of bear grass due to the shortage of suitable populations to gather. Bear grass must be burned in order to produce flexible, strong leaves from the new growth that occurs 1-3 years after burning.

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Middle School Students in Medford, Wisconsin, Battle Buckthorn Invader in City Park - May 2007

The Upper Chippewa Invasive Species Cooperative (a newly formed Cooperative Weed Management Area in north central Wisconsin), the Taylor County Lands Conservation Department, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and USDA Forest Service, along with Fifth grade students and teachers from Medford, Wisconsin, Middle School have come together for the past two years to remove glossy buckthorn from the Medford Riverwalk City Park. Buckthorn is an aggressive growing shrub that quickly colonizes and crowds out native vegetation.

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April 2007

SnowSchool at Bogus Basin’s Frontier Point Education Center on the Boise National Forest - April 2007

woman discussing an interpretive sign with a group of children.
SnowSchool class.

In 2007, nearly 700 elementary school children attended SnowSchool at Bogus Basin’s Frontier Point Education Center on the Boise National Forest. Students learned about winter adaptations of plants and animals, habitat diversity, and wildlife tracking. The Forest Botanist trained volunteer leaders in winter ecology and plant identification.

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March 2007

Eastern and Southern Regions Partner on Non-Native and Invasive Species (NNIS) and Native Plant Classes at Eastern and Southern Regions University - March 2007

students at the ESRU training session looking at publications spread out on a table.
Native plants restoration class.

Over the past 16 years, the Eastern and Southern Regions University (ESRU) has become a learning institution for Forest Service personnel in these two regions. In March 2007, the ESRU convened in Columbus, Ohio. For the last 5 years, The Nature Conservancy, State and Private Forestry, and the Eastern and Southern Regions of the Forest Service have partnered to offer three classes relating to invasive species and native plants.

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Sundew New to Colorado Found on the San Juan National Forest - March 2007

Closeup English sundew.
English sundew (Drosera anglica).

While surveying fens on the Columbine District, San Juan National Forest, Colorado, in July 2006, Alison Brady discovered a population of English sundew (Drosera anglica). Globally, sundews are one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants with over 170 species, but only 12 are native to the United States. This discovery adds a new species to the flora of Colorado. Until now Drosera rotundifolia (roundleaf sundew) has been the only Drosera species observed in the state.

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January 2007

Chippewa National Forest - Native Woody Seed Collection - January 2007

high bush cranberry berries.
High bush cranberry, one of the species collected by tribal members.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibway tribal members gathered fruit from the designated native woody plant species. Quantities of most fruits in seed zone 1 were severely limited in 2006 due to a major drought. Funding for this project was the U.S. Forest Service Native Plant Materials Earmark of 2006.

This project was initiated to increase the Chippewa's seed bank for several woody species stored at the Forest Service J.W. Toumey Nursery. Target species were those not typically used for reforestation purposes, or if used for reforestations were obtained only with great difficulty.

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Preserving Healthy Butternut on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest - January 2007

man searching the forest for healthy butternut.
Searching for healthy butternut on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin.

Employees of the Oconto River Seed Orchard searched for healthy butternut at locations where it had been recorded on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Twigs were collected from the tops of healthy trees in mid-winter and grafted onto black walnut seedlings. These grafted plants will be planted in the field at the seed orchard. This planting will preserve healthy butternut and eventually provide seed for butternut restoration projects. We hope to expand this effort to other National Forests and non-Forest Service lands.

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Molecular Test Determines which Yews on Huron-Manistee National Forest are Native - January 2007

young yew enclosed in a wire enclosure.
Taxus canadensis being protected from deer on the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

Foliar samples were collected from known populations of Taxus canadensis and known populations of exotic yew species and sent to the National Forest Genetics Lab (NFGEL) in Placerville, California. NFGEL found differences in the molecular structure of enzymes between native and exotic yews. When samples from unknown yews on the Forest were compared to the known samples it was possible to determine which ones were native.

Taxus canadensis is a sensitive species on the Huron-Manistee NF because much of it has been eliminated by of heavy deer browse. It was not clear if the few remaining yew were natives that should be protected or exotics that should be removed.

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Awards for Celebrating Wildflowers Website - January 2007

Disability Network and Talking Hands Award logos

Since posting the Celebrating Wildflowers web pages on the Forest Service website, we have received numerous e-mails complementing the agency for various aspects of the site. Recently, the Forest Service was recognized for the quality of the Celebrating Wildflowers website receiving The Talking Hands Award and the Disability Network 2007 Outstanding Website Award. Forest Service employees, volunteers, and partners are very proud and honored by the recognition received by the Celebrating Wildflowers web pages.

Read More About the Awards…

Growing Sword Ferns from Spores in the Dark Days of Winter - January 2007

man in a laboratory spraying sword fern spores.
Spores of sword ferns (Polystichum) are germinating in special containers under controlled lighting, temperature and moisture conditions.

The Sitka Ranger District (Tongass National Forest), National Park Service, University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service. and the U.S. Geological Survey are cooperating to grow sword ferns from spores as a component of a native plant propagation project. Sword ferns are showy ferns, valuable for landscaping or re-vegetation projects.

Four sword fern species are native to Baranof Island, where Sitka is located, and are adapted to a variety of habitats and transplant well. None of these large evergreen ferns is abundant enough to sustain commercial harvest. Propagation by spores may be a way of producing enough plants for restoration projects or use by local landowners. Simple protocols are being tested to grow the ferns. Spores were collected in the wild, sown on sterile soil in special covered containers. They are provided with light 12 hours a day and carefully misted to provide moisture. After three weeks the first tiny germinated ferns were visible. We hope to nurture these tiny bits of green into luxuriant adult ferns.

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Celebrating Wildflowers News

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