New Rare Care Focus Species: Snow Cinquefoil

The diminutive snow cinquefoil, Rare Care’s latest edition to the focus species list. Photo by Scott Batiuk

Each year, the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care) designates a handful of species as focus species – species that we are attempting to monitor all known populations on public lands within a three to five year period. This year, we added snow cinquefoil (Potentilla nivea) to our list of focus species. In Washington, snow cinquefoil is a relic of a much colder period, when glaciers covered the northern part of the state. 

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Above the Tree Line in Our National Parks

The Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation program (Rare Care) is beginning a new initiative with the National Park Service to monitor rare plant species in alpine communities and bank their seeds in the Miller Seed Vault. This work will occur over the next three years at: Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks (NP). The primary goals are to improve our understanding of the vulnerabilities of sensitive alpine plants to climate change and to develop management strategies to alleviate impacts of a warming climate. 

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Staff Spotlight: Stacy Kinsell

Stacy Kinsell is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care), but it hasn’t been a straightforward path to get there. Kinsell’s undergraduate work was in social work and urban studies. After school, she packed up for an adventure in a new city far away from her native Georgia and moved to Seattle. She quickly fell in love with the city, but not the career and after a few years of working in her new field, Kinsell was feeling burnt out. 

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Reflections of a Rare Care intern: Wading through head-high nettles and scarifying seeds

Myesa Legendre-Fixx spent the summer as an intern for the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care). She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Oceanography at UW June 2017. Working as a Rare Care intern has been a thrilling summer! Over the summer, Ceci and I monitored 17 different plant populations, did 10 seed collections, worked with the US Bureau of Land Management doing rare plant and weed surveys and fire severity assessments of burned areas, improved the seed vault and started almost 500 seeds of Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus) for an outplanting. 

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Reflections of a Rare Care Intern: Learning from agency partners and watching plant babies grow

Cecila Henderson spent the summer as an intern for the Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program (Rare Care). She completed her Bachelor of Science at the UW School of Environmental And Forest Sciences in June 2017. This summer I was lucky enough to work with Wendy Gibble as an intern for Rare Care, and I can hardly express my gratitude for what has been an incredibly rewarding experience. 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Bresnan

When she’s not at her day job, you can usually find Julie Bresnan on the hunt for an elusive rare plant. Julie volunteers for the Rare Plant Care and Conservation program of the UW Botanic Gardens, collecting data on rare plant populations native to Washington and collecting seeds to add to the Miller Seed Vault in Seattle. She began as a rare plant monitor in 2004 and trained as a seed collector in 2007. 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Richard Fleenor

Meet Richard Fleenor. Richard is a Rare Care volunteer with UW Botanic Gardens. He monitors rare plant populations on the east side of the state and usually takes one to two assignments a year. Rare Care volunteers live in all parts of the state of Washington, plus northern Oregon. Richard grew up in Vancouver and loved playing in the woodlands surrounding their house as a kid. 

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Showy stickseed exploits environments with low competition

Rare Care, along with faculty and graduate students at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, wrapped up a multi-year study on the federally-endangered showy stickseed (Hackelia venusta). The study was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to support recovery efforts for the species by developing a better understanding of its habitat requirements and by improving propagation techniques. 

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Rare pygmy saxifrage found

Each year, Rare Care is delighted by a few unexpected discoveries. This year these finds include a single pygmy saxifrage high up near a rocky mountain summit.

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