A Tale of Alaskan Winter Weather Explains Current, Changing Landscapes
Early blueberry is budding out in mid-February in southeastern Alaska. U.S. Forest Service photo by Mary Stensvold.
Posted March 29, 2013
This winter in Alaska has been particularly warm. At sea level, rain rather than snow has dominated the precipitation. Instead of crisp, snowy winter days, we're experiencing soggy, drippy weather. The temperature is warm enough that the early blueberries are beginning to flower. Because this is very early for flowering, a hard freeze later in the winter could destroy the budding plants and threaten the berry crop.
Great Lakes greenhouse gives native plants second chance
Volunteers help harvest native seedlings at the Hiawatha National Forest greenhouse in Marquette, Michigan. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.
Posted March 27, 2013
Since the early 1990s, the Hiawatha National Forest has operated a greenhouse in Marquette, Michigan. The idea is to provide both native seeds and seedlings for successful restoration of sites impacted by logging or disturbed by other land management activities. For instance, when aging culverts are replaced, native plants can be introduced to re-vegetate disturbed soil. Seeds and seedlings are also used to enhance existing wildlife habitats.
Volunteers Help Restore Native Idaho Wildlife Habitat
Volunteers plant bitterbrush. Photo by Idaho Fish & Game.
Lucky Peak Nursery native forb production field.
Posted March 8, 2013
From Idaho Fish & Game News
Volunteers provide the workforce to restore native habitat throughout Idaho, collecting seed and planting since 1990 when Idaho Fish and Game initiated its volunteer program. Since then, thousands of volunteers in the southwest have planted nearly three quarter of a million bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings to restore the native shrubs on burned winter ranges for deer, elk and pronghorn. During summer months, volunteers collect seed from native plants including forbs, grasses, and shrubs for restoration work by the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Fish and Game.
Some seed is used by the U.S. Forest Service Lucky Peak Nursery, 15 miles east of Boise, to propagate seedlings that volunteers plant. The seed is taken to the nursery and spread on drying racks. Nursery employees clean the seed. Seeds sown in May of one year are ready to plant as seedlings the following spring.
The“Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban (Guiding for Tomorrow) or “G-WOW” Initiative takes a unique approach to increasing people’s knowledge of climate change impacts on the Lake Superior region by integrating scientific research with real world evidence of how climate change is affecting traditional Ojibwe lifeways. It brings Native perspectives to addressing issue of climate change and incorporates Ojibwe language and cultural components. The project’s service learning approach promotes community level action to mitigate or adapt to a changing Lake Superior climate.
Imagine a place where the air is laden with intoxicating scents of flowers in bloom, a place where treasures wait to be found, where countless butterflies swirl like fluttering jewels amidst bees and diurnal moths, all against a backdrop of vibrant green.
Look up into the trees and you'll find beautiful vistas of leaves changing color in different regions of the United States this fall. Look down at the forest floor and you'll find an even greater array of colors. The U.S. Forest Service has many stories to share with you about our wildflowers.
"Celebrate Native Pollinators" Reaches Broad Audience - November 5, 2012
The Forest Service’s Eastern Region partnered with Wildlife Forever to spread news about native pollinators to 4,636,000 readers of the National Home Gardening Club Magazine entitled Bringing Your Garden to Life- Gardening How-To.
Chippewa National Forest's Wildflower Viewing Areas
Wildflower Viewing Areas are sites of high botanic interest selected by botanists for the native plants and flowers found within them. Two of these areas can be found on the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota. Consider visiting these sites during your next trip to the forest. Don't forget your camera!
Botanists Work to Protect Sensitive Plant Habitats - July 10, 2012
Botanists are working across the Black Hills National Forest everyday to protect sensitive plant habitats.
Botanists are working across the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota, everyday to protect sensitive plant habitats. Recently botanists and timber managers teamed up to determine a boundary for a newly identified pocket of trees infested with mountain pine beetle inside a timber sale area. Before the trees can be removed, botanists and timber sale administration specialists needed to survey and walk through the area, looking at riparian buffers, sensitive plant habitat, timber harvest feasibility, transportation, and other resources.
A handful of lucky Cordovans recently participated in a wildflower education workshop offered by the US Forest Service (USFS). The workshop was specially tailored for local outfitters and guides as a means of increasing guiding expertise; and also to help researchers raise awareness around the issue of non-native, invasive plants in Alaska.
Stewart-Phelps Wins National Grasslands Award - July 2, 2012
Leslie Stewart-Phelps, Rangeland Management Specialist and Botanist for the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands, was recently honored with the distinguished Grassland Conservation Award from the National Grasslands Council. The award recognizes her work administering grazing management on 94,000 acres of the Oglala National Grasslands, in addition to responsibilities as Nebraska Forests and Grasslands Botanist to assess project proposals for possible impacts to threatened, endangered or sensitive plant species.
Wildflowers are blooming throughout National Forests, June 19, 2012
Cavan Fitzsimmons, Hebgen Lake District Ranger.
