California Native Plant Week Focuses on the Plant-People Connection
This April 16-23rd, see how people all over California are cultivating, celebrating, and protecting our state’s biodiversity.
April 5, 2022 | Sacramento, CA — California Native Plant Week begins on Saturday, April 16, and the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is encouraging people to reconnect to nature through the plants that make California home. We have 35 local chapters across the state and are planning both live and virtual activities throughout the month.
The year 2022 has already been a momentous one. On the heels of a global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the climate crisis, people are turning to the natural world for restoration, community, and purpose.
“People need plants more than ever, and Native Plant Week is an invitation for reprieve,” said Liv O’Keeffe, senior director of public affairs for the California Native Plant Society. “Plants give us an opportunity to shift our gaze from scrolling screens to tree canopies; to enjoy wild scents like artemisia, cedar, and mint; and to sink our hands into the earth. Those experiences are soothing and remind us that we too are part of the natural world.”
Established by the state legislature in 2011, California Native Plant Week is held the third week of April in recognition of the state’s globally significant native plants. California belongs to one of the world’s 36 global biodiversity hotspots, with more types of native plants than any other state in the U.S. A third of California’s plants are found nowhere else on the planet. From the iconic Joshua tree and giant sequoia to epic superblooms, California’s native plants attract people worldwide.
“Natural spaces are worth protecting, not just for the plants but for people too,” said CNPS Director of Biodiversity Initiatives Andrea Williams.
This year, CNPS invites audiences to help protect native plants by curbing the use of pollinator-killing pesticides and joining the statewide campaign to conserve 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030. We also have a full lineup of inspirational and educational experiences, including the premiere of a new documentary, a “Bouquet Bash,” online storytelling, and dozens of local events.
A World Premiere | Saging the World
April 22nd marks the first showing of Saging the World, a documentary created by Indigenous advocate Rose Ramirez and professor emerita of CSUSM Deborah Small in partnership with CNPS. The film examines the cultural appropriation and poaching of white sage (Salvia apiana). White sage is native to Southern California and Baja. “Plants are not just ‘cultural resources.’ Plants are our relatives. They’re to be treated with reciprocal respect,” says Craig Torres, a Tongva elder featured in the film, who will participate in a moderated panel discussion immediately after the film’s premiere in San Pedro.
A Chance to Play with Flowers
CNPS invites flower lovers statewide to start their own wildflower cutting gardens by visiting the Bloom! California nursery nearest them. More than 100 nurseries are partnering with CNPS to bring native plants to the public. April also heralds the Bloom! Bouquet Bash at 8 select nurseries, where visitors can craft free bouquets, using sustainably sourced native flowers.
An Invitation to Get Outside
Throughout April, local CNPS chapters and partners are hosting botanical field trips, wildflower shows, garden tours, and educational talks up and down the state. Highlights include a fern walk in the dunes of Arcata, senior citizen backyard transformations in San Francisco, a hike through serpentine grassland habitat in Silicon Valley, chapter plant sales in the Sierra foothills and Redding, and the Theodore Payne Foundation’s popular garden tour in Los Angeles.
An Opportunity to Get Inspired by Fellow Californians
During California Native Plant Week, CNPS also will unveil daily interactive stories about everyday Californians and their experiences with native plants. From a farm in Allensworth cultivated by a retired military chaplain to a public volunteer garden in the Central Valley, each online story offers an intimate look at the different ways people are tending and enjoying California native plants.
“We are all in constant partnership with plants. We breathe together, grow together and sustain each other as part of a shared environment. Amazingly, native plants give us the invitation and the ability to take care of the living world, supporting us and our habitats when we cultivate and care for them,” said CNPS Education and Engagement Director David Bryant. “We hope this year’s Native Plant Week brings us home to the vital relationships we must cherish and protect.”