Find Your Roots at the Antioch Dunes (2015)


Throughout February and March this year, wildlife biologists at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting their annual planting parties to plant seedlings of the endangered  Antioch Dunes evening primrose (Oenothera deltoides howellii) and Contra Costa wallflower (Erysimum capitatum angustatum), and the Antioch Dunes buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum psychical), the host plant of the refuge’s endangered Lange’s metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo langei).

ADEPrimrose_IMG_9664_smThese three plants are exclusively found at the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in Antioch, California, where years of sand mining at the Antioch Dunes has pushed these plants and the Lange’s metalmark butterfly nearer to extinction.

That’s why refuge staff need your help planting seedlings to bolster the refuge’s plant populations. In addition to the three dates below, refuge staff are open to special arrangements for groups of 10+ between now and March 31:

  • Friday, February 13th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, February 27th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 7th – 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Newcomers and veterans alike are welcome to participate, but children under 18 years must be accompanied by 1 responsible adult per 10 students. Volunteers are cautioned to wear layered clothing in anticipation of the unpredictable cold, wind, or listless heat; sturdy shoes/boots and long pants (jeans) for uneven terrain and spiky weed seeds; knee-pads; sun-protection (e.g. sunblock, sunglasses, hat) and plenty of water; and your lunch.

If you are interested in volunteering for the February/March planting parties, please contact Susan Euing (by email at or by phone at (510) 521-9716). If you leave a message, please leave your name, phone number and email address, and Susan will contact you as soon as possible to confirm.

For more details and directions, visit the refuge website:

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that writing about the Lange’s metalmark butterfly and the Antioch Dunes for Bay Nature magazine in 2005 was the genesis behind my children’s book, Sardis and Stamm. You can read more about the book – and order a copy for your shelves – here:

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