How do Bay Area native plant lovers know it’s a new year? Because on the first Sunday of the year David Margolies leads his annual CNPS East Bay Chapter field trip to Huddart County Park in San Mateo County to look for fetid adder’s tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii). This is one of the earliest-blooming flowers in the Bay Area, and Huddart County Park is a reliable place to see it. David and his devotees have seen these lovely and intriguing flowers in bloom every year except 2013 and 2016. Sadly, 2021 will add a third year to our no-flowers list because coronavirus precautions compel us to cancel all field trips.
Before the coronavirus pandemic turned field trips into risky and inadvisable activities, we led three wonderful outings in early 2020. In addition to David’s Huddart County Park trip, our chapter’s Field Trips Committee chair Janet Gawthrop led trips to Reinhardt Redwood and Roberts regional parks to see pallid manzanitas and explore the second-growth redwood forest, and also to Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in search of early spring flowers.
But all was not lost for field trips after shelter-in-place orders took effect. Janet adapted quickly and began to share her extensive knowledge of great places to see East Bay native plants through a new medium: self-guided field trip articles in our Bay Leaf newsletter. These are not boring square-inch-by-square-inch trail guides, but eminently readable suggestions of places to go to see interesting and beautiful East Bay native plant habitats. Janet includes highlights (and sometimes development threat–related lowlights) of plants and history in each area, all illustrated with her lovely and evocative watercolor and pencil sketches.
Watch for more of Janet’s self-guided field trips in upcoming issues of the Bay Leaf, including a trip to Claremont Canyon in this issue. And look back at past in-person field trips on our chapter’s Meetup page to see where else you can go on your own until we can again enjoy field-trip explorations together.
— December 2020