2014 Annual Conference

El Paso, Texas (Baja New Mexico)

Thursday, July 31 to Saturday, August 2 

Good to the Last Drop:

Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Environment

Bienvenidos! The El Paso Chapter welcomes you to Baja New Mexico for the 2014 Native Plant Society of New Mexico Annual Meeting. We’ve developed three tracks, Science, Cactus, and Special Interests; seven field trip options; and five workshops for your edification. We’ll learn about preserving land and restoring wetlands. We’ll see the potentials of prickly pear cactus on the moon and on your table. You’ll get to enjoy our Tex-Mex cuisine and appreciate that it is a little different from New Mexican food farther north. Come see us at the corner of two nations/three states for a great meeting.

Meeting Location: The Thursday board meeting and early registration will be at the Holiday Inn Express, 7935 Artcraft Rd., El Paso. Friday and Saturday events will be at Canutillo High School, 6675 Desert Blvd.; this location is also a Thursday registration option. Saturday’s banquet will be at Sunland Park Holiday Inn, 900 Sunland Park Dr.

Accommodations: Special NPSNM room rates are available at these hotels: Holiday Inn Express, 7935 Artcraft Rd. $75 per night or suites for $85, plus tax. Call Holiday Inn Central Reservations at 800/465-4329 and ask for reservations at ELPAC, group code NPI; or call the hotel directly at 915/587-5885 and ask for reservations for the El Paso Native Plant Society group code NPI. Hotel offers shuttle to NPSNM meeting.  Holiday Inn Sunland Park, 900 Sunland Park Dr. $75 per night or suites for $119, plus tax. Call Holiday Inn Central Reservations at 800/465-4329 and ask for reservations for the New Mexico Native Plant Society meeting code NPS; or call the hotel directly at 915/833-2900 and ask for reservations for the meeting code NPS.  La Quinta Inn, 7550 Remcon Circle, 915/833-2522. $65 per night, plus tax. Reserve room by July 18 to receive NPSNM rate.  Fairfield Inn, 7514 Remcon Circle, 915/615-0024. $75 per night or suites for $85, plus tax. Reserve room by July 18 to receive NPSNM rate.

Pets: Pets not allowed at Holiday Inn Express or Fairfield Inn; pets are allowed at Holiday Inn Sunland Park (one-time $50 fee) and La Quinta Inn (max. 50 pounds). Julian’s Doggie Daycare and Boarding, 6330 N. Mesa, Suite A, 915/581-2850, www.juliansdoggiedaycare.com.

2014 Annual Conference Program—Native Plant Society of New Mexico

El Paso, Texas

Thursday July 31 (Holiday Inn Express)

1:00–5:00 pm    NPSNM board meeting—Boardroom, Holiday Inn Express, 7935 Artcraft Rd.

1:00–5:00 pm    Early registration—Holiday Inn Express

1:00–5:00 pm    Early registration—Canutillo High School Rotunda, 6675 South Desert Blvd.

Friday August 1 (Canutillo High School)

 7:30 am–5:00 pm       Registration

9:00 am    Opening and Keynote Address
Good to the Last Drop: Maximizing Water Resources for the Future
John Balliew, President and CEO, El Paso Water Utilities

Mr. Balliew discusses how a community examines sparse water resources and uses innovation to stretch them to the max for the future.

10:15–11:00 am

Science track:Rio Bosque Wetlands Park: Just Add Water—John Sproul, Program Coordinator/Manager in the Center for Environmental Resource Management, University of Texas at El Paso, and Manager of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park.

This presentation traces the history of a project to restore native wetlands and riparian habitat at a 372-acre site along the Rio Grande in El Paso

Cactus track:Cactus on the Moon—Gertrud Konings, PhD, Professor of Biology, El Paso Community College.

Dr. Konings will discuss difficulties plants will face on the moon in establishing a breathable atmosphere.  Research conducted with her students has produced interesting information about prickly pear’s potential in space.

Special interests track:Preservation of Desert Lands Through Public and Private Partnerships—Janaé Reneaud Field, Executive Director, Frontera Land Alliance.

Learn about how the Frontera Land Alliance’s current partnerships with federal, state, local, and other non-profits aid in the conservation of desert lands, wildlife, and water.

11:00–11:15 am          Break

11:15 am–Noon

Science track:Getting Kids Out to Learn About the Desert: The Asombro Institute—Stephanie Bestlemeyer, PhD, Director, Asombro Institute.

Dr. Bestlemeyer will discuss the Insitute’s efforts in increasing science literacy, programs using new research on how children learn, and programs supported by NPSNM grants.

Cactus track;What Does It Take to Be a Cactus?—Ad Konings, PhD, biologist and author, with Dr. Gertrud Konings of Cacti of Texas in Their Natural Habit.

Dr. Konings will explore the anatomy of cacti and how cacti are differentiated from other sticker plants.

Special interests track;Landscaping with Native Plants in the Chihuahuan Desert
Michael Eason, Conservation Botanist and Program Director.

Mr. Eason will cover the use of native plants in landscaping from formal to wildscape applications, including proper seed collection, storage, and propagation of native plants for the homeowner.

Noon–1:00 pm  Lunch on-site

1:00–1:45 pm

Science track:The Candelilla Wax Plant, Euphorbia antisyphilitica, and the Wax Industry—Richard Worthington, PhD, Associate Professor Emeritus and Curator of Herbarium, the University of Texas at El Paso.

The biology and distribution of the plant and features of the wax will be presented. The many uses of the wax, extraction, purification, market, and history of the industry, especially in Texas, will be discussed.

 Cactus track:Cacti of Texas—Ad Konings, PhD, biologist and author, with Dr. Gertrud Konings of Cacti of Texas in Their Natural Habitat.

Texas has more cactus species than any other state. Dr. Konings will discuss their natural variability, their environmental adaptability, their distribution, and their sometimes narrow endemism.

Special interests track:Ethics of Procuring Native Plants—John White, Curator, Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, University of Texas at El Paso.

Mr. White describes southwestern states’ legal differences in acquisition of native plants and discusses the ethics of proper versus improper collection.

1:45–2:00 pm    Break

2:00–2:45 pm

Science track:Dendrology 101—Oscar Mestas, Regional Urban Forester, Texas A&M Forest Service.

Mr. Mestas will cover basic dendrology (study of trees), how to use a dichotomous key, and some interesting internet resources. He will bring in samples of different leaf types and branching structures and point out the differences and similarities in common trees and other woody species for a hands-on experience. This presentation is not for the advanced botanist.

Cactus track:Desert Spirits, the Distilled Kind—Virginia Morris, Past President of the NPSNM El Paso Chapter, Vice President of the El Paso Cactus and Rock Club.

The production of tequila and mescal from agaves and sotol liquor from the sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) is a vibrant part of Mexico’s economy. The history, production processes, and current threats to the industry will be discussed.

Special interests track:Medicinal Plants Native to the US Southwest—Mary O’Connell, PhD, Regents Professor and Distinguished Achievement Professor, New Mexico State University.

Dr. O’Connell will present information about plants native and naturalized to our region that are commonly used for medicinal purposes. A description of the methods used to determine the efficacy of these plants will also be presented.

2:45–3:15 pm    Break

3:15–4:00 pm

Science track:Plant Adaptations to Extreme Desert Environments—Rafael C. Corral, PhD, Botanist and Installation Pest Management Coordinator, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Dr. Corral will explore how plants have adapted physically and in life cycle management to a harsh desert environment.

Cactus track:Southern New Mexico Cacti—Lisa Mandelkern, Artist, Photographer, and Amateur Botanist.

Ms. Mandelkern will discuss characteristics of the cactus family and showcase cactus species in bloom.

Special interests track:From Sandhill to Sublime—Sarah Wood, Gardener and Landscape Designer.

Sarah Wood shows us how she and her husband, Ron, converted a steep sandhill backyard into a showcase native garden at her home in nearby Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

4:00–4:15 pm    Break

4:15–5:00 pm

Science track:Plants and Butterflies, Paso del Norte Region—Carl Lieb, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso.

Dr. Lieb will discuss desert butterfly biodiversity, native plants as hosts for their larvae, and nuances of urban/suburban butterfly gardening in our desert area.

Cactus track:Making Beautiful Places Beautiful Again: A Small Sample of Ecological Restoration Projects and Techniques—Michael Gaglio, Biologist and Managing Member, High Desert Native Plants.

Mr. Gaglio will describe and illustrate ecological restoration projects that improve sites’ aesthetic appeal, vegetation community, wildlife habitat, and water retention.

Special interests track:Native Plant Landscaping to Benefit Humans and Wildlife, the Texas Wildscapes Program—Lois Balin, Urban Wildlife Biologist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Ms. Balin will introduce creating a backyard habitat for wildlife using ecologically sensitive methods.

6:00 pm    Reception—Sunset Gardens Nursery, 105 Lindberg Ave.
Dinner On Your Own

Saturday August 2 (Canutillo High School)

7:30 am–Noon  Registration—Canutillo High School Rotunda, 6675 South Desert Blvd.

                          WORKSHOPS (All workshops take place at the high school.)

8:30–10:30 am

1. Not Your Mama’s Nopalitos

El Paso’s self-taught native-plant chef teaches cooking techniques using native plants in non-traditional ways.  Limit: 15  Fee: $10  Instructor: Jim Hastings, Gringo Gourmet

2. Tips and Tricks for Photographing Flowers

Award-wining photographers and graphic artists will discuss and demonstrate flower photography fundamentals. Bring your cameras for hands-on experience.  Instructors: Arturo and Valarie Enriquez, Artists/Owners of Vantage Point Visual Studios

3. Selection and Care of Cacti, Succulents and Companion Plants in the Landscape and Containers

Focus on creating an attractive, low-water-use landscape with native plants. Attendees will pot their own plants in special media suited for cactus and succulents.  Limit: 20  Fee: $10  Instructor: Virginia Morris, Cactus Enthusiast, Cactus and Rock Club Vice President

10:30 am–Noon

4. Creating Hypertufa Pots

Participants will learn the art of making rustic containers for plants from cement and fiber.
Instructor: Cheryl Garing, Horticulturist, Landscape Contractor, El Paso Chapter President

5. Self-Watering Containers

Demonstration of building self-watering containers.  Instructor: Rex Morris, Master Gardener, Native Plant Society and El Paso Cactus and Rock Club Member

11:00 am–2:00 pm      Returns from field trips will be at different times. Lunch will be on your own. Gourmet-food trucks will be available at the high school to allow you to purchase lunch.

                          FIELD TRIPS

8:00 am    Field trip participants meet at Canutillo High School to organize carpools.

8:30 am    Field trips depart.

1. Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP

A showcase for native plants.  Leader: John White, Curator

2. Franklin Mountains State Park

Easy hike and great mountain views.  Limit: 25  Leader: Benny Pol, Master Naturalist

3. Kay Bailey Hutchinson Desalination Plant

Two communities converting saline water to potable water.  Leader: Art Ruiz, Plant Superintendent

4. Keystone Heritage Park and Kevin von Finger Wetlands and Chihuahuan Desert Experience

Tour of a desert wetlands and site of an ancient pit house community.  Limit: 25  Fee: $2  Leader: Michael Gaglio, Biologist and Managing Member, High Desert Native Plants

5. Resler and Thunder Canyons

Botanizing in canyons saved from development.  Leader: Scott Cutler, Franklin Mtns Wilderness Coalition

6. Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

Restoraton of a wetlands community by the Rio Grande.  Leader: John Sproul, Park Manager

7. Native Plant and Cactus Garden Tour

Four members’ gardens will show different approaches to landscapes in Baja New Mexico.

1:00 pm    Silent Auction bidding closes.

1:00–3:30 pm    NPSNM Member Presentations. Members are invited to submit abstracts for short talks (20 minutes) on relevant topics. Authors selected will be notified in advance of the meeting. Abstract deadline is June 2, 2014. Mail abstracts to El Paso Native Plant Society, PO Box 221036, El Paso, TX 79913, or by e-mail: jimhastings@elp.rr.com or  Kathy Barton at agustusmc@sbcglobal.net.

3:30–4:00 pm    Pay for and pick up Silent Auction items.

6:00–10:00 pm Cash bar and banquet—Sunland Park Holiday Inn, 900 Sunland Park Dr.


Please send a separate form for each attendee. Checks should be made payable to El Paso Chapter NPSNM.



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