A Message from the New WNPS President: Don Schaechtel

Don Scaechtel

Hi Washington Native Plant Society Members:

I am honored to be elected by the WNPS Board of Directors to serve as your President for the coming year.I had been a member of WNPS several times in the 90s, but got serious about the Society while leading Mountaineers Naturalist trips in 2005.One of our other leaders ran into Alan Yen's WNPS field trip on the Iron Peak trail, and Alan identified a plant that had baffled all of us: Ivesia tweedyii.That encounter introduced us to the collection of WNPS plant lists, and our education made a step-change from there.Our field trips lists started to expand as we realized how much more there was to see on the trails we visited.

In 2009 I attended my first Study Weekend, which was based in Cashmere.My wife and I were moving to Leavenworth that year, which made this Study Weekend life changing.Not only did we learn more about the local flora, we were introduced to Wenatchee Valley Chapter members who would become good friends as we got active with the chapter.

I have found that the more active one is in an organization, the more one gets out of it.I hope you are able to do things with other WNPS members to experience this for yourself.

I mentioned plant lists, and one of the exciting things happening in WNPS is we are partnering with the UW Herbarium at the Burke Museum to build a database for our nearly 700 WNPS plant lists.

If you are like me, one of the challenges to learning about native plants is how fast scientific names and family names are changing.And as a result, our collection of 700 plants lists is becoming out of date.UW Herbarium Collections Manager and WNPS member David Giblin suggested a solution:Building a plant list database and connecting it to the Herbarium's Flora of Washington Checklist to regularly update the names.We are going to do it!As a result, users will be able to print custom plant lists with old and new names, giving us all a new tool at home and in the field.

To fund database programming, we were able to get a $5,000 grant, and our chapters matched that and more so we can fully fund the project.It begins this month with UW Herbarium Informatics Specialist Ben Legler doing the work.Not only will the database keep up with name changes, users will also be able to edit and add to lists so the lists can become more complete each year.The new database should be ready for use in time for the 2018 field season.

We are grateful to the Garneau-Nicon Foundation in Seattle for the grant and to our chapters for contributing funds they raised through plant sales, silent auctions, Study Weekends, and other fundraising activities.

Don Schaechtel
WNPS President, 2017-18
Leavenworth, WA

Are Generous Plant Lovers the Happiest People on E...
Happy Trails Joe!

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