Let's have a Big Year!

I recently attended a reading by Bob Pyle of his latest book, Mariposa Road, in which he wrote about his Butterfly Big Year. What is a "Big Year" you ask? It is a tradition by birders to try to observe all species of birds known from a region (usually a country) over one year. Bob went after 800 species of butterflies known from the US, a feat that no one else had tried. That evening, he read some choice passages from the book, all punctuated by his inimitable style and humor. 

I propose that OC-CNPS do a Big Year for plants known from OC, the Santa Ana Mountains, and adjacent areas (the same area of coverage as the OC wildflowers book). Since the OC/Riverside county border runs along the ridge-line of the Santa Ana Mountains, it makes sense to include the entire mountain range. We'll cover the coastline, up over the mountains, and down to the I-15. Thus, the region is much more than just OC. The Santa Ana Mountain range is the dominant feature in the region, so we've named it Santa Ana Mountains Big Year (SAMBY).

Our Big Year will include collection of specimens, to be deposited at both Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and UC Riverside. Each month will have at least one field trip and a master list kept. At the end of the year, we might give awards for the top-scoring participants. We might partner with Riverside, South Coast, and San Diego chapter to work on adjoining regions.

Look for field trip announcements throughout the year. To communicate via email about the project, use the address:

- Bob Allen