A Message from the CNPS Board of Directors
From the tallest redwoods to desert super blooms, California’s native plants are celebrated worldwide. With more than 5,500 species, the Golden State has more native plants than any other state in the U.S., making it one of Earth’s 36 biodiversity hotspots. In the face of a worldwide extinction crisis, protecting California’s biodiversity has global implications. That reality is sobering but also inspiring, because California is making real progress thanks to people like you.
We’re proud to share the accomplishments that our volunteers and staff have achieved in 2019 and 2020. Despite unprecedented wildfires, attacks on environmental protections, and a global pandemic, CNPS worked with partners, legislators, and citizens to protect plant diversity by advancing the important initiatives you’ll read about in this report.
One example of that work is our focus on wildfire recovery, which is bridging the gap between emergency response and habitat protection. Dozens of experts across the state worked with CNPS through our publications and on the ground to provide the best available science and much-needed context on this complex and urgent issue.
We’re also proud to highlight CNPS’s participation in California Plant Rescue, a consortium of non-profit organizations, herbaria, and botanic gardens partnering to collect and permanently store specimens and seeds of California’s rarest plants. We wish to extend a special thanks to California Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who helped to secure unprecedented funds for rare plant seed collection in California’s 2020 state budget.
From the California Capitol and through our network of local chapters, CNPS fights tirelessly for California’s native plants and places. You can get a quick but powerful sense of our conservation impact in the geographic overview. The plants we choose for homes and public gardens also have a profound impact on California’s biodiversity, which is why CNPS launched the Habitat Revolution with the help of local chapters, water agencies, and supporters. It’s a powerful – and beautiful – way for nearly every Californian to make a difference.
To protect our state’s precious biodiversity, we must understand where it occurs and how it functions. In the past year, the CNPS Vegetation and Important Plant Area Programs have advanced our knowledge of California’s flora through ongoing community data gathering, vegetation mapping and monitoring projects across the state. As California accelerates the pace of projects on natural and working lands, CNPS is working hard to ensure the latest and most helpful information is in the right hands at the right time.
But to continue the great work of the past year, we must train the native plant advocates and scientists of tomorrow. In 2019-20, we were especially pleased to form the first CNPS Student Advisory Committee, creating a new way for college students and recent graduates to connect with mentors, develop resources for other students, and influence the future of conservation science.
With a bright future in mind, we’re also taking measures to ensure that our conservation community reflects the diversity of California itself, and is welcoming to all. Thanks to our outreach and publications efforts, California native plants have thousands of active champions, and the community is growing every day. We thank every one of you for your contribution to the successes we celebrate today and into the future.
—CNPS Board of Directors, 2019-20