Community Event

Dan Gluesencamp: The Franciscan Manzanita Story: from Saving ‘one last plant’ to Protecting California’s Bountiful Biodiversity

Saturday | March 20, 2021 | 10:00 am — 11:30 am

Online Event

For more than a century, the Franciscan manzanita has been surprisingly central to key moments in California botany: it’s “Perils of Pauline” history stars trailblazing woman botanists, includes the 1906 earthquake and ghoulish nighttime raids on Gold Rush cemeteries, and features walk-on roles in the fight to save the Regional Park Botanic Garden and establish California’s Native Plant Society. Long thought extinct since the 1940s, in 2009 we discovered a mother plant growing at the Golden Gate Bridge and began urgent work to save this singular plant and special species. This talk explores the history of the Franciscan manzanita, it’s rediscovery, and the dedicated humans who work to save it once again, forever. It is a story of politics and public perception, as much as botany and beauty. The story also raises essential questions in conservation: what is wild, what is a species, why and how much should we spend to save a shrub? Sharing these lessons and exploring these questions together, we will then talk about how they inform the urgent efforts to save all of California’s remarkable biodiversity.

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Cost: Free

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