July 26 - 30 2014 - The Boise Centre - Boise, Idaho

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Botany 2014 Field Tips and Descriptions 

Saturday, July 26

Ft 1 Charlie’s Garden

Ca. 2 hrs 15 min from the hotel. Sat. July 26th.  Located close to Payette Lake in mixed confer forest, Charlie’s Garden is a combination of native flora and carefully selected horticultural variants. The location on Sylvan Beach began as a homestead in the 1880s, and the present garden site was a vegetable garden for one of Idaho’s first ecotourist ventures run by Charlie Nelson (Charlie no. 1) from the end of the 19th C. into the 1920’s. When Charlie no. 1 lost the property in the Depression, a part of it was acquired by, among several others, the R. M. Davidson family, who continued raising vegetables for a large family. In 1952, one son, Charlie Davidson (Charlie no. 2), began the transformation into a horticultural display that eventually attracted large numbers of random guests. The tradition continues: this a private garden that accepts guests but provides no advertising or amenities. 

In 2000, the present owners, Chris and Sharon Davidson, began a further transformation into a more permanent show garden with enhanced structure and a broadened collection of native and exotic perennials reflecting horticultural genera suitable for our mid-montane habitat and representing other montane habitats from similar and different latitudes. We also use a variety of tropical and subtropical plants as annual accents. The shaped granite pots and pavers are from China, the found granite pieces have been collected locally. The south side of the garden borders Sylvan Creek, which has been heavily impacted by years of encroachment and is being restored so that one day, we hope, kokanee runs will return. Following our garden tour we can take a walk on a short trail (0.25 mi) onto the east slope of Brundage Mtn. adjacent to Charlie’s Garden and see the native flora—ponderosa pine, western larch, Engelmann spruce, Douglas fir, Menziesia, 7 orchid genera, Vaccinium, Linnaea, Clintonia, Chimaphil, Pyrola, Orthilia, Calochortus, Streptopus, Sparganium, Kelloggia, Penstemon, Paeonia, etc.

No special equipment will be needed but you should certainly bring a camera.

FT 2 Leslie Gulch trip:

Drive to site ca. 1.5 hours.
Site is BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern, so special permission needed for collecting (and "stamp collecting" discouraged anyhow, since the flora is already well documented by existing collections).

Leslie Gulch, in the Owyhee Uplands ca. 50 miles west-southwest of Boise, is home to the region's premier concentration of rare and endemic species:  Astragalus cusickii var. sterilis, Cryptantha propria, Eriogonum novonudum, Ivesia rhypara var. rhypara, Mentzelia packardiae, Monardella angustifolia (in press), Phacelia lutea var. mackenziorum, Senecio ertterae, and Trifolium owhyeense.  The concentration of all these narrowly distributed taxa results from the unique edaphic features of their common substrate, Leslie Gulch Tuff, which also provides the spectacular geological formations that make the area a popular recreation site.  Leslie Gulch is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a designated Area of Critical Environment Concern.

The field trip will be led by Barbara Ertter, who has been involved in the discovery and description of Leslie Gulch's botanical riches ever since she was an undergraduate at the College of Idaho.  Although the matrix vegetation (sagebrush-steppe) will probably be in its summer dormancy phase by late July, at least Monardella angustifolia and Senecio ertterae should be in bloom at this time, and the scenery is highly photogenic at any time of the year.  The trip will consist of a series of roadside stops, in often rugged terrain without paths.  Sturdy footwear, hats, and sunscreen all highly recommended; be prepared for hot weather.  Possible wildlife sightings include bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and rattlesnakes.

FT 3 Garden Valley Field trip, Mosses and lichen aquatic zonation and forested habitats.

The Garden Valley is about 45 minutes north of Boise, ID. This area includes open Ponderosa Pine forest on the warm south facing slopes and dense Douglas fir forests and mossy granitic cliffs on the cool north facing slopes. Sharp ecotones provide scenic and diverse plant communities. Epiphytes are common in this area with increased humidity within the riverine habitats yet summers are hot and dry. The aquatic mosses often provide nearly 100% cover on the rocky shores and cliffs.Liverworts  are present in wet seepage areas and side streams. Geothermal hot springs are common in the area and have a distinct flora in contrast to the surface streams.

Horseshoe bend bathroom stop at the big gas station.

Arrive Banks parking lot, Restrooms pit non-flush toilets. Break into smaller groups of say 10-15

  • View the American Dipper nest under the North fork Bridge. Nest built of Scoularia aquatic, life history handouts (2) and discussion of the Bird and the moss zonation.
  • View the confluence of the river and the sandy beach. Topics: Forest habitats and slope influences, Other unique habitats to collect from, river hydrology and interaction with the moss/lichen habitats, abrasive forces, Carbon dioxide dissolves in the rapids, winter ice impacts, Mosses increase populations of aquatic insects and improve fish populations.
  • Walk to the North slope show the dominant taxa and then allow 2-hours for collecting, and self exploration.

