California Native Plant Society


In this issue: Speaker Series, Message From the President,
Plant Sale, Nursery News, Scholarship, Plant Walk Report and Member Spotlight.
October Speaker Series
Drew Mealor- Point Blue
October 19, 2021 at 7:30pm via ZOOM
Link will be emailed day of event

Drew MealorAndrew Mealor will be presenting a new (and still in-progress) project planning tool, cSHRMP: the Climate Smart Habitat Riparian Model Planner. This tool uses climate and soil data with plant species observations in order to predict planting site suitability under current and projected future climate scenarios for riparian restoration projects. The presentation will discuss the modeling and statistical techniques used, with a comparison to those used by similar tools such as Calflora. I will also dive into such questions as:
• What role should technology play within a restoration practitioner’s workflow?
• What makes a technological tool useful or usable in practice?
• What are the limitations for these types of tools?
We will end with time for discussion and some practical examples of applications of cSHRMP.

About the Speaker: Since graduating with a BA in Math and Biology in 2014, I have been working with Point Blue Conservation Science's STRAW (Students & Teachers Restoring A Watershed) where I help design and implement native plant restoration projects using climate-smart restoration practices. My projects have typically been on small agricultural seasonal drainages in Sonoma and Marin counties, but lately have focused within wetland transitional zones. I am also currently a master’s student in the Landscape Architecture department at UC Berkeley, with a focus in Environmental Planning.

Speaker Calendar 2021

November: Lorenzo Washington, Mycorrhiza and Plant Communities


Follow this link to view past presentations on YouTube

Chapter News

Message from the Chapter President

In September we bade farewell to our Social Media Chair Allison Titus. She will be moving to Davis with her partner and will be starting a new job there. We will really miss her energy and knowledge. The good news is that Erika Erzberger has stepped up to fill the gap and is already doing a fantastic job with Facebook and Instagram posts. Thank you both!

The chapter is also looking for volunteer help in other capacities. We need help with publicity, newsletter, horticulture, garden tour and hospitality. If any of these areas interest you, please get in touch with me or any Board member. We are a lively and fun group, still meeting virtually but hoping to meet in person also very soon.

A new season of scholarship applications has begun. Our local chapter has a program and the state CNPS also grants funds annually to students of plant science. Please help us get the word out to any SSU or SRJC students, or for California-wide students. The information is available on our website or go to

As we look ahead optimistically to an average wet winter season, for many, planting becomes top priority. The Milo Baker chapter has taken a lead role in helping gardeners locate and care for plants well adapted to our cool winters and dry summers. Visit our website for much information on specific species. For more tips on growing, look at the state wide website of Calscape ( For ideas on landscaping, be sure to visit the front yard spaces on Elliott Avenue at Albany Drive in Santa Rosa across from SRJC.

Wendy Smit,
Chapter President

Plant Sale and Nursery News

Plant Sale!                                                            

As we approach our 50th anniversary of the plant sale, I hope that all members will plan on attending a special celebration party and pre-sale on Friday, October 8 from 3-6 pm. The event will be at our Milo Baker growing ground at the Laguna Foundation. This will be an opportunity to buy plants and to meet other members. Masks will be required.

We will have new t-shirts with the new version of the Milo Baker logo, the Pitkin Lily. There will be books to help you learn more about the CA native plants. Also bulbs from Brent and Becky’s and seeds collected by our members.

round logo Our nursery manager, Betty Young, has put the list of plants that are available on our website: The September newsletter contains information about the plants that we will have at the sale. So many people have been involved in the preparation of the plants at monthly workshops. We especially want to thank Penny Dalton, Wendy Born, Kristi Cain, Pat Sesser, Cindy Tancreto, Jan Lochner, Judith Rousseau, Marcia Johnson, Deb Dobish, Natasha Granoff, Denise Kelley, Wendy Smit and one very nice man Michael Terwilliger. The hard work of sowing seeds, taking cuttings, and transplanting that results in the beautiful plants that we will be offering at the sale has been cheerfully performed by these volunteers. 

Remember in the fall the soil is still warm and the roots will rapidly expand and will continue to grow through the winter rains and be ready for the spring growth. Fall is Planting Time in California

 Liz Parsons, Chapter Vice President


Nursery News!

As you may remember, back in 2015, we started hearing about the root rot disease Phytophthora spp. It was beginning to infect natural populations of native plants. It was found that the infections came from nursery plants. The spores of the disease, in the potting mix, travelled to the surrounding naturally occurring plants. Now spores are in most of our garden soils and probably on the bottom of your shoe.

We built a nursery that prevents the entry of spores, because you can’t kill them. Plants on tables, pots and potting mix are pasteurized before use. Plants are constantly tested for the presence of spores and dumped if infected. And we work as if we were in a kitchen.

Thanks to the generous contributions of our members, the Laguna Foundation and hundreds of hours of volunteer and Laguna staff labor: we completed building our nursery in late summer 2018, and that fall we purchased a steam generator to pasteurize our potting mix and pots before use.

In working with the steam generator for 3 years now, to heat a pile of potting mix on the ground we were finding that some of the pile would heat to over 250oF (which will kill beneficial microbes and create toxicity) before other areas reached our 140oF pasteurization temperature.

Media and pot pasteurizing in action

(Media and pot pasteurizing in action. Photo: B. Young)

So here is the last addition to the nursery that will insure you take home healthy plants ready to thrive in your garden. And Laguna Foundation now has a tractor to scoop it up and dump so we old ladies do not have to shovel it.

Come to the member’s presale on October 8th 3-6 pm or Saturday October 9th 9am-1pm to buy your beautiful healthy plants. Don’t forget your masks.

Betty Young, Milo Baker Nursery

Scholarship Due October 4th!

The Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (Milo Baker) is looking to support students who are interested in learning about native plants or are engaged in study and/or research relating to native plant conservation, restoration, or other native plant studies.

Milo Baker provides two types of scholarships: a merit scholarship for educational expenses and a research scholarship to provide funding for research-related expenses.

Awards are open to students of Sonoma State University or Santa Rosa Junior College. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate a focus on Sonoma County flora or issues affecting plant communities of Sonoma County.

Merit Scholarships are available for students studying native plants, plant ecology, plant genetics, or related studies. Awards up to $1,000.

Research Scholarships are available for students that need funding for research related to plants in Sonoma County. Expenses may be used for new or existing projects. Awards up to $3,500 depending on project budget.

To apply: Submit the Milo Baker Research Scholarship Application (found on our website) to the Scholarship Committee at
Deadline: Applications for the fall semester award must be received by October 4, 2021.

Sean McNeil and Karen Thompson, Scholarship Committee co-chairs

Plant Walk Report

It was a lovely cool day at Doran Marsh. 11 plant lovers followed Michelle Karle on a walk along the salt marsh. 

Ruthie Saia, Michelle Karle, Doran Marsh 1

The tide was very low and had left a large amount of seaweed behind that was turning white in the sun. We saw some amazing plants with microscopic blooms. Pickleweed with little yellow flowers, alkali Heath with pink flowers and pearly everlasting.

Ruthie Saia, Michelle Karle, Doran Marsh 2

 We got to see the rare bird’s beak with its fuzzy purple little fingers peaking up around the sea lavender. The amazing results of the Ice plant removal project were so inspiring. 

Ruthie Saia, Michelle Karle, Doran Marsh 4

The Yarrow coming back and blooming and the pickleweed taking its place back. The Yellow lupine was in full bloom and the wafting scent intoxicating. 

Ruthie Saia, Michelle Karle, Doran Marsh 3

Thanks to all who joined us, see you again soon. 

Ruthie Saia, Plant Walks

Member Spotlight: Karen Thompson

What is your current role in the CNPS Milo Baker chapter?  

Board member & general tagalong volunteer for other stuff that looks interesting.


What is your favorite memory associated with CNPS Milo Baker?

Working at Cunningham Marsh to remove blackberries and Holcus, seeing the native plants return. Other fond memories: a wildflower walk led by Ruthie Saia and Peter Warner and a camping trip led by Ruthie..


What do you do when you’re not enjoying California native plants?

Vegetable gardening, hiking, camping, biking, reading, square dancing. Trying to re-learn how to draw.


What is your favorite place to go to look at California native plants in Sonoma County? 

Hood Mountain & Sugarloaf.


What’s your favorite CA native plant? 

Symphyotrichum chilense "Purple Haze" (shown below).

Symphyotrichum chilense, Purple Haze,  Karen Thompson 


Why are California native plants important to you? 

They're the foundation of our whole ecosystem, I'm learning. It's such a pleasure to slow down and closely watch all the different insects attracted to native plants. Also I like using less water, fertilizer, and less fussing in the garden while attracting more beneficial insects and birds.


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!


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:  Erika Erzberger    
 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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