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U.S. Forest Service

Celebrating Wildflowers News 2014

December 2014

The Forest Service and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Conservation and Management of Native Orchids

Posted December 16, 2014

North American Orchid Conservation Center logo.

On December 9, 2014, The Director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Chief of the Forest Service finalized a new service-wide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU recognizes the mutual interest in the conservation and management of native plants, especially native orchids. The Smithsonian, through its North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC), leads a coalition of organizations dedicated to conserving the diverse orchid heritage of the U.S. and Canada. The initial groups of public and private organizations that support NAOCC have joined forces with a common goal: to ensure the survival of native orchids for future generations. To this end, the NAOCC’s collaborators are working to preserve habitats; create and maintain national collections of seeds and orchid mycorrhizal fungi; and support research on orchid ecology, conservation, and restoration.

November 2014

Allies in Plant Conservation Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Posted November 19, 2014

Group picture of the attendees who form the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee of the Plant Conservation Alliance that met at the 2014 Seed Conference. Attendees who form the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee of the Plant Conservation Alliance meet at the 2014 Seed Conference to sign a MOU and renew their commitment to native plant conservation. (photo by Tami Heilemann, DOI).

On June 30, the Smithsonian Institution joined 11 federal agencies in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) (PDF) that continues the work of the Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee of the Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA) and its cooperators in State government and non-government organizations. The PCA is a public-private partnership of governments and non-government organizations that share the same goal of protecting native plants by ensuring that native plant populations and their communities are maintained, enhanced, and restored.

Read more about the MOU…

Joint Strategic Framework on the Conservation and Use of Native Crop Wild Relatives in the United States

Posted November 19, 2014

Publication cover.

Recognizing the value of crop wild relatives (CWR) of native plants for crop improvement and providing for the current and future food security of the United States and the world, the Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service, agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), developed a strategic framework for collaboration that will help ensure the conservation, evaluation, and use of native CWR occurring on National Forest System lands.

See the publication (PDF, 1.3 MB)…

Chicago Botanic Garden Partnership to Collect Native Seeds

Chicago Botanic Gardens sign.

Posted November 5, 2014

The current Challenge Cost Share agreement between the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service and Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) aims to preserve native plants of concern within the Eastern Region of the Forest Service, in particular by collecting and banking the seeds of Regional Forester Sensitive Species (RFSS), as well as associated plant species sharing the same habitat.

Read about the partnership (PDF, 242 KB)…

October 2014

Mishkii Akii -Strength from the Earth

Dr. Diana Cryderman and Kathy LeBlanc being presented with and wearing colorful blankets. Dr. Diana Cryderman, Science Department Chair, and Kathy LeBlanc, Cultural Services Director both of Bay Mills Community College, are honored for their development of the workshop.

Posted October 24, 2014

The Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) and Bay Mills Community College hosted our eighth Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Partnership. Entitled “Mishkii Akii,” Strength from the Earth, the gathering occurred in the far eastern upper peninsula of Michigan on September 18 and 19, 2014. This two day native plants environmental workshop was attended by numerous participants from the surrounding community, students of the Bay Mills Community College, members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Chicago botanic Garden, and numerous Zaagkii partners.

Read about the workshop (PDF, 186 KB)…

Guidance for Federal Agencies on Sustainable Practices for Designed Landscapes and Supporting Pollinators on Federal Landscapes

Posted October 23, 2014

President Obama's Executive Order 13514 provides a unique opportunity for Federal agencies and facilities to improve sustainability across their operations. To help achieve these policy goals, the Council on Environmental Qualtiy issued on October 31, 2011, Guidance for Federal Agencies on Sustainable Practices for Designed Landscapes, which describes strategies to achieve sustainable Federal landscape practices.

President Obama’s June 2014 memorandumCreating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, directs Federal agencies to take steps to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators. To help achive this goal, CEQ issued on October 22, 2014, an addendum to its sustainable landscape guidance, Supporting the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators.

Read more about the guidance…

Northern Michigan Tribes Unite to Recover and Conserve Native Plants and their Pollinators

Posted October 20, 2014

Bay Mills Indian Community Resolution.

