It's time to vote for your environmental hero!

Vote for Robert Byrnes, the hardworking member of our Habitat Restoration crew, who is one of 3 finalists in California in the Cox Conserves Heroes contest. The winner will be named California's Cox Conserves Hero and receive a $10,000 grant for his or her environmental non-profit of choice. Bob has designated California Native Plant Society - San Diego Chapter as the recipient of any winnings. What a guy!


Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land are proud to present California's Cox Conserves Heroes program. Voting is currently open for the 2017 awards through June 24.  

About Cox Conserves Heroes 

Created in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, Cox Conserves Heroes is a national awards program that honors and celebrates environmental volunteers across the country.  

How it works

The public nominates volunteers using a brief online form. Next, a panel of local civic and environmental leaders selects three finalists to be profiled online. The finalist videos are shared online with the public, who then vote for the nominee they feel most deserving of the award. Winning nominees are awareded a $10,000 donation to the nonprofit of their choosing. Finalists each receive $5,000 for their nonprofit beneficiaries. 

The awards programs is our way of honoring the unsung heroes in our communities and supporting the local organizations doing the important work of bettering our environment. Through the program, we hope to inspire more people to take an active role in community conservation.

Visit the San Diego County Fair Pollinator Trail!

Where can you find some peace and quiet after a long day at the San Diego County Fair? The Pollinator Trail.

Across the nation, pollinators are disappearing. The Pollinator Trail exhibit at the county fair provides San Diegans with a look at how they can help pollinators like butterflies, bumble bees and hummingbirds thrive. This year, the exhibit overlaps with National Pollinator Week, June 19 – 25, 2017, which aims to create awareness about the importance and plight of our pollinators.

Desert Wildflowers

by Tom Oberbauer, Vice President CNPS-San Diego

For those of you who were not able to make it out to Borrego Valley this March, I am sorry.

I must admit, growing up, I was not especially fond of desert. I had only been through deserts on family road trips to elsewhere in the southwest. We always had to leave at 1 am to get through the desert before it was too hot. I grew up favoring mountains with forests over deserts. However, during an ecology class at SDSU, we had a project in the desert in the spring and I became more interested. I began to really appreciate the deserts, the starkness of the terrain, the pockets of unique habitats and the wildflowers. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a naturalist on SDNHM ecology trips to the desert each spring.

Citizen Science with Mary Ellen Hannibal


As human animals, we’re drawn to the natural world. The impulse to observe, touch, and understand begins at birth. It’s no wonder then that, throughout human history, laypeople—philosophers, gardeners, and vagabonds alike—have contributed to the most meaningful scientific knowledge we have. As Joseph Campbell said, myth is nature speaking, and the goal of human life is to align with nature.

CALL OR WRITE your district Senator in favor of SB 249 BEFORE MAY 24!: Protect Our California Natural Areas from Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation

All forms of outdoor recreation have environmental impact, but not all forms have the same impact. As Californians, we face a continuous challenge to individually and collectively ‘do no harm’ to our common resources, so others - today and in the future - are able to enjoy them. While some forms of recreation (hiking, kayaking) demand little because the impacts are little, off-highway vehicle recreation demands a lot because the environmental damage is great. It is the nature of OHMVR activities that this environmental degradation is continuous and ongoing.

General Statement on Ants

By Greg Rubin, CNPS-SD Garden Native Committee member

Many people have been experiencing problems with many native species, such as Ceanothus, manzanita, mallow-like plants, and mounding perennials. One of the primary causes, surprisingly, appears to be invasion by Argentine ants! The increasingly hot, monsoonal weather of recent years greatly promotes them. What these ants are doing is placing insects like scale and aphids all over the ROOTS, which literally suck the life out of the plant from below, often undetected to those without the experience to pick up on the subtle clues...

Of Milkshakes and Hummingbirds: Q & A with CNPS-San Diego

CNPS-SD recently received a query from a San Diego County gardener:

Q: “I bought a manzanita at your plant sale and I am about to plant it in the ground. Before I do, is there any recommended soil amendment or fertilizer that I should use? What type of fertilizer should I use after planting, and how often?”

Why would anyone in their right mind keep a collection of dead plants? A visit to the herbarium at UC Davis.

by Ellen Dean

In natural history museums around the world are collections of dead plants that are curated by scientists called plant taxonomists. These collections are known as herbaria (in the plural) – a single collection is called an herbarium. If you go to see a bug museum, you say you are going to an entomology museum. If you go see the collection of dead plants, you say you are going to the HERBARIUM! This is generally confusing, because the name makes people think that it is a collection of living herbs – like oregano. But no, it is dead and flattened plants.

Miller Mountain

By Tom Oberbauer, Vice President CNPS-San Diego

The far northern part of San Diego County includes land that is north of Camp Pendleton under the ownership of the Cleveland National Forest.  A portion of the Cleveland National Forest is the San Mateo Wilderness Area, a series of canyons including Devil’s Canyon.  In Riverside County, several volcanic plateaus exist, including Mesa de Colorado and Mesa de Burro.  These are volcanic plateaus consisting of a cap of volcanic rock that was laid down during the upper Miocene (8 million years ago, Kennedy 1977).  The once continuous mesa formed by the volcanic flow was divided by erosion into a series of separate mesas.  Nearly all of them are located in Riverside County, except one, Miller Mountain.  The peak is 2,953 feet, with a mesa portion at 2,946 feet in elevation. 

Watering Strategies from South Bay Botanic Garden

By Susan Krzywicki


After so much debate about how to water native plant gardens, you’d think it had all been said. Let me add some tips and techniques from Eddie Munguia, who is the Horticultural Lab Technician at the South Bay Botanic Garden, located on the campus of Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Eddie installed a native garden over four years ago and one of the key objectives of the botanic garden is to do just this sort of closely observed research and analysis.