Since my last blog, I’ve been continuing on with field work and maintaining the greenhouse. A couple of notable projects are discussed here:
LYTLE CREEK NURSERY
I have been working off and on at the Lytle Creek Nursery, which is at the Front Country Ranger Station about an hour and a half from the Mountaintop Ranger Station in Fawnskin, CA. Not much has been going on lately at Lytle Creek, so most of what I have been doing down there is cleanup work. Mary (FS Biotech) and I weeded the planting beds, checked the water system, set up the shade cloth, and began sorting the pots to get rid of any that were breaking apart. Two weeks ago we also planted two species of milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa and A. fasiculatum) in the hopes of bulking the seed. I set up a weeper hose system for the beds. Nothing emerging so far!
WORKING WITH AMERICORPS
I had a fun and busy day up at the Mountaintop Greenhouse transplanting with the Americorps Crew last Thursday. We transplanted over 250 plants in one day, as well as cleaning and building all the pots for them and mixing about twelve loads of new soil. I worked for a couple of youth corps when I was younger, so it was pretty neat to be on the other side organizing and directing their work. They’re a good group!
One day a few weeks ago I went out to seed Milkweed in the field with Mary and my supervisor, Dev. This work is part of the Monarch Habitat grant where the Restoration Program is maintaining and improving monarch habitat. These seeds were collected last year, and this year we planted them in areas close to milkweed occurrences that could use more plants. We used a circular quadrat and seeded two seeds in each quarter. The hope is that at least one plant will emerge from each quadrat. I also got a tour of where previous milkweed seed was collected. Some of these areas need more surveying to record the full extent of the population.
VISITING THE PEBBLE PLAIN
I was lucky to tag along on a trip to the Pebble Plain with Mountaintop Botanist, Scott. This habitat occurs only in Big Bear and Holcomb Valley nearby. The pebble plain is critical plant habitat and contains many rare endemic plant species. Scott was able to point out many of these while he himself took photographs for a talk about the Pebble Plain. Enjoy the photos below!