Field Trips

Experience amazing plants, places and people on field trips throughout the greater San Jose area!

Pre-conference field trips will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 18 and 19. Participants are encouraged to carpool as transportation is not provided. Participants will need to bring their own lunch. All trips cost $55 and will depart from and return to the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Jose. Please read below for details about each field trip, including physical requirements and what to bring. 

Registration for the conference is required to participate in the pre-conference field trips. Sign-up by October 1, 2022 – spaces are limited and field trips may fill quickly, so be sure to register early!

San Bruno Mountain: Endemic Manzanitas

Tuesday, October 18, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Field Trip Location: San Bruno Mountain, northern San Mateo County

Instructors: Doug Allshouse and David Nelson

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

San Bruno Mountain is the site of the nation’s first habitat conservation plan (HCP), and is a 4 square mile federally-monitored nature reserve with endemic manzanitas. We will hike the Dairy Ravine trail, exploring the northeastern side of the main ridge. We will start at the middle parking lot, wind our way up a rough trail to Kamchatka Point, where there are two endemic and one rare manzanitas and a newly-described huckleberry. We will walk down Radio Road to examine the unique geology that gives rise to the unique flora of SBM. This hike has moderate difficulty, 900 feet elevation change, and 0.9 miles in length over uneven ground. The leaders of this trip, Doug Allshouse and David Nelson, are co-authors of the book “San Bruno Mountain: A Guide to the Flora and Fauna.”

Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

Tuesday, October 18, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Field Trip Location: Woodside, CA

Instructor: Vivian Neou and Diane Renshaw

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

Take a tour of the Oakmead Herbarium at the Leslie Shao-ming Sun Field Station and hike through the diverse habitats around Searsville Lake. Our hike will take you through mountain mahogany chaparral, live oak woodland, and willow riparian forest habitats. We will return to the Field Station for lunch.

Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve, and Edgewood Farm

Tuesday, October 18, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Field Trip Location: Redwood City, CA

Instructors: Stu Weiss and Christal Niederer (Creekside Science)

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

Join Dr. Stuart Weiss and Christal Niederer from Creekside Science at Edgewood County Park and Preserve. Dr. Weiss began his career working with the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly, and has spearheaded research understanding and restoring their serpentine grassland habitat. See rare plants, learn about novel restoration techniques, and take in the beautiful habitats of this special place.

Portola Redwoods State Park

Tuesday, October 18, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Field Trip Location: La Honda, CA

Instructor: Amy Patten (CNPS)

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

Portola Redwoods State Park is home to scenic old growth redwoods and the rare Dudley’s lousewort, Pedicularis dudleyi. Learn about the redwood forest plant community and research on Dudley’s lousewort and other rare and endemic plants in the area. We’ll enjoy an easy hike under the shade of the dense forest canopy, which will be up to 3 miles on developed trails in the park. Please bring sturdy shoes, water, and a packed lunch.

Mount Umunhum

Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Field Trip Location: San Jose, CA

Instructor: Amanda Mills (Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District)

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

Mount Umunhum is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains that offers 360 degree views. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District opened the mountain to the public in 2017.  The area is rich in biodiversity and where numerous special status and locally rare plant species are known to occur. Learn about Mount Umunhum’s natural and cultural history, unique flora and fauna, the Mount Umunhum Summit Restoration Project planning and implementation, and the ongoing vegetation restoration work occurring at the summit. The Mount Umunhum summit has a variety of vistas, ADA accessible pathways, interpretive displays and two weather shelters. 

Coyote Ceanothus (Ceanothus ferrisiae) Population Creation Site on Coyote Ridge: Assisted Colonization of an Endangered Chaparral Shrub

Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Field Trip Location: Coyote Ridge, Morgan Hill, southern Santa Clara County

Instructor: Janell Hillman (Santa Clara Valley Water District), Diana Benner (The Watershed Nursery), and Ted Swiecki (Phytosphere Research)

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

The Coyote Ceanothus mitigation project was initiated in 2011 to compensate for impacts from the planned Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project. The population creation site located on Coyote Ridge was first planted in 2014 with annual planting since then. We will tour the mitigation site, see planting areas in gray pine woodland, serpentine chaparral, serpentine grassland and Ca sagebrush scrub, and discuss successes and challenges associated with managed relocation of a federally endangered chaparral shrub restricted to serpentine soil. Topics include selection of a suitable introduction site to create a functional plant community, ecological considerations, regulatory requirements, planting methods, site maintenance, and sanitation practices to prevent plant pathogen introduction. We will also see several other endangered plant species and natural communities, and if we’re lucky, the tarantulas will be out! A beautiful view of the Diablo Range foothills, Mt. Hamilton, and Lick Observatory is pretty much guaranteed.

Regional Parks Botanic Garden at Tilden

Wednesday, October 19, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Field Trip Location: Berkeley, CA

Instructor: Bart O’Brien (Regional Parks Botanic Garden)

Registration Fees: $50 early registration/$60 regular registration

Join East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden director Bart O’Brien for a botanical tour through the state of California within the garden’s 10 acres at Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley Hills. This fall walk will highlight some of the fall colors, fruits and berries that native flora provide for the local fauna. We will also see newly added areas at the botanic garden. If you haven’t visited lately, the new crevice garden (featuring exciting alpine plants of the high Sierra in 116.25 tons of schist and slate) is a must see. 

At the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, mid-October is often a good time for fall color on Acer circinatum, Acer macrophyllum, Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’, Cornus (nuttallii, glabrata, sericea, sessilis), Fraxinus velutina, and many species of Salix. Showy fall fruits can normally be found on snowberries, madrones, and toyons. Depending on the year, the very first flowering manzanitas (refugioensis) and currants (Ribes malvaceum) often start in October. Late summer bloomers, particularly some of the wild buckwheats (Eriogonum cinereum and others), and some members of the Asteraceae are at their best – unless there are significant early rains (which doesn’t seem likely).

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Please join us in thanking our major sponsors for making this year’s event possible! Become a sponsor today.

Giant Sequoia


Valley Oak


Moulton Niguel Water District

White Sage

H.T. Harvey & Associates Ecological Consultants
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Melo Gardens

California Poppy

Westervelt Ecological Services

Carol Witham

Jepson Herbarium
Helix Environmental Planning