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GUIDED WALKS THIS SATURDAY! Join us on May 18 for Spring Field Day featuring an array of guided walks, tutorials on how to use iNaturalist, and info tables featuring our leading local ecological organizations. Learn more and register for walks...

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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

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Field Day - Spring 2024

Saturday, May 18, 2024
Walks at 10AM and 1PM
gathering at the Perennial Garden

Join us on one of the last few days of spring to explore, observe, and engage in our unique garden ecosystem. A lovely walk in the garden can be so rich when you take the time for close observation and appreciation of nature’s systems. We are offering a special opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected systems of local ecology with naturalist and mycologist Damon Tighe. There will be many ways for you to participate as a MCBG Naturalist that day — We will be offering an array of guided walks, tutorials on how to use iNaturalist and practice your skills as a citizen scientist, and info tables featuring our leading local ecological organizations – Fort Bragg Garden ClubGrassRoots InstituteMendocino Coast Audubon SocietyNoyo Center for Marine SciencePacific Environmental Education CenterXa Kako Dile. This will be a day for everybody to enjoy Nature’s wonders.

You can sign up for one walk or two walks and become a member of our Citizen Science Team by contributing to our "MCBG Spring Field Day 2024" iNaturalist project. iNaturalist is a simple online tool that allows everyone to contribute to biodiversity science and connect with naturalists and other experts. It is fun and easy to use! Check out all of the species of plants, animals, bugs, and more that have already been observed by citizen scientists at MCBG through iNaturalist.

 

THE DETAILS

  • Register for walks in the morning (10AM - 12PM) or the afternoon session (1PM - 3PM). Limited availability, advanced registration is required.
  • Walks are free with regular admission to the Gardens, and just plain free for Members of the Gardens! Admission can be purchased upon arrival at the main entry. 
  • Wear your walking shoes and be prepared for the weather with appropriate layers. Consider bringing a water bottle, notebook, and anything else that keeps you comfortable.
  • Download the iNaturalist app to your phone and create a login. Take some time to familiarize yourself with this tool prior to the Field Day in order to get the most out of the walks and join our Citizen Science Team!

 

MORNING WALKS

  • Fungi Walk with Damon Tighe
    Two opportunities: 10:00AM to 12:00PM or the afternoon session is 1:00PM to 3:00PM

    Learn about the life cycle of mushrooms and how to read habitats for where to find them. Although May isn't near the peak of mushroom season we will find small mushrooms and spend time looking for and identifying other denizens of the fungal kingdom: lichens. In many aspects, lichen presents us with some of the biggest challenges in taxonomy as they are mini-ecosystems whose players seem to multiply each time we get a new tool to examine them deeper. Bring your phones and any macro lenses you have as he will also show how to photograph fungi for identification on iNaturalist. Register now!

     
  • From Natural Landscapes to Gardenscapes with Natasha Lekach
    10:00AM to 12:00PM

    Whether you're a seasoned native plant enthusiast, considering adding some local flora to your garden, or just dipping your toes into gardening, there's always something new to discover and be inspired by. Nature is our ultimate teacher, and simply stepping into natural landscapes can spark a world of creativity. During this walk, we will discuss observation techniques, documentation strategies, and research tools for reading natural landscapes from a gardener's perspective. Selecting the right native plants for your garden is the first step to creating a successful native plant garden. By the end of our stroll, we hope you'll feel more confident in choosing the right plants for your space and, above all, feel a deeper connection to your garden and the beauty of the landscapes that surround us. Register now!

 

  • Planting for Pollinators with Mishele Stettenbenz
    10:00AM to 12:00PM

    Join Horticulturist, Mishele Stettenbenz to learn why pollinators are so important and why they need our help. This walk and talk will dive into the ingredients for creating a healthy environment for pollinators in your own yard (hint... it's not just the plants). Search the Gardens for pollinators and the plants they love. Discover the best native and non-native pollinator plants to grow on the Mendocino Coast.  Register now!

 

AFTERNOON WALKS

  • Fungi Walk with Damon Tighe
    Two opportunities: 10:00AM to 12:00PM or the afternoon session is 1:00PM to 3:00PM

    Learn about the life cycle of mushrooms and how to read habitats for where to find them. Although May isn't near the peak of mushroom season we will find small mushrooms and spend time looking for and identifying other denizens of the fungal kingdom: lichens. In many aspects, lichen presents us with some of the biggest challenges in taxonomy as they are mini-ecosystems whose players seem to multiply each time we get a new tool to examine them deeper. Bring your phones and any macro lenses you have as he will also show how to photograph fungi for identification on iNaturalist. Register now!

     
  • Native Plant Walk with Alison Gardner
    1:00PM to 3:00PM
    Alison will lead a walk through the bishop pine forest and out to the headlands. She will be looking at the native plants found at the Gardens and how to tell the differences between them. Register now!

     
  • Birdwatching Walk with David Jensen
    1:00PM to 3:00PM
    Join David Jensen, Vice President of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, on an exploration of the birds and avian habitats around the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. There are more than 187 species of birds that can be seen at the Gardens throughout the year. The Gardens has a range of habitats for breeding, nesting, and feeding. Learn to identify what you see and hear with expert guidance. Register now!

 

REGISTER FOR WALKS

Avialbiltity is limited! Registration for each of these walks must be completed in advance online. Dogs are not allowed. Registration for each walk is free with regular admission to the Gardens (free for Members of the Gardens). Admission can be purchased upon arrival at the main entry. You have the option to join one of the guided walks in the morning, the afternoon, or both. 

