Meeting Programs

Evening meetings of the Gila Native Plant Society will be held throughout the fall, winter and spring on the third Friday of the month  at 7.00 p.m. in Harlan Hall, second floor, Room 219, corner of Alabama and 12th Streets, on the Western New Mexico University campus. Free and open to the public. Refreshments following the program.

Friday, May 17 – Mesquite: Tree of Life

The Gila Native Plant Society’s meeting on May 17th will feature a presentation by botanist Richard Felger entitled “Mesquite: Tree of Life” inspired by his work with native crops. Richard evokes the significance of mesquite:

“A mesquite seedling sends a deep root down through a ground sloth pie, or maybe it was an elephant and only 13,000 years ago.

It is the end of the 19th century, Apaches have been driven out and nobody knows how good mesquite tastes, or how to prepare it.

It is 2040 and hot and dry, and half the world is growing mesquite and big sacaton.

Let’s talk about mesquite past, present, and future.”

Richard Felger: I was first a marine biologist and got into cactus, orchids, and lizards after eight years of age. It is always a privilege to study and write about new aridland food crops, botany, and ethnobiology—here in the upper Gila Region, the Sonoran Desert, and deserts worldwide. My wife Silke Schneider and I live in Silver City with many plants and animals. Check out his website:

Gabriel Feldman and Asher Gelbart milling mesquite with a hammer mill


May will be our last evening meeting until September, but field trips are starting up. Check the field trip page under Events.

Our March 15th meeting featured a presentation by Ronald Parry entitled “Moths of the Gila National Forest and Vicinity.” As Ron explained, the Lepidoptera is an order of insects that includes both butterflies and moths. Many people are familiar with butterflies because of their beauty and their presence during daylight hours. Unlike butterflies, moths are little appreciated since they are largely nocturnal. This is unfortunate since many moths are beautiful and their biology is equally interesting.  More information on the moths of the Gila region can be found at Ron’s website:

Male Ectypia clio

For those interested in following up on this fascinating topic, Ron also suggested the following websites and books:



Basic Techniques for Observing and Studying Moths and Butterflies by

William D. Winter, Jr., 2000  (Available from The Lepidopterists


Moths of Western North America by Jerry A. Powell and Paul A. Opler,

University of California Press, 2009.