In a historic move of solidity and commitment, five Native American tribes of Northern Michigan made a new, collaborative commitment to recover and conserve the region’s natural biodiversity. The effort was coordinated over the last seven years across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region, in partnership with the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute and Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies. The common language of these resolutions read that the area’s five tribes “desire to join in partnership the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests and other Native American communities in Northern Michigan to further work with the Zaagkii (Wings and Seeds) Project in recovering native plants, encouraging pollinator protection, and restoring threatened ecosystems.”

Leaders of Michigan’s five federally recognized tribes have now passed five resolutions (PDF, 2.3 MB).

Read more about this story (PDF, 92 KB)…

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden Using Native Plants

Attracting Hummingbirds cover.

Posted October 17, 2014

Growing native plants adds important habitat for hummingbirds and other wildlife. This guide will help you create a hummingbird friendly garden.

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden Using Native Plants (PDF, 3.5 MB)

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Hosts Cranberry Crop Wild Relative Workshop

Posted October 10, 2014

Crop Wild Relatives Workshop poster.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) of Baraga County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula hosted a first ever Cranberry Crop Wild Relative (CWR) Workshop August 5-6, 2014, for CWR partnering efforts between KBIC, the Forest Service Eastern Region, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Cedar Tree Institute, Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Project , and the Chicago Botanic Garden. The ultimate goal of the group cranberry project is to conserve the range of genetic variation in wild cranberry, starting with populations on National Forests and potentially tribal lands also.

Read about the workshop (PDF, 186 KB)…

The Importance of Research Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, and More

Posted October 9, 2014

Horseshoe Bay Wilderness. Horseshoe Bay Wilderness Areas and Research Natural Area, Michigan.

The Forest Service and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are involved with a number of crop wild relatives (CWR) partnership projects. During the last two years, the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service in partnership with the ARS has begun to initiate vital work regarding our essential Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). Additional study and verification will provide a more insight with regard to the CWR species that the Eastern Region harbors. The conservation of CWRs is a two-pronged approach, involving both in situ and ex situ conservation.

Read more about The Importance of Research Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, and More (PDF, 224 KB)…

Monarch Waystation

Posted October 8, 2014

Forest Nursery Notes Summer 2014 cover.

The Summer 2014 Forest Nursery Notes features specialized pollinator gardens that provide habitat for monarch butterflies on their long migrations, "Monarch Waystation".

Forest, conservation, and native plant nurseries can provide a valuable public service by growing milkweed and other flowering nectar plants that will help create pollinator habitat. Even forest nurseries who primarily grow tree seedlings can convert some marginal land into pollinator gardens.

See Forest Nursery Notes Summer 2014 (PDF, 5.0 MB)…

Wings & Seeds/The Zaagkii Project: Building Environmental Consciousness with Tribes

Posted October 3, 2014

Spring 2014 Tribal Relations News page.

The Spring 2014 edition of the Forest Service Tribal Relations News features a story about the multi-stakeholder Wings and Seeds / Zaagkii Project. The project builds environmental consciousness with Tribes, including tribal youth, to protect native plants and pollinators.

See the Spring 2014 Tribal Relations News (PDF, 3.2 MB)…

September 2014

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Hosts Invasive Plant Workshop

Posted September 4, 2014

Workshop poster. Workshop poster.

This past spring the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) of Baraga Co. in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) hosted a nonnative invasive plant (NNIP) workshop. Members of several Upper Peninsula tribes attended, as were students from the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa College. Sponsored by the Zaagki Wings and Seeds Project, the class totaled approximately 25 participants and was conducted at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa College.

Read more about the workshop (PDF, 141 KB)…

July 2014

Pollinator Week 2014 Mobilizes America’s Forests for Pollinators

Posted July 14, 2014

Daniel Jordan, Jan Schultz, Mary Byrne, and Robinson Sudan. Daniel Jordan (Potosi-F’town Wildlife Biologist), Jan Schultz (Eastern Region Botany/NNIS Program Manager), Mary Byrne and Robinson Sudan both from the Pollinator Partnership.

