Native Plant New Year’s Resolutions

By Stacey Flowerdew

If you’re one of the 40 percent of Americans the Washington Post estimates makes New Year’s resolutions, welcome to this blog post! If you’re one of the 60 percent who choose to eschew this tradition — maybe because they’re so darn hard to keep — read on! We hope to make this quick and painless, and above all else, inspire you to make a New Year’s resolution for native plants in 2019.

Photo: Jennifer Buck

Plant an oak tree
Yes, we know you’ve heard this one before in a philosophical sense, but as we’re California Native Plant Society, you know this is going in a “dirt under your fingernails” sort of direction. As part of the Re-Oak California Initiative, you can help return our state’s once=plentiful oak woodlands to areas affected by wildfire, or to provide habitat, a sense of place, or shady majesty to your community. There are a few different ways you can help: you can collect acorns from next fall’s harvest, organize a planting event in your neighborhood, participate in an oak planting work day, or pledge to plant acorns or seedlings on your property. Get started here.


Striking a #PlantPose in Joshua Tree. Photo: Liv O’Keeffe

Get more exercise

We’re not suggesting that you get triathlon-ready in 2019 (but we’ll definitely be proud of you if that’s your goal). We were thinking of something a little more leisurely, like joining your local chapter for a pleasant stroll while identifying native plants and exploring the hidden gems of your region. Find your local chapter  and see upcoming events here.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff discuss planting techniques with a group of volunteers. Photo: James Adam Taylor

Ah yes, here it is. You were waiting for that weren’t you? CNPS is a grassroots organization of 35 volunteer-run regional chapters. In fact, many of our most important conservation successes have been won by those same volunteers. While we’re not urging you to discover a new species, or singlehandedly stop a bulldozer (though, yes, we would celebrate with you if you did), volunteering may mean something as simple as bringing refreshments to your chapter’s meetings, stapling newsletters, helping at a plant sale, or if you’re itching to contribute to science: joining one of our Rare Plant Treasure Hunts (RPTH). Anyone can join a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, no experience is necessary! We’ll train you as you hike with us. Our trips are being planned this winter, so be sure to check back throughout the year for a RPTH near you.


Grasslands workshop. Photo: Becky Reilly

Learn something new
No need to pick up those decades-old Berlitz Italian tapes, CNPS has lots of educational opportunities that don’t require you to dig out that dusty, old cassette player in the basement. Not only do most of our chapters offer free program meetings featuring expert speakers regularly, we’ve got workshops! Next year, your chapter may help you lose the lawn, save water, and expand habitat in your yard, or you can join a CNPS Professional Plant Science Training workshop to flex your job skills. Check out this year’s workshops and register today. Kids can even get in on the nature education with our Grades 3-7 nature curriculum, available for free. Explore all CNPS education options here.


Front border still blooming in June! Photo: Charlotte Torgovitsky, Bob and Mieko Watkins

Yes, you can! Make 2019 the year you explore our easy-to-use native plant finder tool to create the perfect list of locally native plants for your yard. Get inspired and take a virtual tour with some of our Garden Ambassadors. Learn the basics, and make a plan, because this is the year you’ll transform that lawn into a paradise!

We hope we’ve provided you with some inspiration and look forward to seeing what 2019 will bring for all of us. Happy New Year!

Stacey Flowerdew is the Senior Development Coordinator for CNPS.


  1. I was looking for a list of native plants but found nothing in your website to guide in what to plant. I live north of Sacramento in Yuba City. Do you know of any website that can provide information in what is best to plant in arid conditions of the valley

    Oscar Cantu

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