The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society serves Sacramento, Yolo, Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties, and parts of Placer and San Joaquin Counties.
The mission of CNPS is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s native plants and to conserve them and their natural habitats, through education, science, advocacy, horticulture and land stewardship .
Our chapter meetings are free and the public is invited to attend. Meetings are start at 7pm on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (January - June and September - November) at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center, McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd, 95816. GOOGLE MAP
A wide selection of books, native seeds, and Sacramento Valley Chapter t-shirts are available for purchase at meetings. Refreshments are always provided!
Wednesday, February 10th, 7:00pm
Kaleidoscopes of Life: Merced Version Presented by Carol Witham and Splash Volunteers
Kaleidoscopes were a favorite holiday gift for children many years ago. They displayed a quickly and constantly changing series of brilliantly colored patterns. The metaphor works for California’s vernal pool landscape, which has short-lived, weird-looking, fascinating fauna which evolved millions of years ago and dazzling swaths of tens of thousands of tiny flowers that change from week to week through a two-to-three month season.
Nowhere in California is the vernal pool landscape as large and as pristine as in eastern Merced County. Nearly 100,000 acres of this habitat are on cattle ranches controlled by a dozen families. There are few roads and you can’t even see the lights of Merced from most areas. This area is also home to 30 rare, threatened or endangered plants and animals.
While a large portion of the eastern Merced vernal pool landscape is under some form of protection—mostly conservation easements—the area is also highly threatened. With the establishment of the University of California at Merced campus, land speculation for future housing development runs rampant. And until very recently, only the regulatory agencies and the environmentalists cared about the fate of these precious jewels of the eastern Merced landscape.
In 2014, through grant funding from the Bureau of Reclamation, the Splash program debuted in several Merced schools. You may recall that Sacramento Splash has been introducing local students to the wonders of nature and science through the study of the Mather Field Vernal Pools for the past 15 years. Funding from grant provided one year of field trips for Merced students and allowed the curriculum to be modified to be more Merced place-based. In 2015, the CNPS Sacramento Valley Chapter provided a second year of funding for the Merced program. We anticipate providing funding for 2016 while continuing to look for a more permanent home and funding source for the Merced vernal pool education program.
Please join us for a presentation on the vernal pools of eastern Merced County and an inspiring story building a constituency of vernal pool supporters—one fourth grader at a time. Carol Witham will provide an overview of biota that makes these pools special. Carol led the movement that resulted in (slightly) moving and (slightly) shrinking the UC Merced campus back in the early 2000s. Sacramento Splash volunteers will share their stories of introducing the students of Merced to a new way of looking at the natural world around them.