Hebgen Basin is home to a myriad of flora and fauna some of which is unique to our community's corner of public land and many of which stretch out across the Custer and Gallatin National Forests as well as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Nearly 1,150 species of flowering plants are represented across Hebgen Basin and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Surrounding the Hebgen Lake Ranger District and the Gallatin National Forest is a maze of public land management direction that aims to work together on larger landscape level projects, where possible. Coordination with adjacent public lands is critical to ensuring that management of resources is successful.
Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods of Pastoral Communities in Southern Ethiopia
A girl from Kare Gutu helped in collecting plants in the kallo.
Karen Dillman, Ecologist, Tongass National Forest, spent six weeks in Ethiopia working on the Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative (PLI) along with partner organization Save the Children-Ethiopia on a new phase of the project that focuses on biodiversity of the kallos. Southern Ethiopia is almost completely occupied by pastoral communities living within a communal resource system for livestock production. These communities also use traditional grazing enclosures as reserves (local name: kallo) for times of drought and other uncertainties. Other phases of the project include prescribed fire for enhancing grass production, GIS technology for mapping purposes, invasive species management and soil carbon and biomass estimation for future carbon credit markets.
Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc., a member of National Garden Clubs, Inc., partnering with the Manistee National Forest produced a DVD about Loda Lake for their distant garden club chapters to learn more about Loda Lake. A portion of this video is posted on YouTube.
“I have fond memories and owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the late Edward G. Voss (1929-2012), who passed away recently. I laboriously learned the Wisconsin sedges and grasses using his outstanding "Michigan Flora" keys, keying out specimens with a Sherlock Holmes-type magnifying glass in my basement during the winter of 1976 while I worked in the post office. I sometimes wonder whether I would have gotten into professional botany at all without the inspiration of Ed's "dry," "impersonal" keys and their challenging and inspiring attention to detail.”
Conservation and Management of North American Bumble Bees
Bombus vagains. Photo by Sheila Colla.
This is a report of the USDA Forest Service and NatureServe with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This document provides a brief overview of the diversity, natural history, conservation status, and management of North American bumble bees, genus Bombus. The spring to late summer period of colony founding, build up, and production of reproductive individuals, followed by the overwintering of new queens provide the natural history basis for management considerations of the approximately 46 North American species. Most bumble bee species are currently not threatened or documented as declining except in areas of intensive agriculture. Eight species from three subgenera, however, have declined drastically during the last 15-20 years. These include three species that are obligate parasites on other declining species. The pathogen spillover hypothesis, which proposes that diseases from infected commercial colonies imported from Europe are infecting native populations of closely related species, may explain the sharp declines of most species. Other threats to bumble bees include climate change, loss of nesting and foraging habitats and pesticide use.
Schweitzer, D.F., N.A. Capuano, B.E. Young, and S.R. Colla. 2012. Conservation and management of North
American bumble bees. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, and USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C.
Researchers find an unusual hybrid origin in a rare plant
A colorful wildflower called Christ's paintbrush is found only one place in the world, atop a southern Idaho mountain in an area only slightly larger than the Boise State University campus. The plant, whose scientific name is Castilleja christii, is not only rare, it also has a remarkable origin. Botanists first began noticing plants that did not seem to be typical Christ's paintbrush a number of years ago. Now, Boise State University graduate student Danielle Clay has found that the species developed from an unusual type of hybrid cross between two common species of paintbrush.
This is an article from the Idaho Native Plant Society's Sage Notes, December 2011, Volume 33(4).
Can a Prairie Teach Us About Agricultural Water Quality? - February 2012
ARS researchers are studying how nitrates and phosphorus affect water quality in a crop field that has been converted to native prairie vegetation at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City, Iowa. Photo by Jeff Cook.
One place to figure out how agricultural practices affect water quality is in a crop field that is being converted to native prairie vegetation. In Iowa, natural resource managers are conducting this type of landscape restoration at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City.
Step-by-Step Strategies for Restoring Western Rangelands - February 2012
A diverse, functioning rangeland ecosystem with desirable shrubs, perennial grasses, and forbs can help prevent invasive plants from becoming established and taking over. Photo by Tony Svejcar.
Invasive plants exploit every environmental angle in their favor. So restoring damaged rangelands in the western United States involves a lot more than just getting rid of bad plants and bringing in good plants.
Since 1990, Agricultural Research Service ecologist Roger Sheley has been refining a process for identifying factors that give the undesirable space invaders their territorial edge—and figuring out strategies for restoring a healthy mix of native vegetation for rangelands in need of remediation.
Get Ready for Green! National Forest and Grassland Wildflower Viewing Areas
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) at the Androscoggin Ranger Station, White Mountain National Forest, in New Hampshire. Photo by Amanda Weise.
Longing for warm, fragrant breezes? Blooming trillium colonies, foraging bumble bees, and even unfrozen water puddles all signify the arrival of spring. While we can't make winter move along faster, we can help you plan a trip to see wildflowers when spring shows up.
There are about 316 Wildflower Viewing Areas we have identified on our national forests and grasslands in nine Forest Service Regions across the United States. They vary from native plant and pollinator gardens in urban settings to recreation areas and hiking trails, all showcasing the natural beauty of native wildflowers.
