California Native Plant Society

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Preserving and Protecting California Native Plants and Their Habitats

Eastern Sierra Nevadas view

The native plants of California are unlike any other in the world. From the richly colored expanse of spring wildflowers in the desert to groves of Monterey cypress on the coast, California's wild gardens are immensely diverse and awe-inspiring in their beauty. They define the landscape and offer Californians a sense of place, pride and stability, and they provide habitat for endemic wildlife species that exist no place else on earth.

Since 1965, CNPS has worked hard to protect California's native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations. CNPS actively promotes the use of science in land use and management decisions through our Online Rare Plant Inventory and essential reference book: Manual of California Vegetation, 2nd Edition, both of which are the most advanced resources available for identifying and managing critical habitat in California. We work closely with decision-makers, scientists, and local planners to advocate for well-informed and environmental friendly policies, regulations, and land management practices.

Originally formed in 1965 in the east bay region, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide non-profit organization of amateurs and professionals with a common interest in California's native plants. Our nearly 10,000 members work to promote native plant appreciation, research, education, and conservation through our five statewide programs and 34 regional chapters in California. Through membership in CNPS, Californians of all walks of life are able to support and engage in opportunities to experience and learn about native plants and their habitats, gardening and landscaping with native plants, restoration of habitat areas, and conservation issues throughout the state.

Mission and Vision:

The mission of CNPS is to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants. Our vision includes a future where:

  • Californians actively support the Society's mission, which is accomplished through education, plant science, advocacy, land stewardship and native plant gardening.
  • Californians value native plants, plant communities and healthy ecosystems as essential to the well being of all living things.
  • Californians can experience native plants throughout the state, in natural environments and human-made landscapes.
  • California’s extensive and interconnected natural habitats are preserved.
  • CNPS is the leader for providing reliable information on California native plants and plant conservation. Comprehensive information about California’s flora and vegetation communities is available throughout the state for conservation and educational purposes.
  • CNPS’s leadership influences personal ethics and actions, as well as public policy for native plant protection.

Local Chapters

Numerous CNPS activities are organized at the chapter level where the varied interests of local members directly influence programs and projects. Common activities include plant sales, field trips, demonstration gardens, and speaker programs. Many chapters also engage in weed eradication, conservation projects, rare plant monitoring, plant community sampling, and educational outreach. Each activity brings members together with shared goals under the CNPS mission. See the Local Chapter pages for more information.

Statewide Programs

Long term programs work both independently and interactively with chapters. These programs include rare plant science, vegetation science, conservation, land stewardship, horticulture, education, and publications. See Program/Project links at the top of the page for more information. Statewide programs are under responsibility of the Executive Director in the central Sacramento office as well as specific program directors. Additional organization administration activities are also conducted out of the Sacramento office.

Chapter Council and Board of Directors

CNPS chapters and programs send representatives to quarterly council meetings. These meetings promote communication and coordination between groups. Council meetings are often the source and final approval for CNPS policies. The Chapter Council elects its own officers as well as the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for the financial, administrative, general business, and sustainability of the Society. Please access current chapter meeting and other administrative information by clicking here.



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