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Minutes from November 6, 2015

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APCA Meeting Minutes

Solon Dixon Center

6 November 2015

Recorded by Patrick Thompson

Meeting opened by Dr. Bob Boyd, who introduced Joel Martin, Director of the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center (SDFEC)


Joel welcomed the group and told us about the mission, the expanse, and the facilities available at the center as well as all the housekeeping details for those of us staying overnight.



Bob Boyd, Auburn University Dept of Biological Sciences, and APCA Coordinator

Dana Stone, Alabama Forestry Commission

Kate Fuller, AU M.S. Student, Forestry, Sharon Hermann’s Lab

Suzi Mersmann, Wildlife Biologist, Gopher tortoises

Sharon Hermann, AU Biological Sciences Professor, Fire ecologist

Teri Briggs, AU Davis Arboretum

Patrick Thompson, AU Davis Arboretum

Tim Mersmann, US Forest Service District Ranger, Conecuh National Forest

Ryan Shurette, US Forest Service (Montgomery Office)

Gwendolyn Griffin, Native Gardener, BBG volunteer

Lindsey Best, UAB horticulturalist

Jan Midgley, Grower, author, native seed expert

Fred Nation, Plantsman, invasive species decimator

Gena Todia, Wetland Resources Environmental Consulting

Curtis Hansen, Curator, AU Freeman Herbarium

Special Presentation: Flora of the Solon Dixon Center (SDC)

By Curtis Hansen

This has been a long term project of the Freeman Herbarium intended to improve the information available about the SDC.  35 collecting trips spread over 5 years with the goal of achieving a wide range of temporal and spatial collections, accomplished by collecting in all seasons across as wide area in the SDC and some surrounding private areas.

¼ of Alabama’s plant species were documented on site! 1015 species of AL’s approximately 4000.  A wide range of habitats and geological features are present on site including limestone, sandstone, bogs, ridges, white sand streams, fern grottos, and a spectrum of longleaf understories.

Curtis then treated us to a photographic tour of some of the highlights from the species list, habitats, and wildlife they encountered during the survey.  The full species list is available at the publication linked to below:

APCA Committee Reports


Whorled Sunflower, Helianthus verticillatus

Alabama’s sites should be visited and evaluated.  DOT may alter management practices if they are negatively affecting population due to recent listing as Federally Endangered.


AL Canebrake Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia alabamensis

Teri Briggs reports

  1. Dr. Folkerts and Allison Tjelmeland visited 3 sites this year:

Moore site appears to be in decline. Mrs. Moore doesn’t allow burning. Overgrowth and shade are a problem.

Mims site is doing well.

Greene population looked great in June, but by September severe overgrowth made it impossible to find plants.

  1. Camp Tuckabatchee seeds sent to ABG and BBG to be grown for outplantings on state lands to be acquired adjacent to camp Tuckabatchee.  Byrd and Barger will locate sites for outplantings as soon as possible.
  2. Camp Tuck on TNC burn schedule this season
  3. Committee is planning a work trip to Moore site after first frost.  Volunteers needed to clear woody growth from site.  Date will be sent out later.   

Green Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia oreophila


Patrick Thompson: Currently APCA project addresses one site in Mentone AL, expanding participation to offer help to Desoto State Park, which is already doing impressive work with ABG 



1. Increase plants at the Serenity campground site

2. Increase ex situ holdings in AL

3. Facilitate other conservation efforts with the species

Goals: (from Spring meeting)

1. Collect seeds August 2015

2. Count pitchers, flowers, and crowns in 2015

3. Work with landowners to consider outplantings

4. Maintain site/current in situ population

Progress on 2015 goals:

  1. Collect seeds August 2015
    1. Desoto State Park Powerline site
    2. To be grown out at DSP, ABG, AUDA, and Alabama Wildlife Federation’s new Natureplex

