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.

Exploring Seldom Visited Areas of the Restoration

By Arne Johanson, Chair Habitat Restoration Committee

We were to have an adventure – just two boys going out alone in uncharted territory. Andy is a 5-year old neighbor and this was our first time out with just the two of us. His mother packed water and a snack in his backpack. He added sunglasses and a notepad just like he has seen grownups do. Then we went exploring in some seldom visited parts of a 400-acre open space that our CNPS group has restored. 

Contribute Today to Southern California Conservation: The Elizabeth C. Schwartz Fund

California has a long history of protecting our natural resources, and now more than ever, we must stand strong to protect our wild spaces. Today, the California Native Plant Society has a unique opportunity to do our part. 

Thanks to the generous bequest of Elizabeth C. Schwartz, CNPS now has the seed money to fund a Southern California Conservation position. The rest is up to you! Please help us double the impact of Elizabeth's contribution, so we can cover this much-needed role for years to come!

Elizabeth C. Schwartz - A Conservation Legacy

Elizabeth Schwartz was a Southern California native plant legend. After practicing law for 15 years, she fell in love with native plants and became a certified horticulturist. In this second career, she engaged thousands of plant lovers as executive director of the Theodore Payne Foundation, board president of the Southern California Horticultural Society, staff of the Botanical Garden at UCLA, and via numerous lectures and articles on native plants. Liz died suddenly on August 12, 2015 while hiking in Arizona. She was 66. 

Liz named CNPS as a beneficiary of her IRA retirement account. After talking with her husband, UCLA  astronomer Ben Schwartz, it was decided to apply a portion of Liz's gift to create a fund that would honor her memory and dramatically increase CNPS Conservation work in Southern California.