2016 Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Posted in Festivals

The Lost Coast Interpretation Association is proud to host this year’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival, September 11th, at the Redwood Playhouse in Garberville.  The fun starts at 4 pm with sounds of  Swing & Gypsy Jazz performed by Gayle and Michel Forner, food, drinks and silent auction. This year’s award winning film collection  Adventure with a Purpose starts at 5 pm.  There will also be door prizes and a raffle for a $600 24 speed mountain bike!

Tickets are $20 Adults/ $15 Seniors & Students, and are available at King Range Books or through[email protected] . All proceeds go to support the many environmental educational programs of LCIA such as the Lost Coast Environmental Education Resource lessons for local schools, scholarships for our Youth Interpreters, Summer Adventure Camp, hikes, lectures, and our Education Center with Native Garden.

We hope to see you there!

Native Plant Workshop

Posted in Uncategorized

Come learn about the native plants of the area and beyond. Saturday, May 16th from 9 am – 3 pm at the Shelter Cove RID building, 9126 Shelter Cove Road, in Shelter Cove. A great selection of native plants from local nurseries will be for sale.

Talks include:
* Dr. James P. Smith, emeritus professor of Botany from Humboldt State University, will speak about grasses and his new book, Field Guide to Grasses of California.
* Cheryl Lisin will show you 10 great natives for the garden. She is a landscape designer and author of native plant articles appearing in the Redwood Times and Redheaded Blackbelt.
* Monica Scholey will discuss the effects of invasive plants and lead us in a Pampas grass pull. Monica runs the Mattole Restoration Council’s native plant nursery and teaches environmental education.

There will also be short presentations, information tables, a plant ID walk along the Shelter Cove Upper Nature Trail, kid’s activities and more.

10:00 BLM’s Phenology Project – Leysika Parrott
10:20 Ten Great Natives for the Garden – Cheryl Lisin
11:15 Invasives awareness campaign launch
11:30 Invasive weed talk and Pampas Grass Pull – Monica Scholey
12:45 All about the California Native Plant society
1:00 Grasses in California – James P Smith
2:00 Plant Identification walk along Shelter Cove’s upper nature trail – Pete Haggard

Plant sales, information tables and kid’s activities will be ongoing throughout the day.
For more information, email [email protected]

native plant workshop

Whitethorn And Its Kin

Posted in Flora, Nature Articles

IMG_2417_editedNot everyone likes whitethorn, which can form impenetrable, thorny thickets and take over your land. But when it’s in bloom, the honeybees and other pollinating insects love it.

Whitethorn is really a ceanothus. Its scientific name is (Ceanothus incanus). It blooms at about the same time as its relatives, blue blossom or California lilac (Ceanothus thyrseflorus) and tobacco brush (Ceanothus velutinus). If you happen upon the three species blooming together (for example, on land that was clearcut 10 or so years ago) the racket from the buzzing insects is amazingly loud.There are over 60 species and sub-species of ceanothus growing in California, some of them rare or endangered. Whitethorn, blue blossom and tobacco brush are three abundant species found here in SoHum. All three shrubs can grow up to 20 feet tall and look like small, multi-trunked trees. The flowers are small, about an eighth of an inch, but grow in clusters which makes them showy. Ceanothus leaves are distinctive in their veining pattern, running laterally through the leaf rather that radiating out from a central vein like a feather. When the weather dries up in late spring, ceanothus leaves shrink in size and become leathery, which helps them survive the dry summer season.

Whitethorn flowers are a creamy off-white and the leaves are grey-green with whitish undersides. Blue blossom flowers are , you guessed it, blue. They range from vivid, dark blue to palest blue, and sometimes white. Their green leaves are from ¼ to 2 inches long, depending on how much sun exposure and moisture the plants get. Tobacco brush has white flowers and shiny, somewhat sticky dark green, fragrant leaves. If you put any ceanothus flowers in water and rub them gently, a light suds forms which can be used for soap, shampoo or body wash.

IMG_4287_edited-1Ceanothus species have nodes on their roots which fix nitrogen into the soil. This makes them pioneer plants especially adapted to growing in soils that have been disturbed, such as roadbanks or clearcuts. As pioneers, they not only nitrify the soil, making it more hospitable to other plants, but also provide a sheltering ‘nursery’ for tree seeds to take hold. Once these seeds grow up into oak or fir trees, they shade out the ceanothus species and the conversion from shrubland to forest begins.

Because it attracts so many beneficial insects, whitethorn is a good shrub for the garden and looks fantastic with masses of California poppies growing at its base. It takes well to pruning, which not only keeps it in bounds, but keeps it looking healthy and vigorous. But watch out – those thorns can be painful!

Bull Kelp Grows at an Amazing Rate

Posted in Flora, Nature Articles, Uncategorized


A-bull-kelpHow amazing that something can grow up to 150 feet in one year! Bull kelp and giant kelp are the fastest growing seaweeds in the world and can grow up to 2 feet per day. Bull kelp is especially amazing because it is an annual; germinating, growing, reproducing and dying all within a one-year cycle. Bull kelp grows in large patches called kelp forests off-shore from San Luis Obispo County to the Aleutian Islands, preferring colder water than the giant kelp. It is the predominant ‘big’ seaweed along the Lost Coast.


