Flagstaff Chapter

Contact Person- Melissa Amberson: email

Treasurer—Tina Ayers: email or 928-523-7242

Presentations/FieldTrips- Barbara Phillips: email or 928-853-3355

Regular chapter meetings and evening presentations are held at 7:00pm on the 3rd Tuesday of each month between March and October. New location: Talks are held at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church on the corner of San Francisco St and Cedar Ave, north of the hospital. These events are free and open to the public.

Field trips are usually on the Sunday following the presentation and are announced via e-mail and in the newspaper. Unless otherwise announced, meet at the OneAZ Credit Union parking lot, southwest corner of Butler and Beaver, at 8:00 a.m. Come prepared with sun protection and/or rain protection, water, snacks, food, and car or gas money for carpooling. For more information, e-mail contact Barbara Phillips by email or call her at 928-853-3355.



Join Our Chapter E-list:  If you would like to receive reminders and announcements about field trips and meetings via e-mail, send a note to Sue Holiday to be added to the list.




Tuesday, March 21

Zack Zdinak: Flagstaff Areas Milkweeds


Naturalist and illustrator Zackery Zdinak propagates Asclepias sp. in his native plant garden, and makes specimens available for research. Zack has devoted his life to the love of wildlife and nature, catching frogs and snakes in Connecticut as a child, and later as a peripatetic Wildlife Biologist, Fire Fighter and Interpreter with US Fish & Wildlife, National Forest and National Park Services in Utah and Arizona. In 1998, Zack founded Life Drawing & Education, providing products and services for environmental education, interpretation, and science inquiry programs. He has designed, illustrated and managed interpretive media projects for parks, campgrounds, arboreta, public schools, and non-profit clients in several states. 

The Pearson Building on the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Research Campus is across from the main campus off HWY 180. A map of the campus can be found here:

Arizona Native Plant Society Flagstaff Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.


Photo credit: Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) by Max Licher.




Tuesday, April 18

Dr. Randall W. Scott: The Genus Brickellia

Randy teaches in the Department of Biological Sciences at NAU. He is currently working on a monograph of the genus Brickellia (Asteraceae), a genus of 90 to 100 species found primarily in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Initial molecular and morphological analyses are underway involving species from the western US, and a treatment for Flora North America has been completed. Randy also lends a hand wherever he is needed at the Deaver Herbarium, such as identifying many of the unknown Asteraceae received by the herbarium, filing newly mounted specimens, giving tours, and whatever else comes up. Randy's research and teaching focuses primarily on plant systematics, biogeography, and floristics. 

Pearson Hall on the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Research Campus is across from the main campus off HWY 180. A map of the campus can be found here:

Arizona Native Plant Society Flagstaff Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.

Photo credit: Brickellia grandiflora by Max Licher




Tuesday, May 16

Susan Holiday: Cactus of the Flagstaff Area

“Beautiful flowers, but painful to the touch” describe cacti. Usually thought of as plants of the hot desert, cacti occur in northern Arizona too. This talk will give an overview of how to identify cactus and some of the ways these plants are utilized by people. There will be handouts including a key and pictures and an edible cactus treat or two.

Susan Holiday is a student of botany and a retired secondary science teacher with a master’s degree in Teaching Biology. She published a flora of Tsegi Canyon as a master's degree project, co-authored a flora of Homolovi State Park, and co-authored floristic treatments of Fumariaceae (now part of Papaveraceae) and Hydrangeaceae of Arizona. She has also completed studies of the Opuntia cactus of Betatakin Monument, Walnut Canyon Monument, and the Flagstaff area.

The meeting will be at the Powell Building of the Research Campus at the Museum of Northern Arizona. To get there turn on Winding Brook road off Hwy 180 where the sign is for the Peaks and turn left on Research Center Road. A map of the campus can be found here:

Arizona Native Plant Society Flagstaff Chapter meetings are free and open to the public.

Photo credit: Scarlet hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus coccineus) by Anthony Mendoza.




Saturday, May 20, 8:00am-noon

Field Trip: Weeding at Picture Canyon with Susan Holiday.


Susan Holiday will be leading a one-hour botany walk at Picture Canyon and then participants can choose to join the City of Flagstaff Open Space Program volunteers as they remove the invasive weed horehound (Marrubium vulgare) from the Rio de Flag Restoration Area. 

Meet at the Credit Union at Butler and Beaver at 8:00 to arrange carpooling to Picture Canyon. 

What to bring: 
- Water
- Appropriate sun protection (hat, sunscreen, long-sleeve shirt, etc.)
- Sturdy shoes
- IF you have them: Work gloves, shovels, wire cutters (not required, we will provide some on site) 

Kids are welcome to participate ages 10 and up accompanied by an adult. 

Snacks and coffee will be provided at the weeding event!




Tuesday, June 20

Glenn Rink: The Genus Penstemon


Penstemons are considered the iconic Four Corners flower, and there are many species in the Flagstaff area. Glen will tell us about his current project classifying Penstemon, which have recently been moved from Scrophulariaceae to Plantaginaceae.

