Members of the San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society (the San Juan Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico) explore, preserve, and enjoy the flora of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. We roam the area within 150 miles of the Four Corners and our trips take us to the lands surrounding the San Juan River, to the Navajo Reservation of New Mexico and Arizona, to Utah's Canyon Country, to the San Juan National Forest and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument of Colorado, and to many other beautiful areas in the Four Corners, Colorado Plateau, region.
We work with botanical and environmental groups of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
We hope you will join us for our many programs and field trips; they are all free and open to everyone.
If you would like to financially support the field trips, programs, student research grants, and all additional work toward the protection and enjoyment of the plants of the Four Corners region, please make out a donation check to the "Native Plant Society of New Mexico" and mail it to:
John Bregar, Treasurer
506 Hillcrest Drive
Durango, Colorado, 81301
Please also become a member of our parent organization, the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. A portion of your yearly dues is returned to our chapter. Many of us are also dues paying members of the native plant societies of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, and we participate in activities of all four societies.
We hope to see you soon at our winter lecture series and our spring, summer, and fall field trips.
President: Al Schneider Click to email Al or call him at 970-882-4647.
Vice-President: Bob Powell
Treasurer: John Bregar
Representative to the Native Plant Society of New Mexico Board: Bob Powell
Publicity: Helen and Wade Newman and Randy Bangert
Telluride Area Programs and Field Trips: Connie Colter
Click for special Plant Keys and Lists
of flora in the Four Corners area.
Please join us for fabulous scenery, beautiful flowers, one-on-one learning, and friendly companions.
Review the general trip information below and be sure to occasionally recheck the field trip schedule as we do add trips and make changes to already existing trips.
General field trip information
Contact the trip leader to reserve a place on the trip
and to find out about the exact meeting place and time.
In addition to reading the material immediately below, please click to read the Native Plant Society of New Mexico "POLICIES GOVERNING FIELD EXPERIENCES AND OUTINGS ", pages 7 & 8. At the trailhead, all field trip participants must sign the form "Assumption of Risk and Release from Liability".
1) All field trips are free and open to members and non-members.
2) There are three different levels of trips; you are welcome on all trips. Leaders on trips are open to all levels of plant questions.
a) Trips for *avid botanists*: Detailed botanical keys and a hand lens are used to examine very fine details in both common and uncommon, inconspicuous plants. These trips are very slow paced and they focus on determining the exact species. Scientific names are used -- although even avid botanists have been heard to whisper common names.
b) Trips for **budding botanists**: Some plants are examined with a hand lens, and there is plenty of time for questions about basic botany. The leader will name many of the plants observed and will discuss techniques for identifying plants. These trips cover more trail distance and focus on determining genus for most plants, species for some. Common and scientific names are used.
c) Trips for ***wildflower enthusiasts***: These are wildflower appreciation walks. The leader will give basic ideas about wildflower identification and the names of many plants are given. These trips might cover a number of miles. Common names are used -- although a few folks whisper scientific names.
3) Unless otherwise stated, trips are limited to 15 participants.
4) Trips leave promptly from the carpool area and the trailhead.
5) No pets.
6) Children who are enthusiastic about wildflowers and who are accompanied by an adult are welcomed on the trips.
7) Most trips are in and out on the same trail so if you can only walk short distances, you may inform the leader, sit down, enjoy the wildflowers, and wait for the group to come back -- as long as someone else stays with you.
8) We have extra hand lenses for you to use.
9) If you sign-up for a trip and later find out that you cannot attend, please be sure to call the trip leader immediately; otherwise someone who could take your place will not be able to and everyone will be waiting for you at the trailhead.
10) Please be prepared for all weather conditions: always bring top and bottom rain gear, two liters of water, lunch, snacks, sturdy hiking boots, layers of clothing, etc. Call the trip leader if you have equipment questions.
11) Please carpool and be sure to generously reimburse your driver.
March 7: Winter Plant Identification
Leader: Al Schneider
Location: Mesa Verde National Park
This trip is very slow-paced for ***wildflower enthusiasts.
As part of the Southwest Colorado Winter Ecology Series, 2014-2015, the San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society is offering a winter plant identification walk.
Winter months strip many plants of their foliage and make winter identification of these plants more difficult. Join the San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society on a winter plant identification hike in Mesa Verde National Park to learn how to identify plants in the winter.
- Limited to 15 people. Recommended for high school age to adult.
- Reservations required.
- For information and reservations contact Al Schneider at 970-882-4647.
2015 ARIZONA BOTANY MEETING
April 25-26, 2015
Location: Museum of Northern
Click for details.
