I arrived in Big Bear in mid-November from Minnesota. I’d never been west of Montana or so, and so Utah, Nevada, and the Mojave Desert were new and very different. I camped near Moab and NE of St. George, and got to do some hiking along the way.
It’s extremely exciting to be in a region with such a high amount of plant diversity and endemism, and definitely not too late to do some winter botanizing (see Anisocoma acaulis). It’s also interesting to see what different resource management issues botanists and biologists confront here compared with the Great Lakes region.
During the first week of my internship, I spent a day doing restoration work at Cactus Flats with USFS restoration staff and crews from Big Bear Lake and Riverside. We planted Joshua tree and matchweed, collected seed, and cleaned up fencing. This week a fellow intern and I went to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA and toured the herbarium, seed bank, greenhouse, and gardens. Along with those field days and several afternoons checking fuels treatments, I’ve been reviewing and checking forest and regional plant lists, and generally reading and gathering resources. We’ve also started work on a guide to invasive plant species of the San Bernardino NF, which may eventually include many non-native species that occur on other forests in southern California. There are already a lot of great resources about noxious weed species in California. However, as well as being forest-specific, this guide is intended to be very visual and accessible.
It’s great to be in Big Bear Lake and to have the opportunity to begin learning a new flora!
Big Bear Ranger Station
US Forest Service