Earth Day with the Friends

Since 1970, April 22 has been celebrated annually as “Earth Day” – a day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet”, and the City of Claremont’s establishment of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is a fine example of investing in our planet by protecting the habitat, wildlife, and watershed of our hillsides.

The Friends of the Wilderness Park are celebrating Earth Day in two ways:

Celebration at Shelton Park on Sunday April 24

Sustainable Claremont is hosting an Earth Day Celebration in Shelton Park (the first in-person Earth Day celebration since 2019), and the Friends will be there! Stop by our booth and learn more about the Wilderness Park, what the Friends do, and how you can be involved in caring for the Park. We look forward to seeing you!

Date: Sunday April 24, 2022
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Where:  Shelton Park, Claremont (corner of Bonita Avenue & Harvard Avenue)

Trash Pick-up Kits

Last Saturday, at our Second Saturday event, the Friends gave out Trash Clean-up Kits containing gloves and trash bag with instructions to visit the Wilderness Park or another park and pick up trash and an encouragement to pick up trash every month.

Earth Day Trash Pick-up Kits waiting to be picked up.

All the kits were gone in 45 minutes. Some Park visitors picked them up for their children, and one pre-school teacher took some for her class. Why don’t we all take a few minutes to pick up some trash?

Help with Monarch conservation July 23 – August 1!

If you’d like to help with Monarch conservation, and you like to take photographs, please consider participating in the upcoming 5th International Annual Monarch Monitoring Blitz!

How does this work and how does it help Monarchs?

From the Media Release:

“For 10 days, the Blitz invites people across North America to look for milkweed plants and survey them for monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies. This information will help researchers identify priority areas for monarch conservation actions….

“The yearly snapshots of monarch and milkweed abundance help us better understand the dynamic between the summer generations and their breeding habitat. Since both monarchs and milkweed are found across North America during the time of the Blitz, we absolutely need the public’s help during this special week.”

How can I participate?

  1. First, go to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website, and register for an account.
  2. Head out with your camera to look for milkweeds and Monarchs!  In the Wilderness Park, all the milkweed plants we are aware of are in the Johnson’s Pasture area, but you might see Monarchs elsewhere.
  3. If you see a Monarch or milkweed, take a photo, login to the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website, upload your photo, fill out the form (location, habitat description, stage or Monarch, milkweed species), and submit. That’s it!

Some possibly useful information:

Monarch Identification:

For information about identifying Monarchs and their life stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult), check out this excellent Video on Monarch Identification from the Monarch Joint Venture.

A fifth instar Monarch caterpillar on Woollypod Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) together with a Longhorn Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes basalis). ©Jon Moore.

Milkweed Species:
There are only two milkweed species in the Wilderness Park:

    • Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
      As you might guess from the name, it has narrow leaves, which are green and not fuzzy
    • Woolypod Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa)
      This milkweed has very large, fuzzy gray leaves

Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) in Johnson’s Pasture. ©Nancy Hamlett.

Woollypod Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) in Johnson’s Pasture. ©Nancy Hamlett.

If you have any questions, please contact us at We will be looking forward to your milkweed and Monarch observations!

Blooms, Bees, and Butterflies

A Saturday walk in Johnson’s Pasture revealed that a banner year for Mariposa Lilies! Do go up and check them out:

Lots of other flowers are blooming – Cardinal Catchfly (Silene laciniata ssp. laciniata), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Wavyleaf Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum), Heart-leaved Keckellia (Keckiella cordifolia), Sticky Monkey Flower (Diplacus aurantiacus), Four-spot and Wine-cup Clarkia (Clarkia purpurea), Leafy Fleabane (Erigeron foliosus), Deerweed (Acmispon glaber), Spanish Clover (Acmispon americanus var. americanus) – which is neither Spanish nor a clover, Stinging Lupine (Lupinus hirsutissimus) and, of course, California poppies (Eschscholzia californica). Bees and butterflies were busily visiting the flowers, including Yellow-faced Bumble Bees (Bombus vosnesenskii) on Deerweed, a tiny unidentified native bee on Leafy Fleabane, a Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melons) on Deerweed, and a Reakirt’s Blue (Echinargus isola) – unusual in our area – on Spanish Clover.

California Buckwheat and two native milkweeds (Asclepias fascicularis and Asclepias eriocarpa) are just starting to bloom, so come back soon to check them out. Both are magnets for lots of interesting insects.

CHWP Bumble Bee potential endangered species candidate

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended that four species of native bumble bees be granted “candidate species” status as endangered  under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Among them is Crotch’s Bumble Bee (Bombus crotchii), which was recently spotted in the Wilderness park, nectaring on Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria).


Crotch’s bumble bee (Bombus crotchii) is already considered Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); it only persists in 20% of its historic range, and has declined by 98% in relative abundance (its abundance relative to other species of bumble bees). This bee historically occurred from the northern Central Valley to Baja Mexico, but currently persists primarily in southern coastal habitats and some areas to the north and southwest of Sacramento.

If you would like to support the nomination of the Crotch’s Bumble Bee to Endangered Species candidate, please email the Fish & Game Commission at, preferably by June 7. The vote will occur on June 12.

For more information, please see the Xerces Society press release.