  1. Count pitchers, flowers, and crowns in 2015
    1. Serenity continues to grow, no seeds again, but! Platanthera, Cypripedium, and new pitcher plant site reported on property
    2. 5-10% survival rate over 1st year
    3. Cameras and signage or labeling recommended for consideration at both site

  1. Work with landowners on outplantings
    1. Serenity needs more mechanical clearing to encourage seed set
    2. Comer Boy Scout camp scouted, discussions planned
    3. Desoto had small success with first attempt

  1. Help maintain current populations
    1. Initiated site visits resulted in detailed mapping in Desoto thanks to ABG
    2. Discussed combo work day(s) that could service Serenity and Desoto sites
    3. Observed extremely high rates of seed poaching at main Desoto site and most accessible Little River Canyon site


Boynton Oak, Quercus boyntonii

Patrick Thompson reports


1. Increase knowledge of the species’ current distribution

2. Increase awareness of the species to avoid unnecessary losses

3. Increase ex situ holdings

4. Protect in situ populations

Goals: (Spring 2015)

1. Collect vouchers

2. Monitor acorn production, collect and distribute to NAPCC’s MIQC (North America Plant Collections Consortium’s Multi Institutional Quercus Collection)

3. Advocate for protected sites

4. Public education

5. Site cleanups


Progress on goals:

  1. Collect vouchers
    1. Shelby County specimen occurrence vouchered, south of Peavine Falls
    2. Plan to further evaluate population within Oak Mountain State park.
    3. Plan to explore 8 Acre Rock, off of Alabama Rock Garden Road in Tuscaloosa County
  2. Monitor acorn production, collect and distribute to NAPCC’s MIQC
    1. 2015 showed consistent but minimal acorn production across sites. Rarely >20 acorns on mature trees.
    2. New occurrence - Ebsco Industries on Double Oak Mountain.  Fred Spicer reports observing approximately 100 individuals. Acorns and vouchers collected by MIQC member garden Morton Arboretum.
    3. Brian Keener also guided Morton Arboretum group to other boyntonii sites that were collected and vouchered.
  3. Advocate for protected sites
    1. Committee members spoke at the last 2 meetings of Forever Wild’s Board. 
    2. Hind’s Road Rock Outcrop is on track to be purchased by the state.
  4. Public education
    1. Raising awareness through publications
    2. “Only in Alabama” article by Michelle Reynolds with statewide distribution in Alabama Gardener Magazine all about Quercus boyntonii and APCA’s efforts
    3. Keep Oak Mountain Wild, June Newsletter, with info on recognizing Q. boyntonii and Patrick’s contact info to report occurrences in the park.
  5. Site cleanup
    1. Efforts by Ken Wills continue in Moss Rock Preserve

Pondberry, Lindera melissifolia

Sharon Hermann reports

  1. 20+ fruits observed at larger Covington County site this year.
  2. Wild plants thriving
  3. No signs of disease, Persea borbonia does occur at the site
  4. 43 large propagated plants currently finishing research project at AU Horticulture: 10 going to AU Arb, some going to BBG, some staying with Hort for continued research.
  5. Looking into a genetics study of Alabama population should be the next step in refining conservation actions for this population.


Georgia Aster Symphyotrichum georgianum

Ryan Shurette reports

  1. The species is not going to be federally listed as Endangered
  2. Continues to be doing very well in managed areas of TNF
  3. 700 acres of timber thinning has occurred in the area over the last 2-3 years
  4. 120 acres of hardwood midstory removal has occurred adjacent to the site
  5. Benefits RCWs, Monarch butterflies, etc.
  6. This project is moving from the action stage (which was very successful!) into a pattern of management and monitoring.
  7. Data are being recorded and sent to the Fish and Wildlife Service


Turkeybeard Xerophyllum asphodeloides

Jan Midgley reports

  1. Species has increased from 1 to 10 sites recorded in the state
  2. Field observation that young plants are found on bare mineral soil from upturned tree roots, etc. at the wild sites, indicating the importance of disturbance to this plant’s life cycle.


