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Fire Following Flowers & Phenology 


Post-fire spring regeneration from California Naturalist Cathy Monroe's home in Mendocino County.

It is late spring and the flowers are still popping! In many places across the state fire left us in the midst of a human tragedy this past year but opened the land for flowers to bloom, some that we have not seen in over 50 years. Many of the special places where several CalNat partner organizations work and play were suddenly burned and are now hotspots for colorful native wildflowers, some described as “fire followers” whose seeds are triggered by the physical and chemical processes involved in wildfire. At Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Bouverie Preserve up came the cream-colored star lilies (Toxicoscordion fremontii), purple ground iris (Iris macrosiphon), narrow-leafed mule’s ears (Wyethia angustifolia), Diogenes’ lanterns (Calochortus amabilis) and violet blue Danny’s skullcap (Sculletaria tuberosa). Carpets of fire-following whispering bells (Emmenanthe penduliflora) were seen at Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park where California Naturalists at Sonoma Ecology Center help with park stewardship and interpretation programs. At Pepperwood Preserve, Education Director Sandi Funke describes wildfire as a house cleaner, germinator, and forest doctor  in her blog series describing the ecological benefits of wildfire “Fire Ecology for Non-Scientists, using many examples of fire chasers at the Preserve.

California Naturalist & UC Berkeley PhD Candidate Pralada Papper leads a California Phenology Project training.

Flowering time means something extra special to naturalists involved in the California Phenology Project, lead by Professor Susan Mazor at UC Santa Barbara to collect, share, and use phenology data to better understand ecosystem responses to changing climates.  Sarah Angulo, CalNat staff, recently completed the National Phenology Network’s Local Phenology Leadership course along with 25 other representatives from across the country, including three of our CalNat course instructors. Partners are now better equipped to set up phenology monitoring sites, plan how to implement monitoring with different audiences and anticipate site constraints. We continue to work with our partnering organizations to implement the California Phenology Project and other community and citizen science efforts in CalNat courses. To get an idea of what California Naturalists do with their classmates across the state as an introduction to community and citizen science, check out our new map. To explore citizen science projects near you (or to add one that isn't in the portal!) please explore our citizen science portal.

Courses & Events

SoCal Partner/Instructor Training 6/12-13
Advanced Training Calendar
National Forest Foundation 6/22
Sagehen Field Station CalNat Immersion 7/15
Coastal Institute-Camp Ocean Pines Immersion 8/19
Mt Diablo Region 8/20
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden 9/5
Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum 9/8
Point Reyes National Seashore Association 9/22
Sierra Nevada Immersion 9/30
Tuleyome 2/8
More Fall Courses TBA Soon! 

Recent USC Sea Grant Graduates.

Notable Naturalists

A shout out to all the California Naturalists who have been sharing pictures on our @UCCALNAT Instagram account! This picture sharing option has taken off thanks to you! We all love to see what folks around the state are seeing and doing. No need to be an Instagram member to see the pictures posted almost daily. Just click on the link above! 

On this #worldoceansday I encourage you all to commit to protecting our oceans by reducing your use of single-use plastics. The amount of plastic in our oceans is horrifying, and increasing daily. We can, and must, do better. My capstone project for my @uccalnat certification addressed this very issue, especially in regards to Albatrosses and other seabirds. Simple things you can do that will make a big difference: use a reusable water bottle. Bring your own coffee cup. And #skipthestraw, and encourage your favorite dining establishments to only provide straws upon request. When I order a beverage, I say “no straw, please.” It works. We can do this!!
Copyright © 2018 UC California Naturalist Program, All rights reserved.

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