California Native Plant Society

RPTH Awards: General info and rules

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

2013 RPTH Award winners

Thank you for all your submissions to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Awards Contest! Your individual and chapter efforts this year were amazing, and the photo contest was especially competitive. We were hard pressed to choose from all the wonderful submissions. We are proud to announce your truly remarkable achievements with the following recognitions. Click on any of the links to view full project descriptions on the CNPS webpage.

  • Photo Contest
    1st Place – Don Davis, Lupinus peirsoniis
    2nd Place – Clyde Golden, Navarretia setiloba
    3rd Place – Ron Coley, Eriogonum umbellatum var. ahartii
  • Chapter Awards
    1st Place – Santa Clara Valley – 32 occurrences
    2nd Place – San Diego – 10 occurrences
    3rd Place - Mt. Lassen – 6 occurrences
  • Individual Awards
    Most occurrences updated
    1st Place - Kathy LaShure - 15 occurrences
    2nd - 3rd Tie - Diana Wahl and Lisa Morton – 5 occurrences each
    Most Field Trips Led: Frank Landis – 17 trips
    Most Field Trips Attended: Gene Ratcliffe – 6 trips
    Most Volunteer Hours: Gene Ratcliffe – 106 hours
    Significant Contribution: Brian Keelan – for submission of his plant observation database to the project.
  • Partner Organizations
  • All RPTH Participants
  • Awards From Previous Years
  • Project Supporters


Photo Contest Winners

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

Erigeron multiceps
1st Place – Don Davis, Lupinus peirsoniis

Acmispon prostratus
2nd Place – Clyde Golden, Navarretia setiloba

Lily Springs
3rd Place – Ron Coley, Eriogonum umbellatum var. ahartii


Chapter Contributions

We had a record number of chapters participate this year! It’s great to see more chapters getting their feet wet with 1-2 trips. Chapters did a great job of collaborating with local land managers such as national forests, city governments, even NASA! Here are the chapters that participated.

1st Place: Santa Clara Chapter
The Santa Clara Chapter made an amazing effort for their second season of rare plant hunting! Inn 2012, the Chapter held 4 trainings for Chapter members interesting in performing rare plant surveys. This year, those volunteers got to work, and documented many rare plant populations on regular chapter field trips and special RPTH field trips. They had an amazing 32 occurrences on 16 trips! 398 Volunteer Hours for RPTH and a total of 708 volunteer hours for rare plant activities for the chapter overall. An amazing chapter effort!

Santa Clara Valley Chapter members find a new population of Erysimum franciscanum, Rank 4.2. This population appears to belong to var. crassifolium, which, if recognized taxonomically, could be a new plant on Rank 1B!

2nd Place: San Diego Chapter
At least 10 occurrences on 17 trips, 150 volunteer hours! In coordination with the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Chapter is working on a flora of the Del Mar Mesa, which is in San Diego city limits. One notable find was the confirmation of a grove of oak trees as the rare Quercus dumosa (Rank 1B.1) in this reserve, which was previously thought to be Q. berberidifolia due to the unusually large size of the trees.

3rd Place: Mount Lassen Chapter
Documented 6 rare plant occurrences on 5 separate trips. Ron Coley, the chapter’s rare plant chair, has successfully led this chapter effort for 3 years now!


Other Great Chapter Contributions

North Coast Chapter: One trip with 4 occurrences, with 10 volunteers contributing 125 hours! They focused on Epilobium oreganum (rank 1B.2), which needed field surveys because the majority of occurrences were historical, and this plant is often misidentified. This trip was done in coordination with the Six Rivers NF.

North Coast Chapter RPTHers map out their route on a hunt for Epilobium oreganum, Rank 1B.2.

Channel Islands Chapter: Two great trips resulting in 5 occurrences. Volunteers spent 2 days focusing on a single Rank 3 species, Ribes amarum var. hoffmanii in the Santa Barbara area.

East Bay Chapter: The Adopt a Rare Plant Program of the East Bay Chapter submitted data on 12 occurrences; the data had been gathered over the past 3 years. Of those, 5 of the occurrences were documented on 3 trips in 2013. Other data from the Chapter are still awaiting submission.

Sierra Foothills Chapter: Chose an exceptionally difficult target to locate and identify: Boechera evadens, Hidden rockcress, Rank 1B.3. Their hunt was an overnighter at Ebbetts Pass, where 12 different Boechera species have been collected. Unfortunately, Hidden rockcress remained hidden, but had they found it, it would be the only recently-documented population of this plant in the world. The Chapter plans to follow up with another trip next year to try to cover more territory and find the plant. This trip was done in coordination with the Stanislaus NF.