 

Register here
(Sign up for walks and pre-order lunch)

 

The mid-day break will be about an hour long. Consider bringing a sack lunch or pre-ordering lunch from Rhody's Garden Cafe using the registration link above. Choose from one of two boxed sandwich lunches. Sold as-is, no modifications or substitutions. The Cafe will be open as usual if you prefer another item on the menu.

 

TRACKING YOUR OBSERVATIONS

We will keep track of all the observations made at the Gardens that day using the iNaturalist app and the MCBG Spring Field Day 2024 Project Page. This powerful tool allows anyone with an account to help identify and document anything you observe in nature including birds, bugs, plants, scat, marine life, and more. iNaturalist observations are also helpful to scientists because they document a species in a location and date, and the phenology (blooming, fruiting, larvae, adult, etc.).

  • Download iNaturalist to your phone or mobile device and begin to build your profile and observations!
  • Click here for some helpful video tutorials to get you started
  • Familiarize yourself with iNaturalist and check out all of the observations that the community has made at the Gardens so far — MCBG Community Page
  • Prepare your smartphone or digital camera for a day of photographing the flora and fauna of the Gardens

 

ABOUT OUR SPECIAL GUESTS

DAMON TIGHE

Born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and raised in Calaveras County of California, Damon Tighe attended Saint Mary’s College of Moraga California where he worked on local newspapers while earning a Biology/Chemistry degree. He taught High School in Portland, Oregon, and moved back to the Bay Area to work on the Human Genome Project at the National Lab’s Joint Genome Institute. He currently works for Bio-Rad laboratories helping bring cutting-edge biology techniques into classrooms from Colorado to the Coast. He is an amateur mycologist, naturalist, and a large contributor on iNaturalist.  

 

NATASHA LEKACH

While working as an environmental educator at Point Reyes National Seashore, Natasha began applying her naturalist skills to reintroduce native plants to her garden in Inverness. What started as a minor hobby developed into a minor obsession. She continues to learn from trial and error, but also by taking inspiration from restoration ecologists, other native plant gardeners, and the natural landscapes.

Upon moving to Fort Bragg in 2021, Natasha began a project to landscape and re-wild her 1.6-acre property which was consumed by introduced and invasive species like purple velvet grass, wild radish, sheep sorrel, and scotch broom. Her gardening ethic stems from a curiosity about and desire to steward the natural world - she mostly focuses on planting regionally native species that are adapted to our unique coastal climate, but integrates a few other California species (plus some lavender, veggies, and apple trees). Natasha is on the Board of the Dorothy King Young Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is the Plant Sale Chair. She takes great joy in propagating many species through cuttings and ethically collected seeds.

Natasha was born and raised in San Francisco and has a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. She has worked in the natural resource management and environmental education fields for over ten years and currently works for Yosemite National Park as an Environmental Protection Specialist. On the weekends, she is likely found in her garden fighting with sheep sorrel or in the greenhouse waiting for seeds to germinate.

 

MISHELE STETTENBENZ

Mishele Stettenbenz's began her career in horticulture 25 years ago. Her fascination with plants took root at Furr's Garden Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. There she sold, ordered, received, helped maintain the plants, and eventually managed the store. During her time at Furr's, Mishele slowly chipped away at furthering her horticultural knowledge, passing the North Carolina Plantsman Certification Test, and working towards an associate degree in Horticulture from Central Piedmont Community College. While working and studying for her degree, Mishele started her own business designing, installing, and maintaining gardens for residential clients. In 2008, she started as a horticulturist at Filoli and worked into a lead position.

Eventually, Mishele decided it was time to relocate to the coast, taking a position at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (MCBG). At MCBG, she was in charge of the Begonia and Fuchsia Collections in the Display House, Heath & Heather Collection, Succulent and Mediterranean Garden, Conifer Collection in the North Forest, carnivorous plants in the Woodland Garden,  and the Heritage Rose Collection. Her main focus was maintaining a wide variety of the wonderful plants that live there, but she largely enjoyed working with volunteers and Community Service Workers. Mishele completed the UC California Naturalist Program in 2021 which changed her focus from largely ornamental plants to our California native plants. She now works for the Mendocino Railway leading the installation and maintenance of a new garden stretching more than 3 miles from the Skunk Train Depot to the Glen Blair Junction. This lengthy garden will feature native plant material and Mishele's fervent hope is that she will be able to do something good for the planet in the time she has left here.

 

ALISON GARDNER

Alison Gardner moved to the Mendocino coast with her family in 1969, at the age of 10, from southern CA. She has attended and teacher-aided for the local Community College plant and mushroom classes. She leads private plant and mushroom tours, as well as plant walks through CNPS. Alison is trained in botany, plant taxonomy, plant ecology, plant propagation, and nursery maintenance. She has a Natural History Certificate of Achievement from College of the Redwoods. She is certified as a Botanical surveyor for Mendocino County use permits, works at Jughandle Native Plant Nursery, and is the author of the Wild Mushroom Cookbook.

 

DAVID JENSEN

David Jensen is a veteran birder and long-time Board Member of the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society. Jensen has a B.S. in biology from Sonoma State University and an M.S. in aquatic entomology from UC Berkeley. In 2001 David and his wife returned to Fort Bragg and started Cowlick’s Ice Cream Company, which they eventually sold to another local family. He worked for Mendocino County's Environmental Health Department for 15 years before retiring as Environmental Health Director in 2017. David has also served on the board of the Mendocino Land Trust, where he was board president for three years.
 

Overview

Date: Saturday, May 18, 2024