Every site is open to the public. Some locations offer interpretive signage and brochures.
Using Cactus as a Bioremediation Tool - January 2012
ARS plant/soil scientist Gary Bañuelos (right) and grower John Diener survey prickly pear cactus growing in poor-quality soil.
The west side of the San Joaquin Valley in California presents several challenges to growers. The soils there include marine sediments, shale formations, and deposits of selenium and other minerals, results of ancient seas and runoff. Anything grown there needs to be irrigated, but the resulting runoff, when it contains high levels of selenium, can be toxic to fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife that drink from waterways and drainage ditches. Periodic droughts and population growth are also squeezing supplies of the fresh water available for irrigation.
Gary Bañuelos, an Agricultural Research Service plant/soil scientist with the Water Management Research Unit at the San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, California, believes that he has found a promising alternative to address land productivity and environmental concerns stemming from soils with these mineral deposits, growing prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficusindica).
Pollination: it's vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film "Wings of Life," inspired by the vanishing of one of nature's primary pollinators, the honeybee.
Warming trend means more rain, less snow in lower elevations.
More than 50 years of records in the western mountains of the United States show that while it is now significantly warmer,
total annual precipitation has not changed. But a system that was once dominated by winter snowfall now experiences a mix of rain and snow, with more streamflow in winter and less in spring. As a result, there is less water for ecosystems and agriculture during the spring and summer growing season. These changes make forecasting and managing western water resources more difficult and present a serious challenge to agriculture in the region.
On August 6 and August 20, 2011, members of the Nevada Native Plant Society visited two spring sites in the Spring Mountains, Clark County, Nevada, to search for and, hopefully, learn how to identify Botrychium species. Botrychiums, also known as moonworts, belong to the Ophioglossaceae, an ancient family of plants distantly related to modern ferns.
Peruvian Cacao Collection Trip Yields Treasures - September 2011
Fortunato No. 4 chocolate, a fine-flavor product made from the Pure Nacional type of cacao identified in northern Peru.
In the chocolate world, the fastest growing segment of the industry is fine-flavor, high-end chocolates. Until now, the source of these specialized confections has been largely limited to small regions of Venezuela and Ecuador. Collection expeditions in 2008 and 2009 through the Amazon Basin of Peru uncovered the exceptional find, along with other distinctive new populations of cacao. Agricultural Research Service researchers at the Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory (SPCL) and the Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory (SMML) in Beltsville, Maryland, and Peruvian collaborators came away with hundreds of new cacao tree samples from these trips.
Rescued Gratiola plants starting to flower one week after transplanting. Photo by Fran Harty, The Nature Conservancy.
In Illinois, Quarterman’s Hedge-hyssop is very rare, with only three sites known – and one of these sites has long vanished - as evidenced by a long overlooked herbarium specimen from the early 1900s. Extant populations were first discovered by Steve Hill, a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, while conducting botanical surveys on and around Midewin. Here Quarterman’s Hedge-hyssop is found in dolomite prairie, one of the rarest types of tallgrass prairie, itself ranked as ‘imperiled’ by NatureServe. Attempts to locate Quarterman’s Hedge-hyssop on other protected remnants of dolomite prairie in northeastern Illinois have been unsuccessful, perhaps because so much of this prairie type has been lost to limestone quarries and industrial development. In 2009, Quarterman’s Hedge-hyssop was located on the Durkee Road Dolomite Prairie, a privately owned remnant of dolomite prairie. The landowner was not interested in selling or preserving this remnant. Since 2005, the landowner gave permission to the Midewin staff to collect seed and salvage plant material from this site. Over the years, these seeds and plants have been used to restore native plants on appropriate sites at Midewin.
Scintillant hummingbird (Selasphorous scintilla) female feeding at and pollinating Elleanthus glaucophyllus, Monte Verde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica.
PART BULLY, ALL SWAGGER; hummingbirds are tiny bundles of ego and attitude with no humility or fear. The smallest warm-blooded avian creatures, they hover like a helicopter, consume energy like a jet plane, and glitter in the sunlight like a precious jewel. It is fitting that this most magnificent evolutionary miracle that is the orchid. Hummingbirds are thought to have started their evolutionary path toward orchids after gobbling insects in mid-air. In the course of searching for insects and spiders inside flowers as well, they stumbled upon the delicious nectar set out to lure insect pollinators and so began their life as nectar feeders. Never looking back, they evolved the ability to hover efficiently to access the nectar bounty while the orchids evolved characteristics to make them even more irresistible to their new pollinators. A series of interlocking adaptations resulted in an incredibly fast, remarkably tiny little metabolic dynamo and some very distinctive-looking flowers locked together in a mutually beneficial dance.
Thank you to the Orchid Digest for allowing Celebrating Wildflowers to make this article available. Questions concerning Orchid Digest may be directed to Sandra Svoboda, Editor.
