California Native Plant Society | February 2022

Evening Programs
February 9, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. “Silvery Phacelia, Rare Coastal Dune Beauty of Del Norte County.” Silvery Phacelia exists only in the dunes of Tolowa Dunes State Park and Lake Earl Wildlife Area near Crescent City. Naturalist Sandra Jerabek, Director for the Tolowa Dunes Stewards, and Katrina Henderson, of California State Parks, will share the secrets of this charismatic plant, and feature the heroic, ongoing efforts of volunteers to protect its scenic dune habitat and adjacent estuary. Register for this Zoom presentation on our website, and see if in-person is an option.

Field Trips
February 27, Sunday. Dry Lagoon-Stone Lagoon Day Hike. A sand spit, two lagoons, and alder and spruce forests await us on a 4.6-mile, out-and-back hike on gentle terrain in Humboldt Lagoons State Park. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or 10 a.m. at Dry Lagoon. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Contact Carol at 707-822-2015 or Vaccinated people only. Bring a mask.

Sensitive Natural Communities
by Carol Ralph & Tony LaBanca
Like humans, plants assemble in communities. These “natural communities” are the building blocks of ecosystems. Some are common; others are rare and may need our attention to avoid impacts or extinction. If we can’t describe these natural communities, and we don’t know where they live, we can’t save them. The Vegetation Program of CNPS strives to describe, define, and map California’s plant communities. The results from surveys conducted by CNPS and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are published in the online Manual of California Vegetation. The VegCAMP program of CDFW produces a vegetation classification system and a list of natural communities. CNPS and CDFW work collaboratively, using data on the extent (acreage) and number of occurrences, with a transparent and defensible rank calculator, to assess threats to natural communities and assign a rarity ranking. The rare types are called “sensitive natural communities.” Most importantly, rankings and threat assessments are used to initiate local and regional assessments and to inform conservation and land-use planning. Northwestern California contains a big “data gap,” lacking information needed to define common and sensitive natural communities. CNPS and CDFW are concentrating on filling the data gap to provide a clearer picture of conservation priorities. Look for future opportunities to work with CNPS in this effort to understand natural communities of the North Coast!

Native Plants for the Garden
While the farm stand at Freshwater Farms is closed, our native plants can be bought during our volunteer work hours at the nursery (5851 Myrtle Ave., Eureka) Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Cash or check only. See website: