NM Native Plant Society

Landscaping with Native Plants Adapted
to the Three Eco-Regions of Albuquerque

By Jan Henfling, SCMG Intern

The Native Plant Society of New Mexico (NPSNM) is a non-profit organization that strives to educate the public about native plants by promoting knowledge of plant identification, ecology, and uses; fostering plant conservation and the preservation of natural habitats; supporting botanical research; and encouraging the appropriate use of native plants to conserve water, land, and wildlife. The NPSNM has approximately 800 members in 8 chapters located throughout New Mexico and including El Paso, Texas and southwestern Colorado. The Albuquerque chapter’s meetings are held monthly on the first Wednesday at 7 pm in the multi-purpose room of the Museum of Natural History, 1801 Mountain Road NW. For more information you can contact Jim McGrath at: sedges@swcp.com, 505-286-8745, or go to the Albuquerque Chapter’s web-site .   Field trips for members begin in April.

I attended the January 7th. Meeting of the Albuquerque chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico (NPSNM). The presentation, “Landscaping with Native Plants Adapted to the Three Eco-Regions of Albuquerque,” was given by George Miller, author of Landscaping with Native Plants of the Southwest and President of the Albuquerque chapter of NPSNM. He showed how to landscape with wildlife-friendly plants which are adapted to the three major ecological regions of Albuquerque. He discussed the amazing adaptations of the plants and the animals they support and how we can restore native habitats in our yards and neighborhoods.

The February 4th meeting will cover the “Flora of the Four Corners Region.” This presentation will be given by Ken Heil, Botanist, author, Professor Emeritus of Biology/Geology and current adjunct Professor of Biology at San Juan College in Farmington. It will introduce the unique flora described thoroughly with numerous keys in the recently published 1098-page Flora of the Four Corners Region: Vascular Plants of the San Juan River Drainage – Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The book is a 2014 finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, was 15 years in the making and includes full descriptions, art-work by Carolyn Crawford and Glenn Vandre and line Drawings by Linda Reeves. There have been approximately 50 contributors to the book, which was published by the Missouri Botanical Garden Press in 2013 with over 100 photographs.

On March 4th, Carolyn Dodson will present “Butterflies, Birds and Bees: “Pollinators of New Mexico Wildflowers.” Carolyn has taught New Mexico wildflower identification courses and published two related wildflower books, will explain the fascinating relationship between plants and their pollinators is a remarkable example of co-evolution. Flowers have developed conspicuous sizes, colors and odors to attract specialized pollinators. On their part, floral visitors show anatomical and behavioral char-acteristics that make them efficient fertilizers. Understanding the roles of flowers and their pollinators gives extra enjoyment to observing flowers in the wild and in the garden.

The April 1st meeting, “The Disappearing Trees of Albuquerque: A Gruesome Tale of Woe Told in Words and Pictures” will be given by Albuquerque city forester Joran Viers . He will examine the recent trend of tree canopy loss in Albuquerque. He will ex-plore the various causes, some preventable and some not, and what might be done to reverse the trend. A general Question and Answer session on urban tree care in Albuquerque will follow the program.

On May 6th, “Our Favorite Alpine Wildflowers” will be the topic covered by Al Schneider, author of the four corners wildflower website and the app, “Colorado Rocky Mountain Wildflowers.” He is a retired geologist and alpine wildflower enthusiast, John Bregar, will show a bewildering array of alpine wildflowers he has encountered while exploring above treeline in southwestern Colorado.