California Native Plant Society

RPTH Awards: General info and rules

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

2012 RPTH Award winners

The 2012 field season produced some spectacular results, and we’d like to thank all of the CNPS Chapters and volunteers who made it all happen. The 2012 award winners are listed below.

  • Chapter Awards
    1st Place: Creosote Ring
    2nd Place: San Diego
    3rd Place: San Gabriel Mountains
    Significant Chapter Contributions: East Bay and Mount Lassen
  • Individual/Team Awards
    Most occurrences updated:
    1st Place: Belinda Lo
    2nd Place: Clyde Golden
    Most trips led: Kathy LaShure and Frank Landis
    Most trips attended: James Roberts
    Most volunteer hours: Tom Persons
    Significant individual contribution: Tim Thomas
  • Photo Contest
    1st Place: Clyde Golden - Delphinium purpusii
    2nd Place: Will Spangler - Delta mud flat treasure hunters
    3rd Place: Ron Coley - Hibiscus lasiocarpos var. occidentalis
  • Essay Contest
    1st Place: Will Spangler - Rivers for Change hunts for treasured plants
    2nd Place: Jane Strong - The Paintbrush Quest
    3rd Place: Amber Swanson Untitled
  • Partner Organizations
    Habitat Works
    Desert Survivors Club
    Marin Municipal Water District
    Friends of Juniper Flats
    Rivers For Change
    Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
  • All 2012 RPTH Participants
  • Project Supporters
    Bureau of Land Management
    National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
    U.S. Forest Service
    Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
    California Department of Fish and Game


Chapter Awards


Erigeron multiceps
Erigeron multiceps, one of the many rare plants documented by the Creosote Ring subchapter. Photo by Kathy LaShure.

1st place: The Creosote Ring subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter submitted the most rare plant occurrences this year. Trip leader Kathy LaShure organized and led nine trips, documenting many rare plant occurrences from the southern Sierra Nevada. Although it’s a small subchapter, the Creosote Ring members filed in force this summer, and they had great success in finding and documenting their local rare plants. Thank you for your inspiring efforts!





Acmispon prostratus
Acmispon prostratus (Nutall’s lotus, Rank 1B.1) One of the rare annuals documented by the San Diego CNPS Chapter. Photos by Frank Landis.

2nd place: The San Diego Chapter continued in their second year of surveying coastal dune annuals. With their commitment to repeated observations of these rare plant populations, which can vary considerably from year to year, San Diego CNPS is helping California State Parks to better understand the ecology of rare dune annuals and how to best manage them. Thank you for your dedication to the dunes!





Lily Springs
Jane Tirrell, dedicated volunteer for the Lily Springs Study Area survey, photographing wildflowers in the San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Graham Bothwell.

3rd place: The San Gabriel Mountains Chapter undertook two projects this year. First, they finished up their phenology study of the Lily Spring Study Area, and in the process documented a number of additional rare plant occurrences. Second, they embarked on their “Paintbrush Quest”, with the goal of searching for historical locations of their chapter’s logo plant, Castilleja gleasoni (Mt. Gleason paintbrush). Thank you for contributing your expertise to important ecological areas!



Significant Chapter Contributions

East Bay Chapter flyer
Brazilian watermeal (Wolffia brasiliensis) found on a trip with the Mount Lassen Chapter. This is probably the smallest rare plant ever documented on a RPTH trip. Photo by Ron Coley.

The Mount Lassen Chapter had a successful second year of rare plant hunting. Chapter leader Ron Coley organized trips to retrace the footsteps of the botanist Vern Oswald. The weather was highly uncooperative this year, and suppressed some of the annuals on their hope-to-find list, but they were successful in locating several historical rare plant occurrences, including the tiny water plant Wolffia brasiliensis (Brazilian watermeal).



East Bay Chapter flyer

The East Bay Chapter put a twist on the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt with their Adopt a Rare Plant Program. In this unique program, volunteers agree to adopt a rare plant and survey for that species over a two-year period. This resulted in East Bay Chapter members adopting several rare plant species and submitting their survey data from the 2011 field season. Surveys continued in 2012, and we look forward to those results in the coming months.




Individual/Team Awards

RPTHers taking a break from a grueling hike at the Leonardi Falls Botanical Area
Belinda Lo (front, yellow shirt) and other RPTHers taking a break from a grueling hike at the Leonardi Falls Botanical Area. Photo by Danny Slakey.

Most occurrences: Belinda Lo, a seasonal botanist for the El Dorado National Forest and former intern at CNPS, went beyond the call of duty in her summer work documenting rare plant occurrences, and did a phenomenal job of documenting rare plants in her free time as a volunteer. Belinda also helped lead some of the Northern California RPTH trips organized by CNPS staff. Great work, Belinda!

Most trips led: Kathy LaShure has been an outstanding leader of rare plant treasure hunts with the Creosote Ring Subchapter of the Bristlecone Chapter for the past two years. Her thrill-of-the-hunt leadership style inspires and motivates chapter botanizers in traveling to our beautiful mountains in search for rare plants. Many thanks, Kathy.

