We R 4 Butterflies

​Help our local Forests and their inhabitants!

Volunteers are needed for a pilot project, We R 4 Butterflies, in the San Bernardino National Forest near Lake Hemet. Local well-known butterfly specialist, Dr. Gordon Pratt, is working with the U.S. Forest Service to restore habitat that has burned in recent wildfires.

 The first stages of this project will begin in the Spring.

Removal of invasive plants and native seed collection will be the first tasks.

Seed collection trips will be continual, and finally seed planting will occur.

This will happen over the following months and into next Fall.

Volunteers will be provided with all equipment. We will spatially distance and all must wear masks.

To be placed on the interest list:

Please contact Dr. Gordon Pratt: 



I really want people to understand the environmental values of different plants.  Sugarbush is one of the best trees for nocturnal roosting for birds.  I have favorite sugarbushes on my property that are used by hundreds of quail every night.  As the sun sets the quail gather in these trees and I can hear them squabble over positions in the large bushes.  They use the same trees each night.  Some nights the quail will wake up and argue with each other.  Photos of bush are above. 

Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata) is a xeric adapted sumac in the cashew family.  The white flowers which bloom in spring are highly sought after by many butterflies.  The sweet edible fruit are enjoyed by California sister butterflies (Adelpha bredowii) in early to mid-summer, which is interesting since this butterfly rarely if ever visits flowers.  Because of the dense foliage and large leaves of this sumac this bush is favored by many birds including quail for nocturnal roosting. 

Plant of the Month - February 2021 - Sugarbush

Gordon Pratt.


​ Dr. Gordon Pratt did his undergraduate in Biology at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and his Masters in Molecular Biology isolating mRNA from female blowflies at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, Canada.  He later did his Ph.D. on the systematics of the dotted blues (Euphilotes) at the University of California at Riverside.  These butterflies potentially evolved in sympatry through food plant shifts on to buckwheat species with different bloom times.  From there he went to the University of Delaware to do a postdoc on sympatric speciation through host plant shifts in Enchenopa binotata (treehoppers).  In the mid-1990s Dr. Pratt returned to the University of California at Riverside and continued his research on butterflies and their food plants.  During his time at the University of California Pratt taught an extension course on butterfly ecology, studied insect and plant diversities on military installations, and endangered butterflies of southern California.  In 2013 Pratt retired from the University of California but still works on butterflies and their food plants of southern California.
 Pratt, G. F.  2008.  Buckwheat Blues: Part 1, Introduction and Rita, Spalding’s, and Small Blues.  American Butterflies 16: 4-32.

Pratt, G. F. & J. F. Emmel. 2008b. Buckwheat Blues: Part 2 Dotted Blue and Square-spotted Blue Complexes.  American Butterflies 16: 4-29.

Pratt, G. F. & J. F. Emmel. 2010. Sites chosen by diapausing or quiescent stage Quino Checkerspot Butterfly, Euphydryas editha quino, (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) larvae.  Journal of Insect Conservation 14 (2): 107-114.