Monday, April 14, 2014

Return to Ridgecrest

I can't believe how fast time flies. It was about a year ago that I was introduced to the dedicated wildflower enthusiasts of the CNPS Creosote Ring sub-chapter and volunteers of the Maturango Museum. I have been impatiently waiting for this spring to arrive. Partly because of the wildflowers and the other part in anticipation of returning to Ridgecrest for the Wildflower Exhibit at the Maturango Museum. Last Year Naomi and I went to the Maturango Museum to help identify the wildflowers for the Wildflower Exhibit. It was such an amazing experience. Reflecting back, I'm proud to say that I have come a long way with my botanical skills (although there is still a lot to learn). Last year I was so timid and unsure of my identifications. I remember being too scared to place plants under their botanical names on the tables. However, this year was different. When we walked into the museum the first thing that came into view were tables packed with jars and vials filled with wildflowers. My eyes began bolting from table to table identifying species that I've collected in the Scodie Mountains. It was such a great feeling.
Perrine checking off the list
This year Naomi brought along a new intern. Perrine Veguer, an undergraduate from France, is interning at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for 10 weeks. It was my first time meeting Perrine. This is Perrine's first time in the United States. For her internship she is to learn about botanical conservation as well as gain cultural experience. Perrine was a great help with setting up the wildflower exhibit. She was tasked with checking off the various plants from the different collecting locations. Oh boy, was she fast at it!

I think last year left a bad impression in our minds. There were not a lot of wildflowers for the show because of the drought. We were finished setting up the exhibit a little before lunch. We even had time to key out the difficult plant groups. But this year was a different story!  There were so many flowers in jars. SO MANY waiting to be processed and placed on the appropriate tables. Judy, Karen and Charlotte gave us direction and Naomi and I set off identifying. We were nowhere close to being finished by the time lunch crept up on us. Judy and Charlotte decided on John's Pizza for lunch.

John's Pizza: Lunch break
Lunch was very satisfying. It was nice to sit down and rest for a bit. I didn't realize how much we had been on our feet going back and forth from table to table. Judy's lovely husband, Gene joined us for lunch. After lunch we had to jet back to the show. There was so much work to be done.

Amazing! So much Asteraceae
Naomi and I placed plants on the tables like crazy botanists. Just when we thought we were almost finished identifying all of the plants, a new group of people would show up with even more plants! The desert is amazing! It is so resilient and full of beautiful botanical splendors.

Upclose and personal with Wildflowers
I'm so glad that we were able to make the trip up to Ridgecrest to help with the wildflower show. It was a great pleasure to reunite with Kathy, Charlotte, Judy and Karen. It was also a great feeling gaging how much I have grown my botanical knowledge and knowing that there is so much more to learn. I can't wait for next spring, to return to Ridgecrest for the next Wildflower exhibit.

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