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 now at the Pearson Hall on the Museum of Northern Arizona’s Research Campus, across from the main exhibit building off HWY 180. A map of the campus can be found at: 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 Arizona State Credit Union parking lot, southwest corner of Butler and Beaver, at 8:30 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 Director 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 biology, biogeography, conservation ecology, endangered and non-native species biology, as well as springs, rivers, wetlands, and dam ecology and management. 



Saturday, October 21

Field trip to Montezuma Well


Larry Stevens will lead a field trip to Montezuma Well, to explore the great contrasts between vegetation types as we move from springs, to riparian, and then into xeric ecosystems.


To carpool, meet at the OneAZ Credit Union at the corner of Beaver and Butler at 8:30 am. Bring the usual sun protection, water, and your lunch. We should return before 2:00pm.





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

Our Southwest Butterfly House is open Wednesday-Monday from 10:00-4:00. We are looking for volunteers to assist staff on weekends Shifts are 10:00-1:00 and 1:00-4:00.  Training and resoures are provided. Contact Volunteer Coordinator Shannon Benjamin at or 928-774-1442 ext. 127.


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)





A Northern Arizona Homeowner’s Guide to Identifying and Managing Invasive Plants

Got Weeds?

If so, this website was built for you. Its purpose is to provide facts and photos that will help residents of northern Arizona identify and control the invasive plants most likely to be found in their yards and neighborhoods. Even if these invasive plants are not in your yard today, they are still a threat to your property if they are already growing along a nearby road, in an adjacent field or forest, or on your neighbor’s property.


Coconino Master Gardener Association Blog

The mission of the Coconino Master Gardener Program is to support the University of Arizona by providing researched-based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping to the public. The program creates a corps of well-informed volunteers, and delivers quality horticultural education programs adapted to our regional high elevation environment. The mission of the association is to provide support for those volunteers and Master Gardener graduates, continuing education, and opportunities to participate in community programs that increase the visibility and participation in the Master Gardener Program.



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.








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.