The Pollinator Partnership (P2) finished the second of two pilot trainings with United States Forest Service personnel to increase the pollinator-friendly management of the nation’s forests.  That these two trainings took place during P2’s signature initiative Pollinator Week underscores its importance.  The two trainings provide regionally-specific forest management practices including monitoring for pollinators and eliminating chemical impacts on pollinators. The pilot trainings are in their first year, and Pollinator Partnership Plant Ecologist Mary Byrne and P2 Biologist Robinson Sudan are excited about the training 2.0 that will roll-out in 2015.

Pollinator Workshop Held on Ottawa National Forest

Posted July 11, 2014

Pollinator Partnership’s Biologist Robinson Sudan oversees netting practice. Pollinator Partnership’s Biologist Robinson Sudan oversees netting practice.

The Ottawa National Forest hosted a pollinator workshop at the Supervisor’s Office in Ironwood, Michigan, on June 17, 2014. The workshop was one of two pilot trainings sponsored by the Forest Service’s Eastern Region and the Pollinator Partnership, with the one-day sessions held on the Ottawa and on Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest.

Read more about the workshop (PDF, 332 KB)…

Midwest Invasive Plant Network Receives National Invasive Species Award

Posted July 11, 2014

The Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN) has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Education and Awareness on Invasive Species Partner Award from the United States Forest Service’s National Forest System Invasive Species Program. This national award recognizes a partner or cooperator with the Forest Service who has demonstrated outstanding cooperation and achievements related to environmental education and awareness of invasive species issues at the national, regional, or community level.

Read more (PDF, 74 KB)…

New Steps to Protect Pollinators, Critical Contributors to Our Nation’s Economy

Posted July 9, 2014

President Obama issued a memorandum (PDF, 52 KB) directing U.S. government agencies to take additional steps to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies – critical contributors to our nation’s economy, food system, and environmental health.

Read more in the news release (PDF, 50 KB) and see the related Pollinator Fact Sheet (PDF, 232 KB).

May 2014

Success Story: Spring Mountains National Recreation Area Collects Over 400 Pounds of Joshua Tree Seed Pods For Restoration

Posted May 19, 2014

Joshua  tree flowers. Joshua tree flowers. Photo Marisa Anderson.

On July 1, 2013, a lightning strike ignited the Carpenter 1 Fire that burned over 27,800 acres on the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (SMNRA), located northwest of Las Vegas on the Toiyabe National Forest. A portion of the burn occurred throughout Joshua trees, which recover slowly following fire.

The SMNRA took advantage of the successful Joshua tree and yucca moth mutualistic relationship and collected large quantities of seedpods from the massive spring bloom for restoration. A seed-planting event within the Carpenter 1 Fire burn area occurred on National Public Lands Day, September 28, 2013.

Read more about collecting Joshua tree seed pods for restoration...

It’s National Wildflower Week! Get a Little Wild with Flowers on National Forests and Grasslands

Sedum kiersteadiae. Birdseye (Hiawatha) Bird’s-eye primrose (Primula misstassincia) is found on the Hiawatha National Forest’s Pointe Aux Chenes Natural Area. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service, Sara Davis)

Posted May 5, 2014

In celebration of National Wildflower Week, May 5-11, 2014, we invite you to visit the lovely gems on our national forests and grasslands. A field of wildflowers is one of the most beautiful scenes you can experience in nature!

April 2014

New Pacific Southwest Region Viewing Areas Posted

Posted April 24, 2014

Elephant heads (Pedicularis groenlandica) Elephant heads (Pedicularis groenlandica).

Two new viewing area descriptions have been posted on Celebrating Wildflowers featuring areas in the Pacific Southwest Region (California). Consider visiting these sites during your next trip to the Klamath or the Plumas National Forests. Don't forget your camera!

Support the Mighty Monarch. Let your Milkweed Grow!

Monarch butterfly

Posted April 15, 2014

In the latest Spring 2014 edition of the Conservation Resource Alliance Catalyst, the lead article explains why we should help these famous flyers by letting your milkweed grow! Milkweeds like common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) are critical to the survival of the monarch butterfly. They are a key source of food for the butterfly and the required host plant for their caterpillars.

