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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

California Native Plant Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Land Resources Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

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: CNPS is helping make the home gardener more environmentally friendly with our online tool, Calscape, found on our home page. Our citizen science initiative, the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, is locating and helping rare plants across the state. Recently, we successfully petitioned for the first plant in nearly a decade to be added to the California Endangered Species list, the Livermore tarplant, known to only two populations in the East Bay. 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.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

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.