Yerba Buena: In conjunction with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Chapter led one trip and documented 4 rare plant occurrences in San Francisco.

Treasure Hunters from the Yerba Buena Chapter look for Suaeda californica, Rank 1B.1 at Heron's Head Park in San Francisco.

Marin Chapter: Members participated in three trips with the Marin Municipal Water District on MMWD lands, a really great cooperative effort!

Chapters participating in staff-lead trips from all over the state: Monterey Bay, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Sanhedrin, Mojave, Dorothy King Young, South Coast, San Gabriel, Orange County and Bristlecone!


Individual Contributions

Most trips led:
- Frank Landis, who led a jaw-dropping 17 trips!

Most occurrences:
-Kathy and Rich LaShure - 15 occurrences! Hats off to you both!
-Diana Wahl and Lisa Morton - tied at 5 occurrences. Amazing work!

Most trips attended:
-Gene Ratcliffe attended 6 overnight trips both in the desert and NorCal. Amazing dedication to the RPTH program!

Most volunteer hours:
-Gene Ratcliffe – 106 hours of Treasure Hunting!
Special recognition also goes out to Don Mayall, Toni Corelli, Frank Landis, Kathy LaShure and Sue Hubbard.

Significant Contribution:
This award goes to Brian Keelan, for submission of his plant observation database to the CNPS Rare Plant Program. For the past 6 years, Brian and his wife Eileen are on a quest to see and document all the California plant families and as many California native plants as they can find. So far we’ve examined Brian’s data from the past 2 years, and we found that he’s documented 211 occurrences in that time. Of those, 36 were new finds, and 21 of them had not been documented in over 20 years! As a result of their plant hunting, Brian also brought the aquatic plant Heterantha dubia to the attention of the CNPS Rare Plant Program, and this plant was added to Rank 2B of the Rare Plant Inventory. Let’s wish Brian and Eileen good luck in their search for a population of Heteranthera dubia next year – if they find it, they will have seen every single native California plant family!

Brian Keelan said he didn’t want to be considered in the completion, but the large amount of data he provided to us is very valuable to CNPS and the CNDDB!

Awesome Documentary on Central Coast Rare Plant Treasure Hunt by student Rina Shaikh-Lesko, Science Journalist, UC Santa Cruz:


Partner Organizations

Ventana Wilderness AllianceVentana Wilderness Alliance
The Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) helped immensely with the Central Coast Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, providing us with local knowledge of trail conditions, volunteers, and by partnering with CNPS on a grant from the National Forest Foundation. VWA is a grass-roots organization whose mission is to protect, preserve, and restore the wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California's northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur coast.


Marin Municipal Water District
Marin Municipal WaterThe Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) 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, For two consecutive years, Rivers for Change has been helping the RPTH by co-leading a trip in the Sacramento / San Joaquin River Delta. John Dye of Rivers for Change co-led both of these trips, providing us with instruction in paddling and water safety, and of course rental boats! Without Rivers for Change, our Delta RPTH trips would not have been possible!


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.


Habitat WorksHabitat Works
Habitat Works
packed a good handful of trips with repeat offenders who contributed their intrepid spirits to the hunt. 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.


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!


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic GardenRancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has been an important supporter of the RPTH, sub-contracting their amazing desert botanist, Duncan Bell, for the Southern California RPTH program, mostly in the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts. Their support allows for the project to have a “home base” in southern California.


U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
In 2013 U.S. Forest Service employees from three different National Forests (Klamath, Six Rivers, and Stanislaus) and their local chapters led trips to search out some very rare plants. We greatly appreciate the expertise that the forest botanists bring to these projects, as well as the time and effort spent leading these trips.


CA State ParksCalifornia State Parks
California State Parks employees were a huge help to the RPTH this year, providing assistance with trip leading, trip planning, and providing collecting permits for trips on the Central Coast. Thank you for the support!

National Park ServiceWild Equity

Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Wild Equity Institute
In 2013 the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (National Park Service) co-led an urban RPTH in San Francisco with the Yerba Buena Chapter. The trip produced some value data that was sent in to the CNDDB.


Pala Band of Mission IndiansPala Band of Mission Indians
An wonderful treasure hunt took place this year for the first time on tribal lands with the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Although the survey took place a bit late in a dry year, we documented a large population of a rare Tetracoccus. The habitat there is quite interesting, and the Tribe is looking forward to future surveys together to help document and conserve their rare plants for future generations.


CA Department of Fish and WildlifeCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife
The CDFW 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.


The Rare Plant Treasure Hunters!

We had such a great turn out this year; it was hard to keep track of you all! This list is not complete, and we’d love to add any names inadvertently left off. We’d also like to acknowledge RPTHers from the North Coast, Mt. Lassen, Santa Clara Valley, North Coast, East Bay, Sierra Foothills and San Diego Chapters.

