Frank Landis' Blog

Native Plant Art Contest!
February 3, 2011, 3:45 pm
Filed under: California Native Plants, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Native Plant Week is the April 17 to 23, and San Diego County has more native plants than any other county in the U.S. To celebrate native plants, CNPSSD is holding a Native Plant Art Contest. Attendees at the March 15th General Meeting will select the winning image, and the chapter will use the image on our website and in other formats during plant week, and we will distribute it to the media and other non-profits to promote and celebrate native plants.

Calling all artists! You can enter one or more times, and the winner will receive a prize: a one-year individual membership in CNPS or cash equivalent ($45). The contest is open to everyone.

Both photos and artwork are welcome, but the image must meet four criteria, under the judgment of the volunteers running the contest. The criteria are:

1. A California native plant that is native to San Diego or Imperial County must be the dominant feature in the image. Native means that it has grown wild in San Diego or Imperial County since 1491. Dominant feature means that the native plant is noticeably larger than any other feature of the image. Non-native plants are not acceptable. The San Diego Native Plant Atlas is a good reference (

2. The plant must be identified in the application, and it must be recognizable. An orange lollipop is not a California poppy.

3. The image must not contain the title of the piece, the artist’s name, a copyright or other watermark, or other problematic material.

4. The image must look good under multiple formats. The image will be used in a variety of media, and four versions of the image must be submitted to demonstrate its versatility.

Images must be submitted online to by February 26, 2011. The email application must include:

1. Applicant’s name, address, phone, and email address

2. The title of the piece, and the name (common and/or scientific) of the plant represented in the image.

3. Four versions of the image, either in jpg or pdf, attached to the email, the biggest no more than 3 megabytes in size: a) an 8.5” x 11” color image; b) an 8.5” x 11” grayscale copy of the image; c) a 1”wide color image, and d) a 1” wide grayscale image. If the image is naturally grayscale, only images b and d must be submitted. These must all be versions of the same image: simply resize the image and change color to grayscale to make the different versions. Do not crop or recolor the image.

4. A statement saying: A) that the artist(s) owns copyright to the image, B) that they are the creator of the image, and if the work is derived from another copyrighted artwork, they either own the original artwork or had permission to create the image submitted. C) That they will allow CNPSSD to use the image without cost or issue until January 1, 2012, and D) that they take responsibility for any issues of ownership, and they release CNPS and CNPSSD from all legal responsibility in regard to issues arising over questions of ownership of the images submitted.

CNPSSD will screen all submissions to determine whether they are complete and meet our criteria. If the submission passes, we will contact the artist and ask them to submit a physical copy for the March 15th contest. We will ask the contest winner to grant CNPSSD sole use of the image until January 1, 2012 without charge, and free use of the image thereafter.


October 12, 2010, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Time’s fun when you’re having flies. Right now, we’re getting new tiles to replace the linoleum in our house, and I’m looking at the things I need to do for the next few months.

–Oh yes, EIR review. Fun. There’s a lot of CNPS activities on right now. For example, on October 16, there will be a plant sale at the Prado in Balboa Park. I’ll be there, and we need to sell a lot of plants.

–Rare plants. Starting in November (November 9 to be precise), I’ll be kicking off the 2011 rare plant survey season. The magic question: what to survey next year? Ideas are welcome.

–I’m trying to figure out better ways to monitor developments. It seems that one way for developers to economize is to paper over issues in developments (rare plants, etc) and hope no one notices. If you’ve got ideas about how to get around this, or if you want to join in one experimental effort, contact me here or via email.

–In the past, I’ve done some educational walks for CNPS. Since I’ll have to have a real job next spring, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to lead walks for a while. I’m thinking about putting down some of my ideas, for other hike leaders. Tentative titles include: yes, you can talk for an hour about poison oak (especially if other Anacardiaceae are around), fun with Baccharis (or how to make Rick Halsey break a broom baccharis branch), fun with Artemisia, etc. Question is, will anyone read it? Let me know.

Probably there are a lot of other things, but I’ll save them for a later post. I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while.

Curing the Green Blurs
March 31, 2010, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

This is turning into a rite of spring. “Curing the Green Blurs” was Mike Mesler’s subtitle for his plant taxonomy class at Humboldt State University. I took that class, and TA’ed it three times, and it’s still one of my favorite classes. Nowdays, I get to do a little green-blur curing in the spring, when I lead a couple of public hikes for the local CNPS chapter. Yes, it’s a bit of a come-down from TA’ing for the great Mike, but it keeps my head in the game.

What is curing the green blurs? It’s simply learning how to identify plants. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, all those plants around you are (wait for it) a green blur. Being able to name them changes the way you look at the world around you. As I tell the people attending my walks, it’s the difference between going to a big party where you don’t know anyone, and going to a party where you have a lot of friends. The more friends you have, the more fun you have, at least in my opinion.

One thing I remember vividly is the last field trip I took in plant taxonomy lab, before the final. We just walked off campus and down the street in Humboldt, past vacant lots. The TA was quizzing us: what’s that? What’s the scientific name? What family? And of course, we were racing along, trying to be the first to get it right. At the end of the walk, the TA turned around and said, “Do you notice anything? Remember, at the beginning of the semester, we took a walk, and you didn’t know any of those plants?” That was an empowering moment. In the course of the semester, you don’t realize how much you’re learning, and that little walk through town was a great way of helping us students realize how much our worlds had changed. Great part was, I got to give about 50 other students that same experience.

I still like doing that.

Mike is a great teacher, but it’s a hard class. Three hours of lab, six hours of lab per week, and most people came in on Fridays or weekends to practice. Oh, and there was a quiz every week. The lab final was six hours long (ID 80 plants on sight, key out 6, including a composite and a grass) Average grade? B, no curve. And almost every biology student at HSU took that class, so we had 80 students (or more) every semester. I still think Mike is a genius, because he got students who had little botany background to do so well.

So Mike, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! And if you want to learn plants, this is still the best way to do it. In my humble opinion, of course.