San Luis Obispo, CA

Photo: Amanda Heinrich
group photo
All hands at the ranch

March 29 – April 1, 2019
Rancho El Chorro, San Luis Obispo, California
Coordinators: Ken Kellman and Ben Carter

The 2019 SO BE FREE was held in San Luis Obispo County, one of the botanical gems of California. Midway along the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo offers strong moisture gradients, a tremendous diversity of geological substrates and abundant open spaces that have been only lightly explored bryologically. Vegetation types range from moisture-loving closed cone coniferous forests near the coast to arid desert scrub in interior regions, with a diversity of chaparral and woodlands in between. The region is known floristically as a zone of transition, with representation of northern species in mesic areas, southern species in the drier coastal regions and even Mojave desert species in the eastern part of the county.

We were based at Rancho El Chorro. Foray destinations included Los Padres National Forest, open spaces surrounding the city of San Luis Obispo, and vernal pools in the interior, all during one of the best wildflower super blooms in years. The bryophyte flora was very rich in ephemerals, Bryaceae, and Pottiaceae. About 70 participants, with an unusually large representation of students, enthusiastically enjoyed activities including a beginners’ session, field trips, microscope sessions, student presentations, and annual business meeting of the Bryophyte Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Full report with more photos in our newsletter here.

people kneeling to look at small plants
Bow down for small plants

People relaxing in the field
Sunny days

Many people in microscope room
Look at all of us