Monday, April 22, 2013

Ridgecrest Wildflower Show

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of events. All positive and school related. It all started after my April 7th collecting trip to the Wilderness. Then a trip to Ridgecrest to meet a very fabulous group of docents and volunteers from the Maturango Museum. After that, four days with classmates and colleagues in Berkeley, CA to give my very first presentation at the 24th Graduate Student Meeting. Once the meetings ended it was back to work and school. Topping it off with another collecting trip to the Kiavah Wilderenss this weekend. This is the first time since my last entry that I have been able to sit down and blog.

A nice warm spring day at the Museum
I have decided to reflect on my trip to the Maturango Museum, Thursday April 11th, because of the great people I met and my first adventure to Ridgecrest.
Naomi Fraga and I drove up to Ridgecrest on Thursday for a day trip. Our original plan was to drive up Wednesday and stay with Kathy LaShure. Our plans were deflated due to preparing for the Graduate Student Meeting in Berkeley. Naomi and I had to work on fine-tuning our presentations. I'm so glad we were able to make it up to Ridgecrest despite the unforeseen roadblocks.

Garden art at the museum
When we first arrived at the Maturango Museum, Naomi introduced me to Judy and Charlotte. These ladies have been putting on the spring wildflower show at the museum for many years. After our greeting Naomi put me straight to work. The two of us grabbed plants in jars and placed them in the appropriate families.
I thought, oh boy this is going to be difficult, especially since I don't know too many plants from the region. Funny, because I'm doing a floristic study in the area. But that was the reason for me joining Naomi. I was to get familiar with the flora by helping at the wildflower show and to meet the tried and true botanists of Ridgecrest.
At first I felt over whelmed by all of the plants but since this was a bad rain year there really wasn't a lot of diversity.
My first triumph of the day was when I correctly keyed Amsinkia tessellata! This trip was such a great confidence booster. I'm ready to key it all!
After keying most of the morning our stomachs were calling for attention.

We had a wonderful lunch group, Judy, (Judy's daughter), Charlotte and Kathy. We ate at a local pizza parlor, outdoors on the patio. It was a perfect day. No wind and lots of sunshine. I could have spent the rest of the day on that patio talking botany. However, Naomi and I had a job to do, and that was to key plants. We finished lunch and headed back to the museum. Charlotte gave me a tour of the new under-construction museum. It looks like very nice and it will be very spacious. I cannot wait to see it when it is complete.

Since it is a bad rain year, not too many plants came into the museum during the afternoon. There was quite a bit of down time. I took (not so good) photos of some of the plants that I have not yet collected from the Kiavah Wilderness. Two of the three pictures below are from my study site... which means I need to get out to Cow Haven Canyon, immediately!
The Eriogonum kennedyi var. purposii has not been documented from my study site but Naomi said I should keep an eye out for it.


Unfortunately we could not stay for long because the museum closed at 5:15 p.m. It was an exciting day and if we could, we would have stayed through the weekend. I had a great time getting familiar with the flora and meeting the wonderful women of Ridgecrest. I cannot wait for next year, I hope we get more rain and my identification skills get better. I will be sure to be in contact with the fabulous volunteers of the Maturango museum. Thank you for the wonderful time in Ridgecrest!

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