Sunday, January 9, 2005

Lichens at Hi Mt.

Hello all,
This weekend I attended the thirty-third annual banquet and program of the California Native Plant Society, San Luis Obispo Chapter. The guest speaker spoke to an audience of about 60 persons about lichens of San Luis Obispo County, a departure from the usual lecture topics about flowering and other vascular plants. Charis C. Bratt, a Lichenologist from the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, began her presentation by talking about California Condors! She was a condor observer in the Santa Barbara backcountry in the 1970’s (she gives her ‘hello’ to Jan Hamber). While condors were sometimes away from the observation area days at a time, and having a lot of free time to look around, she first began (at the age of 50) to take notice of the lichens growing nearby. Now she is a world renowned lichenologist, consulted and visited by other lichen experts, and sometimes brings them to SLO Co. to study and collect the locally diverse lichen flora. After beginning the slide talk by mentioning that Diablo Canyon is internationally known for the lichen growth there and the Los Osos stabilized dunes are home to the endemic popcorn lichen, what really got my interest was a 5 minute discussion about Hi Mountain. The location is one of her favorite sites for viewing, photographing, and collecting lichens for study. Other lichen sites of interest she mentioned in ‘condor country’ in SLO CO were Caliente ridge, Castle Craggs and Pine Mountain. I enjoyed the talk.
Steve Schubert