California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

August 2010

CNPS Curriculum for Children Needs Reviewers

CNPS has developed an exciting new observation-based curriculum that gets children outside drawing and writing about nature. This fall, we plan to offer a working draft of the curriculum to a few teachers, group leaders, scout masters, and naturalists for review. Although much of this work has already been extensively field-tested, there are some new sections and arrangements of exercises that could benefit from review.

Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts
is a curriculum tailored for CNPS, by John Muir Laws and Emily Breunig. It is geared primarily towards children age 8 and up (grades 3 through 7). By completing games and exercises throughout the curriculum, children learn to become keen observers of the natural world through drawing and writing. Later, they employ these skills to assemble a field guide, make treasure maps, and write short stories and poems. These journal activities tie directly into the State of California’s science framework content standards as well as the visual and performing arts framework content standards.  

Many of you are familiar with the work of naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws. He has worked as an environmental educator for over 25 years in California, Wyoming, and Alaska.  He teaches classes on natural history, conservation biology, scientific illustration, and field sketching. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is an associate of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. Laws has written and illustrated books about the natural history of California including Sierra Birds: a Hiker's Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a reg ular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his "Naturalists Notebook" column.

Emily Bruenig served as associate director of education, editor, and writer at the California Institute for Biodiversity (CIB) from 2005 to 2010, and still helps to design and lead CIB's summer teacher institutes. She also teaches English at De Anza and West Valley Community Colleges in Silicon Valley.

CNPS is looking forward to making this wonderful work available for wide distribution in the fall. If you or someone you know would be interested in helping us review the draft curriculum before the fall release date, please contact Josie Crawford at Once released, the curriculum will be available for free and easy downloading here.

The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is Citizen Science that Works

The CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt teams botanists with amateurs to search for new and historic populations of rare plants across the state. Participants can survey for rare plants in areas with little history of botanical exploration, relocate historic (not documented in over 20 years) rare plant occurrences, and/or update known occurrences of high-priority rare plants. Up-to-date information on rare plants and their habitats are needed to inform conservation actions and to aid planning efforts. The current status of many rare plant occurrences is unknown, and thousands have not been documented for decades.
The first season preliminary results for the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt are in and they are stupendous! Here are some of the numbers (and they aren’t all in yet):
•    Volunteers and partner organizations updated approximately
     600 rare plant occurrences (populations) across the state.
•    Of these, approximately 70% were new occurrences (previously
     unreported populations)
•   Approximately 70% were List 1B (Rare, threatened and
     endangered in California and elsewhere).
•   An estimated 245 volunteers and partners contributed
•   These volunteers gave over 2500 hours of time to the project!
•    Over 20 chapters had participating volunteers.
Article continued here.

Educational Grant Proposals due September 30th

Each year The Educational Grants Committee reviews research proposals and awards funds from four sources. If you, or a student you know, are working on native plant related research, please read all the instructions carefully on our webpage at and apply before September 30.

CNPS 2012 Conference: Conserving and Restoring the Roots of California's Richness

Conference: Jan 12-14, 2012
Workshops: Jan 10-11
Public Day: Jan 14
Town and Country Hotel, San Diego

Proposed Sessions:

•    Climate Change
•    Planning Tools
•    Rare Plants
•    Transmontane Region
•    Central Coast and Valley
•    Baja and Cross-border Issues
•    Assessing and Mitigating project impacts
•    Land Management (includes fire and grazing)
•    Science of Plant Restoration
•    Plant Science
•    Invasive Plant Programs
•    Equal Protection for Plants and Protecting CEQA
•    Vegetation Mapping and Science
•    Southern CA region
•    Northern CA region
•    Land Acquisition
•    Rare Communities, Edaphics/Locally Rare/ Hot spots
•    Horticultural Sciences
•    Conservation on Tribal Lands/Ethnobotany
•    Education, Outreach, Citizen Science
We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Outreach Committee and Local (San Diego) Arrangements Committee. Contact Josie Crawford at for further information.

Preliminary Timeline
•    Call for abstracts and workshop proposals opens: Spring 2011
•    Call for abstracts and workshop proposals closes: Summer 2011
•    Registration and Preliminary Program sent out: Summer 2011
•    Early Registration opens: Summer 2011
•    Call for artwork and photographs opens: Early Autumn 2011
•    Call for artwork and photographs closes: Mid- Autumn 2011

Fall Workshops

For full details and registration for all workshops go to
Reduced or fee waivers are available for students and under-employed people. Please go to for more information or to apply.

