Wednesday, September 28, 7:30 pm
Chronicling the Flora of the Jepson Prairie Preserve (or how I contracted the vernal pool virus)
Speaker: Doug Wirtz
Location: Room 7, Orinda Community Center (directions below)

Jepson Prairie was first described by Willis Linn Jepson in 1892. It is a property that has survived, in addition to grazing, a number of “venture capital” experiments. But in 1980 the Nature Conservancy negotiated and executed the purchase of several agricultural properties, consolidating them into a single parcel covering 1,566 acres. In 1982 the Conservancy dedicated that property as the “Willis Linn Jepson Prairie Preserve,” and in 1983 the National Park Service designated it a National Natural Landmark. In his presentation, speaker Doug Wirtz will take us on a seasonal journey of the varied flora and fauna of the Jepson Prairie Preserve, which is now owned and managed by the Solano Land Trust.

Doug Wirtz grew up in south-central Kansas. His family migrated to Northern California in the late ‘60s, and he began a career in the Fire Service in 1973. At the time of his retirement in 2002, his only interest revolved around a good cup of coffee and a book. A series of seemingly innocuous experiences, widely separated chronologically, combined to spark an interest that has grown into an obsession embracing digital photography and a layman’s knowledge of flora.

Doug’s association with the Solano Land Trust began in the summer of 2005, when he approached the organization with a request to photograph the entire Jepson Prairie Preserve. After docent training in the fall of 2005, under the tutelage of UC Davis professors and other vernal pool professionals, his ”relationship” with Jepson Prairie was formalized. While he still devotes 100-200 hours annually to hiking Jepson, his obligation to the Sonoma Land Trust now extends to the rest of its nearly 12,000 acres of preserves.

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in Room 7 of the Orinda Community Center at 28 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). Room 7 is at the south end of the Community Center building. The room opens at 7:00 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Contact programs@ebcnps.org or 510-496-6016 if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Community Center at 28 Orinda Way

From the west, take Highway 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.
From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.

Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the west side of the one-story Community Center building, which is set back from the street on the right. There is additional free parking on the street as well as beneath the library building next door and in the parking lot south of the library. Room 7 is at the south end of the Community Center building.

From BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Community Center. Room 7 is at the south end of the Community Center building.

Next Month’s Meeting:
October 26, 7:30 pm, Orinda Library Garden Room
Margit Roos-Collins: A Taster’s Guide to the Landscape

Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp at Jepson Prairie Preserve. Photo @ by Douglas Wirtz.

Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp at Jepson Prairie Preserve. Photo @ by Douglas Wirtz.