California Native Plant Society


In this issue: Speaker Series, Message From the President,
Cunningham Marsh, In the Summer Garden and Volunteer Opportunities.
Speaker Series In-person in September!
Cynthia Powell- Executive Director of
Speaker Series, September, 2021 at 7:30pm via ZOOM
Description and biography to follow in September newsletter

Speaker Calendar 2021

September: Cynthia Powell, ED,, Entering Sonoma County Plants

October: Saxon Holt, Photographer, Naturehood Gardening

November: Lorenzo Washington, Mycorrhiza and Plant Communities


Follow this link to view past presentations on YouTube

Chapter News

Message from the Chapter President

The June equinox has passed and the days are getting shorter. Sadly, Sonoma County residents are hyper aware of water shortages and fire potential. As a matter of policy CNPS in the past has supported the idea that decades of fire suppression in California has contributed to wildfire occurrence and intensity. More fire in our state can be healthy for our landscapes but not at the risk of losing homes, businesses and indeed, whole neighborhoods. So, how can our county accomplish objectives that can be inherently contradictory, ie. keeping landscapes healthy while protecting people?

Last year Calfire certified a programmatic EIR for vegetation management. This has allowed projects throughout the state for prescribed burns, road clearing, shaded fuel breaks, reduction of ladder fuels, and other fire prevention measures. Many other projects outside of Calfire’s program have been approved and funded through the County, Coastal Commission, and other funders.

In response to this massive effort, CNPS has been working on a Fuel Break White Paper. The Calfire EIR stipulates biological surveys before approving work, but many projects may not be well scrutinized for plant and habitat impacts. This excellent paper will address best practices and requirements for agencies carrying out the work, as well as emphasizing the importance of defensible space and home hardening. It will be available later this summer.

Most veg reduction projects will start up again in the winter. Now is a good time to start contacting our policy makers, fire officials and groups like FireSafe Councils and C.O.P.E.s to remind them of native plant impacts. CNPS is also working on an action plan to implement recommendations in the paper. Watch for more info on this effort in state email and newsletters.

Have a wonderful summer. We plan to meet in-person in September!

Wendy Smit,
Chapter President

Pitkin Lily Tours

The Pitkin Marsh Lilies are blooming, although they are showing signs of drought stress. As the area has changed quite a bit due to heavy restoration by the Laguna Foundation, and volunteers who work on Mondays, we will have a guide to lead a tour on the new trails.

Mondays before noon: June 28 , July 5, possibly July 12 (if still blooming).

As we will be on private property, these people would have to be limited to board members, active CNPS people and only close family please. The general public is not allowed. This is in accordance with the Conservation Grant.

Please contact Marcia Johnson for more information and instruction. If you cannot make these days, we will try for another time. Much thanks.

Marcia Johnson
Steward, Cunningham Marsh

In the Summer Garden

I find that right about when the Aesculus californica (Buckeye) turn to brown and go to sleep I take her lead- it is really too hot out for much except enjoying our California native gardens with a cool glass of lemonade.

Aesculus californicus, spring,  April OwensAesculus californicus, April Owens
Aesculus californica (Buckeye) in spring (left/top) and summer (right/bottom). Photo: April Owens

The browns and greens turning to rust are so beautiful this time of year. Many of my clients call in a panic when plants like Ribes (California current) and Diplacus (monkeyflower) start looking brown but they need this summer dormant time. We are dialing back the water on our new gardens to twice a week deep soak and for established gardens once a month.  Our Communications Committee would love to hear how you all are handling the drought and keeping your gardens alive.  We can pass it along on social media!

Diplacus aurantiacus_April Owens
Diplacus aurantiacus (monkey flower) going dormant in summer. Photo: April Owens

I’m also done with planting and eagerly awaiting our Fall plant sale at the Laguna Foundation.  Looking forward to adding to the gardens as soon as those cooler temps come around.

Enjoy the rest of your Summer!

April Owens
Horticulture Chair

Send us some pictures and notes about your garden waking up or going dormant in the sunshine of July.  We’d love to share your stories.

Get Involved

Volunteer Opportunities

Sonoma County Living Learning Landscapes first Friday of the month at 10am meet 1808 Albany Drive Santa Rosa email or call April Owens 707.331.2070 
Bring: hand pruners if you have them and a mask of course.

Invasive Ice Plant Removal Wednesdays 9:30-11:30 at Doran Beach. Text Invasive Plant Chair Jan 707.569.4724 to find out where they are working let her know you are coming!

Volunteer Opportunities

We invite you to help us share the CNPS mission. We have many ways to get involved from helping in the nursery, on our preserves, with education and outreach and on our demonstration garden projects. Please contact Horticulture Chair April Owens, or Education and Outreach Chair, Virginia Hotz-Steenhoven, (707)528-6030 for more information

stump beach field trip
  Plant Walks/Field Trips

Plant walks can resume!

Sign up for email alerts for our Plant Walks and Field Trips.
Contact Ruthie Saia:

Right image: Stump Beach, July 2019, Courtesy of Ruthie Saia.
Middle image: Piles of ice plant at Doran Beach Park, Courtesy of Jan Lochner. Left image:Native plant garden
2021-2022 Milo Baker Board Members


 Wendy Smit   707-481-3765
 Past President:  Leia Giambastiani   707-322-6722
 Vice President:  Liz Parsons   707-833-2063
 Secretary:  Kerry Wininger  707-888-5616
 Treasurer:   Karen Thompson  415-786-6788
 Conservation Co-chair:  Sean McNeil  707-480-2965
 Conservation Co-chair:  Trish Tatarian 
 Director at Large:  Cody Ender
 Director at Large:  Michelle Halbur  707-477-1648 
 Director at Large:  Rosaleen Murphy  
 Director at Large:  Jim Piercy 707-539-3441
 Director at Large:  Erika Erzberger    
 Plant Walks:   Ruthie Saia  707-322-7462
 Horticulture Chair:  April Owens  707-331-2070
 Hospitality:  Karen Thompson  415-786-6788
 Hospitality:  Liz Parsons  707-833-2063
 Invasive Plant Chair:  Jan Lochner  707-569-4724
 Membership:  Susan Dean
 Newsletter Editor:  Caprice Disbrow
 Outreach Co-Chair:  Virginia Hotz-Steenhoven  707-528-6030
 Outreach Co-Chair:  Catherine Lipson
 Plant Sale:  Liz Parsons  707-833-2063
 Programs/Lectures:  Virginia Hotz-Steenhoven
 Interim Progams/Lectures  Leia Giambastiani  707-322-6422
 Nursery/Garden Tour  Betty Young  707-595-1463
 Publicity:   Judith Rousseau  707-326-6454 
 Social Media Chair:  Allison Titus  530-859-5055
 Sales Chair:  Judith Rousseau  707-326-6454
 Website Administrator:  Natasha Granoff
 SCCC Representative:   Wendy Krupnick  707-544-4582
 SRJC Representative  Lynnette Brown
 SSU Representative  OPEN    
 Vine Hill Preserve:  Sarah Gordon  707-833-1243
 Southridge Preserve:  Michelle Karle
 Rincon Ridge Park:  Michelle Karle
 Cunningham Marsh:  Marcia Johnson  707-829-3808



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