California Native Plant Society

Research Grants


Updated CNPS grant proposal form now available:
View form | more info

CNPS Chapter Grants
The following CNPS chapters also offer grants to students at the university level: Alta Peak, Bristlecone, East Bay, Milo Baker, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, and Shasta. Please check their websites or newsletters for more information.

CNPS Educational Grants Program

The CNPS Educational Grants Program was created in 1983 to award funds to students and researchers studying California’s native flora. The seven funds were created and added to over the years through the generosity of several major donors, some of whom are anonymous, in honor of some of our Society’s most dedicated members and leaders. Five of the awards are endowed funds. The Educational Grants Committee determines which type of grant is appropriate for each proposal funded. All grant proposals must be postmarked by September 30th each year.

The Doc Burr Grants: One of the first Educational Grant funds, established in 1983, was the Doc Burr Graduate Research Fund to honor Horace K. "Doc" Burr, a founder and Fellow of the Society and director at large for many years. Doc Burr grants are awarded to graduate students conducting research that promotes conservation of California’s flora and vegetation.

The Karen Callahan Scholarship Award: established in 2014, this award is offered to students engaged in study and/or research relating to native plant conservation, restoration, systematic, or ecology. Such study or research must be directed to plants that grow in Placer or Nevada County habitats. Preference will be given to: a) topics concerning rare plants or communities; b) students from Placer or Nevada Counties; c) students attending Sierra College; California State University, Sacramento; or, UC Davis. We honor Karen Callahan for her extraordinary efforts over the years as a volunteer in the Redbud Chapter of CNPS—especially, her monitoring, protecting, and educating others about rare plants and rare plant communities. Undergraduates must use this form (Word, 108kb) and graduate students must use the online form provided for all other grants.

The Hardman Native Plant Research Award: Established in 1994, in honor of Gertrude R. Hardman, who was for years involved with the Botany Club of the Academy of Science in San Francisco, this grant was initiated by Doris Hoover. We offer the Hardman Native Plant Research Award for promising academic and applied botanical research involving California's native plants, especially rare plants. For this grant, we also welcome research leading to elimination of invasive exotic plants from the state's flora.

Natalie Hopkins Award: Established in 2007, this grant honors Natalie Hopkins, lifelong supporter and mentor of women in plant sciences and 2nd president of the Santa Clara Chapter of CNPS. Natalie Hopkins Awards are given to women students and researchers pursuing native plant studies.

The Helen Sharsmith Grants: Established in 1983 by Carl Sharsmith, this award pays memorial tribute to his wife, Helen, the author of The Flora of the Mount Hamilton Range. We award Helen Sharsmith grants to students or non-students involved in research on California's native flora.

The G. Ledyard Stebbins Award: CNPS established the Stebbins Award in 1986 to honor Dr. Stebbins for his many years of dedication to the Society and to students of genetics and evolutionary botany. Each year one Stebbins Award may be given to a graduate student for an outstanding proposal for research in evolutionary botany.

Joan Stewart Educational Grant Award: Joan Stewart has served California Native Plant Society in many capacities for over forty years. A lifelong joy for Joan has been to mentor and to encourage students in their research. As part of her desire to support student research, Joan chaired the Educational Grants Committee from 2005 to 2014. The Joan Stewart Educational Grant Award, established in 2014, is an educational grant to be awarded to the student whose California Native Plant Society (CNPS) grant proposal is deemed by the CNPS Educational Grants Committee to be an excellent research project contributing critical information necessary for the conservation of California native plant species and their habitats.


CNPS Educational Grants Application Guidelines

All applicants must fill out and submit the online proposal form and send at least one letter of recommendation. The Submit button at the bottom of the form sends it directly to CNPS. Following submittal you may continue to edit your proposal through Sept 30. The letter of recommendation may be from your project advisor, a teacher, or a professor familiar with your project. Letters sealed by authors and mailed should be sent to the address below and received by September 30. Letter authors may email the letter of recommendation to with Letter of recommendation for [name of student] in subject line. Applicants may not email the letters.

Educational Grants Committee
California Native Plant Society
2707 K Street, Suite 1
Sacramento, California 95816-5113

All applications and letters of recommendation must be received by September 30. Grant applications are reviewed by a committee using a point system to determine that all requested information is included in the Grant application and that the project is consistent with the mission and vision of CNPS. Funding for CNPS Educational Grants is limited and priority is assigned to those grant applications that are complete and clearly demonstrate consistency with CNPS’ mission and vision.

Beware that the link to go back and edit your proposal is only available when you first submit your proposal. A white box appears to say your "response" has been recorded and if you hover over the Edit your response link it prompts you to save the link to go back and edit. This is the only time and way to get back in to the site to you proposal. Please SAVE THE LINK!