NCEAS Working Group Produces Study Showing How Vitamins and Minerals in Fruits and Vegetables Depend on Pollinators
Fruits and vegetables that provide the highest levels of some key vitamins and minerals to the human diet globally depend heavily on bees and other pollinating animals, according to a new study published in the international online journal PLoS ONE.
Visiting the Ottawa National Forest is a fun and exciting way to experience the great outdoors. However, being in a wooded environment brings its own challenges. Here are a few of the "pests" and "plants" you should try to avoid. Read about Biting Bugs and Plants to Avoid (PDF, 245 KB)…
National Wildflower Week - May 15-21, 2011!
USDA Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack proclaimed May 15-21, 2011, "National Wildflower Week" (PDF, 2.8 MB)! National Wildflower Week will kick off a season-long festival of events highlighting wildflower appreciation, education, interpretation, and restoration activities. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service, along with all of our partners who participate in the Federal Interagency Plant Conservation Alliance, will join together to celebrate the diversity of plants and plant habitats found on the Nation's public lands.
Exciting Discovery in the Alpine - Spring 2011
Crab-eye lichen with attendant mosses and other lichens. Photo by Ellen Anderson.
Half the fun of doing sensitive and rare plant surveys is actually finding some. Even more rewarding is finding something that has never been reported in Alaska before. That is exactly what happened during summer 2009 when I joined botanist Brad Krieckhaus (Sitka and Hoonah Ranger Districts) to conduct surveys on the alpine ridge north of Hecla Greens Creek Mine, north Admiralty Island. Read more about the alpine discovery (PDF, 1.3 MB)…
Rare Plant Discovery: Moonwort on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest - December 2010
A very rare plant has been found in northern California - one that is native to the West Coast but has not been found outside of Oregon before. This exciting discovery has several botanist on and around the Shasta-Trinity National Forest working to find and document the find.
Botanists Call Them “Novelties” - October 2010
Heil's alpine whitlowgrass.
Botanists have been exploring North America for more than 250 years and they have found about 20,000 species of vascular plants. With that many plants, you would think botanists had found them all; but you would be wrong. About 40 new plant species are discovered each year in North America. Botanists call these new species “novelties” and the hope of finding new novelties keeps botanists exploring the remote nooks and crannies of North America year after year.
O.N.Z.C.D.A. Awards their Gold Award to Celebrating Wildflowers
“O.N.Z.C.D.A. staff have completed assessments of Celebrating Wildflowers and it gives us immense pleasure to be able to award our Gold award this being issued on the date of 22/09/2010.
We congratulate you on the excellent work you presented to us, encourage you in your endeavors and we will look forwards to visiting your web site again in the future.”
“Dedicated to the enjoyment of the thousands of wildflowers growing in national forests and grasslands and to educating the public about the many values of native plants this site does not forget the children providing puzzles, coloring pages and fun activities! Many USDA Forest Service botanists and other specialists around the country have contributed to the editing, content, construction and maintenance of the site. Through their program Forest Service personnel and Celebrating Wildflowers partners and volunteers present informative talks, lead wildflower hikes, staff displays at public events such as flower and garden shows, write wildflower articles for the popular media and prepare and produce educational materials. A most relaxing site visit and one that is certainly worthy of bookmarking.”
Congratulations from O.N.Z.C.D.A Staff
Mower Tract Ecological Restoration - West Virginia - August 2010
Several aspen were staked in preparation of high winds and flagged to deter wildlife from grazing on the young tress before their roots became established.
The Wes-Mon-Ty Resource Conservation and Development Project, Appalachian Plant Materials Center, and Monongahela National Forest have joined forces to restore watershed conditions and the native red spruce-northern hardwood ecosystem on surface mined land on Cheat Mountain. Through the use of native vegetation to reduce maintenance costs and increase the probability of success a restoration project and habitat improvement project has been implemented on the Mower Tract, which was surfacemined in the early 80s. The objective is to establish and restore native species of shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants to this area with a short-term goal (5-20 years) of enhancing habitat for early successional species and a long-term goal of spruce ecosystem restoration. The primary plant species targeted to use for long term restoration efforts include, but are not limited to: speckled alder, bigtooth aspen, balsam fir, and red spruce.
New Greenhouse for KBIC Restoration - July 21, 2010
U.S. Forest Service Botanist Jan Schultz visits greenhouse 6-15-10. Photo courtesy KBIC NRD.
Restoring pollinator-friendly native plants to the Upper Peninsula is the outcome and product of a sixteen-foot tall solar-powered geodesic dome greenhouse built in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). Volunteer greenhouse builder Rich Trudell explained that the new KBIC greenhouse is one of the first of its kind located on a Native America reservation.
Native Treasures: Forest Service propagates, showcases plants - July 2, 2010
Fragrant evening primrose is a favorite of Forest Service botanist Twyla Miller. Photo by Laura Christman, Record Searchlight.
Deep in the woods, high on mountains and along meadows, seeds are gathered and cuttings snipped. These botanical beginnings are taken to an 18-by-36-foot greenhouse in Mount Shasta and coaxed to life. Which isn't always easy — native plants can be rather demanding about sprouting. Some like sandy, rocky soils; others prefer loamy, duffy dirt. Some seeds insist on a period of cold moistness, others require six months of dryness.