Most trips led: Frank Landis has headed up the San Diego Chapter’s Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for the past two years, and has probably led more total trips than any other volunteer. Our hats are off to Frank for his outstanding efforts and continued dedication to understanding rare plant ecology and conservation. Great effort Frank!

Most trips attended: Wahooo! to James Roberts, a highly dedicated volunteer who mustered for many, if not most of the coastal dune trips of the San Diego Chapter. Thanks for your enthusiasm James!

Most volunteer hours: Tom Persons contributed over 100 hours on weekend trips in the Mojave & Sonoran Deserts. Tom is a talented naturalist and field ecologist, involved in outdoor leadership and restoration projects in the greater Los Angeles area. Thanks for making our trips so much fun, Tom!


Photo Contest Winners

Click on the photos to see larger, high-resolution images

1st Place - Clyde Golden 1st Place – Clyde Golden
Delphinium purpusii (rose-flowered larkspur, Rank 1B.3) by Clyde Golden.

2nd Place - Will Spangler 2nd Place – Will Spangler
Delta mud flat treasure hunters Danny Slakey and Bob Stahmer, by Will Spangler.

3rd Place - Ron Coley 3rd Place – Ron Coley
Hibiscus lasiocarpos var. occidentalis (woolly rose-mallow, Rank 1B.2) by Ron Coley.


Essay Contest Winners

1st PlaceRivers for Change hunts for treasured plants
Will Spangler wrote an excellent essay on rare plants of the Delta and our kayaking trip to search for them. See the article on our Stories From the Field page.

2nd PlaceThe Paintbrush Quest
Jane Strong recounted the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter’s quest to search out and document all the known occurrences of their chapter’s logo, the Mt. Gleason paintbrush Castilleja gleasoni, Rank 1B.2)

3rd Place – Untitled
Amber Swanson, former RPTH coordinator contributed a lively account of the Castle Mountains trip in the Mojave Desert.

Significant Individual Contributions

Several Rare Plant Treasure Hunters made other outstanding contributions to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt throughout the field season, and we are grateful for their interest and contributions to the program. Tim Thomas brought his expansive knowledge of the desert flora as well as the Cottonwood Basin in the Eastern Sierra to several RPTH trips. David Popp hosted Rare Plant Treasure Hunters for a weekend trip at his cabin in Quincy. Jade Paget-Seekins, a seasonal botanist with the El Dorado National Forest, shared her knowledge of the local flora on several trips that she attended and helped lead. John Dye of Rivers for Change was able to acquire free kayak rentals, helped us navigate channels of the Delta, and even paddled in a few RPTHers on tow lines in order to bring us back in a timely fashion. Thank you all for your generous contributions.


Partner Organizations

Habitat WorksHabitat Works
Habitat Works
packed a good handful of trips with inquisitive newbies, who went away aglow with the discovery of the desert’s magic and hidden secrets. Habitat Works is a volunteer environmental stewardship group, working to improve natural habitat conditions throughout Southern California.

Desert SurvivorsDesert Survivors Club
The Desert Survivors Club joined several trips this season, bringing volunteers from far afield. Desert Survivors is an affiliation of desert lovers committed to experiencing, sharing and protecting desert wilderness wherever they find it.

Marin Municipal Water District
Marin Municipal WaterThe Marin Municipal Water District teamed up with CNPS to lead several RPTH trips on Mt. Tamalpais this season. MMWD Vegetation ecologist Andrea Williams and several interns led the surveys, and participants included environmental consultants from WRA, Marin CNPS Chapter Members, and other volunteers. They brought out over 50 volunteers on 4 trips, and were able to document many new and historical occurrences on the mountain!

Rivers for ChangeRivers for Change
Rivers for Change made it their goal to paddle 12 California rivers from source to sea in an effort to bring awareness to the threats they face. As part of this project, Rivers for Change members John Dye and Will Spangler helped lead and organize a survey for rare plants in the Delta, and even provided RPTHers with some great rental kayaks.

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
Adventurers and Scientists for ConservationThe Rare Plant Treasure Hunt has teamed up with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) in an effort to enable adventurers who will be visiting remote parts of the state to document the rare plants they encounter on their trips. The primary initiative of ASC, based in Missoula, Montana, is to facilitate partnerships between adventure athletes and the researchers who need them to collect data all around the world, so Rare Plant Treasure Hunters who travel out of state may want to contact ASC for help in planning their upcoming adventures. ASC has already connected some amazing athletes and aspiring botanists to the Rare Plant Treasure, and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Friends of Juniper Flats
Friends of Juniper Flats’ mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the natural and cultural values of the Juniper Flats, Arrastre Canyon, and Grapevine Canyon areas for future generations by supporting BLM efforts to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the area, encouraging responsible multiple use of the area, assisting the BLM to ensure adequate management of the area through implementation, monitoring, corrective actions, and enforcement; and educating the public about responsible use of the area. We are grateful for FoJF’s efforts under challenging conditions!