May 2 & 3: Wildflowers of Red Rock Park, Gallup, New Mexico
Leader: Ray Gosden
Location: Red Rocks Park, Gallup, New Mexico
This trip is paced for ***wildflower enthusiasts who want a bit of walking.
Join us for early spring flowers near Gallup. Come and enjoy a leisurely Saturday exploring the wildflowers of one of Gallup’s treasures, Red Rock Park, a square mile of rock and sand. In addition to magnificent cliffs of Entrada sandstone, the Park boasts two distinct peaks, bulky Pyramid Rock and the slender spires of Church Rock.
Spring wildflowers are abundant in May, and as we do a loop trail through the Park we will be looking for the compact Desert Phlox, Phlox austromontana, as well as Lomatiums (Desert Parsleys) and Alliums (Onions), Oenothera (Evening Primroses), and many other species. We hope to find at least 3 species of Astragalus, A. mollissimus, the bushy A. praelongus, var. ellisiae, and the uncommon, prostrate A. micromerius. The white borage with the yellow eye, Cryptantha flavoculata, and the small, sturdy Chaetopappa ericoides, are common in some areas.
Total hiking distance will be 3 miles with a few short, moderately steep sections. Elevations range from 6,700-7,500. Our pace will always be leisurely.
Copies of Ray’s book and a spring plant list will be available.
Be sure to bring lunch and 2 liters of water for each day, layers of clothing, broad-brimmed hat, and top and bottom rain gear. Weather should be mild, but check the forecast.
Come for one or two days. We will overnight at a Gallup motel near Red Rocks Park or you may want to camp in the Park. On Sunday we will take a stroll in El Morro National Monument, in El Malpais National Conservation Area, or in a special area that Ray will pick for us.
Email or call Ray 505-722-9236 for information and reservations.
Ray moved to Gallup from the Seattle area three years ago, is a member of the San Juan/Four Corners NPS, and last year published a popular guide to the wildflowers of Red Rock Park.
May 20: Annual Trip to Sand Canyon
Leader: Al Schneider
Location: Sand Canyon Trail, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
The trip is slow-paced for ***wildflower enthusiasts and **budding botanists.
Depending on the group's wishes, we will walk just a mile or two of the Sand Canyon Trail or we will walk the Sand Canyon/East Rock Canyon 4 1/2 mile loop. Either way, we will bask in the perfume of the Cliff Rose flowers. Many other plants will be in bloom and we will identify these as we walk this superb trail with the Sleeping Ute Mountain watching us.
Be sure to bring lunch, 2 liters of water, layers of clothing, and definitely top and bottom rain gear.
Email or call Al 970-882-4647 for information and reservations.
June 6: Wildflowers of Southeast Utah
Leaders: Kay Shumway and Al Schneider
Location: June 6 Near Natural Bridges National Monument. June 7: To be determined.
This is a very leisurely paced trip for ***wildflower enthusiasts***.
This trip will originate in Blanding and head west on highway 95. We will pass through several ecological niches and how often we stop will be determined by the botany possibilities. With all of the snow in February and March of this year we should have some awesome flowers.
After making a number of botanizing stops, we will proceed to the area at the base of Elk Mountain near Natural Bridges National Monument. After looking at flowers in this pinyon/juniper/sagebrush zone we will ascend to the Bears Ears where we will spend the remainder of the day in a ponderosa pine/aspen area.
In addition to having lots of room to roam, this area has 5 sources of permanent water and/or springs that are always interesting to see and discover some plants that are not found in the surrounding habitat. Some hiking of less than a mile will be necessary to see the two main springs.
On our second day we will explore some more wildflower areas west of Blanding, probably in Mule Canyon.
Join us for one or both days with an overnight in Blanding. Several of us are staying at the very nicely remodeled Stone Lizard Motel. Mention the native plant society trip for a discount. Very nice rooms. Great breakfast.
Be sure to bring two lunches, 2 liters of water, layers of clothing, and top and bottom rain gear.
Email or call Al 970-882-4647 for information and reservations.
June 21: Wildflowers and Views
Leader: Helen and Wade Newman
Location: The Knife Edge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park
The trip is slow paced for ***wildflower enthusiasts.
Come enjoy numerous wildflowers along a flat trail hanging above the valley with long views to El Diente. In addition to the wildflowers, we will also see a number of birds (perhaps Golden Eagles and Peregrine Falcons that nest high above the Knife Edge Trail) as well as tracks of some wildlife that inhabits Mesa Verde.
Total mileage is less than 2.
Bring lunch, 2 liters of water in your pack and another liter in the car, and dress for the warm weather. Hat and sunblock are a must.
The trip is limited to 12 participants.
Our leaders, Wade and Helen, are wildflower enthusiasts who participate in the Mesa Verde National Park, "Adopt a Trail Program". The past two years they have enjoyed and recorded many of the wildflowers found along the Knife Edge Trail.