GO Plant a Native Pollinator Garden - June 30, 2010
AmeriCorps Volunteers plants Sedum telephiodies in the pollinator garden.
The Monongahela National Forest teamed up with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area to host a National Get Outdoors Day Event that would encourage healthy, active outdoor fun and benefit the birds and the bees. On Saturday, June 12, an army of volunteers joined forces to transform a 5,500 square foot fescue field into a beautiful native pollinator garden. Partners from The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife prepared the site by treating and removing the sod. Volunteers were then able to plant over 300 plugs and pots of native grasses, sedges, herbs, and shrubs. They also assisted with laying out landscaping timbers, creating bee houses, and caging plants thought to be the most appealing to deer.
Participants in the Tongass Rainforest Festival learn how to remove fibers from a dye bath.
Since before medieval times, lichens have been used to dye wool and other natural fibers in many cultures around the world. Specific lichens produce a rainbow of permanent colors on all types of fibers, producing shades of red, gold, brown, yellow and purple. This ancient but still thriving craft was introduced to Alaska fiber artists through workshops held in 2009 during the Cordova Fungus Festival in Cordova and the Tongass Rainforest Festival in Petersburg. Participants learned the history, technique and sustainable collection practices of lichens for their use as natural dyes.
Prince William Sound Zone: Shoreline Rare Plant Surveys - Spring 2010
Marilyn Barker surveys a delightful Prince William Sound fen for rare plants. Photo by Kate Mohatt.
Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska is known worldwide for its amazing wildlife and scenery, but the wide varieties of plants that inhabit this area are little understood. Past surveys have documented numerous sensitive and rare plant species on South central Alaskan maritime shorelines. Prior to this survey, little was known of the presence or distribution of several sensitive plant species that are known to occur in similar habitats as found in PWS. The PWS area is managed to maintain its wild character and unique wildlife habitat. Although human access is generally limited to boat or aircraft, recreational and other human uses are continuing to increase.
Art Gallery to Showcase Paintings of Former Loda Lake Resident Artist - May 13, 2010
On Tuesday evening, May 18th, the Michigan Garden Clubs, together with the Huron-Manistee National Forests, will be hosting the opening display of the Midwestern paintings by Albert Schmidt, former resident artist at what is now the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary.
Wayne National Forest Partners with Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves to Inventory for Rare Plants - March 24, 2010
Large sedge, Carex gigantea. Photo by R. Gardner.
The Wayne National Forest has an ongoing agreement for the use of data from the Ohio Natural Heritage Database. This database began in 1976, and contains over 17,000 records for rare plants, animals, and high quality natural plant communities in Ohio. The Wayne National Forest relies on heritage staff expertise in rare plant and natural community inventory and management.
Spectacular Wildflower Displays Expected in the Southwest in the Spring of 2010
Abundant rainfall fell throughout much of the Southwest during the winter of 2009/2010. We expect this to produce spectacular spring wildflower displays. Spring wildflowers, mostly annuals, will start blooming in the low deserts in early March, with peak blooming in April and early May at higher elevations.
Monarchs were sent into space via the shuttle Atlantis on the 16th of November 2009 to be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) where they lived out their lives. These monarchs are now back in Kansas and will become part of a permanent display at Monarch Watch.
When the space shuttle Atlantis blasted off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, on November 16, 2009, three monarch caterpillars from Monarch Watch, were on board headed to the International Space Station (ISS).
MonarchLIVE, A Distance Learning Adventure - Update January 2010
Staff from the Forest Service International Programs worked with staff from Prince William Network (PWN) schools located in Virginia, and the Forest Service Washington Office of Conservation Education to implement "Monarch Live, A Distance Learning Adventure". This project was in the planning stages for almost two years and the implementation took place during fiscal year 2009 over a seven-month period. The project included over 25 partners in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Eriogonum villosissimum (Polygonaceae), A New Species Endemic to Acker Rock, Oregon - December 2009
Eriogonum villosissimum. Reveal, York, & Heliwell 2009.
In 2005, while rock climbing in the Western Cascades of southwestern Oregon, Dana York, California Department of Transportation, discovered a previously unknown buckwheat, Eriogonum villosissimum, growing in crevices and small shelves of a volcanic rock formation known as Acker Rock. The plants form clumps that are scattered over the south-facing vertical faces of the formation. Nearby outcrops were searched in 2006 with no success of finding another population. The discovery is officially published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (Reveal, York, & Heliwell. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3(2): 639 – 643. 2009.).
Rare Orchid New to the United States Doing Fine on the Lincoln National Forest - November 2009
Microthelys rubrocallosa. Photo by Tyler Johnson.
In August, 2004, botanist Marc Baker discovered an orchid on the Lincoln National Forest that he could not identify, so he asked his friend and orchid expert Ron Coleman for help. It was a year later before Coleman could find plants suitable for an accurate identification. He determined the orchid was Microthelys rubrocallosa, a close relative of the ladies’-tresses orchids in the genus Spiranthes. This orchid had never been seen in the United States. Previously, it was only known from a few collections in the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Mexico, some 270 miles to the south.
