Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Thrill of the Hunt

Swertia neglecta, the rare Pine green gentian (Photo by Don Davis)

I asked one of my volunteers to write about his recent experiences with the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt. He has done a lot of great work this year and taken many beautiful photos. You can check out his photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/californianativeplants/

"My name is Don and I am a telephone man currently living in Southern California with my wife and son. I found out about the California Native Plant Society and their Rare Plant Treasure Hunt program a little over a year ago. I attended my first treasure hunt on April 30, 2011 and absolutely fell in love with plants!

This was my first experience with anything of this nature. I had taken a prior botany course and I have always had an interest in science but never imagined that someone such as myself could contribute to science, boy was I ever wrong. This program has given an incredible amount of incentive and inspiration to me, so much so that I have gone back to school to study horticulture/botany.

I spend a lot of my own free time studying plants and characteristics that define a particular species and take one day out of my weekend to do my own little hunts. I have started going places on my own to find rare plants. I even started climbing and hiking to search for rare plants, all the way to Mount San Antonio and Mount Baden Powell in the San Gabriel Mountains, which were both very personal accomplishments for me.

I have met some of the nicest people through this program. I always have people ask me on my hikes what I am writing down or what am I photographing and I get to explain to them a little about my interest in plants and the California Native Plant Society and their effort to document rare plant species. This weekend on Mt. Baden Powell, I actually got to point out two rare plants to a young man hiking with his brothers Boy Scout Troop, Oreonana vestita, and Eriogonum umbellatum var. minus, It was neat to see a young person so interested in plants. He was even interested in going on a treasure hunt one day.

I am so appreciative to all at the CNPS and the RPTH programs, especially the coordinator, Amber. She is always willing to take time out of her busy schedule to answer questions and even provide a little education now and then. Even if this program were to stop today, I would still have an undying interest in plants. Thank you for such a wonderful program!"

Thank you Don for sharing your story. I am interested to see what you do in the future. You really are a budding botanist!

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