Field research


Proposals are reviewed by members of the committee during October and November using these criteria: completeness, technical quality, consistency with CNPS goals, intended use of funds, and likelihood of completion. We will notify applicants of the committee’s recommendations by late November and the projects receiving funding will be announced at the December Chapter Council meeting.


Grant Amounts

Funds available to the committee, number of proposals, and merit of the proposals determine amounts awarded. The amounts awarded in recent years have been generally between $300-$1,000.


For questions or problems, contact Josie Crawford at . CNPS appreciates your interest in the Educational Grants Program and encourages your participation and support.



2013 CNPS Educational Grant Award Recipients

Congratulations to all our 2013 Educational Grants recipients. Special awards go to recipients with named endowment funding.

Name Project title Award
Kai Battenberg Do we also need to save Frankia to save an endangered California native plant Ceanothus ferrisiae? Hardman Native Plant Research Award
Amanda Everett Elucidation of the Phylogenetic Systematics of Pogogyne (Lamiaceae) using Next Generation Sequencing G. Ledyard Stebbins Award
Erika Gardner A Vascular Flora of the Kiavah Wilderness in the Scodie Mountains, Kern County, California Helen Sharsmith Grant
Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman Understanding endemism in desert herbs: systematics of the genus Johnstonella (Boraginaceae) G. Ledyard Stebbins Award
Nicholas Jensen A Flora of Tejon Ranch, California Doc Burr Grant
Karen Tanner Microtopography effects on performance and persistence of rare desert plants in the context of renewable energy development Doc Burr Grant
Laney Widener Assessing reproductive isolation and genetic divergence in coastal California Castilleja (Orobanchaceae) species complex G. Ledyard Stebbins
Stefani Brandt Habitat variance of phytotelm arthropod communities in Darlingtonia californica
Kimberly Drewiske Forest understory plant diversity in the Marin Municipal Water District and implications for community assembly
Ellen Esch Effects of altered precipitation and invasion on coastal sage scrub
Will Fourt Assessing the Distribution of the Ponderosa Pine in Henry W Coe State Park
Matthew Goslin Environmental drivers of the distribution of Carex nudata, a river ecosystem engineer
C. Matt Guilliams Petals, Pollinators, and Plantings - Teaching the value of native plants through lessons on plant morphology, ecosystem services, and restoration
Lizette Guzman-Zaragoza Evolutionary history of the genus Arctostaphylos (Ericaceae) via whole chloroplast genome sequencing
Julia Harencar Calochortus tiburonensis reciprocal transplant
Andrew Hickey The effect of abiotic environmental factors on Ephedra viridis seed characteristics
Keng-Lou James Hung An experimental test of the effects of pollinator diversity loss on the reproduction of California native plants
Akana Noto Interactions between California marsh plants across a latitudinal gradient: the effect of environmental conditions and local adaptation
Meagan Oldfather Population Dynamics of Ivesia lycopodioides var. scandularis in the White Mountains, CA
Natalie Rossington Distribution and Local Adaptation of the San Luis Obispo County Serpentine Endemic Layia jonesii
Brian Smithers Mechanisms of Species Range Shift in Bristlecone pine-dominated Sub-alpine Forests
Thomas Stoughton Evolution and Systematics of Claytonia lanceolata sensu lato: Untangling Polyploid Origins in a Challenging Species Complex
Joseph Walker Phylogenetic study of the genus Lasthenia
Kristina Wolf Small mammal and herpetological utilization in restored native and unrestored invaded grasslands of California's Central Valley
Francis Yang An Investigation of the Anti-Microbial Properties of Artemisia californica


2012 CNPS Educational Grant Award Recipients

  • Elaine Chow, Is the Endangered Eureka Valley Evening-Primrose Under Threat by Invasive Barbwire Russian Thistle
  • Christopher Dillis, The Impact of Induced Plant Responses to Insect Folivory on Fruit Removal by Vertebrate Seed Dispersers
  • Leanne Feely, Systematics and Survey of Exine Pollen Grain Morphology of Linanthus (Polemoniaceae)
    Kathleen Ferris, The Genetics of Adaptation to a Dry Granite Outcrop Environment in a Sierra Nevadan Endemic
  • Rachel Hutchinson, The role of Hydrochory on Restored Floodplains, Characterizing the Timing and Availability of Water Dispersed Species for Restoration along Rivers
  • Makenzie Mabry, Phylogenetic study of the genus Cryptantha s.s. (Boraginaceace)
  • Kelsey McDonald, Tidal Seed Dispersal of Spartina densiflora, an Invasive Salt Marsh Cordgrass in Humboldt Bay
  • Mathew O’Neill, Within Community Phenological Variation between an Invasive Grass and Native Forb Contributes to Invasive Dominance via Alterations of the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Community
  • Megan Peterson, Adaptive Divergence and Gene Flow in Mimulus guttatus
  • Andrea Shea, Effects of a Parasitic Plant (Cuscuta howelliana) on Vernal Pool Plant Diversity
  • Simono Scott, Morphological, Cytological, and Molecular Evidence for Redefining the Identity of Red Flowered Silene (Caryophyllaceae) in California
  • Haley Smith Henderson, Investigating Multiple Subspeciation Events in Navarretia intertexta: a Molecular Approach
  • Karen Tanner, Extending an Experimental Study to Investigate Impacts of Utility-Scale Solar Development on Rare and Common Desert Annuals
  • Justin Valliere, Using Mycorrhizal Fungi to Restore Coastal Sage Scrub of Southern California
  • Jane Van Susteren, Sedum subgenus Gormania: A Cliff-Dwelling Enigma
  • Reid Whittlesey, Proposal for the Inventory of Vascular Plants on Cliff Faces at Castle Crags
  • Jennifer Yost, Ecological Speciation and Cryptic Diversity in California's goldfields