Email or call Wade and Helen 564-5837 for information and reservations.
July 8: Wildflowers of Hermosa Fens & Wetlands
Leaders: Bob Powell and Al Schneider
Location: West side of Bolam Pass
This trip is for ***wildflower enthusiasts who want to see a variety of montane-alpine habitats.
After about four miles of driving toward Bolam Pass on a rocky, bumpy, and slow-going road, we will stretch our legs for an enjoyable off-trail wander through rare fens and wetlands searching for new and interesting plants. We will also see many old friends, such as, Elephant Heads and various sunflowers. An hour or two of wandering will bring us to the rocky base of Hermosa Peak where we will find many new drier land species. A new route back to the cars will allow us to find even more species. Total trip mileage will only be 1-2.
Before our wanderings, we will drive a few minutes past the fens to the top of Bolam Pass for magnificent views of the western San Juans.
Note that the approach from the east (Highway 550) to Bolam Pass and our wetlands is often too muddy to drive. We will drive to the wetlands from the west side off of Highway 145 at Cayton Campground. Folks coming from Durango should plan to camp at Cayton the night before the trip, or motel it in Dolores or Rico, or plan to be up nice and early for the long drive from Durango to Cayton.
Be sure to bring lunch, 2 liters of water, layers of clothing, and definitely top and bottom rain gear.
Email or call Bob 970-385-8949 for information and reservations.
July 16-19: Native Plant Society of New Mexico Annual Conference
Click to read details.
August 22: Wild Mushroom Hunting -- and Eating!
Leader: John Sir Jesse
Location: Near Lizard Head Pass
This trip crawls along looking for wild mushrooms and is rated for ***wildflower and mushroom enthusiasts***.
Come find wild mushrooms and learn about their habitats and edibility. We will stroll the woods to gather a number of mushroom species and then we will drive to John Sir Jesse's house to feast on them at an early dinner. If you plan to attend the dinner after the mushroom gathering, be sure to bring a potluck dish (homemade fare such as breads, salads, soups, deserts) to accompany the mushrooms. Photo thanks to Kay Shumway.
Our trip leader, John Sir Jesse, has been running mushroom walks in the Telluride area since the 1970s and John heads up the Telluride Mushroom Festival as well as his own business, Herb Walker Tours.
We will meet at 8:30 a.m. about an hour north of Cortez. Wear hiking boots. Be sure to bring lunch, several liters of water, and rain gear (no matter how sunny it might appear to be). Bring a small soft brush for cleaning mushrooms and several large cloth bags (old pillow cases?) for carrying the pounds of mushrooms you collect.
Limit of 15 participants.
Email or call John Sir Jesse 970-728-0639 for information and reservations and once you have reserved a place on the trip with John, please call him again about a week before the trip for exact details about where and when to meet. Be sure to call him immediately if you need to cancel,
Please note that this trip usually fills quickly.
2015 Colorado Native Plant Society Annual Meeting
Click for details.
Phil Kemp tells us about Aspen/Spruce/Fir forests in the chill of fall.
Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Lecture Series
in the Lyceum Room
Center of Southwest Studies
Fort Lewis College
Title: Human-Bear Conflict in the Greater Durango Area
Presenter: Bryan Peterson
The presentation will give us a better understanding of black bears in the wild, especially in the Durango area. What are the natural foods bears need to survive? What are the complexities of human and bear conflict? What are some of the individual and community solutions for reducing bear/human problems?
Bryan Peterson became involved in human and wildlife issues in 2000 while serving on a wildlife advisory board for La Plata County. He was selected as one of three finalists for the Durango Chamber of Commerce’s “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2009.
Bryan has attended regional and international bear conferences in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nevada, and British Columbia where he has met and shared ideas with the best bear experts in the world. In 2011 and 2014, he assisted the National Park Service in Northwest Alaska with educational outreach to Native Villages and black and grizzly bear research in Kobuk Valley National Park.
Bryan was a freelance illustrator for 20-plus years and holds a BFA in advertising design from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Title: Biology of the Newly Discovered Phlox, Ipomopsis ramosa (Coral Ipomopsis)
Presenters: Fort Lewis Biology Students, Shilah Allen, Meredith Breeden, Stephen Fleming, and Melanie Weber-Sauer
Ipomopsis ramosa is a summer-blooming herbaceous Phlox (Polemoniaceae) discovered in 2006 along the Roaring Fork, a tributary of the Dolores River. It is found nowhere else in the world except in this well-populated type location and in small populations in two other tributaries a few miles away. The plant was discovered by Al and Betty Schneider and was named and described by Al and John Bregar in 2011. See Al's web site for photographs and descriptive information, including the published description.
