Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy 90th Birthday, Pearl Burns, and Thank You!

 Pearl Burns turned 90 on September 7, 2012.  I was privileged to attend her birthday celebration in Albuquerque. Her family had created a room filled with memories of her life, catagorized by each decade beginning in 1922. Family photos and cultural icons marked the nine decades of her life.  Pearl was trained as a nurse.  Pearl raised a family in Albuquerque. She continued her nursing career at Presbyterian Hospital.  Always an active outdoors woman, she hiked with a group of women that called themselves The Meadow Muffins and The Happy Hoofers.  She climbed Fourteeners in Colorado into the new millenium. Pearl is our celebrated champion of New Mexico wildflowers here in Central New Mexico.  She has co-authored books on the wildflowers of the Sandia Mountains. She began leading Wildflower Walks in the Sandia Mountains as a volunteer guide for the USDA's Forest Service.  She's responsible for keeping us looking at the ground each spring and summer as we walk along New Mexico trails and highways. Visitors to our wildlands call out: "What is THAT flower?" "Look at the color!" "Oooooh, smell that aroma. "  Pearl's voice can be heard:  "Careful where you step...that's a Northern Rock Jasmine."  "Look at the involucre to tell the difference between an aster and a daisy." "Please, don't pick wildflowers or we will not enjoy them next season!" 

Pearl on the South Crest Trail where a sign honors her

Pearl explaining how Lambert's Locoweed differs from Milkvetch

Pearl has been leading wildflower walks for four decades in the Albuquerque foothills, and in the Manzanita and Sandia Mountains to the east of Albuquerque.   In 2009, she trained several of us to be Interpretive Guides for the Forest Service summer walks in the Sandia Mountains.  Her love of wildflowers, her local wildlands knowledge along with her training as a biologist at UNM (after a career as a Nurse) has been invaluable to so many volunteers in Friends of the Sandia Mountains and other visitors to our New Mexico wilderness areas.  She still can out-hike me.  Her last Wildflower Walk for this year was on a hot morning August 25, 2012 along Juan Tomas Rd. just north of NM Hwy 337 in the Manzanita Mountains just southeast of Tijeras. Here are some photos from that wildflower walk and some of the flowers found here:

Pearl  explains to visitors what grows here

Rough Menora

Many-flowered Gilia


Apache Plume
Purple Aster
Pearl points out Foothills Paintbrush
Cutleaf Germander

Dotted Gayfeather

Dotted Gayfeather


Crest-rib Morning Glory

Fringed Sage
Ground Cherry (flower)
Ground Cherry (fruit)
Curly-top Gumweed
Narrow-leaved Four O'Clock
Rocky Mountain Sage
Short-rayed Coneflower
White Heath Aster
Hairy Golden Aster

Wild Licorice
White Prairie Clover
Woolly Mullein (first year)
Toothed Poinsettia
Small-flowered Guara
Showy Golden-eye (left) and Snakeweed (right)

Thank you, Pearl, for sharing the beautiful world of wildflowers with so many others who walk these trails!

1 comment:

  1. Such delicate looking flowers and yet they grow in such harsh conditions. People should be more like that.