Mojave Desert Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and Training 
Oct 9, 2010
Instructors: Amber Swanson and Joshua Tree National Park Staff
Joshua Tree National Park

CNPS and Joshua Tree National Park staff will offer free training to people who are interested in leading teams to search for rare plants. The next scheduled training will be offered in the Mojave Desert on Saturday, Oct 9th, from 9:30 am to 5 pm at Joshua Tree National Park. Go to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt webpage or check out the latest from our Mojave coordinator, Amber Swanson, in her Treasure Hunt blog. If you are interested in participating in the Treasure Hunt or you have questions, email us at
Legends of the Fall: Exploring the clandestine flora of early fall in the eastern Mojave Desert
Sept 28-30, 2010
Instructors: Jim Andre and Tasha La Doux
UC Granite Mountains Desert Research Center
First evening presentation followed by two field days.
Few botanists journey out in the late summer or early fall in search of colorful blooms of California’s desert plants. Yet the early fall bloom in the eastern Mojave Desert can be more reliable than the more popular spring blooms.  Approximately 10% of eastern Mojave annuals are considered “summer annuals”, species that germinate following the monsoonal cloudbursts of summer, grow rapidly, and complete the life cycle before temperatures decline sharply in fall.  In addition, many perennial species flower in early fall, particularly those of the Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Polygonaceae.  This course will introduce botanists to the ecology and taxonomy of the diverse flora of early fall in the eastern Mojave Desert, with special emphasis on rare or un ique species. Cost of workshop includes meals and dorm lodging for two days and two nights. CNPS Members: $435; Non-Members $460 

Negotiation Skills for Environmental Problem Solving
Nov 17-19, 2010
Instructor: Jim Nelson with special guests
UC Davis

Three days of classroom exercises and case studies. Environmental negotiations are often more complex than other negotiations due to their technical complexity, regulatory complexity, interest from many parties, and often, the emotional nature of the parties.. This workshop presents basic negotiation concepts (e.g., Fisher and Ury’s, “Getting to Yes” series) and specific environmental issue applications. Negotiation simulations and role playing are used to provide a fun and safe way to learn negotiation principles. In addition, everyone is encouraged prepare for upcoming (real life) negotiations during this course. This course emphasizes using principled negotiation approaches. The attendees are taught to recognize commonly encountered tactics and shown produc tive responses. Guest presenters will provide examples of successful negotiations. The skills taught in this class help many reduce anxiety about negotiating while helping to achieve successful outcomes. Course materials provide useful tools for future negotiations. CNPS Members: $395; Non-Members: $420 
Plant Taxonomy Teacher Training
Nov 20-21, 2010
Instructor: Dr. Glenn Keator
Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Park, Berkeley

This course is for people interested in teaching a plant taxonomy course at the junior college or extended education level. Potential teachers should be familiar with California flora and its plant families and have taken one or more semesters of Plant Taxonomy or Systematics. We will not be teaching plant taxonomy in this course but will teach how to teach a course using the syllabus provided by Dr. Glenn Keator. Cost includes lunch. CNPS Members: $100; Non-Members $125 

Chapter Events

A Sampling from Around the State

South Coast Chapter

Wednesday, September 8, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
California Native Plants: Gardening with the Senses
with Bart O'Brien
Bart O' Brien, Director of Special Projects, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, is co-author of California Native Plants for the Garden and Care & Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens. Regardless of where you live or your level of horticultural expertise, Bart will help you discover the joys of growing California's remarkable plants. California native plants are ideally suited to bringing all five senses – touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight – to home gardens. This program offers Bart’s favorite species and cultivars for local landscapes. Katy Geissert Civic Center Library, 3301 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90503.

Friday, October 1, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Native Plant Sale featuring Native plants of the Palos Verdes Peninsula
Native Plant Sale – Members Only Preview Night

(SCBGF Admission Required: $15 in advance or $20 at the door)
South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274.

Saturday, October 2, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Native Plant Sale featuring Native plants of the Palos Verdes Peninsula
Native Plant Sale - Open to the Public

South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter

Tuesday, September 14, 7:30-9:30PM
Getting Native with Presenter Frank Simpson
Presenter Frank Simpson will demonstrate how to create attractive, water-efficient landscapes with native plants. Free.  Refreshments will be served.  Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino.