The student research looked at the distribution, relationship, and reproductive biology of Ipomopsis ramosa. The species shows a unique floral morphology intermediate between the common and widespread Ipomopsis aggregata (Scarlet Gilia) and other less common species including the also rare Ipomopsis polyantha of Pagosa Springs and Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus near Santa Fe. The limited range of distribution raises the question of origin and segregation of this unique form. Using a combination of ecological, cytological, and molecular data we are evaluating the biology of Ipomopsis ramosa to gain insights into its origin and persistence.
The four student presenters are senior Biology majors at Fort Lewis College. They have been completing research with Dr. Ross McCauley.
Title: From Desert Dust to Mountain Snow to Desert Plants
Presenter: Michael Remke
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. The dark layer of dust accelerates snowmelt, extending the growing season for many plants. The dust on snow also impacts Colorado River Basin runoff -- and the ski industry.
Desert plants, including the microfauna of biological soil crusts, can provide a reasonable mechanism for restoring disturbed desert soils and preventing dust storms. Land managers can increase restoration success by focusing on soil organism community restoration to better grow desert plants. Local soil organism communities could be collected to give plants a competitive edge in conservation and restoration efforts.
Michael's talk will explore these ideas from a conceptual standpoint supported by data from research he completed at Fort Lewis College and Northern Arizona University. Be prepared for rich material complimented by stunning photography all working together to tell an interesting story of how the desert and mountains are married.
Michael is a Fort Lewis College alumni. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Northern Arizona University where he is studying plant-soil organism interactions. Michael's research aims to better understand limits to plant migration and adaptation to climate change and practical ways that land managers could address these limits. Michael's hobbies include photography, hiking, biking, camping, botany, birding, fungi collection, cooking, and woodworking.
Title: Climbing with the Wildflowers in Ecuador
Presenter: John Bregar
While primarily in Ecuador to bird watch and climb volcanoes, John also managed to capture photographs of lots of flora. John has identified some of the flora in his photos, but some flora remains a mystery that he will share with us. All images are of showy and exotic plants. John will also include photos of volcanoes, birds, and the Ecuadorian countryside.
The following class is offered most years. If you or your group would like the class, please call Al Schneider, 970-882-4647. John Bregar and Al will present it for you anywhere in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, or Utah.
HOW TO IDENTIFY WILDFLOWERS
Are you a wildflower lover who gets frustrated year after year at not being able to identify (or remember!) the gorgeous plants you see each summer? Do you remember the plants but want to know more about them? Come learn at a wildflower class presented by the San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society.
You will learn to identify plants using a number of methods, short cuts, and plant keys. Detailed characteristics of leaves and flowers will be discussed using photos and live specimens. Characteristics of the major plant families will be noted. Other subjects covered include: the difference between common and scientific names, pronouncing and understanding scientific names, which identification books to buy, the differences in various wildflower books and botanical keys, how to use keys, and common keying problems and solutions. The Four Corners wildflower site (www.swcoloradowildflowers.com), plant photo shows, plant keys, microscopes, and live specimens of plants will be used. There will be plenty of time for your questions.
Presenters of the Workshop are San Juan/Four Corners Native Plant Society members Al Schneider and John Bregar. Al is President of the Society and author of www.swcoloradowildflowers.com. John is Treasurer of the Society, a retired geologist, superb botanist and birder, and leads many trips with the Colorado Mountain Club and Durango Birding Group.
Al and John look forward to seeing you.
Cost of the class is typically $25.
You should bring: magnifying glass if you have one, sack lunch, cup, plate, cloth napkin, etc. Refreshments will be served.
PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.
PAYMENT WITH REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.
REGISTER EARLY; CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
When you mail your registration and check,
please include your
and email address.
Make your check out to: ____ and mail to:____
Call Al (970-882-4647) or email him for more information.
Cancellation Policy: If you cancel more than two weeks before the class, i.e., before ___, all but $5 of your fee will be refunded. There will be no refunds in the last two weeks before the class, i.e., no refunds after ____.
Your notice of cancellation may be given by email (email@example.com ) or phone (970-882-4647).
If it is given by regular mail (Al Schneider, 19049 Road V, Lewis, Colorado 81327), it must be postmarked by the above dates.
Join us for fabulous scenery, beautiful flowers,
one-on-one learning, and friendly companions. Thanks to Katey for the photo of Amy looking with a hand lens at the
intricate beauty of the yellow alpine wildflower, Old Man of the Mountains
(Tetraneuris grandiflora), while Al explains some of the details Amy is seeing.
SEARCH AND WILDFLOWER HOME PAGE CONTACT THE SAN JUAN/FOUR CORNERS NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY