California Native Plant Society Selects Dr. Jun Bando for Executive Director

Dr. Jun Bando

Sep 14, 2022, SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – Today, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) announced the hiring of its new executive director, Jun Bando, PhD, of Sacramento. Dr. Bando is an ecologist with a 20-year career spanning higher education, international diplomacy, and advocacy.

“In the face of global climate and biodiversity crises, CNPS’s mission to save California’s native plants and habitats has never been more relevant,” Dr. Bando said. “I’m thrilled to be joining an amazing team of people working to power the native plant movement through both head and heart.”

Established in 1965, CNPS is one of California’s most long-standing and influential conservation organizations, with 34 chapters across California and one in Baja California, Mexico. In recent years, the organization significantly expanded its staff and project portfolio to help address the escalating impacts of extreme wildfire, species extinction, sea level rise, and inequitable access to nature while also building positive partnerships with Indigenous communities.

“California’s native plants intersect with many of the most pressing issues of our time,” CNPS Board President John Hunter said. “Dr. Bando is a dynamic leader who will ensure we meet this moment by advancing best available science, community-based programming, and sound, equity-focused policy solutions.”

Most recently, Dr. Bando served as the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Transformation at the California Council for Science and Technology (CCST). Prior to her work with CCST, Dr. Bando served as a special advisor and diplomat for the U.S. government, a lecturer at San Jose State University and the University of San Francisco, and consultant to the CSU Office of the Chancellor. She earned her PhD in Ecology at the University of California, Davis in 2005.

Dr. Bando replaces Vince Scheidt, a San Diego-based environmental consultant, former CNPS board member, and long-time conservation advocate who served as the CNPS interim executive director during the organization’s transition to new leadership. Under Scheidt, CNPS successfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic, sponsoring winning legislation, launching the statewide Bloom! California consumer campaign, and securing important funding on behalf of California’s rare plants, vegetation mapping, the California seed strategy, and youth-based educational programming. Scheidt oversaw a significant change in leadership directives, supporting staff with opportunities to grow within the organization.

“I’m both humbled and incredibly proud of my time working with our outstanding staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers,” Scheidt said. “During a period that many organizations and businesses struggled, CNPS thrived and has emerged to become one of the pre-eminent voices in California conservation. We can’t wait to see where Dr. Bando takes us from here.”

Dr. Bando begins her role as CNPS Executive Director on Oct. 10.


  1. Dr Bando, congratulations and good to see you again. It has been 10 years. This is awesome, going from USAFRICOM to your current selection is extraordinary. Congratulations indeed.
    Warmest Regards
    Luís Bispo
    Army CSM (Retired)

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