Read more about supporting the mighty monarch as well as other Catalyst stories(PDF, 0.9 MB)…

New Plant Species Named for Shasta-Trinity National Forest Botanist

Sedum kiersteadiae. Sedum kiersteadiae

Posted April 11, 2014

In June of 2014, a new stonecrop will be named Sedum kiersteadiae, honoring Forest Botanist Julie Kierstead Nelson. The species is a common inhabitant of rock outcrops in The Eddys and Scott Mountain, at the juncture of Trinity, Siskiyou, and Shasta Counties.

Read more about Sedum kiersteadiae

Upper Peninsula Invasives Council Newsletter, April and May 2014 Edition

Posted April 7, 2014

Bumblebee Conservator cover page.

The latest edition of the Upper Peninsula Invasive Council newsletter is available. It includes an article on page 7 about the Central Upper Peninsula Cooperative Weed Management Area (CUPCWMA) receiving funding this year from the Monarch Joint Venture. This will fund project efforts through 2016 to study treatment methods for black swallow-wort at Peninsula Point in the western Hiawatha National Forest. The money will also fund additional surveying for possible unknown populations. Work as-sociated with this project will be done by The Hiawatha National Forest and Superior Watershed Partnership who are CUPCWMA partners.

See the newsletter (PDF, 3.1 MB)…

Bumblebee Conservator - Volume 2, Issue 1: First Half 2014

Bumblebee Conservator cover page.

Posted April 3, 2014

Welcome to the second issue of the Bumblebee Conservator, the official newsletter of the Bumblebee Specialist Group. Currently, the plan is to produce and distribute the newsletter twice a year. This first issue of the year will include the Annual BBSG Report along with additional articles.

See the newsletter (PDF, 2.9 MB)…

Butterflies of the Eastern Region

Butterflies of the Shawnee National Forest logo.

Posted April 2, 2014

The USDA Forest Service Eastern Region partnering with the North American Butterfly Association developed a checklist for butterfly species that may be found on the Shawnee National Forest (PDF, 279 KB) in Illinois.

See all of the Eastern Region's Buttefly Checklists, as well as the updated Shawnee National Forest list…

February 2014

Celebrating Wildflowers has a New Look!

Posted February 28, 2014

Celebrating Wildflowers Logo featuring a Mariposa Lily and Yellow Ladyslipper Orchid.

We made some changes to the Celebrating Wildflowers website. We gave the website a fresh new look and reorganized the content to simplify and make it easier to find your favorite features.

We hope you like the changes we've made and continue to celebrate with us the thousands of wildflowers growing on our national forests and grasslands!

Rocky Mountain Research Station Scientist First to Define Blister Rust Resistant Allele in Limber Pine

Posted February 13, 2014

Infection spot types on limber pine needles following artificial inoculation with Cronartium ribicola. Infection spot types on limber pine needles following artificial inoculation with Cronartium ribicola.

Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) is being threatened by the lethal disease white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), expanding bark beetle pressure, and climate change in mountain environments. In a recent publication in the journal Phytopathology, Forest Service researchers report on the first of a series of studies using individual families to examine complete resistance to white pine blister rust and its inheritance in limber pine.

Read more about the RMRS scientist's definition of blister rust resistant allele in limber pine (PDF, 216 MB)…

Complementary Conservation of Wild Cranberry

Posted February 5, 2014

Vaccinium macrocarpon, wild cranberry. Vaccinium macrocarpon, wild cranberry, in John's Bog, Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee.

Wild cranberries, from which cultivated cranberries are derived, have been chosen as the first test case for a program to conserve the crop wild relative both in their natural environments (in situ) and in gene banks (ex situ) where they are available for use in research, breeding, and restoration. The large-fruited cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is the commercially important species, while the small cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) is a close relative. The wild populations contain genetic diversity that may not be found in the cultivated varieties and could be important in breeding new varieties that can adapt to a changing climate and other environmental stresses.

Read more about complementary conservation of wild cranberry…

January 2014

Success Story: White River National Forest Develops Sources of Genetically Local Grass Seed

Posted January 28, 2014

Looking down rows of planted grasses that are the source of seeds. First step seed increase accomplished with the Lucky Peak Nursery.

