March Monthly Meeting

Event details

  • Thursday | March 14th, 2024
  • 06:00 PM
  • Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336

Welcome New Members
Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF) Drive
Old Business:
- Voting Matters
- Officer Reports
New Business:
- Nominating Committee (Elected Officer Nominations for 2024-25 Season)
- Appointed Officer Opportunities for 2024-25 Season - See Wagon Boss
- Volunteers Needed to Staff Cathedral Rock Closure (Feb 28 - April 13, 2024)

---- Break for Refreshments ----

Featured Speaker:  Wendy Hodgson

"Pre-Columbian Agaves in the Southwestern United States: Rediscovering Lost Crops among the Hohokam and other Arizona Cultures."

Pre-contact agriculturists cultivated at least six once overlooked domesticated agave species in the modern Arizona landscape associated with pre-contact agricultural features, such as rock structures. Because of the longevity and primarily asexual reproduction of these agaves, relict clones have persisted to the pre-sent day, providing an opportunity to study pre-contact nutrition, trade, migration and agricultural practices.

Our research suggests that pre-contact farmers selected desirable attributes, initiating domestication processes that resulted in discrete lineages. These agaves are distinct from Southwest US and northern Mexico wild agaves and Mesoamerican wild and domesticated species. Additionally, the remnant clones present a rare opportunity to examine domesticates virtually unchanged since they were last cultivated prehistorically. These discoveries underline the need to view landscapes and some plant species from a cultural, rather than ‘natural’, perspective and discern potentially overlooked species. Protecting and understanding the distribution, and ecological and cultural roles of these plants require interdisciplinary collaboration between botanists, archaeologists, federal agencies and Indigenous Peoples

Wendy Hodgson has lived in the Sonoran Desert for more than 50 years. She holds a B.S. in wildlife biology and an M.S. in botany. She began working at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix as an assistant to famed agave expert Dr. Howard S. Gentry. Today she is the Herbarium Curator Emerita and Senior Research Botanist at the Garden in Phoenix where her research focuses on the Agave family, floristics with a special emphasis on the Grand Canyon, Southwest rare plant species and Sonoran Desert ethnobotany. Hodgson has extensively researched Sedona’s rare domesticated Agave species in collaboration with the Forest Service and expert archaeologists. She is an advocate for community science, particularly the involvement of Indigenous Peoples in the study and conservation of plants and their habitat.