California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

January 2011

CNPS Children's Curriculum Now Available

Josie Crawford, CNPS Education Director
Nature Journaling Curriculum Now Available
The CNPS children's curriculum- Opening the World through Nature Journaling: Integrating Art, Science and Language Arts, by John Muir Laws and Emily Brueunig- is now available for free download here! This wonderful curriculum teaches children 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.  

CNPS Field Guide Project
Imagine if there were field guides for every place you wanted to visit. Imagine if there were local tree, bird, and insect field guides for every watershed, mountain, street, city, and school yard. Then imagine a big map on the web where you could find the field guides of your choice. Finally, imagine that third graders had created many of those field guides! What a wonderful world it would be.

The CNPS Education Program is excited to announce the launch of our new Field Guide Project. This project uses nature journaling as a springboard to create field guides for local areas that can later be posted on a web-based map for all to see. Schools, Scouts, nature centers, churches, and other groups can use our nature journaling templates to create field guides for areas and subjects of their choice. The children choose the subject focus - be it plants, mammals, rocks, invertebrates, or any other natural subject they are studying or interested in. The program encourages creativity as well as observational and recording accuracy. You don’t need to be a kid to make a field guide! Let’s all make one! The principal idea behind the project is that we get to know the natural history of our neighborhoods whether they are urban, suburban, or rural, and share that knowledge with others.

Rare Plant Treasure Hunt: Off to a Good Start

Amber Swanson, CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Coordinator
The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is off to a good start this year with several trips already planned in the desert. We will be searching for historic populations of rare plants, but also searching on lands that haven’t been previously been surveyed for rare plants. We may even find new species that have never been described before! According to Jim Andre of the Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, we can expect 5% of plants in under-surveyed desert areas to be under-described by botanists. To find out about upcoming trips go to or join our mailing list.

CNPS Chapters are also planning their own treasure hunts, whether to search for a specific plant or survey specific areas. Some treasure hunts are ongoing projects throughout the season and some are one day affairs. It doesn’t matter how you get involved, just get involved! The data you gather will improve our knowledge of rare plants in California and hopefully lead to their conservation. If you are planning a treasure hunt, let us know about it and we can help support you in whatever way we can. The Rare Plant Treasure Hunt is your way to volunteer hands-on in the field!   Call for Treasure Hunt Leaders in California Parks and Land ConservanciesAmber Swanson, CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Coordinator
The Statewide Rare Plant Treasure Hunt (RPTH) is looking for resident botanists, volunteer coordinators, and natural resource technicians from county, regional, state, and national parks and recreation areas, as well as land conservancies, to host and lead Treasure Hunts. In 2010 the RPTH had several park systems including Santa Clara County Parks, East Bay Regional Parks, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Santa Monica National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) coordinate and sponsor Treasure Hunts with great success. This is a great opportunity to engage staff and volunteers while collecting valuable data on rare plants.

Read what Tarja Sagar, Resident Botanist for the SMMNRA had to say about the Treasure Hunt:

Article Continued at:

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

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

The Call for Abstracts will open March 15!

Plan now to submit your abstract under one or more of the sessions below. Students are encouraged to submit abstracts and posters.
Climate Change
Planning Tools for Rare Plant Conservation
Rare Plants
Transmontane (Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran Deserts, Modoc, etc.)
Central Coast and Central Valley Conservation
Baja California & Cross border Issues
Impacts and Mitigation: Assessing Plants and Plant Communities
Land Management and the Conservation of Plants and Communities
Using Science to Increase the Success of Restoration Efforts in California
Plant Science
Invasive Plant Programs
Equal Protection for Plants & Protecting CEQA
Vegetation Mapping and Science
Vibrant Flora, Vibrant Folks – a diverse network working to conserve southern California’s rich botanical heritage
Northern California
Land Acquisition
Rare Plant Communities
Horticulture: Part of Conservation is Growing
Conservation and Renewable Energy Issues
Conservation on Tribal Lands
The Vital Role of Education and Research in Conservation

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 New Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Intern

Amber Swanson, CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Coordinator, and Duncan Bell, RPTH Intern

We’d like to welcome Duncan Bell to the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt program. He will be our intern for the 2011 field season in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. You may recall that Duncan was our grand prize winner for 2010, and now he will assist us coordinating Rare Plant Treasure Hunts, leading volunteers in the field and readying data for the California Natural Diversity Database. Duncan has a degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in Ethnobotany from the University of La Verne in Southern California. He has worked for the past two years for Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden doing botanical surveys and working in their herbarium. Duncan will be a great addition to our team.

