Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beginning to Blossom...

Field of DreamsAlthough it has been less than a month since the seeds of the Wildflower Conservancy were first planted and began to germinate, there has been amazing growth.

It started with this website and blog, including the first blog entry on April 4th, which introduced the Wildflower Conservancy to the public. Since then, additional pages have sprouted, including Guidelines for Responsible Wildflower Enjoyment and several others that showcase images depicting the incredible beauty of the season as well as the damage caused as people try to enjoy it.

Delicate PaintbrushMost notably, there is now a page for Recent Wildflower Sightings. This is a resource for anyone who wishes to contribute seasonal reports and read those submitted by others.

I debated initially whether or not to have such a page since it might lead people to explore areas that could then suffer further damage. But I have, in good conscience, decided that since most of the bloom information is online regardless, if I can draw people here and educate them in ways to preserve the wildflowers as they enjoy them, then the reports will be a good thing.

[It should be noted that all reports will be reviewed before publication and every effort made to ensure that the focus is on areas freely accessible to the public -- not on private lands.]

Desert Candle in the WindIn some ways, the Wildflower Conservancy already is starting to bloom. I'm so thankful for the amazing support this little endeavor is getting right from the start.

On April 21, Sandy Steinman kindly mentioned the Wildflower Conservancy in his blog, Natural History Wanderings.  That same day, the Merced Camera Club noted it on their message board, The Birdie. And just today, Steven Bourelle posted a copy of the Guidelines and a very nice article on his website, Sierra Visions.

Gotta Love Those Baby Blue Eyes!Carol Leigh's Wildflower Hotsheet at Calphoto.com has been the best known source of California wildflower reports for the past 15 years.

She recently stopped publishing it out of concern for the damage being caused to wildflower populations here in the state, particularly on private property. She, too, has given her personal blessing to the Wildflower Conservancy.

This is a huge endorsement. You could have knocked me over with a bit of Desert Dandelion fluff when I heard that. It's like Oprah saying to her audience, "I'm taking a break, so please check out this other talk show while I'm gone..." I'm so honored.

Lupine SundownIn any event, I definitely have my work cut out for me. People dream about romping through vast fields of wildflowers. Songs are written about picking them, rolling in them, etc. I completely understand. What sounds more fun than a nice picnic with your family among the wildflowers? And whose heart hasn't melted when your beloved gathers a handful of feral fleurs and brings them to you as an expression of love?

Bird on a WireI know not everyone will come onboard. But I also know that policing behavior or attempting to pass more laws won't protect the flowers either. My sincere hope is that education will. Thank you all for your kindness and support.

The Wildflower Conservancy