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Minutes from May 1, 2009

Group May 2009

Minutes from the APCA meeting May 1, 2009
Held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Minutes taken collaboratively by Bob Boyd, Debbie Folkerts, Patrick Thompson

Attendees: With information from introductions

  • Wayne Barger (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
  • Laureanne Bond (Graduate Student, Horticulture, Auburn University) Wild flowers
  • Robert Boyd (Biological Sciences, Auburn University)
  • Caroline Dean (Alabama Wildflower Society) Education, Outreach, and Public Web Resource
  • Dan Everson (US Fish and Wildlife Service) Recovery Biologist tracking known populations of federally endangered species within the state.  Wants you to contact him if you discover rare organisms, or are botanizing around Daphne
  • Debbie Folkerts (Biological Sciences, Auburn University)
  • Bill Garrett (Alabama Power Company)
  • Curtis Hansen (Herbarium, Auburn University) ALIPC
  • Sharon Hermann (Biological Sciences, Auburn University) Fire interactions
  • Nancy Loewenstein (Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University) ALIPC
  • Dana McReynolds (Alabama Forestry Commission)
  • Jan Midgley (Author, Educator, Grower)
  • Brian Martin (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Jim Miller (US Forest Service) ALIPC
  • Sandy Morgan (Indian Hills Native Plant Recovery) Has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers in her area
  • Nathan Paris (Graduate Student, Biological Sciences, Auburn University) Studying Apios priceana
  • Margarita Rios (Graduate student, Biological Sciences, Auburn University) Biotic interactions, pollinators, etc.
  • Al Schotz (Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Auburn University)
  • Marty Schulmann (Plant enthusiast) Years of work at Ruffner Mtn. Now an eager volunteer
  • Ryan Shurette (US Forest Service) Can grant access to numerous sites across the state for reintroductions, and restoration efforts 
  • Kerry Smith (Horticulture extension, Auburn University)
  • Fred Spicer (Birmingham Botanical Gardens)
  • Keith Tassin (The Nature Conservancy) Burning and ecological restoration
  • Patrick Thompson (Davis Arboretum, Auburn University) Grower, safeguarding site, with focus on Azaleas, Trilliums, and Oaks 

From GPCA:

  • Jennifer Ceska (Coordinator, Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance) State Botanical Garden of Georgia
  • Ron Determann (Atlanta Botanical Garden) Pitcher plants, orchids and more

Summary of Events

Introduction by Bob Boyd: Bob reminded us that our major purpose is to get “collaborative projects in motion” and that “conservation actions make a difference.”

Welcome to Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) by Fred Spicer.  BBG currently is working with many rare native plants, and looking forward to fitting those efforts into a framework that will maximize benefits for all involved.  

Presentation by Jennifer Ceska, GPCA Coordinator, on “anatomy of a collaborative plant conservation project.” She described some of GPCA’s projects so our group would understand how projects are conceived, adopted, and carried out and we could then model our initial projects upon theirs.  She mentioned that although the Georgia group started small in 1995, our group is starting at a “higher level” and with more experts involved.

The basic concept is to have a coordinator work with a group of people to find expertise and resources and execute the project.  She also discussed how work with some species has led to project leaders, institutions, and the Alliance being seen as authorities on habitats within the state because of cultivation knowledge and reintroduction successes.  She stressed the important role that propagation has played and the importance of alliances with state gardens.  Tom Patrick, Georgia state botanist, conceived their initial list of 12 projects.  They developed a list of people associated with each plant and prioritized.  Some projects took years to get to; but the list is longer now.  The concept of “safeguarding” was developed and many volunteers have been helpful in that program.  She also mentioned a related education and outreach program: EPSN, the Endangered Plant Stewardship Network.