Lakeview Pollinator Garden is Open for Bees-ness - September 2009
Lakeview Elementary students are enthusiastic gardeners!
The Hiawatha National Forest teamed up with GreenWorks and Lakeview Elementary School to establish a pollinator garden on the school grounds June 8, 2009. This project was multi-staged beginning in February 2009 and included environmental education programming, participation in Monarch Live distance learning program, planting and care of plants prior to planting on the school grounds.
(Tied to Monarch Live/GreenWorks grant and Monarchs in the Classroom)
MacFarlane’s four-o’clock Poached from Hell’s Canyon NRA - June 1, 2009
The plant was last seen on May 18, 2009 while still in bud by forest personnel.
The hole discovered on Memorial Day weekend where the MacFarlane’s four-o’clock plant once grew.
Forest Botanist, Gene Yates, of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, traveled to the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area after the Memorial Day weekend to monitor a population of MacFarlane’s four-o’clock (Mirabilis macfarlanei) located along the Snake River in Hells Canyon. MacFarlane’s four-o’clock is designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Gene discovered that one of the plants had been excavated from the population.
Forest personnel last saw the plant on May 18, 2009, while still in bud. The hole was over a foot in diameter and one foot deep.
This is the second time that a MacFarlane’s four-o’clock has been illegally removed from this population during the last seven years. In 1991, this population of MacFarlane’s four-o’clock consisted of 17 plants. By 2003, the population had decreased to 12 plants.
Now, with this second illegal removal, fewer than a dozen plants are present. These two thefts are significant losses for the continued existence of this small population.
Seedlings of Rare Black Hawthorn Planted on Ottawa National Forest - February 2009
Black hawthorn seedlings.
Black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii, is classified as a Regional Forester's Sensitive and Michigan special concern plant. The Ottawa Botany Program obtained permission to collect fruits, extract seeds, and raise plants at the J.W. Toumey Forest Service Nursery. These Black hawthorn shrubs raised at the Forest Service Nursery were later planted at Black River Harbor to boost population viability.
New Arrivals on the Chippewa - American Elms! - November 2008
American elm seedlings.
In 2007, the Chippewa National Forest (CNF) and the Northern Research Station (NRS) initiated a project to restore the American elm to the Forest's landscape. Dutch Elm Disease (DED) has greatly reduced or eliminated the American elm component of hardwood forests and riparian ecosystems on the CNF. The objective of this project is to strengthen the tolerance to DED in the landscape of the CNF without narrowing the genetic base of the remaining elm population.
Hiawatha National Forest expands pollinator garden through FY08 native plant funding - November 2008
Dan McConnell transplanting native plants into the pollinator interpretive garden.
The Rapid River District office native plant garden doubled in size due to funding provided from a native plant program in FY08. Thanks to funding provided to the Hiawatha NF from the Washington Office we were able to expand the existing native plant garden at the Rapid River Ranger Station and create an interpretive site for pollinator species habitat.
Plants of the Grand River and Cedar River National Grasslands is Available!
Townsend's Easter Daisy. Photo by Kurt Hansen.
The Cedar River and Grand River National Grasslands contain a variety of habitats. The mixed-grass prairie, cottonwood riparian, and woody draws characteristic of the Northern Great Plains are all here. This diversity creates a welcoming sii for plant enthusiasts.
The publication, Plants of the Grand River and Cedar River National Grasslands: 2008, by Kurt Hansen of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, U.S. Forest Service, is available free to the public. This document includes 56 pages, a summary of the current list of known plant species found on the Grand River Ranger District. The current known number of plant species on the district is 470 plant species from 78 families. Much remains to be learned, Please, come explore this wonderful place and make discoveries of your own!
Hiawatha National Forest's Monarch Butterfly Research Project Receives the Wings Across the Americas Award - June 2008
Wings Across The Americas award recipients.
On June 4, 2008, the Hiawatha National Forest hosted a reception to honor employees, partners and individual volunteers whose involvement in the Hiawatha National Forest's Monarch Butterfly Research Project over the past 15 years has lead to the receipt of the prestigious Wings Across the Americas (WATA) Award.
Final Native Plant Material Policy - February 13, 2008
The Forest Service has issued a new directive (Federal Register Notice, PDF,73 KB) for the use of native plant materials in the revegetation, restoration, and rehabilitation of National Forest System lands. This first ever national direction on native plant materials will help the Forest Service to develop and implement a native plant materials program throughout the Agency. The policy helps achieve the Agency’s goals of providing for the diversity of plant and animal communities, and restoring native species and habitat conditions in ecosystems that have been invaded by non-native species.
North American Monarch Conservation Plan - A Continental Approach to Conservation
Representatives of agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations from Canada, the United States, and Mexico are working together to develop a North American Monarch Conservation Plan to address monarch conservation utilizing a habitat-based flyway approach. This continental planning effort was launched at a December 2006 Monarch Flyway Conservation Workshop sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Agency for International Development, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, The Wildlife Trust, and the City of McAllen, Texas. A nine-member planning committee has been formed to develop a plan that addresses monitoring, habitat conservation, and public outreach and education.
