Date: April 19, 2012

6:00 pm - Tour of Native Wildflower Meadow with Chris Barnhill

7:30 pm - Main Program with speaker Sandy DeSimone, "Invasive Battles at Starr Ranch" 

**Note Location: This meeting will be at the Fullerton Arboretum

The Starr Ranch invasive control and restoration project has received statewide recognition for a relatively lost cost, innovative, non-chemical and research-based approach to land management. Both upland and riparian work is done by seasonal staff (7) who come to the Ranch to live and work for 6 - 10 months. They are recent college grads from all over the U.S. and Canada. Since 2007 Starr Ranch has had a strong partnership with the Orange County Conservation Corps and crews of at risk young adults from the Corps have assisted us with our work. An overview of the upland and riparian projects will include some data from monitoring and experiments and photos of how our work sites progress. The native habitats we restore to are coastal sage scrub, needlegrass grassland, and riparian woodland.  We just completed a study on effects of coastal sage scrub restoration on songbirds and small mammals to understand how our work affects native wildlife.

Sandy is a former third grade teacher and current Director of Research and Education at 4000-acre Audubon Starr Ranch Sanctuary in southeast Orange County.  She created "Starr Ranch Field Ecology Programs," which connect kids and adults to nature through participation in simulated or actual wildlife research alongside staff biologists. In 1997, she initiated research on the high priority invasive, artichoke thistle, and learned how to control the weed without chemicals. Fortuitously, her dissertation research was on coastal sage scrub, one of the rare habitats that are restored following thistle control. In 2010 she was awarded the Land Manager of the Year Award from the California Invasive Plant Council.

Before the main program, please join us at 6:00 pm for a guided tour of the new native wildflower meadow with Fullerton Arboretum's Chris Barnhill, Living Collections Curator. We had a sneak peak this past weekend, and it is chock full of interesting native wildflowers and grasses.  The meadow was planted in November 2011, and is a fantastic example of spectacular native meadow habitat in a garden setting.

Directions to the Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Road: From the 57, exit west on Yorba Linda Blvd. Turn left at Associated Road. The Arboretum is on the left.

Check the Arboretum website for illustrated directions.