Hands-on-learning – Feedback

Made my day:

At 07:06 AM 4/16/2013
Hi Lynn,
Your wildflowers of Figueroa Mtn was awesome!
We printed out the pages and used it as a field guide.
Got 22 sp when we went last week.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 11:11 AM
Hi Jeff,
Thanks – makes all the hours of loading the pictures, and making the pages worthwhile.
Which page did you use – the one by places, or the one by color, or by …?
Can I add quote on that post on my site? I don’t have to add name if you would prefer or not prefer.
Thanks for feedback. Made my day.

At 04:05 PM 4/16/2013
Hi Lynn,
By places. We printed out the 5 pages with the map and pins.
That made it really simple and easy to ID the flower.
No more flipping of pages back and forth.
Everything was where it was supposed to be!
We have been taking this trip for many years, and on this trip, we ID’d every wildflower we found.
Sure, quote away! no problem with using my name-

OK – that means I need to do Sunset Valley and Happy Canyon Road as well.
There are some really neat plants there as well.

La Purisima/Burton Mesa, 2013

I first heard about the interesting plants of Burton Mesa when I car-pooled on an Audubon trip to Oso Flaco Lake, Coreopsis Hill some years back. I did a little exploring on my own, before signing up for a SBBG trip to Burton Mesa and La Purisima in 2007. Six years later, without any solo trips in-between, I went on the same trip on almost the same day again with SBBG. In both cases, I returned to get photos that I missed in the group tour. (Unfortunately, due to a mis-formatted disk – my fault – I lost some photos on Saturday, including one of a Northern Flicker from a high view overlooking the Walnut tree in the picnic area; and a few butterflies. Darn.)

Rereading the introduction from the post about the 2007 trip, one could repeat one of the sentences verbatim: “There was very little rain this year, yet there were many plants flowering in the sandy areas where the tour participants were led.” In 2007, we stopped at the Jualachichi Summit area for a number of relictual endemic species. We also stopped at a Bishop Pine stand, then to part of Burton Mesa, and lastly entered through an eastern entrance at La Purisima.

This year, after the Jualachichi Summit stop, we just walked along a trail through La Purisima that started very close to the parking area – and since it was a sandy path the entire loop, with a wide variety of plants, the time passed by very fast.

Last year, I received an email about  Michael Charters’ trip to Burton Mesa, with many photos and accurate identifications. I notice that he received an id of Callophrys perplexa perplexa for the Bramble Green Hairstreak, from Hartmut Wisch. I learned from iNaturalist that Callophrys dumetorum does not occur this far south, and have id’ed all of mine as Callophrys perplexa.

Although Popcorn flower and Fiddleneck were in abundance, I have not loaded photos of them to iNaturalist, because I have no idea what they are. If I can determine the ids, I will add them later. The slideshow below includes shots that hopefully show the habitat as well as the plants. Note – the area is so protected that even registered botanists may not take plant samples for identification.

Thereafter, Tarja and I made a mad dash up Refugio Road south on the way back, to see Castilleja foliolosa that she had not seen, and a few other plants. She also showed me how to tell the difference between Arroyo and Red Willows. I hope to be able to find time later this spring/summer to return to La Purisima/Burton Mesa for some of the later flowering plants. Hopefully, this plant list will help with some of the questions then.

If the embedded slideshow does not work, here is the link on Flickr.

Hands-on learning

Below is an excerpt from a plant list I made for a trip last year to Figueroa Mountain in early May, long before I had heard of iNaturalist. (Tarja Sagar liked the list very much because the plants were grouped by place, and thus she did not have to continuously flip through pages, and being a much better botanist than I will ever be, took this list in hand at each of the stops to find the plants on the list, and more.)

Figueroa Mountain Plant List with thumbnails
Below is an excerpt from a similar plant list made from csv data downloaded from iNaturalist (derived from uploaded observations), and then run through an offline program that automatically selects the photos of plants recorded within a specified radius of defined “stops”. Printed and laminated, and handed out to kids/adults who return them at the end, could provide a hands-on learning experience – with “here is a list of expected plants at the stops … see if you can find them, or anything not on the list”. All the leader has to do is answer questions sparked by discovery. (Note – the list can be easily regenerated if new plant species have been added to iNaturalist for the Figueroa Mountain area.)

A comment by an early user of the page before the “Places” option was added: “Also, thank you a thousand times for the beautiful site you have built. I have been using it this week as I prepare to lead a short hike around Lover’s Loop, the new Midland trail. Your photos are gorgeous and your information impeccably presented.” Laura Baldwin, Sedgwick Reserve docent. (Quoted here with her permission.)

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