• At Bob's Gap
  • Crystal Lake
  • Mojave Desert bloom
  • Mt. Pinos
  • Big Pines Meadow
  • Returning from Mt. Lowe
  • At Bob's Gap
  • Crystal Lake
  • Mojave Desert bloom
  • Mt. Pinos
  • Big Pines Meadow
  • Returning from Mt. Lowe



Both members and visitors are welcome at our regular meetings, held at Eaton Canyon Nature Center beginning at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month except July, August, November, and December. The meetings are preceded from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. by social time and informal plant identification.

Bee on manzanita
Thursday, April 25, 2019,m 7:30 p.m.: Rediscovering ourselves through native plants and nature, with Richard Halsey: For more than two million years we evolved outside, in Nature, driven by our instincts. Over the last several thousand years, our newly conscious minds have tried to reconcile the conflict between the demands of civilization, social expectations, and our ancient, wild selves. Yet despite our best efforts, the conflict persists, causing many of the personal, social, and environmental problems we face today. Nature provides the remedy. Native plants provide the path. Join us as we explore how connecting with Nature through local native habitats offers us a way to achieve what so many philosophers through the ages have identified as essential to achieving a meaningful existence — to “know thyself.”

Besides being the Chaparral Institute's director, Richard W. Halsey is also a writer, photographer, and most importantly, a guide to help others reconnect with Nature and their wild, inner selves.

Halsey has given more than 500 presentations and written numerous books, research papers, and articles over the past 15 years concerning chaparral ecology and the importance of reestablishing our connection with Nature. Richard also works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History and continues to teach natural history throughout the state. He founded and has been leading the Chaparral Naturalist Certification Program over the past five years. The second edition of his book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, was awarded the 2008 Best Nonfiction-Local Interest Book by the San Diego Book Awards Association.

Richard earned undergraduate degrees from the University of California in environmental studies and anthropology. During graduate work he received teaching credentials in life, physical and social science and a Master's in education. Richard taught biology, physics, and environmental science for over thirty years in both public and private schools, was honored as Teacher of the Year for San Diego City Schools, and was awarded the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship which allowed him to begin writing his first book.

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Sticky monkey flower
Thursday, May 23, 2019, 7:30 p.m.: La Tuna Canyon regeneration, with Kitty Connolly: On September 1, 2017, a fire broke out in La Tuna Canyon, about four miles from the Theodore Payne Foundation. Even while the fire was burning, Canyon residents were speculating about what to plant to stabilize the steep slopes. We saw the urgent need for education so, on September 16, we launched La Tuna Canyon Regeneration, a series of free lectures and classes about fire ecology and fire-wise landscaping. This shared disaster was an opportunity to raise awareness in our community of natural post-fire regeneration and direct the impulse to replant into a public project at the neighborhood fire station. We provided service when it was needed, demonstrating that Theodore Payne Foundation exists for the public good.

Kitty Connolly is Executive Director of the Theodore Payne Foundation. Since joining Theodore Payne in 2014, Kitty has led the organization through construction, strategic planning, and expanding programs so that today, the Foundation’s impact is felt across Los Angeles County. Previously, Kitty planned and directed interpretation for The Huntington Botanical Gardens and Smithsonian Institution. A life-long environmentalist, she holds a B.S. in environmental zoology from Ohio University and a M.A. in geography from UCLA. Her own native garden is a work in progress.

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Past programs of our chapter: See the Past Activities page.

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California Native Plant Week, April 13-21, 2019: In 2010, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) was successful in persuading the state legislature designate the third week in April each year as “California Native Plant Week”. The legislature recognized that “California native plants, being perfectly suited to California's climate and soil, require far fewer fertilizers, soil amendments, or pesticides, and use 60 to 90 percent less water than conventional landscapes.” What the legislature didn’t mention, is the beauty and resilience of our native plants! This year, native plant week is April 13 through 21, and we invite you to share your excitement and joy, and your own experiences with native plants, with the people in your life and the community you live and work in.

How? Here are some ideas:
- Invite your family and friends to attend with you any number of the special events listed below.
- Share a native plant bouquet from your own garden (or a friend’s garden with their permission) with your neighbors, your colleagues at work, or your local library.
- Share a native plant with your city council or local representative, accompanied by a complementary Flora or Fremontia magazine and an informational card indicating that the flowers are from a private garden and not picked in the wild. CNPS can provide free magazines and cards.

Click here to download a POSTER (requires 11 x 17-inch paper for full-size printing).

A series of special events is planned in our area during California Native Plant Week. For details, click here to see the CNPW notice in the FIELD OUTINGS section below on this page.

For additional information, see the CNPS state web site's special page.

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An outreach event
Outreach activities in 2019. Can you help?: Last year our chapter participated in a number of Outreach events for a diversity of audiences, and in 2019 we will continue to foster and grow the appreciation for California native plants in our area. The chapter’s Outreach Committee, led by Kyra Saegusa, is making community engagement and family education a priority, with kid-focused botany workshops in collaboration with the Theodore Payne Foundation and Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates. We have had marked success with interactive activity kits for these events, such as the Jr. Botanist Kit, with plant samples and magnifying lenses, our “scratch n’ sniff” Tongva Pantry Kit, and our Poppy Seed Planting Kit. These kits engage the whole family and provide our outreach volunteers with easy and fun ways to interact with visitors even if they do not feel like “experts” on California native plants. The outreach work is even more valuable now than at any time before as it speaks to current California issues including global warming, wild files, and cultural identity and rights.

We are always looking for good people to assist at various events, and speakers to address garden and school groups on a range of subject. We also like to hear from artists who can help create outreach materials specific to our chapter.

Here some upcoming outreach activities that you, your family, and your friends are invited to support, and we welcome volunteers to help in staging the events:

More information, and volunteering: If you would like to be an outreach volunteer, please email to Kyra Saegusa (ksaegusa.cnpsoutreach@gmail.com). For background information about our outreach activities, please see page 6 of the Spring 2019 issue of our newsletter, The Paintbrush.

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Email notification: If you wish to be notified by email of upcoming field trips, please click here to subscribe to our email list.

Leaders: Each outing has one or more appointed leaders. It is not necessary to contact the leader beforehand in order to participate. All you need to do is turn up for the event.

Eaton Canyon Plant Walks

Plant walks are held on the second Sunday of each month except July and August.

Meet inside Eaton Canyon Nature Center on the back patio at 9:00 a.m. Then go on a leisurely walk, about 2 hours, through the native plant garden that surronds the Center and into the nearby wild areas. The walk is different each time — what's leafing out, flowering, in seed, etc., determines what your leade will talk about — and different leaders bring drifferent points of view.

Eaton Canyon Nature Center
Current plant walks:  
Sunday, February 10, 2019, 09:00

Sunday, March 10, 2019, 09:00

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 09:00

Sunday, May 12, 2019, 09:00

Sunday, June 9, 2019, 09:00

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Field outings for 2019

We sponsor outings on occasional dates throughout the year, usually on a Saturday. The walking ranges from easy, typically on wide fire roads, to moderately strenuous, such as on forest trails. If a convenient place is available nearby, we love to picnic afterward. Weather is unpredictable; snow, rain, fire and ice cancel.

Important note: The chapter does not advertise all field trips in the newsletter. Instead we have two levels of field trip, those with dates known well ahead to places expected to be good regardless of the season; and spur-of-the-moment trips organized with 1 to 2 weeks of notice, based on seasonal conditions and notified via this web site, email, and Facebook. This gives us more flexibility in finding wildflowers in bloom or fall color at its peak.

April 13-21, 2019: California Native Plant Week: In 2019, California Native Plant week is April 13 through 21. See the information above on this page in the SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS section for an introduction to California Native Plant Week.

The following series of special events is planned in our area during California Native Plant Week 2019. Click here to download a document containing details of these events.

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Native Plant Week Symposium, Wildflower Show, Plant and Book Sale
at Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 W Magnolia Blvd, Encino, CA 91436, offered by the LA/Santa Monica Mountains chapter of CNPS and the Theodore Payne Foundation. The Symposium will feature the following speakers:
10:00 – 11:30 a.m., Tim Becker: “How Native Can the Garden Get? Embracing Localism in the Landscape”
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m., David Newsom: “Wild Yards Project: The New Wilderness Begins at Home”
2:00 – 3:30 p.m., Cynthia Powell: “New Calflora Tools for CNPS Users: Mapping & Surveying Enhancements”
For more info on this free event go to the Los Angeles / Santa Monica Mountains chapter's web site.

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon:
Botanizing at Big Tujunga Wash Rare Plant Treasure Hunt at Hansen Dam. Following the April 13 “Symposium, Wildflower Show and Plant Sale” at Sepulveda Garden Center (previous item above), Cynthia Powell with Calflora based in Berkeley will provide instruction on Calflora’s cellphone app, and Keir Morse from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden will lead a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt at Hansen Dam basin. Meet at the paved parking lot of Orcas Park, about 500 feet beyond the Hansen Dam Horse Park entrance, accessed from Foothill Blvd via Orcas Avenue, about midway between the I-210 freeway exits at Osborne Street and Wheatland Ave. Wear protective clothing and water-repellent boots for hiking on horse trails with shallow-water stream crossings. For more information contact Bill Neill at bgneill@earthlink.net.

Monday, April 15, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Morning Flower Stroll at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, in Irwindale.
Meet at the Nature Center (north of the lake, in the natural area). Mobility challenged and children’s strollers are welcome. A vehicle admission fee may apply. For more information contact Gabi McLean, at gabi.mclean@verizon.net.

Tuesday, April 16, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Capture Nature’s Beauty through your Favorite Art Medium:  draw, sketch, and photograph, compose a poem, or write a haiku.  We will observe together and then give each participant opportunity to memorialize their impression in their own personal way.  For all ages.  Meet at Eaton Canyon Nature Center, Pasadena. For more information contact Gabi McLean at gabi.mclean@verizon.net.

Wednesday, April 17, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
“Fantastic Flora of California” presented by Adam Searcy. This program is offered by Pasadena Audubon Society at Eaton Canyon Nature Center, Pasadena. Social time is from 7:00 to 7:30 pm, followed at 7:30 pm by general meeting and presentation.

Thursday, April 18, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Happy Hour for Young Angelinos in Land Care: A networking opportunity — chat with likeminded young gardeners, landscapers, plant and land lovers over a beer at Angel City Brewery, 216 Alameda St., Los Angeles. This is a chance for young folks interested in caring for the land to network outside the social media world and start some interesting conversations about how young people can use native plants in caring for the land, in Los Angeles and beyond! This event is cosponsored by Saturate, Inc. www.saturatecalifornia.com and CNPS. For more information contact Anna Muriello at atmuriello@gmail.com.

Friday, April 19, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Bag Lunch and Poetry Reading among the Flowers, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, patio or picnic area. We have some poems and please bring your own! And bring your own lunch. For questions contact Gabi McLean at gabi.mclean@verizon.net.

Saturday, April 20, 2019, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Saddleback Butte State Park, Antelope Valley: This trip will explore the plants and ecology of the central Antelope Valley. There is an entrance fee of $6 per car. Leader is Mickey Long.  For more information see the notice below on this web page..

Any day, any time: Share and enjoy! Cut flowers from your garden and take to work, to school, or to your favorite libaray.

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Saddleback Butte
Saturday, April 20, 2019, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon: Saddleback Butte State Park, Antelope Valley: Grade easy to moderate. Leader Mickey Long.

Please check the LAST MINUTE STATUS paragraph at the bottom of this field trip notice.

This trip will explore the plants and ecology of the central Antelope Valley. The leader will discuss the ecosystem as a whole, plants, birds, reptiles and desert ecology with emphasis on vegetation. We hope the great rains were sufficient to provide for wildflowers, but desert plants are interesting regardless. We may hike part of the trail (2.5 mi.) to the top of the butte. A second stop somewhere in bloom may be an option.

Directions: Saddleback Butte is located approximately 17 miles East of Lancaster. Take the 14 (Antelope Valley Fwy) north to exit at East Avenue “J” in Lancaster. Travel east on Avenue J to the junction with 170th St. east. Meet at 8:30 a.m. along the dirt shoulder at the junction of Ave. J and 170th. Water and toilets are located near the picnic area inside the State Park. Wear good sturdy shoes or boots, a hat, bring water and snacks, and a lunch if you wish to join us at the covered picnic areas. There is an entrance fee of $6 per car.

Further information: Check out http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=618. Click on “Brochures” and download the Park Brochure for a park map & directions.

LAST MINUTE STATUS: An April 15 pre-trip scouting visit to Saddleback Butte State Park, our meeting place for Saturday, revealed almost no flowering left at the site. We will still meet at the corner of Ave. J and 170th St. E. and gather folks up for a short drive to see the Desert Candles to the northeast. Our first stop will be along 200th St. E. about 1 mile N. of Ave. G. From Saddleback Butte that's 3 miles east on Ave. J then left (north) on 200th St. E. to about 1 mi. north of Ave. G. These are first paved then good dirt roads. From there we will later travel some distance south to along Black Butte Basin Rd., N. of Hwy 138, where flowers were very nicely in bloom and in variety.

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The garden in spring
Saturday, May 4, 2019: 10:00-11:30 a.m. or 2:00-3:30 p.m.: Case study garden visit: Following the one native plant garden throughout the year - Second visit: a chapter member's garden in spring: Leader: Gabi McLean. This is for the native plant garden enthusiast, current or future, an opportunity to see a 19-year old native plant garden. The garden is that of Gabi and Cliff McLean. They will share the history and maintenance of this small, suburban, native plant garden, front and back, including the new creation of a swale in the front. An annotated plant list will be provided.

Because of the restricted space, attendance will be limited and so the tour will take place twice during the day, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 - 3:30 pm. If you wish to attend, please RSVP by sending an email to Gabi at gabi (dot) mclean (at) verizon (dot) net, and indicate your preferred time slot. She will send you the address and directions to the house.

This occasion provides a practical illustration of the joys and challenges of developing a native plant garden in the San Gabriel Valley, with special focus on the tasks of the current season, spring, when many plants should be at their peak flowering.