Drive to a lunch spot to be determined Chose site based on weather and sun conditions.

Drive and walk to Bronco Billy hotsprings for collecting about one hour or less.

Drive to Alder Creek bridge, collect for ½-1 hour in that area.

Drive about one mile up the county road to a BLM area that has good rocks and different habitats.

Alder creek county road site swimming hole opportunity to counter the heat of the day.

FT 4  Bear Valley Rafting Adventure – Half Day

The company offers a series of half-day to full day rafting trips that will be operated by the company.  Descriptions of the trips are based on the material from their website.  Note that trips are rated as "moderate" or "advanced".  Moderate is suitable to novices, but advanced trips are for people with rafting/paddling experience.

All trips are led by the most experienced whitewater rafting guides on the Payette River; they incorporate their passion for the river into every whitewater rafting trip. Our whitewater rafting trips are run by licensed, experienced, and professional guides. On certain trips safety kayakers join us in providing a safer trips. However, as with any outdoor activity, a certain amount of risk is involved. you will be required to sign a Participant Agreement form before you join our trips. Children under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign. Safety instruction are also covered before we get on the river. We are partners with the Boise National Forest and Idaho Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board.
Half-day trips: Main payette: moderate. Sandy beaches and great swimming holes highlight this excursion, but you’ll also get a taste of that famous idaho whitewater.

FT 4A Ferns and Lycophytes of the Payette Lake area, Valley County, Idaho - Full Day

Trip sponsored by the American Fern Society

Idaho’s diverse habitats, from low elevation sagebrush and canyons to high mountains, support over 90 taxa of ferns and lycophytes. On this field trip we will see a representative sample of this fern and lycophyte diversity in the scenic Payette Lake area near McCall, located at an elevation of about 5000 feet, about 2 hours north of Boise. We should be able to observe at least 1/3 of the 34 fern and lycophyte taxa documented from Valley County (which by itself is 50% larger than the state of Delaware).
Upon reaching the west side of Payette Lake, we will walk a trail along Sylvan Creek that leads to a small pond. In these moist habitats we can expect to see Athyrium filix-femina, Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens, several Equisetum spp, and possibly Botrypus virginianus and Sceptridium multifidum. Adjacent dry granite outcrops and rocky slopes support a diversity of xerophytic ferns, including Aspidotis dens, Cryptogramma acrostichoides, Cheilanthes gracillima and Cystopteris fragilis. We will look for Pellaea bridgesii and Woodsia scopulina (known from the area), and take part in a Selaginella id quiz.
After lunch we will visit Charlie’s Gardens at Sylvan Beach, a historic resort with landscaped grounds maintained by Chris Davidson, a local botanist. Those with an interest in Isoetes should be able to cool off in Payette Lake while looking for quillworts. We may add an additional stop to the itinerary if continuing drought conditions warrant visiting alternative habitats.
Participants should be prepared for sunny and hot weather, though thunderstorms may also occur. Bring sunscreen, hat, raincoat, and boots or shoes that you do not mind getting wet or muddy. 

Water and Box lunches will be provided.

Distance from Boise to McCall is approximately 110 miles, travel by van about 2 1/4 hours.

Sunday, July 27th

FT 5 Bear Valley Rafting Adventure – Full Day
Cabarton-north fork Payette rafting: Moderate. This is a great run for the whole family. Enjoy the abundant wildlife during the relaxing calm stretches, followed by some exciting whitewater. Hold onto your hat as you wrap up your trip at Howard’s Plunge! Lunch is provided on one of the beautiful beaches along the way.

FT 6 Silver City
            The trip highlights a drive from the Treasure Valley and Snake River Plain through foothills of the Owyhee Mountains to the "ghost town" of Silver City at 6100 ft and a return through southeastern Oregon.  Though most of the stops will be in BLM land and plant collection will be permitted, the plants will be past their prime. The geological and mining history and diverse plant communities will be the major attractions of this trip.
Trip leaders:
            Don Mansfield, botanist at The College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho, and Beth Corbin, BLM botanist, Marsing, Idaho will lead the trip.  Don is author of Flora of Steens Mountain (southeastern Oregon) and is currently working on the floristics of the Owyhee region, including the area of this field trip.  Beth has been the botanist for the Owyhee Field Office of Boise District BLM for the past several years.
            Silver City in Owyhee County, Idaho is about 70 road miles south of Boise. Once the proposed capital of Idaho, the town, though now inhabited by a few hardy souls year-round, is mostly abandonded.  Remains of the mining heyday of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are scattered throughout the town and vicinity.  The area is in the granitic intrusion of the otherwise rhyolitic Owyhee Mountains. We will stop two or three times en route to Silver City for geological and botanical highlights. There will be time to explore Silver City (possibly ½ mile from one end of town to the other) on your own.  Though there are public restrooms there are no restaurants, so bring lunch.  We'll return via southeastern Oregon to see some of the archipelago of ash outcrops that are home to some of Idaho and Oregon's rare, endemic species, most of which will be dried up at this time of year, with the exception of the recently-described (in press) Monardella angustifolia. The trip will consist of a series of roadside stops, in often rugged terrain without paths.  Sturdy footwear, hats, and sunscreen all highly recommended; be prepared for hot weather. 

FT 7 Peaceful Belly Organic Farm Tour
Nestled in the Boise foothills in Dry Creek Valley about 20 minutes from downtown Boise is Peaceful Belly Farm, founded by Clay and Josie Erskine in 2002. The farm has grown over the years and now covers 60 amazing  acres. At its heart Peaceful Belly is a small family farm. The owners believe in genetic diversity, both domestic and wild, and grow over 90 types of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and berries in addition to raising pastured poultry. The food is grown organically and is certified by the State of Idaho.
From the website (http://www.peacefulbelly.com/): "In our ten years of farming we have learned so much. First and foremost is the importance of good stewardship for our soil, environment, water, and our health. We are growing our farm and expanding our acreage not to produce more food but to become better producers and farmers. Our larger acreage will give us the room to incorporate larger crop rotation, more animal husbandry, attention to natural and beneficial habitat, and focus on long-term soil health. We have been practicing these elements on our small farm but now have the room we need to allow areas of the farm to rest. All things living need rest, even soil."

Lunch will be served at the farm.

FT 8  The Idaho Botanical Garden
The Garden occupies more than 30 acres that originally served as the farm and nursery for the Idaho State Penitentiary. The Old Penitentiary shut its doors in 1973, and for 12 years the land lay dormant.  Dr. Chris Davidson and the first board of directors negotiated a lease in 1984 and transformed the area from rock, weeds, and rubble into beautifully cultivated gardens. Today the Garden includes a contemporary English Garden, the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden, a Children's Adventure Garden with carnivorous plants and a koi pond, an Heirloom Rose Garden, and ten other feature gardens. 
The 3 acre Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden offers visitors the opportunity to "experience the journey," as they move through 4 different “biomes”.  More than 125 of the plant species collected and discussed by Meriwether Lewis in his journals are now on display.
The Idaho Botanical Garden has nearly 4,000 members and is visited by more than 130,000 people per year. All pathways are paved or gravel and are ADA accessible. Collecting is not permitted in the Garden.  at  www.idahobotanicalgarden.org

FT 9 The College of Idaho Biological Collections Open House

Drive to Caldwell: ca. 35 minutes.

The College of Idaho's Harold M. Tucker Herbarium and Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History are two of the oldest and most informative biological collections in Idaho. Founded in 1891, the Harold M. Tucker Herbarium (http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/herbarium) houses around 45,000 specimens, focused especially on west-central Idaho and the Owyhee Uplift region. Its collections and staff have produced several floras and described dozens of new taxa, most recently Monardella angustifolia (in press) and Lomatium bentonitum; it also contains the collections of such Idaho botany pioneers as Pat Packard, Ellen Trueblood, and William Judson Boone. Its collections illustrate the rich biodiversity of southwestern Idaho, from the profuse ash-bed endemics of Owyhee County to the elevational gradients of the Northern Rocky Mountains.

The Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History (http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/cultural-institutions/orma-j-smith-museum-natural-history) is the only natural-history museum in all of southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon, and north Nevada. Its holdings include an extensive paleobotanical collection especially covering the Succor Creek Flora, vertebrate and invertebrate animal collections, Native American and African cultural artifacts, and materials from the College's long-term research sites in Baja California. It is among our region's premier environmental-education and natural-history resources, and is worth visiting for anyone, regardless of background.

For the open house, transportation will be provided to and from the College of Idaho (ca. 35 minutes from Boise), and participants will be free to explore both institutions. The event will be indoors and air-conditioned; no special gear is necessary and no additional fees will be charged.

Thursday, July 31

FT 10 Wineries Tour 
8:00 AM               Depart Grove Hotel, Boise
8:00-9:00              Travel to Parma
9:00-10:00            Tour USDA-ARS Lab and Vineyards, Parma
10:00-11:30          Travel to Bitner Vineyard & Tasting
11:00-12:00          Travel to Ste Chapelle Winery
12:00-12:30          Ste Chapelle Winery tour & tasting (Winemaker, Maurine Johnson)
12:30-1:30            Lunch (Ste Chapelle)
13:00-13:30          Travel to Sawtooth/Skyline Vineyard
13:30-14:00          NE 1020 Trial site, Sawtooth vineyard
14:00-16:00          Skyline Vineyard & Sawtooth winery
16:00-17:00          Travel to Grove Hotel

For vineyard field tour: need hat, enclosed shoes, sunscreen, water.  Minimal hiking through vineyard.  Money to buy wine.  ID for proof of age. Map of vineyard locations and photographs are available to download at http://www.idahowines.org/Explore/

FT 11 Snowbank Mountain and Blue Lake.