Growing from sporophytes in the spring, bull kelp forms holdfasts that act like roots clinging tight to rocks and cobble on the ocean floor. Holdfasts must be strong in order to hold on in the rough and tumble subtidal zone. From the holdfast extends the stipe, a hollow stalk that grows all the way up to the surface. At the surface the stipe enlarges into a gas filled floatwhich keeps the seaweed upright. As many as 60 blades grow from the top of the float, absorbing nutrients and sunshine, and forming the brown ‘rafts’ of seaweed that we see from the shore or a boat. Spores form in patches on the undersides of the blades and in fall, sink to the ocean floor. By winter, bull kelp is spent. Storms wash it to shore where we humans pick it up and twirl it around like a bull whip, hence the common name.


On the surface, kelp forests calm the water and provide resting and feeding areas for sea otters, gulls, herons, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Kelp forests soften the force of waves against the shoreline, helping to reduce beach erosion. Underwater, kelp forests provide shelter and habitat for young fish, snails, crabs, sea stars, anemones, and many other creatures. When washed ashore in winter, the decomposing kelp provides food and shelter for scavengers like crabs and beach hoppers, which in turn are food for shorebirds and other life.


Bull kelp is full of vitamins, minerals and protein. It was used by the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians for food, fishing gear and storage containers. Kelp must be harvested responsibly to protect it from depletion and to preserve its ecosystem. Because it requires clean, clear water to thrive, polluted coastal runoff and warming oceans due to climate change threaten the species.


The California Coastal National Monument encompasses all the rocks and small islands off the 1100 mile California coastline, protecting their scenic beauty and wildlife habitat. The Coastal Monument is part of America’s National Conservation Lands. It is here that bull kelp thrives.



Cheryl Lisin is a landscape designer and native plant enthusiast who lives in Whitethorn.


Manzanita Blooms in Winter

Posted in Uncategorized

IMG_3891One of California’s most beautiful shrubs, manzanita, blooms in winter. If you happen to be near a blooming manzanita plant, you are likely to see and hear Anna’s Hummingbirds, who stay for the winter rather than flying south, feeding on the flower nectar. Outliers can bloom here in Southern Humboldt as early as December and as late as May, but most bloom in February and March. Blooming at a time of year when food is scarce, manzanita flowers are an important source of pollen for butterflies, bees and other insects. Once pollinated, the fruit or berries, which resemble little apples form. The name manzanita means little apple in Spanish. Berries are a good source of food for birds and bears. If you come across bear scat it is likely to be full of manzanita berries (unless the bear just raided your apple tree!)


HIMG_1658umans have uses for manzanita as well. The fresh berries can be eaten or made into cider. Dried berries make a nutritious meal or porridge. A tea made from the leaves is said to help reduce poison oak rash. Recipies and information on traditional uses by native people as well as modern uses can be found by searching on line. In the garden, manzanitas make strikingly beautiful specimens, especially if pruned to reveal their sinewy branches .


The genus name for manzanita is Arctostaphylos, which means bear berry in Greek. There are over 40 Arctostaphylos species native to California. Three species grow here, Arctostaphylos manzanita, common manzanita, Arctostaphylos columbiana, hairy manzanita, and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, kinnikinnick which is a ground hugging species. Both common manzanita and kinnikinnick have deep green leaves. Hairy manzanita has fuzzy grey-green leaves and fuzzy stems. Manzanita flowers are usually pink, but some plants have white flowers. All have striking smooth red-brown bark that peels in mid-summer to reveal green bark underneath, which quickly darkens to red-brown. Manzanitas are in the heath family, Ericaeae, and are related to madrone, huckleberries, blueberries, salal, rhododendron, azalea, heath and heather.


IMG_3825Usually found in chaparral, grassland or forest margins, manzanitas are sun lovers. Like their close relative, the madrones, they will reach toward the suinlight if they become shaded out by other plants. Older manzanitas can reach 20 feet tall. They sometimes sweep the ground, rooting where the branches make contact with soil. Many forested ridges in the area have old dead manzanita branches lying about, indicating that the ridge was once grassland. Due to lack of fire, the manzanitas were able to move in to the grassland, only to be shaded out by the fir and tan oak forest that moved in later. A great place to see hairy Manzanita is up on the Chemise Mountain trail, just south of the overlook, in the King Range. Here they are growing with knobcone pine and chinquapin, which will some day shade out the manzanitas.


Manzanitas are such abundant bloomers and all around great plants – its no wonder the Anna’s hummingbirds don’t fly south for the winter.


Photos and text by Cheryl Lisin, a landscape designer and native plant enthusiast who lives in Whitethorn, Ca.


About Lost Coast Interpretive Association

We inspire passion for nature through programs designed to get people of all ages outside to enjoy, experience and learn about nature, as well as programs that bring nature inside the classroom and a Facebook page.

2019 Schedule of Events

LCIA's 2019 Schedule is now available. Check our calendar page to view or click the link to download or view the PDF. Learn More >>

Summer Adventure Camp

Summer Adventure Camp is a day camp where we bring children outside to experience nature.
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