Enhancing Pollinator Populations in Restored Prairie Habitats - Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie - 2007 Accomplishments
Restoring native habitats, such as tallgrass prairie, requires more than plants; reconstruction of a complete ecosystem requires all the elements, including pollinators. Without proper pollinators, many native wildflowers will fail to reproduce. Restoring pollinator populations requires providing more than a few native wildflower species; instead, there must be appropriate nectar sources present throughout the growing season, from spring through fall.
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.
Peninsula Point Lighthouse is a Guidepost in Monarch Migration - September 2007
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.
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
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.
Chippewa National Forest Unique Partnership Saves Showy Lady Slippers - August 2007
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.
Linda Parker, Forest Ecologist Receives the Karl Urban Celebrating Wildflowers Award for 2007 - August 2007
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.
Great Divide Native Garden Project (From Lawn to Garden) - August 2007
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.
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 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 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.
American Elm Restoration on the Chippewa National Forest - July 2007
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.
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 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.
USDA Forest Service Monarch News - Monarch Garden Installed on Grand River Ranger District, Dakota Prairies Grasslands - June 2, 2007
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.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: New Century Snapshot - Students Learn a Lesson that Keeps on Growing - June 2007
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.
NEW Website! - The Monarch Butterfly in North America - June 26, 2007
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 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 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.
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
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.
Bear Grass Prescribed Burn for California Indian Basketweavers - May 2007
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.
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.
SnowSchool at Bogus Basin’s Frontier Point Education Center on the Boise National Forest - April 2007
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.
Eastern and Southern Regions Partner on Non-Native and Invasive Species (NNIS) and Native Plant Classes at Eastern and Southern Regions University - March 2007
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.
Sundew New to Colorado Found on the San Juan National Forest - March 2007
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.
Chippewa National Forest - Native Woody Seed Collection - January 2007
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.
Preserving Healthy Butternut on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest - January 2007
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.
Molecular Test Determines which Yews on Huron-Manistee National Forest are Native - January 2007
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.
Awards for Celebrating Wildflowers Website - January 2007
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.
Growing Sword Ferns from Spores in the Dark Days of Winter - January 2007
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.
Payette National Forest Partnership with Red Butte Garden Helps Conserve Imperiled Plant, Tobias Saxifrage, in Idaho. - November 2006
Saxifrage bryophora var. tobiasiae, Tobias saxifrage, Payette National Forest.
This rare endemic to the subalpine region of the West Salmon River Mountains is found only on the Payette National Forest. Named after a local conservationist, Nell Tobias, the plant produces few seeds and relies on small plantlets or bulbils for reproduction. Bulbils of Tobias saxifrage were collected this spring from remaining populations at Pearl Creek and sent to Red Butte Gardens in Utah for propagation. These plantlets will receive expert care from the staff at Red Butte until they can be planted back into national forest lands that were “burned-over” by wild fires.
Following recent fires, known sites of Saxifrage bryophora var. tobiasiae in the Pearl Creek drainage, Payette National Forest, were destroyed. Since only six populations of Tobias saxifrage are known to occur on the Payette National Forest, it is important to propagate local genetic material for restoration. Past reproductive biology research done by Kim Pierson, the Forest botanist on the Sawtooth National Forest, contributed to our understanding of the plants ecological and biological characteristics, allowing for successful reintroduction.
Finding the Elusive Wright’s Filmy Fern on the Tongass National Forest - November 2006
Gametophyte of Wright’s filmy fern. The plant pictured here is about 1/3 inch wide.
The tiny fern, Wright’s filmy fern (Hymenophyllum wrightii), grows in Japan and Korea and the temperate rain forests of the northwest coast of North America. Moss experts discovered the fern in British Columbia in 1957 and in Alaska in 1965. It is rare in British Columbia and was known in only two places in Alaska.
In July, a team of botanists, armed with flashlights and magnifying glasses, conducted concentrated surveys to locate the fern in southeastern Alaska. The botanists found the plant at 15 places near Petersburg and Sitka. In 2006, botanists have found the fern at 40 other locations in southeastern Alaska.
Pollinators at Risk: Nation Unites for the Birds and Bees - October 2006
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) hosted a symposium on October 18, 2006, to "to increase attention to the importance, and potential peril, of pollinating insects and other animals and the plants which depend on them for reproduction." The goal of the symposium was to raise awareness and to underscore the critical need for forethought and research to prevent a crisis in the pollinator world. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), USDA, and the U.S. Postal Service each made major announcements to focus public attention on often unseen and yet vitally important interactions between plants and the pollinating animals that help them reproduce.
Dr. Gene Robinson introduced the Status of Pollinators: Monitoring and Prevention of their Decline in North America, a nearly 400 page report completed by the NAS's National Research Council (NRC).
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner announced the signing of a proclamation by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in recognition of pollinators and designating June 24-30, 2007 as National Pollinator Week.