Sunday, September 12, 8:45 AM-12:30 PM
Santa Monica Mountains

Weed Wars Restore Habitat. A weed warrior gets the ripgut and thistles out so native grasses, plants, and oak seedlings will again provide food and shelter for the animals of the mountains. Credit for community service. Call 818-591-1701 x203 for directions.

Sunday, September 26, 10:00AM-noon

Bluffs Ramble to the Sea Walk
2-miles ontrails with great views, dip your toes into the bay, look for dolphins, sea lions and observethe fire-following recovery of native plants. Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Hwy.  Call 818-782-9346 for info.

Native Plant Sale - October 2 & 3
10am to 4pm
Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino (near Hayvenhurst).
Sale items include seeds, shrubs, perennials, trees, irises, mints, sages, berries, hummingbird and butterfly plants, plus books, posters, and t-shirts. Displays, snacks, and drinks are available too. Throughout the sale, experienced CNPS gardeners can assist you in selecting plants that are suitable for your particular requirements! Featuring FREE Gardening Talks Saturday - 1:00pm BOB PERRY, landscape architect and Professor Emeritus, has written three color illustrated books on landscape plants. In his most recent work, Landscape Plants for California Gardens, he emphasizes ideas regarding the use of native plants for water conservation and sustainability. Sunday - 12:00pm EMILY GREEN, LA Times "Dry Garden" columnist will recount the ten-year evolution of a native garden that runs on native water. For more information or to volunteer call 818-881-3706 or visit

Napa Valley Chapter

Wednesday, September 22, 6:30-8:30 PM
Gardening for Wildlife
Presentation by Phil Van Soelen

Phil Van Soelen is a native plant expert, college professor, accomplished author, native plant nurseryman and long time lover of wildlife habitat gardening with California natives. His presentation and photographs are not to be missed! Skyline Park Social Hall, Napa.

Sunday, September 26, 2:00-4:00 PM
Martha Walker Garden 25th Anniversary Celebration!

We will be dedicating our new, artist designed South Entry Gate to garden founders, Ralph and Evelyne Ingols. Join us to celebrate this festive occasion! The event will be from 2:00 to 4:00PM in the garden. Ralph Ingols is planning to join us for the event. Sparkling wine and tasty bites will be served. Skyline Park, Napa.

Friday, October 1, 7:00-9:00PM
Plant Sale Member Preview

For CNPS members & friends, a wine tasting and silent auction the evening before the Fall Plant Sale. Come to enjoy with friends and get first choice of plant purchases. RSVP for the member preview here.

Saturday and Sunday, October 2 & 3, 10:00AM to 4:00PM
Fall Plant Sale

Fall is the absolute best time to plant California Natives. Hard to find native plants will be ready to go into your garden. Over 1,000 plants will be available for sale. The sale will be held in the CNPS nursery in Skyline Park in Napa. For more information, click here. For questions, click here.nursery in Skyline Park in Napa.  For more information, click here.  For questions, click here.

Sacramento Valley Chapter

Saturday & Sunday, September 25 & 26, 10:00 AM- 2:00 PM
Bring Nature Home Fall Plant Sale
Fall is the time to cultivate your spring garden. But don’t just garden, create habitat! Shop a vast selection of local native flora at the California Native Plant Society Sacramento Valley chapter’s fall plant sale, “Bring Nature Home.” Choose from native plants of the American River Parkway tended by the chapter’s volunteer-run Elderberry Farms Native Plant Nursery, plus dozens more natives from other specialized vendors. Visit the accompanying exhibit, “Connecting Plants and Their Places,” to see where they grow in regional parks and wildlands, why they are the foundation of our natural communities, and how they are threatened. Plant advisors will help you choose so your own garden can be a refuge for native plants and animals t hat are losing ground all around you. Shepard Garden and Arts Center, McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Nature store, gardening books, crafts, gardening tools, field guides, kids’ activities will be available.
Download flyer (PDF 1.4M)
For Chapter Events in your area, please visit the CNPS Website at


Photo Credits
  • Melissa Nelson, Amber Swanson and young volunteers
  • CNPS Education Program
  • Lucy Clark, Amber Swanson keying plants
  • Amber Swanson, rare Arctomecon merriamii leaves
  • Jim Andre, Mountain Scene
  • Jim Nelson, Workshop Class
  • Stacey Flowerdew, Matilija Poppy
  • Chris Lewis, Praying Mantis on Hibiscus

  • Josie Crawford, Amber Swanson, Tara Hansen, Stacey Flowerdew, and Mark Naftzger
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