California Native Plant Society

Rating: 5 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Environment

Location: 2707 K Street Ste 1 Sacramento CA 95816 USA

Mission: The mission of CNPS is to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants.
Results: 2013 finds CNPS adding its first international chapter in Baja California to bring total chapter count up to 34 regional chapters throughout the California Floristic Province and hiring its first full time Horticulture Program Director. Donate online by going to our homepage, cnps.org.
Geographic areas served: California
Programs: Vegetation science, Rare Plant science, Horticulture science, Education, and Conservation. 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.

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

The California Native Plant Society works to preserve the flora of our wild spaces, and in today's world of invasive weeds, that work is so important. People are becoming complacent and accepting of the hodgepodge of invasive weeds in our wild places and are often not even aware that they are not native. I've been tending an ecological restoration plot on West Cliff Drive, a scenic coastal walk in Santa Cruz popular with locals and tourists alike. When I chat with passers by, I find they are not even aware that the smothering blanket of ice plant is an invasive exotic plant from South Africa - planted in a bad mistake made many years ago. Along West Cliff Drive there are virtually no other plants growing on the bluffs. Without native flora, many native insects can't breed. Without insects - no birds - it's all a web that starts with soil, and includes all living things - take away any key component and we can have ecological disaster. CNPS champions our amazing and varied flora - over 7,000 native species - and seeks to protect areas where rare plants grow. I've volunteered with CNPS for a few years now and stepped up to local chapter board a couple years ago. I enjoy the guided hikes, the propagation group and the great resources about gardening with natives. It's a wonderful organization full of hardworking and committed individuals, and I encourage all people living in California to join.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Improve our outreach! Some people have misconceptions about CNPS and many have not yet heard of it.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

My work with CNPS began some three years ago, when my curiosity and interest in California native plants put me in contact with local CNPS members conducting field trips in the Sierra foothills region.

At first, my activity consisted of attending field trips and meetings of various speakers, and occasionally helping out on service projects like invasive plant removal. However, my activity with the group soon escalated as I discovered how serious and dedicated a group of people was the local chapter, and in less than a year I found myself assisting in a summer-long project with two professional botanists on an extensive lava cap plant community survey throughout the Eldorado National Forest, a scientific project that led to my own photo project on native plants in our region that has now had three exhibitions of the work.

While my work and respect for the local group and individuals deepened, I came into direct contact with the state organization of CNPS, and soon discovered that my experience in the local chapter was a reflection of the mission and goals, as well as dedication, of the state organization and staff, that have a proud history of informational, scientific, and advocacy work on behalf of California's native flora. From educating gardeners throughout the state about how to incorporate native plants into their landscape, to directing and carrying out sophisticated computer mapping surveys of California native vegetation in conjunction with various state agencies, to publication of scientific as well as popular books on native flora, CNPS provides a broad support structure for people working professionally "in the field" as well as people like myself, working in their own backyards and local forests or deserts to protect, identify, use or grow our native plant heritage.

Without CNPS, a great deal more of California's often rare and unique plants would have been lost to ignorance, development, carelessness and lack of understanding and education. But because of CNPS, California is able to share with the world it's uniquely diverse floral heritage with future generations. There is no other organization in our state that covers such a range of activity, both general public and scientific, on behalf of our native flora, and CNPS is in fact a model for similar work in other states and regions in our nation, perhaps the world.

Our plants, and our future, would be even more endangered without it.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Assist in finding additional funding sources to expand its already extensive work, and do additional public outreach to inform and educate the public about its unique and valuable work.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This is an almost 50 year old conservation organization which strives to protect native plants throughout California. It is science based and has developed a listing of rare and endangered plants which are used by many other people and organizations. It has a large volunteer base. It has well respected programs to teach children about nature. There are 34 local chapters and many of those have free educational programs to teach people about California native and why it is important to protect them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would get a communication consultant to help them better tell their important story.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

CNPS is the one and only scientificly based plant conservation organization in CA. CNPS has earned great respect from the regulatory agencies on its listing of endangered plants in CA. CNPS will soon celebrate 50 years of educating the general public and the regulators about native plants. CNPS is also the second oldest plant society in the country. Without preserving native plants and their habitat all the doe eyed animals in the world would not survive but animals have a better lobby than plants! I knew very little about native plants when I first became involved. CNPS has taught me about native plants and was instramental in my deciding to remove my lawns and plant native gardens. I have been thrilled with the results and all the birds and other critters which call my garden their home now.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

CNPS provides the support I need to grow my landscaping business with native plants of California, many of which are endangered. The public has shown increasing support to landscaping with the incredible diversity of species native to California, and the results are spectacular. It is a revolution of how we manage the land, and I see great future for the society. Their field trips have inspired me and connected me with valuable networks in the profession I am passionate about. They are very active with their members and I appreciate their workshops and outreach efforts.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More carpool opportunities for field trips.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As a botanist and Environmental Consultant in California, I have worked with CNPS information and programs for over 20years. Their work to classify native CA plants and communities and evaluate threats and risks is outstanding. What CNPS does is essential to applying CA's legal protection to natural resources through the CEQA and federal regulations such as the NEPA and the ESA. CNPS also has good programs for public awareness, landscaping with natives, habitat restoration, and many more. The close connections between local chapters and state CNPS works well to ensure the entire state and all audiences have the most useful help.

I've also worked in other western US states and can compare the high quality of CNPS very favorably with what exists ( or doesn't) elsewhere. During my time working with CNPS, I've seen their publications go from text only computer print outs of lists and tables (in the 1980s) to color photo filled books of great value to both lay and professional users. Nothing is glossy just for cosmetic value; these quality publications serve both professionals and gardeners, and help hikers identify the rare plants encountered. Considering the myriad habitat types and large number of vegetation resources in CA, this undertaking requires enormous efforts and close attention.

I don't know how Environmental Consultants, botanists and other plant scientists could conduct their work in CA without the vast resources of CNPS. I know that our rare plants and plant communities would be greatly diminished, many extirpated or extinct, without the advocacy and programs of CNPS.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Unsure - CNPS seems to move ahead of new needs.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a member of CNPS for many years. They have inspired me to make over my garden with native plants. CNPS provides any and all the information I could possibly need, first hand or through links to relevant partners. Books, maps, seminars, lectures, regular meetings, dedicated nurseries are all available to members and often to the community at large. Annual native garden tours are a wealth of information not only for help in choosing appropriate plants but also for ideas for infrastructure utilizing solar, eco-irrigation/graywater, insect and fauna habitat etc. One has immediate contact and conversation with local experts in these fields.
Their educational outreach in the realm of local political, community and land-use concerns is most comprehensive and effective.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand their outreach which I try to do at every opportunity.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

CA Native Plant Society's plant sales and educational events are helping a lot of Californians including myself learn about and plant California native plants. Great way to save water and money as a homeowner. Great for the environment and native birds of California! Their work helps to counter the the effects of the disappearing landscape brought on by development.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have more plants sales and demonstration gardens.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I had a lot of fun on a CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and learned so much. It is great to know that a hike can contribute to environmental conservation in California.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

CNPS provides a full range of information about native plants, for everyone from the novice newby to the experienced professional. They support and promote the kind of on-the-ground scientific research that's desperately needed in today's rapidly changing world. I've learned a lot by being a CNPS member, and I'm glad to share my knowledge with others in the CNPS community.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The native plant society provided practical pictures and information to help you grow and enjoy our California native plants. The native plants are important so that we can provide habitat for our native animal species. Now I have tons of life teaming in my yard.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?