The CNPS Educational Grants Program was created in 1983 to award funds to students and researchers studying California’s native flora. The seven funds have been made possible 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.

The Educational Grants Committee determines which type of grant is appropriate for each proposal funded. All grant proposals must be received by October 31 each year.

CNPS student grants | Find your match

The Doc Burr Grants

The Doc Burr Graduate Research Fund was established in 1983 to honor Horace K. “Doc” Burr, a founder and CNPS fellow 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, systematics, or ecology. Such study or research must be directed to plants that grow in Placer or Nevada County habitats. Preference will be given to topics concerning rare plants or communities. 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.

How to apply

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 October 31. 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 October 31. Letter authors may email the letter of recommendation to the Education Grants Program at 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 95816-5130

All applications and letters of recommendation must be received by October 31.

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 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!


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. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decisions in December.

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 the Education Grants Program at CNPS appreciates your interest in the Educational Grants Program and encourages your participation and support.

Other grant programs

Ipomopsis. Credit Nick Jensen.

Apply Today

CNPS Education Grant applications due October 31!