Aaron Schusteff
Adriana VanKlaveren
Alejandra Silva
Alessandra Bergamin
Alex Chacon
Allison Ags
Amber Borucki
Amber Swanson
Amy Rouillard
Andrea Williams
Andrew Pigniolo
Andy Pigg
Anja Blanadet
Ava Wang
Barbara Maximovich
Barbara Woyt
Barry Waldman
Belinda Lo
Beth Benoit
Betty Young
Bob Hale
Bob Sikora
Bob Greenberg
Bob Ellis
Brent Plater
Brian Keelan
Brian Wyatt
Caitlan Kreutz
Camilla Schneider
Carol Ralph
Carol Wiley
Carolyn Longstreth
Carolyn Martus
Casey Allen
Cesar Barrios
Cindy Burrascano
Clyde Golden
Crima Pog
Dave Jaffey
Dave Nelson
Dave Imper
David Magney
David Bernie
David Brotman
David Urciuoli
David Varner
Dawn Lawson
Debbie George
Denise Luoise
Diana Wahl
Don Mayall
Don Davis
Don Indermill
Donna Thomas
Doreen Smith
Dr. Jan Thomas
Dylan Neubauer
Ed Howland
Ed Kenter
Ed Schlegel
Eileen Keelan
Ellen Edelson
Emily Wong
Erin Avery
Evonne Portland
Faithy Leong
Felicia Sirchia
Frank Landis
Fred Roberts
Gene Ratcliffe
Greg Jurak
Harry Spilman
Heath Bartosh
Holly Gray
Ingrid Crickmore
James Fournier
Jamie Smith
Jane Tirrell
Jared Tharp
Jason Slamovich
Jeff Frey
Jenny Wilder
Jessie Olson
Jim Roberts
Jim George
Jim Pittman
Joe DeWolf
Joel Silverman
John Chesnut
John Dye
John McRae
John Anderson
John Randall
John Shier
Jon Rebman
Joslyn Curtis
Josue Campos
Julie Verran
Justine Breck
Justine Faust
Kai Phillips
Karen Tanner
Karen Weber
Kathy LaShure
Katie Gross
Kay Stewart
Keir Morse
Ken-ichi Ueda
Kerry Knudsen
Kristi Lazar
Kurt Broz
Kye OK Kim
Lars Froberg
Leila Day
Liam O'Brien
Lisa Morton
Lori Hubbart
Lynn Moncher
Mark Valen
Martha Sikora
Marti Rutherford
Mary Swanson
Meg Ferguson
Michael Chasse
Michael Mitchell
Mike Splain
Mike Gonzalez
Mike dePatie
Mona Robison
Neil Uelman
Nikki Nedeff
Norrie Robbins
Pam McKay
Pat Schuch
Patrick Furtado
Patrick Thomas
Paul Preston
Penny Hanna
Phillip Watt
Phillip Roullard
Quinn Young
Rebecca Crowe
Rebecca Evans
Reenu Garg
Rina Shaikh-Lesko
Ron Saunderson
Ron Coley
Ryan Meszaros
Sam Gilbert
Sarah Hoex
Sarah O'gara
Sarah Shaw
Sarah Swope
Scott Batiuk
Scott Simono
Sean Reynolds
Seth Kauppiner
Shasta Gaughen
Stephanie Kawachi
Steve Benoit
Steve Long
Sue Hubbard
Sue Stueber
Susan Fawcett
Susan Welker
Tanya Baxter
Thomas Oberbauer
Tiffany Edwards
Tim Forsell
Tim Lukaszewski
Tim Brockway
Tim Thomas
Tom Biglione
Tom Cochrane
Tom Person
Toni Correlli
Vernon Smith
Victoria Marshal
Wendy Fisher
Wendy Smit
Yanin Swangrujithum
Hilary Yothers
Zachary Benadivez


Awards From Previous Years: 2012 | 2011 | 2010


2013 Project Supporters


National Forest Foundation National Forest Foundation
The National Forest Foundation provided a Wilderness Stewardship Challenge grant to conduct rare plant and weed surveys in Wilderness Areas in the Los Padres National Forest.


Whale Tail Grants
Whale Tail ® Grants

The California Coastal Commission provided a Whale Tail Grant to conduct RPTHs along the Central Coast from Monterey north to Marin County.


Bureau of Land ManagementBureau of Land Management (BLM)
The BLM has supported the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for its fourth 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. Data collected contributed to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).


Anonymous Thanksgiving Donor
Our Thanksgiving Donor provided funding for RPTHs along the Central Coast.


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