Part three, the final of the series, is planned for September/October when some plants are still dormant from the dry summer season, a good time for pruning and planning for the next plant sale. This is a great way to get practical information from an experienced native plant gardener.

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South Pasadena Nature Park
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 9:30 a.m.: South Pasadena Nature Park: Grade: Easy, but the entrance includes a slight hill with bumpy terrain, so is not wheelchair accesisble. Leader: Barbara Eisenstein.

The South Pas Nature Park (officially, South Pasadena Arroyo Seco Woodland and Wildlife Park) was dedicated as a nature park in October of 2004.   This four-acre parcel along the Arroyo Seco flood control channel is graced with mature coast live oaks, southern walnuts and western sycamores. Planted with sage, buckwheat and other native coastal sage scrub plants, the park provides an inviting environment for birds, lizards, squirrels and numerous other critters. The following are among the many plants that typically bloom in May: scarlet bugler, showy penstemon, yellow penstemon, sacred datura, purple sage, coyote melon, narrow-leaf milkweed, California buckwheat, bush sunflower, sticky monkeyflower, poppies, globe gilia, and clarkia. Special features include educational signage, a certified monarch butterfly waystation, and a labyrinth garden.

Directions and recommendations: The location is the 100 block of Pasdena Avenue, South Pasadena. Google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/iWXNojstg2L2  A hat, walking shoes and water are recommended. Wear work clothes if you wish to join the Friends of the Nature Park work party, following the walk. The volunteer Friends meet weekly and are responsible for improving the habitat and maintaining the Park. No amenities at the Park, but there are public restrooms about a quarter of a mile from the Park in the Arroyo Seco Golf Course restaurant.

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At Crystal Lake
Friday-to-Sunday, July 12-14, 2019: Camping weekend at Crystal Lake: This year's camping weekend is in the planning stages. The location will be Crystal Lake Campground, the same as last year. This event is hosted by our chapter in conjunction with the South Coast, Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains, and Bryophyte chapters of the CNPS. As we did last year, you make your own camping arrangements and the CNPS chapters offer the activities. You can join us for the full weekend or just for the day or for any one activity.

Activities will include various plant walks, botany hikes, and activities for kids and adults, including for mobility impaired folks.

The campground is operated by the Angeles Natoinal Forest, and is on Highway 39, 25 miles north of Azusa. Although there are plenty of camp sites, they are allocated on a first come, first serve basis, which means you may need to arrive early Friday to secure a spot. The camp site fee per night is $12, which accommodates up to 8 people. A few nearby cabins are available from a private vendor, and need to be reserved well ahead. Bring your own food. A small cafe and store has prepared food and camping basics.

Please watch this space for more details as they necome available, including how to register for the event. Click here to download a draft activities schedule. For more information, contact Gabi McLean at gabimclean@verizon.net.

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Past outings/field trips of our chapter: See the Past Events page.

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Statewide and other CNPS chapter events

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon: Plant Idenification Workshop in Riverside: The Riverside-San Berbnardino chapter of CNPS presents this informative hands-on workshop on plant identification by Gabi McLean. Learn to identify five prominent plant families from the region and representative local native plants. There will be flowers to examine, dissect, and view up close with microscopes. This is a fun workshop for all ages!

Gabi McLean is co-author of Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD. She is a past president of the CNPS San Gabriel Mountains chapter. She teaches Botany for Docents at Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena.

Meeting location and directions: The Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, Bldg F,  4500 Glenwood Drive, Riverside, CA 92501, which is near Mt. Rubidoux and the intersection of Glenwood Drive and 14th. Park in the visitor parking lot and follow signs to Bldg F. For a map see: http://rcrcd.org/#Map

Further into: See the Riverside-San Bernardino Chapter's web site, or their Facebook Page. Click here for a flier.

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Our chapter becomes involved in projects from time to time. Some recent projects include:

Lily Spring Area Survey: Click here for the Lily Spring Area Survey page.

The Paintbrush Quest: A survey of Castilleja gleasoni, our chapter logo. Click here for the Paintbrush Quest pages.

Millard Canyon Project — a fundraiser in support of Altadena Foothills Conservancy

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Next board meeting: See the Our Chapter page. Everyone is welcome.

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Our Annual Plant Sale

Held in early November, typically the first Saturday, at Eaton Canyon Nature Center. See the Plant sale page for details.

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Sunland Welcome Nature Garden
Volunteer opportunity: Sunland Welcome Nature Garden: The Sunland Welcome Nature Garden, a volunteer native plant garden on Sunland Boulevard at the 210 freeway, is a showcase of local native plants. Stop in and smell the flowers, visit the garden's Facebook page, or contact the garden's instigator Roger Klemm at treehuggers@ca.rr.com for more information or to join in the next workday.

Natural Sciences Section of Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, 2015 outings: For their current schedule, please see their web site (click here.)

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Click here for the past activities page.

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