North Coast Chapter - CNPS

Spring Wildflower Show;
The Combined Efforts of Many

By Larry Levine

Over 800 people signed the guest book at the 14th annual Spring Wildflower Show, held last May 2-4 at the County Office of Education. Specimens of over 400 species and sub-species were on display. Since this is the first issue of Darlingtonia following the show, I want to take this opportunity to thank the dozens of volunteers who made the event possible. I also want to mention the roles of specific individuals, both to help convey the character and breadth of the show, and to give credit to the many whose contributions might not have been apparent.

As the members of Nature Discovery Volunteers (NDV) retire from active participation, the Northcoast Chapter has been assuming a greater share of the organizing. Nonetheless, NDV and their associates continue to play a central role. I will mention a few: Bill Shapeero, NDV president, who brought student volunteers from the College of the Redwoods; Darlene Whiting, one of our featured speakers, who single-handedly collects the edible/non-edible portion of the show; Lucy Owen, who prepares the display of dune flora; and Jan Meninga and friends who organize the always popular “Art Night”.

Thanks also to our other speakers, Julian Lang and Lyn Risling. This was Julian’s first visit to the show, and he was sufficiently impressed that he is considering the show’s potential as a resource for Indian culture and language study. “The plants are all here,” he says.

Of all the behind-the-scene preparations, collection is perhaps the most critical. Effective collectors require a sound understanding of conservation principles, a knowledge of the flora of specific locales, and a sense of the seasonal progression of flowering. In appreciation of their skill and effort, I want to thank the following collection “expeditioners”: Tony LaBanca, Steve Darington, and Sydney Carothers, who each headed north; the members of the Willow Creek Museum, who collected in that area; and Darlene Whiting, Gisela Rohde with Colinda Gutierrez, Ann Francis, Dan Brown, and Jen Kalt, who each collected south of Eureka. Many others contributed specimens, including Louise Watson and Jan Meninga. Additional thanks to all who helped transfer the plants to bottles, and helped in their identification. Dave Imper contributed the table-top plant family posters. Steve Darington prints the plant cards and maintains the wildflower show database.

Rita Orlandini’s help was crucial in organizing school group pre-study and visits. Larry Levine helped develop the teacher’s guide, and John Cromwell provided able interpretation for the school groups. John McRae and the rest of the Plant Sale crew conducted a first-ever sale of native plants, augmented by a gardening and information table staffed by Pete Haggard, who also brought caterpillars. John Sawyer, Gisela Rohde, Bill Rodstrom, and Dave Imper each contributed photos to the “Humboldt Wildflower Habitats” display assembled by Larry Levine. Special thanks to John Cromwell for his best-yet pollinator display, with assistance from Gordon Leppig. Steve Matthews furnished an off-line version of the chapter’s web site (, and Larry Levine, Steve Matthews, the Computer Price Club, and Network Services at the County Office of Education contributed hardware and a connection.

Nezzie Wade did much of the preliminary organizing, and was also responsible for booking our speakers. Overall publicity was directed by Tony LaBanca. Steve Darington prepared the fliers, which were printed by Bill Shapeero. Finally, thanks to Dan Brown for revamping our road signs, and for transforming the CNPS portable booth into a keynote display that helped identify our role in the show.

The above details illustrate that there are many ways that volunteers can contribute to the show. Perhaps you will join us next year! Planning for 1998 starts this September.

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California Native Plant Society - North Coast Chapter
P.O. Box 1067 Arcata, CA 95518-1067
Last updated August 1997