All 2012 RPTH Participants

We had an amazing turn out of volunteers this year, and we want to thank and acknowledge each and every one of you who hunted rare plants in our beautiful mountains and deserts. You are at the heart of the mission of the RPTH program, and we could not accomplish anything without your continued interest and dedication. THANK YOU! (If your name is missing from the list, please let us know, and we’ll get you added right away!)

Aaron Arthur
Aaron Schusteff
Alan Castner
Alex Rehbinder
Amber Swanson
Andrew Liang
Andrew Seymour
Angela Minnameyer
Ann Elliot
Ann Huber
Anna Larsen
Anton Ivanenko
Arpita Sinha
Belinda Lo
Bill Blackburn
Bill Foster
Bob Brown
Bob Coley
Bob Ellis
Brent McGhie
Caleb Goodwin
Carl Wishner
Carl Arntz
Carlos Martinez
Charlie King
Charlie Kennard
Chris Fox
Chris Clarke
Cristina Lopez
Cindy Burascano
Cindy Rubin
Clyde Golden
Cory Meza
Dabney Smith
Dafne Cimino
Dana Morawitz
Danielle Roach
Danny Foster
Danny Bryant
David Popp
David Varner
Denise DellaSantina
Denise Devine
Diane Cornwall
Don Rowe

Don Davis
Doreen Smith
Ed Kenter
Eddie Oh
Edward Kwon
Eleanor Osgood
Elizabeth Venrick
Emily Williams
Erin Gottshalk-Fisher
Eva Buxton
Felipe Lozano
Fletcher Linton
Frank Landis
Galen Schwan
Gene Ratcliff
Genievieve Oakes
Graham Bothwell
Gregory Schwan
Hanh Tra
Herman Yu
Hideki Takahashi
Jackson Lam
Jade Paget-Seekins
Jaimie Baxter
James Dillane
James Roberts
Jane Strong
Jane Tirrell
Janelle Bloomdale
Janet Swirhun
Janna Lathrop
Jared Tharp
Jay Sullivan
Jean Dillingham
Jean Pierre Dermedjian
Jeany Pfaff
Jeff Harmon
Jen Laycock
Jenny Wilder
Jerry Green
Jessica Missaghian
Jessie Olson
Jim Battagin
Jim Divine
Joan Schwan
Joan Stewart

Joanna Foster
Joe Woods
Joel Kramer
John Katko
John Anderson
John Krapek
Jonathan Correa
Josue Campos
Julie Evens
Karen Loro
Karen Munoz
Karen Rusiniak
Karen Wiese
Karen Rusinak
Kathi Ellswoth
Kathy LaShure
Kati Kallins
Ken-ichi Ueda
Kerry Surjaatmadja
Kris Olenkamp
Kristen Smith
Kye Ok Kim
Laura Clevland
Lauren Johnson
Leonard Thiorsell
Linda Pardy
Lois Grunwald
Luci Wilson
Lucy Clark
M.L. Carle
Maggie Chan
Margaret Filius
Marigold Klein
Mario Mariotta
Marissa Gallagher
Mark Bibbo
Mary Merriman
MaryLou Battagin
Matt Dunnahue
Matt Osowski
Michael Hogan
Michelle Schimke
Michelle Sievers
Mickey Piette
Mike Roach
Mike Makshannoff

Natalia Blackburn
Neal Kramer
Neil Bouscaren
Pam McKay
Pat Gogas
Patrick Thomas
Paul Hormick
Peggy Moore
Rachel Wing
Rebecca Crowe
Reuben Smith
Rich LaShure
Rich Waters
Richard Haney
Robert Fischer
Robert Greenberg
Robert Soudell
Ron Coley
RT Hawke
Ryan Mendenhall
Sam Ambercrombie
Sara Sweet
Scott Simono
Sean Crotty
Shane Oakes
Shawn Hawke
Shirley Wofford
Sid Johnson
Spencer Berman
Stacy Goss
Steph Hansey
Susan Durham
Susan Taylor
Susan Thorsell
Suzanne Harmon
Tanner Harris
Tiffany Edwards
Tim Thomas
Tom Persons
Veda Scherer
Victor Lyon
Walt Fidler
Warren Schmidtman
Vernon Smith
Zarina Hackney


View most recent prize winners


Project Supporters

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for a third year, with a grant that provides for rare plant survey work on BLM lands in California’s deserts. Work on the BLM’s desert lands is particularly important, given the threats to California’s deserts from proposed solar and wind energy projects.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
NFWF has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for 3 consecutive years, with a grant that provides funding for rare plant surveys in California’s deserts and adjacent, semi-arid Forest Service Lands. Work on the California’s deserts is particularly important, given the threats from proposed solar and wind energy projects.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
The USFS began supporting the project with a cost-share agreement to perform rare plant surveys on Forest Service Lands in 2012. Forest botanists have been especially helpful in setting survey priorities, providing access, and even joining in on some trips!

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG)
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has been an important supported of the RPTH, providing office space for CNPS staff and rental vehicles. Their support allows for the project to have a “home base” in southern California.

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG)
The CDFG has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt by providing office space for CNPS staff, covering printing and computing costs, and prioritizing desert data entry in the CNDDB. Their support has been a tremendous benefit to the program.


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