Note - the last stretch of this road is on a moderately steep gravel road to the top of the mountain.  This may limit the type of vehicle that can be used and thus the number of people that can be accomodated.

Approximately 2 hour drive from Boise, heading north toward McCall along highway 55.

We will drive to the top of Snowbank Mountain (~2400 m) passing through forest until we get near the summit where open meadows provide vistas to the east and west.  We will park at the summit and take the 1 mile trail (200 m change in elevation) down to Blue Lake passing through patches of whitebark pine, open meadows and crossing small streams.  There will be a wide variety of flowering plants in the meadows and a few aquatics in the lake including Isoetes.  Participants should plan on bringing sunscreen and a hat, durable hiking boots, and carry sufficient water for hike down and back to the lake. 

FT 12 Shafer Butte

Less than an hour's drive from the heat of the Boise valley takes us to the hiking/biking trails of Shafer Butte at Bogus Basin, better known as a winter ski resort.  Starting at 6700' elevation, we will hike to 7300' in the first half mile or so, stopping frequently to become acquainted with the Idaho batholith's mid-elevation flora where the sagebrush meets the Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine forest.  A gentle 5-mile transect around one of the highest peaks on the Boise Ridge, mostly on single-track trail, will then take us through a diversity of habitat types and provide outstanding vistas covering all of southwestern Idaho, from the Sawtooth Range to the Owyhee Mountains.  Among the more interesting plants on this route are Corydalis caseana, Eriogonum pyrolifolium, Aconogonum phytolaccifolium, Ipomopsis congesta, Synthyris missurica, Castilleja covilleana, and Cardamine cordifolia.  Trip led by Boise native Barbara Ertter.  Hiking footwear, hats, and sunscreen strongly recommended.

FT 14 Magic Valley Agricultural Tour – From Seed to Table

The Magic Valley of Idaho is a six county stretch located 100 miles east of Boise along the geologically impressive Snake River plain. It is home to a diverse agricultural landscape that contributes to all aspects of the food value chain from seed to table. We invite you to join us on July 31, 2014 for a tour of Magic Valley Idaho’s unique high desert agriculture. As we travel east from Boise, the tour is designed to offer a glimpse into the variety of research and business activities that go into delivering a meal to your table. Stops will include seed research, crop production and pollinator management, fish and dairy production, a discussion on environmental conservation challenges and opportunities, and food processing. Along the way you will enjoy magnificent views of the Snake River and catch a glimpse of the South Hills and the Sawtooth Mountains. Meals and transportation are included. Cost for attendance is $15 per person. - Sponsored in part by Monsanto and Twin Falls, Idaho

FT 13 Fossil floras associated with the Middle Miocene Columbia River Basalts of Northern Idaho

Post meeting--Depart Thursday morning July 31, return Saturday late afternoon
Approximately how long the drive will be from the Grove in Boise: About 6 hours of driving, with a stop in natural area near McCall on Thursday; about 2 hours of driving on Friday, and again 6 hours on Saturday.

We will visit scientifically and educationally important fossil plant localities preserved in 16 million-year-old lake sediments near the town of Clarkia, northern Idaho.  These sites represent the best preserved and possibly most diverse Middle Miocene flora known from North America. Discovered in 1971, the Clarkia flora has attracted attention of the public and scientific community because of the exceedingly well-preserved leaves, which frequently are still green when first exposed (Smiley et al, 1975, with preservation sufficient to preserve organelles in the tissue, flavanoids, and apparently even DNA. Excellent preservation of the plant fossils, including flowers, fruits, seeds, cones and pollen as well as leaves, coupled with tremendous diversity and numerical abundance, make this flora ideal for a variety of systematic, microstratigraphic, and paleoecological investigations.

The abundant plants from the Clarkia and Emerald Creek sites that we will visit indicate a lush forest with many elements that are now exotic to the region, such as Metasequoia, Cunninghamia, Pterocarya, Carya, Liquidambar, Liriodendron, Cercidiphyllum and some that later became extinct, such as Nordenskioeldia, Pseudofagus, and Ozakia.  We will visit outcrops of the Colombia River Basalt flows considered to be responsible for the damming of the lake in which these plant-rich sediments accumulated, and will spend sufficient time collecting at each site to get a sense of floristic similarities and differences from site to site. Local paleobotanist and geologist Dr. William Rember will explain the local geology and discuss the volcanic ash beds that have been important in correlating time horizons across the basin.

Cost includes transportation - Some meals and double occupancy in hotel each night.

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