Freelance botanist Glenn Rink is out in the field most days of the year, collecting plants for various agencies—or just for fun. He is currently documenting flora of the southern Colorado Plateau area, focusing especially on the Kaibab Plateau. Glenn collaborated with Max Licher on revisions of Cyperaceae and Juncaceae for Arizona and New Mexico. He is an Associate Curator at NAU's Deaver Herbarium.




Sunday, June 25, 8:00

Plant-Pollinator field trip to Mt. Elden with Paige Chesshire


Field trip on the Rocky Ridge Trail (FS Trail #153). Paige Chesshire of the NAU Plant-Pollinator Project will lead us on this rocky path over rolling terrain through a forest of ponderosa pines interspersed with stunted Gambel oaks and gnarled alligator junipers. A number of hardy shrubs and ground-hugging desert plants are also found on this arid south slope of the Dry Lake Hills. This will be a casual, two-mile hike (four miles round-trip). Paige will teach those who are interested how to gather data for her project using iNaturalist. If you'd like to learn, bring your smartphone.


To carpool, meet at the OneAZ Credit Union at the corner of Beaver and Butler at 8 am. Bring the usual sun protection, water, snacks, and if you're interested in iNaturalist, a smartphone.




Tuesday, July 18

Mike Rotter: From Mimulus to Erythranthe

Mike will talk about his research, the diversity of monkeyflowers (Erythranthe, formerly Mimulus), and taxonomic changes in the genus. This will be another in this year's series of talks about genera and families, a timely topic in this era of taxonomic revision!


Mike Rotter is an NAU graduate student in Biological Sciences. His research interests include the evolutionary ecology of plant-insect interactions.


Photo credit: Seep monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata) by Patrick Alexander




The weekend of July 22/23

Monkeyflower field trip with Mike Rotter


Mike will lead a field trip to a riparian area on the weekend following his talk. The walk will highlight the unique relationship between plants and insects. Details will be announced closer to the date. Come to Mike's talk or check the online Arizona Daily Sun Calendar for more information.




Tuesday, August 15

Cheryl Lynn Miller: The NAU Centennial Forest

Northern Arizona University’s School of Forestry and the Arizona State Forestry Division coordinate in managing the 47,500-acre Centennial Forest to provide research and education opportunities, reduce the risk of wildfire, and provide ecosystem services such as clean water, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, timber, and livestock forage.


Cheryl Lynn Miller, Centennial Forest Manager: Cheryl Miller is a professional land manager holding a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with a minor in biology from NAU. In the past 16 years with the NAU Centennial Forest she has administered thinning, forest restoration, and public engagement projects. 




Saturday, August 19, 8:00am

Field trip to Rogers Lake County Natural Area with Cheryl Miller


Cheryl will lead us on a tour of a restoration project she administered in 2011-2012. It is the biggest full restoration treatment in northern Arizona, and has recovered quite nicely from the first round of tree cutting. Cheryl's team also installed some very interesting demonstration areas of varying forest densities. We will end with lunch at the aspen enclosure under the ramada built by the County.


To carpool, meet at the OneAZ Credit Union at the corner of Beaver and Butler at 8 am. Bring the usual sun protection, water, and your lunch.




Tuesday, September 19

Dr. Paul Minnis: The Ancient, the Ugly, and the Nearly Invisible


The long history of the complex relationships between people and plants in U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico is more than fascinating; it also can be useful! Plant remains recovered from archaeological sites help piece together this story, despite the fact that the remains are often exceptionally small and sometimes seem just plain ugly.


Dr. Paul Minnis, Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, University of Oklahoma. Paul Minnis' research focuses on archaeology, prehistoric ethnobotany, cultural ecology and sociocultural evolution, and the prehistoric biodiversity of the southwest US and northern Mexico. 




Tuesday, October 17

Dr. Lawrence E. Stevens: The Plant Communities of Springs


Larry Stevens is an evolutionary ecologist and the Coordinator of the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Springs Stewardship Institute, which is dedicated to improving understanding and stewardship of springs ecosystems. He also serves MNA as the Curator of Ecology, and is the Senior Ecologist for Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, a conservation organization in Flagstaff. He is a long-time Colorado River whitewater guide, and served as Ecologist for Grand Canyon National Park (1988-1994). He has conducted extensive research on southwestern biogeography, conservation ecology, endangered and non-native species biology, as well as springs, riverine, wetlands, and dam ecology and management. 







Northern Arizona University, Deaver Herbarium

We are looking for dedicated volunteers to help mount pressed specimens for the permanent collection. No experience necessary, training will be provided. No reply needed, just show up and join a fun group.

Work sessions will take place every first and third Thursday of the month at 1:30 to 3:30pm in the Deaver herbarium in the Biological Sciences Bldg on 617 S, Beaver Street. The herbarium is located in room 314 on the south side of the third floor.

Parking near the NAU campus is very difficult, but the Mountain Line #10 bus stops right in front of the building. For more information visit the Deaver website or contact session organizers Gisela Kluwin or Vera Markgraf.


Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona is looking for dedicated volunteers to assist in the curation of herbarium specimens including identifying specimens, mounting pressed specimens, filing pressed specimens into the herbarium, and georeferencing specimens. The Museum is also looking for volunteers to help plant, weed, and prune the native plants in the Colton Research Garden, at the Colton House, and around the Museum grounds. For more information, please contact Museum botanist, Kirstin Phillips. 


The Arboretum at Flagstaff

The Arboretum at Flagstaff 2016 OPEN volunteer dates from 10am to 2pm each Saturday: January 23, February 6, February 20, March 5, March 26, April 2, April 9, and April 23.
Anyone looking to earn volunteer service hours and learn something about plant cultivation is welcomed to join us! Interested volunteers must RSVP with the date they plan to attend to:
Shannon Benjamin, Christi Sorrell, and Gayle Nance.

The plan for each scheduled date is as follows:
Arrive at the Arboretum at 10am and plan to work until 2pm. Meet Horticulture staff at the main greenhouse-the building with the blue roof which is a short walk north towards the San Francisco Peaks from the main parking lot. Volunteers should always dress in layers for outdoor work (even though some or all members may be working indoors in the greenhouses with us on certain dates). Everyone is encouraged to bring a personal refillable water bottle and snacks with them. We will provide all tools, gloves, instructions, etc. necessary for work projects. Everyone will sign in on our volunteer forms so we can be sure to document your service hours & generous contributions towards the Arboretum at Flagstaff! You will be working with Gayle Nance, Horticulturalist, & Hailey Sherwood, Horticulture staff. Feel free to contact
Shannon Benjamin with questions or for organizing logistics in preparation for your service dates.


Grow Flagstaff Seed Library

The Grow Flagstaff Seed Library is looking for volunteers to help create seed packets to add to the growing seed library. For more information, please contact Jackee Alston. 


Plant Atlas Project of Arizona

There are several plant ongoing plant atlas projects in northern Arizona. The Plant Atlas Project of Arizona (PAPAZ) is a statewide partnership between the Arizona Native Plant Society, Grand Canyon Trust, Desert Botanical Garden, Northern Arizona University, Museum of Northern Arizona, and the U.S. Forest Service to document the diversity and distribution of Arizona’s flora. For more information, see the Plant Atlas Project website or contact Kirstin Phillips.


Weed Warrior Activities

The AZNPS Flagstaff Chapter will join forces with the Grand Canyon Trust, Master Gardeners, and other local organizations to tackle the enormous weed problem along Fort Valley Road between the Fire Station, Trust's headquarters, Pioneer Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona.

Invasive plant species tend to be aggressive, to outcompete native plants for resources and space, and to decrease biodiversity. Diffuse Knapweed, Kochia, Bull Thistle (below), Cheatgrass and many other species are present throughout our project focus area. Together we can work to remove them and increase the chances for native grasses and flowers to flourish. There has already been major improvement at the Pioneer Museum, and native species are filling in among the native grasses. However, there is still more work to do. Details about these projects are on the Grand Canyon Trust's website. Please come out and join local weed warriors and plant enthusiasts for one or all three workdays of weed removal, exercise, and fun. Please contact Dorothy Lamm with questions or just register at the website. See you there.

There are other wonderful volunteer opportunities sponsored by the Grand Canyon Trust listed on this website also. They are in Northern Arizona and Utah, plus Grand Canyon National Park also announces its Vegetation Crew projects on the Trust website.
Bull Thistle in seed––beautiful but BAD.
(Photo/Caption submitted by Dorothy Lamm)






Tuesday, March 22*

DSC02650.JPGDr. Vera Markgraf: Flowers of the Atacama Desert


Dr. Vera Markgraf will be giving a presentation on the trip she and Kimberly Hansen took in the fall of 2015 to see the blooming of the flowers in the Atacama desert, South America. This event only happens every 18 years or so when there is rainfall in the desert due to an El Nino event.

Dr. Markgraf earned her PhD in 1968 and an honorary PhD in 2008 from the University of Bern in Switzerland. She has done extensive field work in Latin America collecting sediment cores from lakes and bogs for paleoenvironmental research, contributing many articles and books on late Quaternary environmental and climate change. Now adjunct faculty at NAU, she has held research and teaching positions in universities in Switzerland, France, Australia, Colorado, and Arizona.


There will be no field trip this month.

*Note: This is the fourth Tuesday of the month, not the third, which is our usual meeting date.



Tuesday, May 17

Dr. Kristin Haskins: Monitoring Edaphic Endemics of the Verde Valley


Dr. Haskins received her B.S. and M.S. in Biology at the University of Kentucky and completed her Ph.D. in plant ecology at Northern Arizona University in 2003. Since 2006, Dr. Haskins has been the Director of Research at The Arboretum at Flagstaff. The Research Department currently participates in three areas of work: recovery of rare plant species, restoration of disturbed habitats, and research in native plant ecology and horticultural practices. Much of the work that Dr. Haskins has conducted since joining The Arboretum culminated in the publication of a co-edited volume in 2012, entitled “Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils.”