There were 26 people attending and each introduced himself/herself and briefly described his/her plant conservation interests (see attendees list above)

Presentation by Debbie Folkerts on a planned book on Natural Communities of Alabama.  After explaining why the book was justified and needed, she said that the book would target a broad range of readers. She described the project’s goals and timeline, and invited members interested in collaborating by writing chapters or submitting photographs to contact her for more information. The book’s editorial team is planning to include info on history, ecoregions, conservation, and resources within each natural community. 

Lunch at the Gardens Café

After lunch, we discussed project ideas. These were:

1) Sarracenia alabamensis (Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant). A site in Autauga County (a Boy Scout camp called Camp Tukabatchee) is a good location for outplanting material that Atlanta Botanical Garden has propagated. Also, the TNC’s Roberta Case Preserve could use additional subpopulation establishment (or replacement of subpopulations that  died in the latest drought).

Project Committee: Brian Martin (chair), Keith Tassin, Debbie Folkerts, Ron Determann

2) Matalea alabamensis safeguarding at Troy University’s Pike County Pocosin. Wayne Barger will determine feasibility of seed collecting from Alabama’s single remaining population: after that a committee may be formed to propagate and outplant (Wayne Barger and Keith Tassin might be part of this committee). Sharon Hermann mentioned the possibility of fire in the management for this species. Al Schotz mentioned possible habitat at Army Corps of Engineer sites. 

3) Lindera melissifolia safeguarding from laurel wilt disease threat. There are 2 Alabama populations from which seeds should be collected for propagation and distribution to ex situ collections. Eventually plants can be placed into suitable field sites (Ryan Shurette indicated there were potential sites on USFS lands).  Seed collection to be done in the fall and then cleaned and immediately planted.  Followed by 4-8 wks of cold stratification in an acidic mossy organic soil. 

Project Committee: Dan Everson (chair), Jan Midgeley, Patrick Thompson, Ron Determann, Ryan Shurette

4)  There was a discussion on directing efforts and moneys within the state to deal with invasive species.  Jim Miller stated that there is a need to establish areas of greatest concern for Cogongrass (Imperata cylindricainvasion.  When money becomes available it would be beneficial to the Cogongrass Task Force have critical sites identified by members of APCA.  Cogon grass “reporting cards” were passed around.   Information/maps from Al Schotz will help establish these most threatened areas.  Wayne Barger indicated Forever Wild land around the Perdido River and Blakely State Park were already under major pressure.  Haines Island Park in the Alabama Red Hills was mentioned as a site where “manpower” is needed to attack invasive plants.

5) Wayne Barger also discussed the ability of groups and individuals to nominate potential sites for purchase by Forever Wild and TNC.  A site can be recommended by any Alabama citizen but the members of this group are exceptionally qualified to identify areas of high biodiversity. 

6) A variety of other ideas and questions were raised. We discussed more safeguarding of very rare plants, including new taxa such as Asplenium tutwilerae (Brian Keener could lead this) and Xyris spathifolia (Mincy Moffett could lead this). Jennifer Ceska urged us to create a Google Group (email list) for APCA, to facilitate communication among group members. GPCA is using this to post calls for information and volunteers for various local projects. This could help members get assistance with projects such as the Haines Island invasive control day suggested by Gena Todia. Bob Boyd will establish an APCA Google Group for this purpose.

Al Schotz mentioned Barbara’s buttons and leather flower in the Coosa Valley Prairie.  Keith Tassin mentioned the possibility that TNC along with the Fish and Wildlife Service can provide money and assistance to burn on appropriate private lands.  He suggested that our group could nominate sites.

Ryan Shurette offered help from the Forest Service in the form of providing sites, limited funding, burning, public outreach, monitoring, etc.

Ron Determann expressed interest in orchids, especially Alabama populations of Platanthera paramoena.  

7) We discussed a next meeting, in October or early November. It was suggested we try South Alabama next, and perhaps tie our meeting in with a chance to go into the field afterward. Wayne Barger will explore availability of the Five Rivers conference center in Spanish Fort, with a possible outing to the Splinter Hill Bog.



Last Updated: 05/04/2016