The goal of the White River National Forest Native Plant Materials Program is to facilitate the collection and propagation of local native seed and make them available through the commercial seed industry to land management agencies and private land owners at quantities needed for large-scale restoration. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, The White River National Forest was awarded national funds to help accomplish this goal. After a five year effort that involved the development and utilization of multiple agreements and contracts to accomplish seed collection and seed increase, genetically local seed for two grass species (slender wheatgrass and mountain brome) are now available for purchase on the commercial market.

Read more about the White River National Forest's development of local seed sources…

Pawnee National Grassland Receives Its First Pollinator Garden

Posted January 27, 2014

Aster. Aster, a native plant in the sunflower family that attracts pollinators on the Pawnee National Grassland. Note the small pollinator insect on the right flower.

Noble Energy established a pollinator garden on the Lillifield Pipeline as part of their restoration work last fall. The fenced area was hydro-seeded with plant species native bees and butterflies favor and will help provide a space for these pollinators to thrive. The Pawnee National Grassland is located in northeast Colorado east of Fort Collins, Colorado, and serves as an important reserve of native short-grass prairie formerly abundant along Colorado's Front Range. This project was a cooperative effort between the oil and gas industry and federal agencies.

Read more about the Pawnee National Grassland's pollinator garden…

Moonwort Madness in the Rocky Mountain Region

Posted January 27, 2014

Forest Service employees searching for and marking locations of moonworts. Forest Service employees searching for and marking locations of moonworts on the Black Hills National Forest. Photo by Daryl Mergen.

Over the last 15 years, as Forest Service botanists in the Rocky Mountain Region combed National Forest Service land conducting rare plant surveys encountered small, mysterious fern-like plants. The name of this interesting plant group is the moonworts (Botrychium, subgenus Botrychium). As more plants were discovered in project areas, an all-out effort to clarify species and rarity was needed to make informed management and conservation decisions.

Read more about Moonwort Madness in the Rocky Mountain Region…

I Am A Mushroom Hunter

Posted January 15, 2014

Each fall, mushroom enthusiasts flock to rainy Girdwood, Alaska, to pick all the choice edibles they can eat. But some hunters would prefer their favorite mushroom patches be kept quiet.

Kate Mohatt is an ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service and one of Girdwood's local mushroom experts. In the video, “I Am a Mushroom Hunter” of the “Indie Alaska” series, published by Alaska Public Media, she shares tips about how to avoid poisonous mushrooms on a fungi hunt, and how to enjoy one of the northern-most mushrooming destinations in the world.

Also, learn more about fungi from Kate Mohatt, in the video “The Mushroom Maven of the Chugach National Forest” from the Alaska Teen Media Institute (ATMI) on Vimeo.

A “Rarest of the Rare” Species

Posted January 15, 2014

Mimulus gemmiparus. Budding monkeyflower (Mimulus gemmiparus).

Rare plants may be scarce because the total population of the species may have few individuals AND restricted to a narrow geographic range; these are the very rarest plants. One such species, budding monkeyflower (Mimulus gemmiparus), was recently surveyed on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in Colorado.

Population dynamics, rarity, and risk of extinction for populations of Mimulus gemmiparus (budding monkeyflower) on National Forests of Colorado (PDF, 896 KB) - A Research Report Submitted to USDA Forest Service Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland, Fort Collins, Colorado August 22, 2013, by Mark Beardsley, EcoMetrics, LLC, and David A. Steingraeber, Colorado State University.

Invasive Species Alert: Black swallow-wort (Cynanchum louisea) and pale swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum)

Posted January 14, 2014

First page of Black Swallow-wort flyer.

Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) need milkweed plants (Asclepias species plus a few species in closely related genera) to survive; their caterpillars cannot feed on other host plants. An alien invader is jeopardizing this process by confounding female monarchs during the egg laying process. Black swallow-wort (Cynanchum louisea, also known as Vincetoxicum nigrum, formerly C. nigrum) and pale swallow-wort (Cynanchum rossicum, also Vincetoxicum rossicum) are members of the milkweed family (Asclepiadacea) native to Europe. Caterpillars from eggs laid on these invasive plants will not survive, and are essentially wasted. In addition, swallow-worts can crowd out native milkweeds, which can eliminate appropriate food sources for monarch caterpillars.