Sunday, May 22

Field trip to Verde Valley Botanical Area


Join us as we stroll through the Verde Valley Botanical Area and admire many different rare and sensitive species while learning about on-going long-term monitoring projects.


Tuesday, June 21

Emily Palmquist: Common Ground: Grand Canyon region as a floristic transition zone.


GetFileAttachment.jpgThe Grand Canyon region is situated at the boundaries of three of the four North American deserts and has long been noted for harboring unusually high numbers of plant species and unique species assemblages. Using upland vegetation data from the southern portion of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and riparian vegetation data from the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park, this talk will cover the floristic communities found in these study areas and how these communities exhibit the transitional nature of the Grand Canyon region in regards to floristic associations.

Emily Palmquist is a plant ecologist/botanist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science at Carroll College in Waukesha, WI and her M.S. in biology at Northern Arizona University in 2010. She specializes in aridland plant ecology, plant taxonomy, and biogeography of plant distributions. Since 2011, she has been working in the Grand Canyon region in a variety of roles, including grazing assessments and long-term vegetation monitoring. Her current projects focus on the impact of dams and controlled floods on the composition and dominance of riparian vegetation on the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam and patterns of floristic change.


Tuesday, July 19

Gary Alpert: Insect versus plant survival on the Colorado Plateau

Insects play a major role in the survival of certain plants, both during seed dispersal and pollination. Plants provide herbivorous insects with a food source for growth and reproduction as well as nectar, sap, and other secretions. We will discuss a few case studies on the Colorado Plateau that illustrate the complexity of these interactions. We will also discuss the unintended consequences of disrupting the natural order of events.

Dr. Gary Alpert is an Associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University and a Research Associate at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Currently Dr. Alpert is working with the USGS and the NPS on the terrestrial arthropods of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and on a three year research study with Walnut Canyon National Monument to conduct an All Taxa Biological Inventory (ATBI).




Sunday, July 24

Field Trip to Pumphouse Wash led by Ana Novak. 


Ana Novak will lead a wildflower walk in upper Pumphouse Wash, on the western edge of Kachina Village. This moist and shady canyon sustains a number of interesting riparian species as well as a rich ponderosa understory. The hike will be a round-trip of approximately one mile each way, on a level but uneven dirt trail with some brief ups and downs. Please be prepared with sun (and possible rain!) protection, water, and snacks.


Carpooling is recommended. To carpool, meet at the OneAZ Credit Union at the corner of Beaver Street and Butler Avenue at 8:40 am. To join the hike at the trailhead, drive south on I-17 and take Exit 333. Turn right into Kachina Village and right again at the t-intersection onto Kachina Trail. Take the first left onto Ancient Trail and continue for about one mile. Turn left into the dirt parking lot just past the water treatment plant. The walk will begin at 9 am.


Ana M. Novak, MS, is a long-time member of AZNPS (and former Chapter President!). She is a Lab Coordinator and Biology instructor at CCC, and a 23-year resident of Kachina Village.



Tuesday, August 16

Nigel Sparks: Native Plant Propagation Techniques

Using native plants for landscaping is beneficial to pollinators and birds. Native plants are used to the extremes in environment here in Northern Arizona and use less fertilizers and water to grow. Nigel will explain how to propagate native plants from both seed and cuttings. He will also explain how to choose a plant that will survive in different types of soils and microenvironments found in the area around Flagstaff. 

Nigel Sparks is the owner of Flagstaff Native Plant and Seed here in Flagstaff. He has extensive experience in propagation and landscaping with native plants.

Saturday, August 20

Plant walk led by Susan Lamb Bean


On our walk of about three miles round-trip to Skunk Canyon, we will see plant communities in a number of microclimates created by different soils and solar aspects. We will walk on unimproved trails and disused Forest Service roads, so be prepared for walking on uneven terrain and for short stretches up- and downhill.

Logistics: Our walk will begin on private land just off Lake Mary Road. Meet to carpool or to follow the lead car at 8:30 am on Saturday, August 20, at the OneAZ Credit Union, 321 South Beaver (corner of Beaver and Butler). Be prepared for warm and/or rainy weather with sun protection and water. Trail snacks recommended.

Writer/naturalist Susan Lamb keeps an almanac of over 200 plants that flower along the route of our walk.


Photo credit: Tom Bean

Tuesday, September 20

Ron Coleman: Wild Orchids of Arizona and New Mexico

Ron Coleman will present his talk “The Wild Orchids of Arizona and New Mexico,” which is based on his 2002 book of the same name. Ron will discuss the orchid species that grow wild in Arizona and New Mexico, covering blooming season, habitat, and distribution. Within the United States, several of these orchids are found only in Arizona and New Mexico.

Ron is a student of the native orchids of the United States, specializing in the wild orchids of the Southwest. He is the author of over 40 orchid articles that have appeared in the Orchids, The Orchid Digest, Fremontia, Selbyana, and Madrano. Two wild orchid species are named after him, and he has described two new taxa. Ron is the author of The Wild Orchids ofCalifornia, published in 1995 and The Wild Orchids of Arizona and New Mexico, published in 2002. He co-authored the orchid treatment in Arizona Rare Plant Field Guide prepared by the Arizona Rare Plant Committee, and
was co-author of two orchid genus treatments in the Flora of North America, Vol 2, published in 2002. Ron wrote major portions of the orchid treatment for the new Jepson Manual Flora of California published in 2012.

Photo: Fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa). Credit: Elroy Limmer,


Tuesday, October 18

Scott Anderson: Coconino Imagineering 


Scott Anderson.jpgCoconino County is a leader in the region for preservation of open space.  This was evident by the passage of a special tax in 2002 (CPOS) to buy and protect open space, greenways and parks. The special tax has now expired, large tracts of land have been protected, and now the County will need to decide if there is a will to continue this effort. Our first task will be to define our unique open space system. Next, we will need to explore methods to preserve our system. His presentation will be oriented toward our future efforts and opportunities.


Scott Anderson has been working for Coconino County as the Natural Resource Manager for approximately 9 months. Prior to working in Flagstaff, Scott worked with the Riparian Institute and the Parks and Recreation Department in the Town of Gilbert.




Saturday, March 29

Field Trip: Focusing on Flame

This March event will be a special, docent-led tour of the Museum of Northern Arizona’s dramatic exhibit of photographs taken during the Slide Fire of May 2014 that burned for ten days in some of Oak Creek Canyon’s most rugged terrain. The tour will introduce us to this devastating event in preparation for two upcoming programs in May: “The Hardest Issue in the World: Climate Change and the Future of Southwestern Plants and Places” by NAU Professor Peter Friederici, and a field trip to the Slide Fire site itself with U.S. Forest Service Botanist Debbie Crisp.

Meet at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 28th, at the Historical Front Lobby inside the southwest-facing doors of the Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 North Fort Valley Road, in Flagstaff.


Tuesday, May 19

Peter Friederici: The Hardest Issue in the World: Climate Change and the Future of Southwestern Plants and Places

Peter Friederici is a science journalist and an associate professor in the School of Communication at Northern Arizona University, where he studies how the media and members of the public talk about climate change. Climate change represents a huge threat to southwestern species and ecosystems. Yet in our public sphere it's hard even to get some people to acknowledge that it might be happening—let alone do anything about it. Why is this issue so hard to grasp? Rooted in contemporary social science research, this presentation will take a look at why climate change represents such a challenge at the political and even psychological level.


Saturday, May 23

Field Trip: Slide Fire site – Debbie Crisp

Visit a Slide Fire location with Coconino Forest Botanist Debbie Crisp. Debbie has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Forestry, both from NAU. She is the Coconino National Forest Botanist, and a member of several Burned Area Emergency Response Teams to evaluate post-fire conditions, including the Slide Fire team. There are always lots of interesting things to see in fire areas that we don’t find at any other time.


Tuesday, June 16

Dr. W. Keith Moser: Fort Valley Experimental Forest
Keith Moser is the Scientist in Charge (SIC) of the Fort Valley Experimental Forest. A Research Forester for the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Keith researches the adaptive capacity of Forest and Woodland ecosystems to new and variable weather and disturbance. He is especially interested in the connection between ecological processes and policy and management actions. The Fort Valley Experimental Forest was established in August 1908 as the first Forest Service research facility in the U.S., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still a field and laboratory site of major importance for research into forest management.


Tuesday, July 21
Scott Anderson: Wetlands are Wetlands

This program will focus on natural and created wetlands and the value of each. Scott will talk about a created riparian preserve in Gilbert as well as the results of the May 30 Bioblitz at Pumphouse Wash, and how we may possibly work to tie Pumphouse and Kachina wetlands together as continuing habitat and education tools.

Scott Anderson has been Natural Resource Manager for Coconino County since 2014. Prior to working in Flagstaff, Scott worked with the Riparian Institute and the Parks and Recreation Department in the Town of Gilbert, Arizona for 13 years and managed the Gilbert Water Ranch riparian preserves. These preserves have been studied and copied by communities around the world seeking to be more sustainable.


Saturday, July 25
Field trip: Pomeroy Tanks — Glenn Rink/Max Licher.
We will visit this interesting natural wetland where lilies grow at the head of Sycamore Canyon.


Tuesday, August 18
Dr. Thomas G. Whitham: Genetic solutions to climate change, invasive species, and biodiversity loss using the Southwest Experimental Garden Array (SEGA).

SEGA is a system of 10 gardens along an elevation gradient in northern Arizona that ranges from desert to alpine forest. By planting the same plant species and genotypes in different environments, scientists can identify which ones perform best and are most likely to survive changing conditions. This approach requires the participation of scientists from climate science, ecology, genetics, engineering, and informatics.

Tom Whitham is a Regents’ Professor of Biology at NAU. He is a pioneer in community and ecosystem genetics. His research focuses primarily on community-level understanding of the consequences of plant genetics and climate change on foundation plant species and their dependent communities. Foundation species that serve as model study systems for this research include cottonwoods and pines.


Sunday, August 23
Field trip: SEGA site near Sunset Crater — Tom Whitham. Coordinator: Susan Lamb.
We will visit this well-established unit of the Southwest Experimental Garden Array to learn how it can inform scientists and the public about the effects of climate change and possible mitigation measures.


Tuesday, September 15

Jan Busco: Students for Sustainable Living Garden (SSLUG) at Northern Arizona University

The SSLUG garden was founded by NAU graduate students in the Sustainability Program in 2007 to create community and share teachings about how to best garden sustainably and organically. Over the years, the garden has grown to include 1/2 acre of cultivated edible, native and other beautiful and useful plants grown with a variety of sustainable techniques. A large collection of milkweeds for monarchs was added this year to the pollinator garden. Jan Busco, Coordinator, is an environmental horticulturist, consultant and author of Native Plants for High-Elevation Western Gardens and Co-Author of First Gardens: How to get Started In Southwestern Gardening. She received her BS in Horticulture from Cal Poly Pomona and her MS in Forestry from NAU in 2005 with a concentration in ecological restoration.


Sunday, September 20
Join Jan on a walking tour of SSLUG Garden. Meet at the Arizona State Credit Union, corner of Butler Avenue and South Beaver at 8:30 AM to carpool to the SSLUG Garden on the south end of the NAU campus. You'll visit the Pollinator Garden, the Joel Olson outdoor classroom, and diverse planting beds containing native and useful plants cared for with a variety of sustainable landscaping techniques.


Tuesday, October 20

Michael Remke: Biological soil crusts

Michael Remke is a graduate student in Dr. Matthew Bowker's Laboratory at NAU in the Forestry Department and President of the Forestry Graduate Student Association. Mike is a very engaging and dynamic speaker.

Disturbances to desert ecosystems are resulting in increased wind and water erosion of soils across the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin. Spring wind events transport desert dust to the mountainous regions of Colorado and Utah where the dust is deposited on snowpack. There are serious implications of this process to plants, biological soil crusts, and to the ski industry.




Tuesday, March 18

Neil Chapman: Impact of 4FRI on the Forest Understory

Our speaker will be the Nature Conservancy's Neil Chapman who will speak about the impact of 4FRI on the forest understory, and the in-cab GIS technology co-developed by TNC and the logging industry to adapt to more complex thinning requirements while providing better monitoring of forest thinning prescriptions. A great start to our 2014 meetings!


Saturday, March 22
Field trip: Picture Canyon – Susan Holiday

Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve was purchased by the City of Flagstaff in 2012. The area includes many Sinagua pictographs and a deep canyon with a waterfall. Susan Holiday is conducting a floristic inventory of the area as part of the Plant Atlas Project of Arizona and will be leading the hike. Join us to see what spring wildflowers are already blooming.


Tuesday, April 15

Amy Prince: Flora of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Amy Prince has been lover of plants since she purportedly ate grass and picked every last prize tulip from her neighbor's yard as a 2 year old in Texas. She has supported her plant habit by working as a nurse for 23 years. During that time she has volunteered and been occasionally paid for her work on the side as a field botanist, herbarium assistant's assistant, research flunky, and plant press mule. Most recently, she quit her full time nursing job to become a graduate student in botany at Northern Arizona University. With the help of a grant obtained by the Grand Canyon Trust, she is working on a flora of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. When not peering at cacti through a hand lens, she can be found traveling for medical mission work, mushroom hunting, eating sushi, or rehabilitating her ragtag collection of plants procured from dumpsters, clearance sales, and last year's garden gone wrong.

Amy will provide an introduction to the flora of the remarkable 280,000 acre Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona, home of the spectacular Coyote Buttes and the sandstone formation known as "The Wave.” With a wide variety of elevations and land forms, the monument contains diverse and interesting plant life, including rare cacti, orchids, and euphorbias.


Tuesday, May 20

Phil Patterson: How to Propagate Native Plants of the Colorado Plateau

Phil Patterson, NAU Research Greenhouse Manager, will discuss his ongoing projects using native plants in habitat restoration and common garden experiments while discussing various techniques that he uses to propagate native woody plants from cuttings.


Saturday, May 31

Field Trip: Tour of the NAU research greenhouse complex
Phil Patterson will give us a tour of the NAU research greenhouse complex. The greenhouse complex (Building 79) is located on the NAU campus south of the Walkup Skydome and south of E. Pine Knoll Drive. We will meet at the greenhouse at 10 am.


Tuesday, June 17

Kirstin Olmon and Susan Lamb: Nature’s Notebook

Kirstin and Susan will introduce Nature’s Notebook, a national program in which amateur and professional naturalists track local phenology: the emergence and blooming of plants and the behavior of birds and other animals, including insects. The program engages individuals, educators, and community groups in learning about local plants and animals and contributing to science. These long-term observations of plants and animals generate data for scientific discovery and decision-making.

Kirstin Olmon is a botany research assistant at the Museum of Northern Arizona. She is the manager of the McDougall Herbarium and curator of the living roof atop the Easton Collect Center. She is a recent graduate of the botany master’s program at Northern Arizona University and has worked as a field botanist for the Diablo Trust’s Integrated Monitoring for Sustainability Program and the Grand Canyon Trust.

Susan Lamb is the local author of over two dozen books on natural history. She originally came to northern Arizona to serve as Desert View District naturalist at Grand Canyon National Park, where she acquired a lasting curiosity and affection for regional plant communities. Susan keeps a yearly almanac of over two hundred native plant species in the Flagstaff area.


Sunday, June 22

Field Trip: PAPAZ field trip to Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

Susan Holiday will lead this field trip to Picture Canyon, named for the hundreds of pictographs and other archaeological remains that attest to at least a thousand years of settlement here by the Northern Sinagua. A modern urban-forest interface area, Picture Canyon is listed on the National Record of Historic Places. In response to efforts by a group of volunteers representing more than a dozen organizations, the City of Flagstaff recently purchased 480 acres of the Picture Canyon area for conservation. Plant lists developed by volunteers will be used by the Arizona Archaeological Society for tours, and by other groups such as Northern Arizona Audubon that use the Picture Canyon area.


Tuesday, July 15

Vera Markgraf: Botanical Assessment of Springs in Coconino County

Dr. Vera Markgraf earned advanced degrees at universities in Switzerland and Germany. She has done extensive field work on riparian ecosystems in Latin America and contributed to many articles and books on paleo-environments and climate change. Now adjunct faculty at NAU, she has held research and teaching positions in Switzerland, France, Australia, Colorado, and the University of Arizona. Vera generously volunteered her expertise in plant identification, geomorphology, and the vegetation dynamics of wetlands during a recent, multiyear inventory of 200 springs on the Coconino and Kaibab national forests. Vera will present on the botanical assessments of springs in Coconino County.


Saturday, July 19

Field Trip: Hoxworth Spring – Vera Markgraf

This beautiful restored complex of springs and wetlands promises to be lush, green, and flowery in July. The springs are a quarter-mile walk from the parking area on Forest Road 296, 10 miles southeast of Flagstaff.


Tuesday, August 19

Kirstin Olmon: Common Grasses of the Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands

Botanist Kirstin Olmon will offer an introductory evening program with an illustrated talk and hands-on exercise in identifying specimens of our local grasses commonly found in pinyon-juniper woodlands.


Sunday, August 24

Field Trip: Common Grasses of the Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands at Logan’s Crossing.

Botanist Kirstin Olmon will lead a field workshop on Common Grasses of the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland at Logan's Crossing. The first twenty participants who pre-registered for the field trip will receive handouts with illustrations and narrative descriptions of each grass. Others are welcome to participate in the field trip and will receive the handouts via email after the trip.


Tuesday, September 16

Susan Lamb: Common Grasses of the Ponderosa Forest
Naturalist Susan Lamb will offer an introductory evening program with an illustrated talk and hands-on exercise in identifying specimens of our local grasses commonly found in ponderosa forests.

Susan Lamb is a member of the Arizona Native Plant Society and serves on the Board of The Arboretum at Flagstaff. She originally came to northern Arizona to serve as Desert View District Naturalist at Grand Canyon National Park, where she acquired a lasting curiosity and affection for regional plant communities. Susan keeps a yearly almanac of over two hundred native plant species in the Flagstaff area.


Saturday, September 20

Field Trip: Grasses at The Arboretum at Flagstaff – Susan Lamb

Limited to twenty participants. Register by calling The Arboretum at 928-774-1442. All field trip participants will receive handouts with illustrations and narrative descriptions of each grass.


Tuesday, October 14*

Dr. Wendy C. Hodgson: Pre-Columbian Agaves in Southwestern United States: A New Way of Looking at Species and Their Cultural Landscapes

Dr. Hodgson is Research Botanist and Herbarium Curator at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona. She is interested in the flora of the Southwest, particularly the Grand Canyon region, rare and endemic plants, and systematics of Agave and Yucca, including pre-Columbian agave cultivars. Wendy coordinated the Cactus family treatment for Intermountain Flora and is head of the Cactaceae of Western U.S. project by Garden research staff and research associates. She is an avid plant collector who strives toward making high quality herbarium specimens.

The talk will focus on how the importance of agaves to Mesoamerica’s cultures has distorted the plants’ role for cultures north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Pre-Columbian farmers cultivated several species of agave in Arizona dating to at least A.D. 600 that have persisted in the landscape to the present. Most probably they originated in northern Mexico and were traded as far north as the Grand Canyon. Verde Valley is a region of intense agave cultivation, having at least four of the five known domesticates. Landscapes and plants should be viewed from a cultural, rather than “natural” perspective that helps discern cryptic species and requires interdisciplinary collaboration.

*Note: This is the second Tuesday of the month, not the third, which is our usual meeting date.


Saturday, October 18

Verde Valley Agaves – Dr. Wendy C. Hodgson
Our field trip in the Verde Valley will provide an opportunity to see several of these “living” artifacts in situ, with further hypothetical discussions of their origins and importance to people, as well as questions about agave diversification and speciation in general.



The Flagstaff Chapter kept busy all summer with volunteer projects and workshops.
Here are some of the highlights:

*Tuesday talks and Sunday walks included talks about climate change, floras of the Verde Valley and the Upper Basin, field trips to the Verde Valley, Flagstaff area and Upper Basin of the Grand Canyon. Meetings are being given education credit time for Master Gardeners and we are collaborating with that entity.

*Plant Atlas Project of Arizona (PAPAZ) volunteers have collected specimens in the Upper Basin and have began a new project at Elden Pueblo and Picture Canyon. These specimens are being mounted at the Deaver Herbarium and the Museum of Northern Arizona this winter.

*Groups have been organized to go to Grand Canyon on day-trips and on over-night camping trips to assist the National Park's Vegetation Program with planting, mulching and weeding at the new Visitor's Center at Mather Point, working in the expansive nursery, gathering seeds, and helping lost tourists.

*Members have weeded at the Pioneer Museum for the fourth year in a row, and have finally brought diffuse knapweed under control. This work is in collaboration with Master Gardeners, Museum of Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon Trust. We will go after more knapweed next year. Weeding has also happened at Riordan State Park and on Hwy 180.

*AZNPS and Master Gardeners sponsored two beginning native plant/invasive weed workshops at the office of the County Agricultural Extension agent, which were very enthusiastically received by attendees. These will be offered again in 2014.


2012 Native Plant Garden Showcase
The Flagstaff chapter's 2012 Garden Showcase was the most successful ever! Over fifty people attended the July 25th potluck and preview of nine gardens that participated this year. Based on the number of maps sold, at least 120 people took the self-guided tour on July 29th, learning and sharing strategies with fellow gardeners about water conservation, successful cultivation of native plants, and attractive garden design.

Local botanist Dr. Gwendolyn Waring earned the Flagstaff's Premier Native Plant Garden Award of 2012 for her inspired design and implementation of a 100% native plant garden at the entrance to Buffalo Park. Gwen's vision became a reality through the efforts of volunteers, donors, and organizations coordinated by Kelly Burke of the non-profit Grand Canyon Wildlands Council. The
garden is a mini-arboretum, a teaching garden with labeled plants organized by the biomes present in the park: basalt outcrop, ephemeral wetland, and prairie. At last, a worthy entrance to Flagstaff's most treasured public space!


2011 Native Plant Garden Contest

The Flagstaff Chapter held its 2011 Native Plant Garden Contest and Public Tour in August.  Our annual Extravaganza Awards Ceremony was Wednesday evening, August 10.  The public tour of all the gardens on Sunday, August 14, was the highlight of the event:  a chance to share the gardens, tell stories, and exchange advice with other gardeners from the community. 

Visitors tour Tom and Susan Bean’s garden during Arizona Native Plant Society Garden Tour on a rainy summer afternoon in Flagstaff. 

Susie Bailey, gardener and organizer at Hozhoni during the Arizona Native Plant Society Garden Contest. Hozhoni has been developed as a labor of love dedicated to the clients. Flourishing , yet water-wise,  gardens are tucked into every outdoor space and offer beauty, color, and scent and comforting reminders of home.

Sandra and Marty Martinez in their backyard garden, Arizona Native Plant Society Garden Contest. Marty Martinez had a beautifully designed edible landscape with amazingly-productive containers and raised beds producing vegetables, herbs, and flowers throughout the growing season. Conservation features included raised beds with water-retaining soil, hardscaping, and rainwater barrels, densely planted according to square-foot gardening principles. The Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine will feature the Martinez garden in an upcoming issue, Spring 2012.


Northern Arizona Native Plant Materials Program

The Arboretum at Flagstaff and the Museum of Northern Arizona will have many volunteer opportunities for AZNPS members to become involved in various aspects of the Northern Arizona Native Plant Materials Program at each institution. The Museum and The Arboretum will be working in conjunction with the Forest Service over the next several years to accomplish the main objectives of this FS funded project: to locally collect, process and store seed; to construct six 10 ft X 30 ft seed beds to cultivate and increase native forbs; to establish 5 acres as increaser field plots; to acquire equipment to collect and process native seeds; to provide training on seed collection, processing and storage; and to work cooperatively to develop local native species lists targeting early seral stage species that will become "restoration workhorses."


US Forest Service Volunteer Opportunities: During the winter months, the Coconino NF botanists could use help with plant identification, mounting specimens, and databasing our small FS herbarium. Please contact Debbie Crisp.


Northern Arizona Native Seed Alliance (NANSA)

In conjunction with the aforementioned Museum, Arboretum, and Forest Service effort, a new working group has formed to address the need for seeds for restoration projects. The Northern Arizona Native Seed Alliance (NANSA) meets bi-monthly. The group is comprised of more than 20 people from just as many national, state, educational, and non-profit organizations. NANSA was inspired by and is being modeled after a more regional group with a similar mission, the Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program (CPNPP). If you would like more information on NANSA, or would like to get involved, please contact Patty West of the NAU Landsward Institute (formerly the Ecological Monitoring & Assessment Program).


Coconino National Forest Webpage

Find information on recent projects, native plants, noxious weeds and useful links to other websites. Visit their website to learn more.