California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

August 2012

Hello from the New CNPS Executive Director

Dan GluesenkampAfter just three weeks in my new job I am probably starting to sound like a broken record, telling friends and colleagues, “It’s a dream come true.” I’ve loved the California Native Plant Society since discovering the organization at a Santa Cruz wildflower show in 1980s. I have depended upon CNPS resources and expertise for a couple decades --first as a student seeking to understand California’s marvelous flora and later as a habitat restoration professional working to preserve it. Now I get to work closely with the brilliant CNPS staff, a diversity of CNPS partners, and an amazingly dedicated board and chapter council. Best of all, I get to connect with thousands of experts and aficionados who make up the 33 CNPS chapters and who know the secret locations of California’s best wild gardens!

This is an exciting time to be part of CNPS. As our Society approaches its 50th birthday we can celebrate some inspiring successes. For example, in 1965 native plant gardening was a revolutionary concept; today native plants are widely promoted by municipalities and water agencies tasked with reducing waste and providing clean water.  Development projects that in 1965 would have been rubber stamped must now avoid or mitigate impacts to native plants and habitats, thanks to thousands of hours contributed by CNPS conservation advocates. In 1968 G.L. Stebbins started a card catalog of rare plants, a resource that has grown into the science-driven California Rare Plant Ranks, developed with Fish and Game and used by professionals across California to plan conservation action and protect California’s wild treasures. The list of successes goes on and on. Individually each is a remarkable achievement; in aggregate they comprise a revolution.

Of course, we still face many great challenges. My job, our job, is to celebrate and preserve these hard-won gains while organizing to meet the challenges we face today. I hope you will stay involved, and bring your good ideas and your energy. Most of all, I hope you will bring your friends! I look forward to seeing you at a chapter meeting or plant sale soon.

Carnivorous Plants in Meadows and Fens

CNPS Veg staff explore Darlingtonia californicaThe CNPS Vegetation Program has been working on multiple field projects this year in desert, grassland and wetland habitats. Most recently, we initiated a pilot watershed assessment project in both the San Bernardino and Plumas National Forests focusing on plant community surveys and stream health within fens and meadows. The most striking and intriguing plants we found in the Plumas National Forest were two carnivorous species, roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) and California pitcherplant (Darlingtonia californica). Generally in the Plumas, these plants are found in the same fen but do not grow together. One explanation for their separation is that the pitcherplant tends to grow in clumps over a thatch of dried stalks, creating a solid ground cover. Although these carnivorous plants absorb nutrients from other living organisms, they also photosynthesize. Thus, dense stands of pitcherplant may be unfavorable for the smaller sundew due to the lack of light. The roundleaf sundew is often found growing together with Sphagnum ssp. and other mosses. This co-occurrence may also support the hypothesis of light competition, since mosses and sundew are similar in size and stature and typically do not shade each other.

Continue reading here.

Cypress – A Rare Natural Community

Santa Cruz Cypress. Photo by G. MonroeFor the past year, the CNPS Vegetation Program has been working with volunteers to produce a fine-scale map of cypress stands throughout the state.  Why the interest and focus on cypress? There are 11 species of cypress (Hesperocyparis spp.) that occur in California, seven of which have been assigned a California Rare Plant Rank of 1B (rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere). These include Santa Cruz cypress (H. abramsiana), Tecate cypress (H. forbesii), Gowen cypress (H. goveniana), Monterey cypress (H. macrocarpa), Piute cypress (H. nevadensis), pygmy cypress (H. pygmaea), and Cuyamaca cypress (H. stephensonii). Baker cypress (H. bakeri), is currently on a watch list because it is broadly but infrequently distributed throughout the state.

Continue reading here.

What Does a CNPS Chapter Vegetation Chair Do?

Veg sampling training This month we are highlighting the important work of chapter volunteers who take on the role of local vegetation chair. Each CNPS chapter has a vegetation coordinator position that works with their chapter members to develop vegetation sampling goals. These goals vary but often focus on a rare or threatened vegetation type in their local area.

Nicole Jurjavcic and Megan Keever began as co-chairs of the vegetation committee for the East Bay Chapter of CNPS (EBCNPS) in the summer of 2011. These positions offered them the chance to gain a greater familiarity with the flora of the East Bay and to engage with members at the local chapter level. As botanists working for Stillwater Sciences, Nicole and Megan spend their work days conducting special-status plant surveys, vegetation mapping, plant monitoring, and creating re-vegetation plans for restoration sites throughout California and the Pacific Northwest. As CNPS volunteers, they spend time hiking local trails and getting to know vegetation types near their homes while contributing to the collective knowledge about vegetation in their local community.

Continue reading here.