Ketona Glades Yellow-eyed Grass, Xyris spathifolia

Bob Boyd reports

  1.  Boyd and Dr. Mincy Moffet returned to the single known site for this species in August and for the first time since the species was described, it was relocated in the wild! But just 1 clump identified, so plant is still quite rare.
  2. Hope is to revitalize population: perhaps see if TNC can run fire through the glade


Harper’s Ginger, Hexastylis speciosa 

Ryan Shurette reports

  1. Oakmulgee Talladega NF sites visited in May.
  2. Plants were collected, containerized and in holding with AU Hort
  3. Some seed collected in June and sent to AU Hort
  4. APCA Spring search for more populations was suggested by Ryan
  5. This is a species on the megapetition list, so it needs attention ASAP


Tutweiller’s Spleenwort, Asplenium tutwilerae

Partrick Thompson shares notes on propagation of 3 Asplenium species from Wayne Barger

  1. Wayne is working with spore propagation of A. tutwilerae and A. scolopendrium. The latter is from an AL “Fern Cave” collection from 1981, it is now extirpated.
  2. A historical AL fern has been relocated, A. ruta-muraria, and is also in propagation.
  3. The current status of access to Havana Glen was unknown by those in attendance


Alabama Leather Flower, Clematis socialis

Gwendolyn Griffin reports BBG continues with their management commitment

  1. Clearing done on Dry Creek site
  2. Lots of plants also spotted on other side of the road


Alabama Phlox, Phlox pulchra

Brief discussion about distribution of Jeremiah Devore’s research plants, and establishing propagated plants in the ground.


Haine’s Island Park

Gena Todia reports


  1. Keep invasive plants in check
  2. Document species in the park


  1. Schedule and execute work days
  2. Continue adding to species lists
  3. Work towards handing reins over to Army Corps of Engineers.


Progress on Goals:

  1. Schedule and execute work days
    1. 2015 workday might have been the biggest one yet
    2. Control is being achieved
    3. Look for announcement about next opportunity
  2. Continue adding to species lists
    1. Lichen and bryophyte surveys planned
  3. Work towards handing reins over to Army Corps of Engineers.
    1. Support from Corps to get road into park paved
    2. Bodies being provided for workdays is good


Safeguarding Database

Patrick and Suzi Mersmann reports

We have a database.  No significant changes since last report.  Suzi intends to pull some history of projects from minutes recorded during the early APCA meetings


New Projects Discussion

Schwalbea americana new project? Sharon Hermann and Kate Fuller continue work with Schwalbea americana, and Sharon is willing to make reports to APCA. Tim Mersmann and Ryan Shurette offer sites for potential outplanting.  Plan to look for overlap in microsite requirements, and management practices already in place that will be appropriate for Schwalbea for potential outplanting sites.


Next Meeting

Patrick Thompson suggested that DeSoto State Park might be a good venue. With Green Pitcher Plants and perhaps a foray to Little River Canyon National Reserve, this could be a very innovative location. Perhaps we could invite GPCA to join in.


Tim Mersmann: Overview of Conecuh National Forest


As District Ranger of Conecuh National Forest, Tim is well qualified to present this preview of the forest we will foray into tomorrow.

–      Established 1936

–      84,000 acres

–      Lots of private land mixed in throughout the forest

–      Long Leaf Pine restoration is the umbrella over a variety of management practices aimed at putting all the pieces back together

–      Annual fire objective 25,000 – 30,000 acres with hand burning and aerial ignition

–      Timber sales facilitate conversion from Slash back to LLP

–      Lots of neat things to see benefiting from restoration, bogs, ponds, Gopher frogs, RCW’s, Indigos, Gopher tortoises

–      Reptiles and Amphibians of the Conecuh- North America’s highest Herp Diversity!

–      Come & visit sites like Open Pond Campground  

Meeting adjourned to go on a tour of some Solon Dixon sites guided by Curtis Hansen

Saturday Foray of Conecuh National Forest sites led by Tim Mersmann.

Last Updated: 08/25/2016