Update on the TogetherGreen Grant Restoration of Walnut Meadow, at HCNH

September 14, 2012

Walnut Meadow – 2011

Walnut Meadow – 2012










The first photo was taken a year ago and the second taken almost to the day a year later.  As you can see, a year ago the meadow was  green with African weeping lovegrass and now there is an array of color.   Since the invasive non-natives have been reduced, plus a good monsoon, the meadow’s biodiversity has exploded.   Sue Smith, Nichole Trushell, and Carl Tomoff have been out identifying plants.  Each week there is a new set of natives blooming that need to be identified.

Two milkweeds: Antelope horns, Asclepias asperula and Horsetail milkweed, A. subverticillata  were found,plus we already planted 19 Butterflyweeds,  A. tuberosa.  The milkweeds are leading us to the next exciting stage of restoration for Walnut Meadow.  If you didn’t read the Daily Courier’s, Sept. 10th article “Adopt a Caterpillar”, check it out on the Daily Courier’s website.  Walnut meadow is mentioned, plus it explains how we plan to “adopt” monarch caterpillars from Fiona Reid’s milkweed by putting them on the milkweed in Walnut Meadow.  We also will grow more milkweed this spring from seed and plant them in the meadow so that Walnut Meadow can be designated as a Monarch Waystation.  This will then lead to tagging Monarchs to see where they migrate.  The Midwest/Eastern and far West monarch migration paths are well known but Arizona monarch migration is still being worked out.  Check out for more info.  In Illinois, my students tagged monarchs so I am ready to tag again and provide the necessary nets etc.  The Audubon TogetherGreen Volunteer grant is over, so if you would like to help pay for more milkweed plants please let me know. 

 A big thank you to everyone who has worked on this project.

Cathy Palm-Gessner
Coordinator Walnut Meadow Restoration


June 30, 2012

I second Dave’s comment about the camp enjoying the meadow. The last two weeks with Jr. Naturalists was a lot of fun, we spent one entire day studying plants both native and nonnative, in the meadow, some campers had the opportunity to study, sketch and identify the prickly poppy, mullein, apple tree and penstemon.

These are kids, as Dave said, who have come to camp for years and at first sight were concerned at the looks of the meadow. Once the project was described to them and they saw more natives beginning to emerge, their spirits were lifted.

Thanks for your hard work, dedication towards making the project a success and for being such wonderful role models for the future generation of nature lovers!

Jill Craig
Education Director
Highlands Center for Natural History
928-776-9550  ext. 15


June 28, 2012

Hello Fellow Volunteers,

This Saturday, June 30, 2012, Bob Gessner and Sue Smith, will show any interested volunteers how to water the new plantings in Walnut Meadow.  Please meet at the Highlands Center for Natural History’s pavilion at 8am.  It takes about 45 minutes to water the plants.

You will be glad to hear that all our past efforts have paid off.  Only a few clumps of lovegrass, mullein, toadflax and horehound have appeared and are very easy to remove because they are so small.  If you like, bring your favorite weeding tool and bucket/garbage bag and help remove them.  We plan to be done by 9am.  It is too hot to work more than an hour, plus there are too many things happening on Saturday.

The most drought resistant native plants are now visible.  Yarrow, deer vetch, globe mallow, 3 types of penstemon (one blue), buckwheat, prickly poppy and others can be found. Sue will be happy to point out these natives.

Thanks again for all your support on this exciting project!

Cathy Palm-Gessner



June 28, 2012

FROM:  Dave Irvine

TO: TogetherGreen Volunteers

Great work everyone!

The campers this week (our older Jr. Naturalist kids that have been coming for years) were excited to see the blue penstemon.

So your hard work is being noticed and appreciated even by our younger naturalists!

Dave Irvine
Executive Director
Highlands Center for Natural History
1375 S. Walker Rd
Prescott, AZ 86303