2011 CNPS Educational Grant Award Recipients

  • David Armitage, UC Berkley, Functional aspects of the inquiline food webs of Darlingtonia californica
  • Angelika Ashbacher, Shifting trait composition of South Coastal chaparral in response to shifting rainfall regimes.
  • Nathan Emery, UC Santa Barbara, Fog Influence of the Coastal Sage Scrub community: testing for foliar uptake of fog in three coastal sage scrub
  • Akasha Faist, University of Colorado, Boulder, Invasive species dynamics in invaded versus native dominated vernal pools: the roles of litter accumulation and decomposition
  • Grant Godden, University of Florida, Out of the Bushes and into the trees: Alternative approaches to a problimatic mint phylogeny
  • Christopher Kopp, UC San Diego, Sagebrush Encroachment into the Alpine. An Uphill battle?
  • Christopher Moore, University of Nevada at Reno, Seed Dispersal in Manzanita
  • Juiliet Oshiro, UC Santa Cruz, Climate Change as a mechanism for changes in plant Communities
  • Clark Richter, Sonoma State University, Impact of reintroduced Tule Elk on an invasive thistle and the Coastal Grassland Community
  • Lee Ripma, San Diego State University, A Phylogenetic analysis of the plant genus Cryptantha oreocarya group (Boraginaceae)
  • Justin Scioli, UC San Diego, Species Composition and Ecology of Native Plants and bees in vernal pool communities in San Diego
  • Cassandra Swett, UC Davis, Current effects of the pitch canker disease on survival of native Monterey pine seedling populations and the mediating effects of systemic resistance induced by symptomless pathogen infection

2010 Educational Grant Award Recipients

  • Jim Alford
  • Gerardo Arceo-Gomez
  • Robert L. Baker
  • Amy Concilio
  • Jack Finney
  • C. Matt Guilliams
  • Melissa Ha
  • Arielle Hapern
  • Nairi Hartooni
  • J. Michael Heaney
  • Andrew Kleinhesselink
  • Lara Lacher
  • Susan Magnoli
  • Saediah Mashayekhi
  • George Andrew Meindl
  • Meghan Parish
  • Daniel Park
  • Jessica Peak
  • Angela Stathos
  • Rebecca Stubbs
  • Christine Windsor

2009 Educational Grant Award Recipients

  • Barga, Sarah, University of Nevada, Reno, Distribution and habitat requirements of Paeonia brownii
  • Coleman, Lena, CSU Northridge, Bryophyte Diversity in Sequoia National Park
  • Fisher, Erin G., CSU Chico, Vernal Pool Restoration for two rare grasses, Neostapfia colusana and Tuctoria greenei, at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • Hankamp, Paul, SF State University, Molecular Phylogeny of Leptosiphon (Polemoniaceae)
  • Hanson, Tim, CSU Chico, Assessing Ecological and Life History Constraints for the Rare California Endemic, Monardella douglasii ssp. venosa (Lamiaceae) and Development of a Habitat Suitability Model
  • Harvey, Brian, SF State University, Post-Fire Succession and Stand Dynamics in a Pinus muricata Forest, Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Kidder, Allison, UC Berkeley, Water Relations of Baccharis pilularis D.C. seedling establishment in a changing climate.
  • Molinari, Nicole, UC Santa Barbara, Native vs. Non-native grassland species: Who will win under future global change scenarios?
  • Ray, Dustin, CalPoly Pomona, Seasonal Storage of Total Carbohydrates in Burned and Unburned Juglans californica.
  • Stahlheber, Karen, UC Santa Barbara, Islands of Invasion: savanna trees and population dynamics of invasive plant species in California grasslands.
  • Wainwright, Claire, UC San Diego, Summer Irrigation Pulses: An Investigation of Restoration Methods for Invaded Coastal Sage Scrub Communities.


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