Take a moment to read about what Duncan has to say about his experience with botany in the desert:

2011 Workshops

Contact Josie Crawford for more information. Further details will be available at

Jan 31-Feb 2
Vegetation Mapping - FULL
University of Redlands and surrounding field sites
Instructors: Todd Keeler Wolf, Julie Evens, and John Menke
Three day combination of lecture, computer lab exercises, and field exercises. Fees: CNPS members $665; Non-members $690
Feb 15
Rare Plants of the Central Valley
UC Davis
Instructor: Carol Witham
Fees: CNPS members $150; Non-members $175

March 22-23
California Rangeland Monitoring
Lower San Joaquin Valley
Instructor: Jennifer Buck-Diaz
Options for single day or 2-day.
1st day - Maintaining grassland biodiversity and basic plant ID. 2nd day - Grassland vegetation sampling using Relevé method. Fees: Day 1 - co-sponsored by NRCS and Defenders of Wildlife- $20 includes breakfast snacks and lunch. Day 2 - CNPS members $150; Non-members $175
April 25-27
Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations
Grass Valley
Instructor: John Willoughby
Three day combination of lecture and field exercises.
Fees: CNPS members $395; Non-members $420
May 3-4
Wetland/Riparian Plant Identification
Instructor: David Magney
Fees: CNPS members $295; Non-members $320 
May 5-7
Riparian Ecology and Restoration
Instructors: Bruce Orr and Amy Merrill
Three day combination of lecture and field trips.
Fees: CNPS members $395; Non-members $420

June 7-9
Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé
Ocean Song, Sonoma County
Instructors: Julie Evens, Deborah Stout
One evening lecture and two field days
Fees: CNPS members $325; Non-members $350
Fees include camping for two nights at gorgeous location and use of facility.

Sept 22-24
Legends of the Fall: Exploring the Clandestine Flora of Early Fall in the Eastern Mojave Desert
UC Granite Mountains Desert Research Station
Instructors: Jim Andre and Tasha La Doux
One evening lecture and two field days.
Fees: CNPS members $435; Non-members $460
Price includes lodging and all meals at the research station.

Note that some details, including price and exact locations, are subject to change.

Chapter Events

A Sampling from Around the State

Channel Islands Chapter
http://www.cnpsci.orgSecond Annual Native Plant Landscape Symposium
Saturday, February 12, 8:00 am- 4:00 pm (Registration opens at 7:30)
The Channel Islands Chapter of CNPS and the Camarillo Ranch Foundation are sponsoring the Second Annual Native Plant Landscape Symposium, Saturday, February 12, 2011 at the Camarillo Rancho House Barn, 201 Camarillo Ranch Road, Camarillo, California. Topics will include: Creating native meadow gardens; southern California native trees; water conservation, permeability and retention techniques in native plant landscapes; applying concepts from natural ecosystems to achieve sustainable landscapes; and "Digging Deeper"- exploring a wealth of resources available to the native plant gardner. Beverages, snacks, and gourmet lunch by Chef Carrie Clough will be provided. An enticing array of native plant books will be available for purchase (cash or check only) including books by speakers for purchase and autograph. To register, go to the CNPS Channel Islands Chapter website at Registration is due no later than February 5, 2011. Cost: $45 for CNPS Members; $60 for general public. For more information, contact Janet Takara.

East Bay Chapter
Mount Olympia at Mount Diablo State Park Field Trip
Sunday, February 13, 9:30 am

Gregg Weber will return to the canyons above Clayton to see many late winter flowers, with possible performances by sun, sky and clouds. Winter blooms to look for include two species of manzanita, violas, Nemophila, and some early tidy tips and Mt. Diablo jewelflower. This is a strenuous walk with a 2300 foot elevation gain on the way out, and all downhill on the return trip. The round trip distance is about 6 miles, so the trip will take 6-7 hours. Bring lunch and water, and be prepared for a wide range of temperatures. If there is a heavy rain the trip will take place on February 20 at the same time. For more information and directions please see

For Chapter Events in your area, please visit the CNPS Website at

Photo Credits

  • David Rosen, Boys journaling in grass
  • Children's field guide example drawn by Spencer Brown of Merry Byles-Daly's 4th and 5th grade class at Grass Valley Charter School
  • Amber Swanson, Pholisma arenarium (Sand Plant)
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the rare Conejo buckwheat, Eriogonum crocatum, CNPS list 1B.2
  • Amber Swanson, Duncan Bell in the Mojave Desert photographing the rare Eriastrum harwoodii ( Harwood's woollystar)
  • Stacey Flowerdew, Fritillaria pluriflora (Adobe Lily)
  • Jim Andre, Mountain Scene
  • Channel Islands Chapter

  • Josie Crawford, Amber Swanson, Duncan Bell, Tarja Sagar, Michael Chasse, Tara Hansen, Stacey Flowerdew, and Mark Naftzger.
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