Help CNPS Win a Chase Community Giving Grant

Chase Community GivingThe California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is competing with charities nationwide for grants ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 from Chase Community Giving. CNPS members and fans can help ensure our success by simply voting for CNPS through the Chase Community Giving program on Facebook and the Chase Community Giving website from September 6-19, 2012. The link to vote will be provided on our Facebook page beginning September 6. Chase customers are automatically awarded two extra votes, and can use their "Customer Appreciation Votes" to vote for the California Native Plant Society directly at between September 6-19.

CNPS 2012 Conservation Symposium

Saturday, September 8
Santa Cruz, CA

CNPS will present its annual Conservation Symposium, a day-long series of talks and discussions addressing a focus topic held each September during our fall Chapter Council meeting. This year, speakers will present a retrospective of how plant species and plant communities have been addressed in Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) over the past 20 years. Presentations will include recommendations for improving plant community conservation in future NCCPs, and tips for plant advocates interested in engaging in NCCP processes in their Chapters. For further details click here.

CNPS Education Grant Proposals Due Sept. 30

Each year the CNPS Educational Grants Committee awards grant funds to graduate students whose research supports the mission of CNPS. The committee reviews proposals from students and awards grants to those whom the committee believe best meet the criteria and complete the application as directed. Awards average around $500 (depending on the interest rates for the year) and are viewed as partial financial support and encouragement. Go to and scroll down to CNPS Educational Grants Program: Guidelines for Applicants.

Upcoming Nature Journaling Workshop

Nature Journaling with John Muir Laws
Nov. 8-9, Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

John Muir Laws journaling workshopLearn to improve observation skills, ask relevant scientific questions, and explore the natural world through nature journaling. Two days of sketching, art instruction and nature study could jump start you into keeping your own nature/travel journal or re-inspire you to pick up your sketchbook again. We will examine different ways of keeping journals and develop habits to keep you actively sketching.  Learn how to paint a five minute mini-landscape and an animal on the move using graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor, all of which are well suited for easy sketching outdoors. Bring your favorite sketching supplies. Coyote Hills is a wonderful place for observing birds and plants, even in November.

Participants can expect to learn:
•    Tricks for drawing plants
•    How to draw birds in situ
•    To master the mini 5 minute landscape
•    How to incorporate sketching into your daily life

Cost: CNPS Members $295; Non-members $320. To register or to read the full workshop announcement, click here.

Chapter Events

Marin Chapter

Last Wildflowers of Summer, Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Sunday, September 2, 9:15 AM

Meet at 9:15 am on the front steps of the Bear Valley Visitor Center, Pt. Reyes National Seashore. We will wait 15 minutes there for any late arrivals then leave a note of the destination with the desk-staff. The trip will be to a site yet to be selected on the Seashore that has native plants still in bloom. We will stay out until after lunch, probably until 3pm. If the weather is unfavorable the trip will be postponed. Call leader Doreen Smith if you have any questions at 415-479-7888.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter

Program Meeting: Native American Land Management- How to Make Your Garden, the Soil, and the Creatures All Get Along!
Tuesday, September 11, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Presenter Kat High, Director of the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, teaches traditional land management- a symbiotic relationship. The hope is that all people will become aware of the environment and take that understanding from the outdoors to our patios and our yards. Sepulveda Garden Center, 16633 Magnolia Blvd., Encino.

Channel Islands Chapter

Native Plant Talk: Planting the Right Natives
Thursday, September 20, 6:30 - 9:00 PM

Presented by Greg Richardson, Plant Right Program. Many of us like to include native plants in our gardens for a variety of reasons. However, some plant species available at our local nursery may not be suitable due to their invasive nature, particularily if they are not native to the area in which you live. These "invasive exotics" are troublesome because they have been escaping the garden landscapes and invading the natural environs and outcompeting the native species. There will be refreshments. Bring native plants from your home gardens to exchange or give away. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. 805/682-4726.

El Dorado Chapter

Program Meeting: Steps for Creating a Meadow on a South-facing Slope
Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 PM

Placerville landscape contractor Verne Pershing has created many California native plant gardens in recent years. Tonight he will present a case history of a meadow he made by planting one thousand plugs and liners, using primarily plants he and local grower Steve Dowty had grown.  Learn what is required to create a sustainable meadow on a challenging south-facing slope with porous granitic soils. The meeting location is in the Bethell-Delfino Agriculture Building, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville. Chapter meetings are free and the public is always invited to attend. Meetings usually includes a show-and-tell about a particular plant, any announcements of chapter happenings, and the speaker presentation. Refreshments are served and you get a chance to mingle and meet interesting new friends.

Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Daniel Gluesenkamp
  • Sara M. Taylor
  • Deborah Stout
  • Jennifer Buck-Diaz
  • Nicole Jurjavcic
  • Megan Keever
  • Josie Crawford
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Asha Setty- Daniel Gluesenkamp
  • Scott Batiuk- Sara Among the Darlingtonia
  • G. Monroe- Serotinous cones of Santa Cruz Cypress
  • Betsy Harbert- Veg sampling training
  • John Muir Laws - Workshop participants


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