2014 Fellows

Jim Duncan

The Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO) nominates Jim Duncan for NPSO Fellow, in recognition of all the service he has given at both the Chapter and State levels during the past 22 years. Jim has selflessly and cheerfully shared countless hours of his time and his expertise, serving as an officer of the Siskiyou Chapter and coordinator of the 4th of July wildflower, both of which have bolstered chapter stability and continuity. His activities have also improved the visibility of NPSO in the community. In particular, his wildflower brochures and the wildflower show enable us to reach a broader public audience with our message about native plants.

Jim received an AB in zoology from Wabash College (Indiana) in 1954 and a PhD in biology, with a concentration in vertebrate embryonic development, from Stanford in 1960. He taught biology for 31 years in the California university system. His positions included Instructor and Assistant Professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, from 1960 to 1962, and Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor at San Francisco State University from 1962 to 1991.

Retirement from San Francisco State University brought him to Ashland in the spring of 1991. He wasted no time in joining the Siskiyou Chapter of the NPSO in the fall of 1991 and has been an active member ever since. The following June (1992) he attended his first statewide Annual Meeting at the Malheur Field Station.

Jim has served in leadership positions at both the state and chapter levels, starting with a three-year term as a member-at-large of the State Board in the late 1990s. He was co-President of Siskiyou Chapter (with his wife, Elaine Plaisance) from 2000 to 2001. In 2001 and 2002 he and Elaine co-chaired the organizing committee for the 2002 Annual Meeting, hosted by the Siskiyou Chapter. The meeting showcased the recently established Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Jim assumed the duties of treasurer for the Siskiyou Chapter in the midst of the cash flow for the annual meeting (May 2002) and has held that position ever since (a total of twelve years!).

Jim’s first involvement with the Siskiyou Chapter’s annual 4th of July wildflower show in Ashland was collecting flowers in 1999. He has collected flowers for the show every year since then. At that time the show was set up on the morning of the 4th in the old wooden gazebo in Lithia Park. After the 2000 show, the chapter realized that if the show venue were moved indoors it could be set it up the night before. Jim negotiated with the Ashland Parks Department to use Pioneer Hall or the Community Center, adjacent buildings which are typically rented for public activities. The show was set up in Pioneer Hall in July 2001 and has been held indoors ever since, mainly in the Community Center. Because the show is a public service in conjunction with the 4th of July celebration in Ashland, the park administration granted use of the building without charge for a 24-hour period. Even though the wildflower show is a major draw to the event, this represents a generous donation from the Ashland Parks Department. Jim took over as organizer of the show in 2001 and has done a superb job for 13 years.

During Jim’s years in Ashland he has collected a large number of plant specimens, mainly from Jackson and Josephine counties, but a second assemblage came from southeastern Oregon. He has compiled a personal herbarium of over 3,300 specimens representing almost 1,200 Oregon taxa. This collection has been added to the database of the Oregon Flora Project Atlas. This collection has recently been donated to the herbarium of Southern Oregon University. Two areas where Jim has collected intensively are Grizzly Peak near Ashland and a corner of southwestern Harney County and southeastern Lake County.

Grizzly Peak is a prominent landmark to people living in the Ashland area because it is visible from their homes and streets. It is public land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with an easily accessible five-mile roundtrip trail to the top. Jim first hiked the trail in September 1993 and during the ensuing years he made 38 trips to the top. Seven of those were scheduled Siskiyou Chapter fieldtrips, with the most recent and last trip in June 2011. During the years of those many trips, Jim collected great numbers of plants for his herbarium and gradually compiled a plant list for the area surrounding the trail. In 2008 he wrote a Plants and Places article about Grizzly Peak for Kalmiopsis, which included an exhaustive plant list of more than 300 species with notes on phenology and habitat.

In the mid-1990s Jim attended a plant conference at OSU in Corvallis at which Scott Sundberg spoke with considerable passion about the then-new Oregon Flora Project. What particularly caught Jim’s attention was the proposed Atlas Project. He was inspired by Scott’s message and recognized that he could contribute to the Flora Project by “Adopting a Block.” He and Elaine chose Block 170, a square area about 25 miles to the side, which, according to the records at OSU, was the least known botanically (only two records in the herbarium). Block 170 lies in the southwest corner of Harney County and extends a few miles into southeastern Lake County. Jim and Elaine made the first trip to “their” block in June 2000, on their way home from the NPSO Annual Meeting, which that year was again at Malheur Field Station. For nine consecutive years (2000–2008) they made 3- to 4-day trips to the block, dates ranging from mid-May to early August in an attempt to catch the seasonal range of flowering. They always camped out self-contained somewhere in those wilds, and over those many trips they explored a great portion of that area of mostly sagebrush desert. Their final tally for Block 170 was an impressive 262 taxa!

In 2007 a small group of Siskiyou Chapter members decided to produce a wildflower brochure for the Grizzly Peak area in the style of the Jacksonville Woodlands Association brochure. Bob Vos took the photographs with his wife Belinda’s help in identification, and Jim worked together with them to choose and organize pictures for the brochure. He wrote the text and arranged for the necessary layout and printing. The Siskiyou Chapter sells these brochures for $1 each to raise money for the chapter. The brochure has become quite popular and in 2009 Jim helped produce a second one, for Mount Ashland and the Siskiyou Crest. Based on the popularity of the first two brochures, Jim is completing a third brochure that will be ready for the 2014 flower season, this one for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Jim has also been one of the unfailing volunteers from the Siskiyou Chapter who are maintaining the Southern Oregon University Herbarium (SOC). For three years he spent one afternoon a week working in the herbarium, verifying identifications, and annotating herbarium sheets with updated nomenclature. He’s currently taking a hiatus while the university is remodeling the Science Building, but he will undoubtedly be back working there when the dust settles.

Jim is also an avid gardener, and since about 1980 he has been growing mostly native plants. He grows them from seed collected in the field. He now harvests seeds from his own native plants, which he spreads in his garden, gives to friends, and makes seed packets that are sold at the 4th of July flower show. Although most native plants do not require watering in the dry season, Jim has created a gravity flow water system for those that do and also for his summer vegetable garden. He pumps this water out of a sump in his cellar into storage tanks in his green house, from which it can flow out through plumbing that reaches all parts of his large garden.

Lest you think that Jim’s only a plant nut, he does have other interests and activities. He is a fine woodworker, and over the last forty years he has made a large number of items that help furnish his home. He is a home winemaker, and has been making a variety of different wines since 1983 from grapes he purchases. Ten years ago he took up the violin again after not playing it since high school days, which was a long time ago. He is a member of a small string ensemble in Ashland that rehearses weekly and performs once a year for the public. He also plays duets or trios occasionally with some of his musical friends.

For all the years of support Jim has given NPSO and his many contributions to knowledge about the native flora of Oregon, we would like to honor him as a Fellow. — Marcia Wineteer, Kristi Mergenthaler, Sasha Joachims, Julie Spelletich, Pete Gonzalves, and Frank Callahan, Siskiyou Chapter.

Cindy Talbott Roche

Through our associations with Cindy as editor of Kalmiopsis, the three of us (Kareen Sturgeon, Frank Lang, and Frank Callahan) have come to know her as a valued friend and colleague, and we enthusiastically nominate her to be a Fellow of the Native Plant Society of Oregon. Cindy completed her last issue of Kalmiopsis (Volume 20) in June 2013 and turned the reins over to the new editor, Hope Stanton, at the Annual Meeting in Baker City. The time has come to honor Cindy for her contributions to NPSO.

When Cindy asked me (Sturgeon) to write an article for Kalmiopsis three years ago and, subsequently, to join the editorial board, I hadn’t the faintest notion of what was involved in pulling together an issue of this annual journal. In contrast, Lang had served as the journal’s first editor (1991-1993) and, in 2004, Cindy invited him back as a member of the editorial board. When articles were in short supply both Franks pitched in to help: Lang and Roché coauthored a plant of the year article in 2008 and another article with Callahan in 2013. Callahan recently published his fourth article in Kalmiopsis. From our combined experiences, we have come to appreciate the brilliance with which she brought to life each beautiful issue of our society’s signature journal. For thirteen years, she worked tirelessly to fill the issues by (as she describes it) “trolling for articles” at meetings, on the NPSO listserve, from Bulletin programs and NPSO field trips.

In 2000, she joined then-editor Linda Ann Vorobik to produce Volume 7 and Volume 8, which was the Festschrift for Ken Chambers. First as co-editor, then in 2003 as sole editor, she introduced several format changes, including a color cover. Never one to be tied to a desk, she edited fourteen issues of Kalmiopsis on a notebook computer, often proofreading the galleys while on bicycle tours and backpacking trips. Of course, rarely, if ever, does an article come to an editor polished and ready for publication. What we found most amazing about Cindy was her remarkable talent for working with contributors, tactfully cajoling, humoring and encouraging them to clarify their thoughts and find their own voices. Cindy’s distinguished and intelligent mark is on every one of the 60 articles, 50 book reviews, and 25 tributes to Fellows she edited during her tenure. Cindy was born in Lewiston, Idaho and, for the first 10 years of her life, she lived on a 40-acre farm with a big garden, fruit trees and an assortment of animals including chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and a milk cow, which she learned to milk by the time she was five years old. Because her older brother wanted to be a farmer, the family moved to a 400-acre farm in mountainous northeastern Washington, north of Spokane. This move started a chain of events that brought botany into her life.

After graduating from high school she worked on the Colville National Forest as a fire lookout, then fire fighter while attending Washington State University (WSU). In 1978, she completed a BS in Forest Management with additional coursework that qualified her for a position in Range Conservation. As a forester trainee, she observed that Range Conservationists worked with other plants besides trees, which was much more interesting than “getting the cut out.” (At that time, the Districts did not employ any botanists, so this was as close as one could get to botany.)

As Range Conservationist, she was responsible for grazing permits, rare plant surveys and noxious weeds. After five years, she returned to WSU and, in 1987, completed an MS in Range Management with emphasis on invasive exotics (Centaurea species, a.k.a. knapweeds and starthistles). She married Ben Roché, Jr. in 1988 and continued working at WSU Cooperative Extension writing PNW Extension Bulletins on noxious weeds, illustrating the lab manual for the range plants course, assisting with applied research, and giving talks to user groups. She wrote over 35 PNW Extension Bulletins on Class A and B noxious weeds, illustrating them with her own line drawings and photos. After five years this position lost funding and she started a PhD program at the University of Idaho Weed Science Department on the biology of Centaurea solstitialis and Crupina vulgaris, completing the degree in December 1996. That same year, Ben retired from WSU and they moved to Asotin, Washington. Ben died the following year. In 1997-98, Cindy was employed as a post-doctoral Research Associate at UI and WSU and, in 1998, she moved to Medford, Oregon. She spent parts of the next two years in Barcelona, Spain, working on a research project on the origins of the invasive Mediterranean winter annual Crupina vulgaris, which has populations in Oregon, Idaho, California and Washington.

Cindy joined NPSO in 1998 when she moved to Oregon, attending Siskiyou Chapter meetings and hikes. She served as Siskiyou Chapter president in 2009-10, designed the Siskiyou Chapter T-shirt featuring gray pine, and gave talks about grasses in Oregon and wildflowers in Lapland (from a backpacking trip). She helped organize the 2012 Annual Meeting in Selma, for which she also led a field trip and illustrated wine glasses with Calochortus howellii.

Illustration is a thread woven throughout Cindy’s life. When Linda Vorobik was principal illustrator for the Flora of North America volumes on grasses, she enlisted Cindy as a contributing illustrator. Working with grasses led to a project that Cindy and her husband Bob Korfhage have been working on for the past four years, producing a Field Guide to Grasses of Oregon and Washington with the Carex Working Group (Barbara Wilson, Nick Otting and Dick Brainerd). Cindy and Bob are photographing many of the grasses, which she claims is definitely “not an easy task!”

Cindy and Bob, avid outdoors enthusiasts, were married on top of Siskiyou Peak. They ride a tandem bicycle (between 1500 and 2000 miles per year), backpack, and ski (mostly x-country, but some downhill). Bob, who is a retired BLM manager and resource specialist, started his career as a wildlife biologist and is also a member of NPSO. The two of them live in an energy efficient solar home on ¾-acre where Cindy raises a big garden and keeps a dozen or so laying hens, while Bob tends to five varieties of grapes and makes wine. They do some contract work for the Forest Service and BLM, and Cindy also curates the BLM/Forest Service herbarium at the Medford office. In November 2012 she accepted the volunteer position of Regional Coordinator for SW Oregon for the Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. One of us (Callahan), a decorated veteran, was recently honored with one of Cindy’s Quilts of Valor in recognition of his service in Vietnam.

The three of us are honored to nominate Cindy Roché as a Fellow of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, an honor she richly deserves. — Kareen Sturgeon, Cheahmill Chapter and Frank Lang and Frank Callahan, Siskiyou Chapter.

Bruce Newhouse

Bruce Newhouse has had a lifelong love affair with Oregon’s native plants, animals and habitats. As a long-time member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, Bruce has made major contributions to the conservation of Oregon’s flora while also helping to raise awareness of the importance of other native species and ecosystems.

Bruce’s early years were spent in the northern Willamette Valley. He grew up in Oregon City, Lake Oswego and Portland. His is a classic demonstration of the role of family in imparting a lifelong passion for the outdoors and nature. During fly fishing trips on the Clackamas River with his dad, his mom would come along to enjoy the plants, and Bruce started learning some native ferns and wildflowers. (He keeps a few wildflowers from a patch of woods near McKay Creek in Hillsboro that were pressed by his mom in her late teenage years.) As a teenager Bruce and his dad skied on Mt. Hood in the winter and during the summer he day hiked and backpacked in the Cascades. He began learning as many Willamette Valley plants and mountain wildflowers as he could using Leslie Haskin’s “Wildflowers of the Pacific Coast” and Elizabeth Horn’s Wildflowers 1: the Cascades. Both books are still on his bookshelf.

At home Bruce’s grandmother got him interested in vegetable gardening, and he remembers her crying upon seeing the twinflower (Linnaea borealis) transplanted by his mom to a flower garden because it reminded her of her childhood in Sweden. Bruce’s mother instilled in him her passion for house plants, knowledge that was to be useful in college when he became the “plant doctor” for others in his dormitory who brought him their ailing plants.

In the early 1970’s Bruce majored in Landscape Architecture/Environmental Science at Oregon State University. He took botany classes from Bill Denison and many classes in forestry and wildlife biology before graduating in 1977. In 1978 he worked as a Resource Specialist for the Multnomah County Outdoor School at Camp Collins on the Sandy River, then landed a job in Grants Pass working for the Josephine County Planning Department. During that time he drove all over southwest Oregon in his 1962 VW Bug, exploring mountain roads. Budget cuts forced a job change to the City of Springfield Planning Department in 1981 where he worked until 1989 when he “retired from government service” and joined with friends on a contract to survey plants on every roadside in Lane County. Bruce became the botanist for the crew; thus began his career as an independent consulting biologist.

After the county road project Bruce began working full time as a natural resource consultant. In 1992 he co-founded his consulting business (with Dick Brainerd and Peter Zika), Salix Associates, and has done assessments and surveys on hundreds of sites and many thousands of acres of habitats in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. Dick and Peter moved on to other pursuits while Bruce expanded Salix Associates and his areas of expertise beyond plants to fungi, birds, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies – just about any organism one might encounter in the wild – and applied this knowledge to producing detailed and high quality site analyses.

In the mid-1990s Bruce helped found the Carex Working Group (CWG) with a group of like-minded sedge-lovers (a.k.a., crazy people!) and was a CWG member until 2008, when he elected to focus solely on Salix Associates work. With CWG he helped co-author “Field Guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest.” Bruce took many of the photographs and did most of the design work for the book.

Among the botanical highlights Bruce has experienced as a consultant were his discovery in 2012 of the only population of suncups (Taraxia ovata) known to exist in the Willamette Valley and in 2013 of Oregon’s only known population of many-headed sedge (Carex sychnocephala) on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In the early 1990’s Bruce became involved with the Emerald Chapter of the NPSO, becoming its chapter president. He served as State President of NPSO from about 1999 to 2004. He also was a member of the NPSO’s State Committee for developing policy on native gardening which was adopted by the State Board. Most of Bruce’s activity has been on a variety of Emerald Chapter committees: coordinating the Invasive Ornamentals list; working with the Native Gardening Awareness Committee to produce booklets on native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers; coordinating (with Charlene Simpson, a 2001 NPSO Fellow) the Lane County rare plant review preceding each triennial ORBIC update; and co-authoring the book “Vascular Plants of Lane County” with Charlene and others. Bruce served as coordinator for the 2008 NPSO annual meeting in Eugene. He has led numerous NPSO field trips and he has presented shows on native plants and pollinators for several NPSO chapters and many other organizations. Through all these activities he has raised awareness and appreciation for native plants and their role and importance in Oregon’s natural habitats.

Bruce has applied his energy and enthusiasm for plants, wildlife and science to a wide range of activities beyond NPSO. He is a member of the Oregon Flora Project Atlas Committee and continues volunteer work for OFP. In recent years he has donated thousands of field photographs of Oregon plants to the Flora Project. He has assisted with setup and expert plant ID at the annual Mount Pisgah Arboretum Wildflower Show for nearly 20 years. A passion for all things fungal prompted him to co-found in 1999 the Cascade Mycological Society with his wife Peg (and one other person). They now serve as CMS’s display coordinators for the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show each October. Just a sampling of Bruce’s other activities includes Chair of the Stewardship Technical Advisory Committee of the Friends of Buford Park; one of the original members of the Eugene-Springfield Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association; an area leader in the annual Eugene Christmas Bird Count since the early 1990’s; and certified Master Gardener specializing in native plant gardening.

Bruce credits many people as his botanical mentors, including Ed Alverson, Tanya Harvey, John Koenig, Rhoda Love, Nick Otting, Charlene Simpson, Scott Sundberg, Dave Wagner, Barbara Wilson and Peter Zika.

At home in Eugene, Bruce nurtures a lush garden of locally-native plants and their associated pollinators. He enjoys playing piano, wine-tasting, hiking and sharing life with his wife Peg and their cat Mr. Biggie.—Richard Brainerd, Corvallis Chapter.