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The Huntington, in San Marino, CA, obtained a grant from...
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This blog entry focuses on the Engelmann oak grove at Los...
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This blog post focuses on the day and a half we spent in...
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Plant Focus

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Quercus douglasii is an endemic California oak tree, affectionately called “the blue oak”.

2018 Pre-Conference Day Trips

On Sunday, October 21, prior to the evening Opening Reception that kicked off the Conference, participants could choose one of three Day Trips to nearby destinations. Below are brief reports of these outings, kindly provided by members who participated in each one. More photos from the trips can be view in a photo gallery here.

Lunching under blue oaks (Quercus douglasii) in Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument © Ron Lance

Frog Pond Trail – Oaks in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
by Ron Lance

Andrew Fulks, Assistant Director of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, drove ten tour participants north and west of Davis, ultimately climbing to the head of Rumsey Valley. The Central Valley’s agricultural lands had shifted to oak woodland by the time we arrived at the parking destination of Cache Creek Canyon Regional Park. Here the 5-mile loop hike on the Frog Pond Trail began, across the Cache River and among interior live oak (Quercus wislizeni), valley oak (Q. lobata) and gray pine (Pinus sabiniana). Ascending slopes and ridges of the Blue Ridge Range, the crew passed under many fine blue oaks (Q. douglasii) and an occasional California black oak (Q. kelloggii). Interesting smaller companion trees and shrubs, as well as frequent smatterings of acorns and scenic views slowed the pace. Ultimately, the natural conversion of oak woodland to chaparral was shown to be abrupt and keyed to soil type, in this case dominated by chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum). After crossing a wide fire line cleared to mineral soil, the trail wound through some of the essentially impenetrable chaparral to reach another “oaky” destination. Even though the seasonal Frog Pond was dry, the lunch spot among a grove of blue oak provided an idyllic terminusThanks go to Andrew for a splendid jaunt.

Pepperwood Preserve, Santa Rosa, California © Christina Carrero

The Oaks of Pepperwood – Research, Land Management and Fire
by Christina Carrero and Emily Beckman

Established in 2005 by Jane and Herb Dwight, Pepperwood Preserve in Santa Rosa, CA encompasses 3,200 acres, over 750 species of plants, 150 species of wildlife, and the Dwight Center for Conservation Science. Pepperwood is dedicated to engaging its visitors in conservation science, leadership, and education. They also have a wicked cool diversity of oaks (14 species and hybrids). We, as oak fanatics, fawned over the diversity of species on the preserve, including Quercus lobata, Q. durata, Q. agrifolia, and a few of questionable taxonomy. We learned about the Preserve’s grazing program for sustainable management, ate lunch on a peak with a perfect view of Mount Saint Helena, and, of course, became bemused by the promiscuous nature of oaks, contesting the identity of specific individuals in our path. One unexpected highlight was experiencing the aftermath of a major wildfire and its implications for forest regrowth a year later. In October of 2017, the Tubbs Fire burned through forests in Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties. Claimed to be the most destructive wildfire in California history, it burned an estimated 36,810 acres including most of the Pepperwood Preserve. Though the fire is responsible for immense amounts of damage and heartbreak, it also created the opportunity for unprecedented growth and potential in the forest. Our last stop was a small area of the Preserve where a prescribed burn had been planned, but the Tubbs Fire made it first. We skipped around new sprouts of poison oak and thistle to see burnt and dying Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The Douglas-fir grow fast and grow tall, crowding out the species underneath and restricting their ability to receive sunlight. With these trees gone, oaks in the area began exhibiting regrowth and basal sprouting. Having already planned for a prescribed burn, the area was full of experimental plots and environmental monitoring stations allowing the unique opportunity to record the forest regrowth in a statistically meaningful way. Pepperwood plans to use this data and experience in future prescribed burns.

Glasses of sparkling wine confront IOS members at Mumm Napa  © Sally Kenyon

Wine Country Tour and Tastings
by Lloyd Kenyon

As we set off on Sunday morning for Napa Valley to visit the wine country, there was a bit of mist and the temperature remained low. Our first stop was at an oxbow on the Napa River, a beautifully isolated green oasis in the middle of the city. Thirty minutes to view a mature specimen of Quercus agrifolia and a number of other native trees. Next stop was Mumm Napa. After a brief introduction to the vineyard we were seated at a table confronted by four glasses of sparkling white wine: champagne in all respects, though out of deference to European legislation they call it sparkling white wine. It was not long before a fifth glass appeared, a wine specially selected by the manager and not yet available to purchase. Going uphill we entered the Rutherford Hill Vineyard, by which time the mist had lifted and we were in brilliant sunshine. Here we ate our lunch in the shade of a magnificent Q. kelloggii and other oaks, accompanied by a selection of their wines. A brief visit to their Gift Shop was made before proceeding. Beringer Vineyard provided pure theater. Guided by Jesus (we were never given his family name), we were then plied with more wine and introduced to the herb garden where we were able understand the flavors so often used to describe the wines. We were then ushered upstairs to a room where, at each seat, a further three glasses awaited us. In between the explanation of the wines and their relationship with different foods, Jesus did his best to persuade us of the benefits of joining the Beringer Club. Unfortunately, this did not extend to free overseas shipping, so most members declined.


You can view more photographs of the Pre-Conference Day Trips in a photo gallery here.