Early Spring Blooms: Vernal Pools of the Santa Rosa Plain, botanical field trip with Sarah Gordon, Laguna Foundation’s Conservation Science Program Manager
The Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed has some very unique wetland ecosystems called “vernal pools,” temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. Every year is different for vernal pool flora, which depends on many factors such as timing of rainfall, total amount of rainfall, and daytime temperatures, to name a few. This botanical field trip will begin in Heron Hall with hot drinks/snacks and a brief overview of Santa Rosa Plain vernal pool ecology and the Laguna Foundation vernal pool conservation program, followed by a tour of one to two vernal pool sites where we will identify early season vernal pool plants (those that typically flower when the wetlands are still holding water). Depending on March weather conditions, we may be able to see endangered Sonoma sunshine and Sebastopol meadowfoam in flower, in addition to other early season native vernal pool forbs and grasses. The site(s) will be identified just prior to the field trip, but may include both natural and created vernal pools. This outing will include walking over uneven, possibly very wet and muddy ground, and is suitable for 12 years old and up (minors must be accompanied by an adult). Rain will cancel (in which case we’ll fully refund your fee). A field guide to Vernal Pool Plants of the Santa Rosa Plain ($15) is available for purchase from our GiftShop.
Sarah Gordon joined the Laguna Foundation staff in February of 2017 as Conservation Science Program Manager to expand and develop a Santa Rosa Plain vernal pool conservation program. Sarah is a plant ecologist with experience in seasonal wetland plant ecology and rare plant conservation. She completed her M.S. degree at Sonoma State University and has worked as a lecturer, researcher, and ecological consultant specializing in botany, rare plants, and vernal pool ecosystems primarily in Sonoma County.