The United States Postal Service (USPS), represented by Washington, DC Postmaster Yverne Pat Moore, unveiled the intricate design for a commemorative stamp series highlighting the interconnectedness of nature and the process of pollination.
Pitcher plants returning after burn. Photo courtesy of Linda Chance.
The Kisatchie National Forest has partnered with Northwestern State University’s biology department, Natchitoches Parish, and a local construction company. Funding was secured with a grant of $86,000 from the Coypu Foundation to the NSU biology department to accomplish native plant conservation including the restoration of pitcher plant bogs in Louisiana.
Cottonwood Canyons Foundation 2006 Invasive Weed Program: Final Report - October 2006
Weeds collected by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation participating groups and volunteers.
The Cottonwood Canyons Foundation Invasive Weed program was sponsored this summer by funding from the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a partnership
grant from the Bonneville Coordinated Weed Management Area and in-kind support from Salt Lake County Public Works, who picked up pulled weeds for proper disposal. Volunteers chipped in a ton of hours and sweat effort to map invasive species and pull weeds.
Federal Agencies finalize Conservation Agreement to
protect five Central Utah Navajo Sandstone Endemics - October 2006
Colorado Plateau: View of Boulder Mountain from Capitol Reef National Park. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.
A Conservation Agreement and Strategy (PDF, 692 KB) to protect five rare endemic plants in Central Utah was signed by federal land management agencies this past month. It is the culmination of an interagency partnership that began even years ago to share botanical expertise and resources to conduct range-wide surveys (regardless of agency ownership) to understand the distribution, range, threats, and opportunities to manage shared species. The five species protected through this Agreement include: Maguire’s daisy (Erigeron maguirei), Wonderland Aliceflower (Aliciella caespitosa), Mussentuchit gilia (Aliciella tenuis), Harrison’s milkvetch (Astragalus harrisonii) and Pinnate springparsley (Cymopteris beckii).
Uinta National Forest Introduction Program to Recover Clay Phacelia, one of Utah’s most Endangered Species - September 2006
Clay Phacelia (Phacelia argillacea) habitat is found on sparsely vegetated slopes of the Green River shale formation at about 6,600-foot elevation. Photo by Denise Van Keuren.
Known from only two small populations on private lands, the Forest Service is contributing to recovery efforts of one of the nation’s rarest plants, the Endangered Clay phacelia (Phacelia argillacea) by taking action to establish new populations on federal lands. Over the past decade the Uinta NF has conducted extensive surveys in suitable habitat on federal lands adjacent to occupied sites but no additional populations have been found. Field surveys conducted in 2001 indicated an alarmingly low number of plants in the known populations due a series of natural and weather related factors (drought, predation, etc.) which subsequently led to the need for urgent action to begin Seed collection for ex-situ testing and seed bank expansion. The goal is to establish up to 13 new populations on federal lands that would ensure that this species does not go extinct.
Native Plant Rescue: Saving Our Natural Heritage - Wayne National Forest - September 2006
Volunteers planting black cohosh and other species in beds on the Wayne National Forest. Photo courtesy of Rural Action.
Personnel from the Wayne National Forest and volunteers from Hocking College, Rural Action Appalachian Resource Center, Ohio University, United Plant Savers, Frontier Natural Products Cooperative and the National Forest Stewardship Program came together in September to salvage many native plants from the future site of the U.S. Highway 33 bypass that will cut through the Wayne National Forest. Among the many species saved were a number of economically important medicinal plant species such as, goldenseal, black cohosh, blue cohosh, and bloodroot. Some of the salvaged plants were transplanted into other young, second growth forests on the forest. Most of the salvaged plants were planted into beds located at the Athens Ranger District Office. These plants will produce valuable seed for use in future revegetation and restoration projects on the forest.
New Plant Species Named after Sacajawea Found in Boise National Forest - May 11, 2006
A species new to science - Sacajawea's bitterroot (Lewisia sacajaweana) - is the first plant species to be named in honor of Sacajawea.
An Idaho native, this rare and beautiful plant occurs nowhere else in the world but Central Idaho. Just over two dozen populations of Sacajawea’s bitterroot are known to exist - roughly 75 percent of them on the Boise National Forest. Scattered populations also occur on the Payette, Sawtooth, and Salmon-Challis National Forests.
Lichen and Bryophyte Groups Visit Wayne National Forest - Spring 2006
Visiting groups spent several hours collecting specimens in the Symmes Creek area, taking them back to the Shawnee State Park lodge, where they were identified. One of the goals of the workshop was to develop lists of lichens and bryophytes for each area visited. The Symmes Creek lichen list contained more species than any of the other sites visited.
The Symmes Creek area is recognized as a hotspot for moss and lichen diversity as well as a premier habitat for these taxa. The area contains a variety of tree bark, soil, and rock habitats.
Groups included member of the Wayne National Forest, Ohio Moss and Lichen Association members, Lichen and moss experts throughout the Eastern United States, and herbaria (New York Botanical Garden, Philadelphia Museum of natural History, University of Nebraska, Kent State university, Ohio State University)