The 8th Annual Idaho Botanical Foray
Selway River, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, June 18-22, 2015 (Thursday through Monday)
For those unfamiliar with the Idaho Botanical Foray project, Jim Smith (BSU) started the Idaho Botanical Forays in 2008 with the goal of establishing collaborations between the four institutions in Idaho that have large active herbaria – Boise State University, the College of Idaho, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho. This concerted effort among Pacific Northwest Herbaria has contributed significantly to ongoing regional projects, such as the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria (www.pnwherbaria.org). Importantly, the annual foray projects enhance local participation in herbarium activities and promote a sense of community among botanical enthusiasts. The research goals of the foray projects center on conducting general botanical surveys to document the diversity and distribution of vascular plants in particular regions. Specifically, we have used the forays to survey public lands because of the important diversity contained within these holdings, the relative ease of access to these lands, the public benefit created by providing public land managers with species lists for their respective areas, and the opportunity to build professional contacts with federal agency botanists.
The responsibility for leading the annual foray rotates between our four institutions; with the 4th Annual Foray to the Cuddy Mountain region of the Payette National Forest in 2011 being the last time it was hosted by the University of Idaho Stillinger Herbarium, this year the Stillinger Herbarium is hosting again.
The dates for this year’s Idaho Botanical Foray are June 18-22. As in past forays, this is a Thursday through Monday. We will be camping at the O’Hara Bar Campground, located only a few miles up the Selway River from the confluence with the Lochsa on Hwy 12 (map), and I have reserved several sites for the foray. This is a pretty well developed and popular campground situated among the cedars; it has vault toilets and water. Within an hour from camp we can reach maritime forests, mountain parklands, grand fir mosaic, old growth pacific yew, pine forests, xeric grasslands, basalt scabs and a variety of riparian habitats. For those willing to drive a little further there is quite a bit more – even some hot springs up the Lochsa that no one has cataloged floristically! Plus, given the low snow levels this year, we might even be able to access some higher subalpine regions near the Crags.
From our campground base of operations, we will collect in small groups in an organized fashion to sample the region’s flora as systematically as possible, in order to return with a representative collection of the flora of the region. We will collect a minimum of 3 replicates in order to have material for exchange with other herbaria that will help in the development of the important collections at the UI Stillinger Herbarium, as well as our partner institutions. We will bring a UI van to transport collecting supplies. Participants will need to take their own vehicles or carpool (for a variety of reasons, we discourage driving alone). Access is via paved roads to the campground, although some of the roads in the surrounding areas will be unpaved and may require high-clearance vehicles.
All participants will be responsible for their own food and camping equipment. We will supply presses, paper, etc. but if you have collecting materials (clippers, diggers, etc.) please bring them to facilitate the process. We will have a potluck dinner on Saturday evening so please bring something to share! Finally, several years ago, Jim Smith started the Idaho Botanical Foray tradition of “Bring something from home/work to burn.” I’m sure that Jim already has his materials picked out, and we would like to remind everyone to not bring things that generate toxic fumes when burned!
As with past Forays, there will be a series of work parties during the following fall and winter to identify the specimens we collect. All participants should consider participation in the work parties to be part of the commitment to the Foray. These get-togethers are an important part of curation and go a long way towards the goals of education and community-building.
At this time, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who is interested in participating in this year’s Foray. Also, please indicate whether you are likely to be able to drive (and carry other participants) or will need transportation.”