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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

About Us

Chapter Activities

Bumble bee on Bee's Bliss Salvia

The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society covers Santa Clara County and southern San Mateo. Want to learn more about native plants? Support California's biodiversity? Join us! We welcome CNPS members and the public at our virtual and in-person activities.

  • The Chapter's Online Nursery Store is a great place to buy plants and more (delivery and pickup available)
  • Our Native Plant ID group meets every fourth Thursday of the month at the Peninsula Conservation Center in Palo Alto.
  • Our Native Plant Talks cover a wide variety of topics with a native plant focus. They are offered at libraries and virtually. You can view many past talks on our YouTube channel. 
  • The Lake Cunningham Native Plant Garden provides opportunities to preserve and restore native plants

To receive weekly updates about our upcoming events, please join our Chapter News list. Subscribe by sending an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.You can also learn about events on our Chapter's Facebook page and Meetup group

Chapter Guidelines - 2019

Chapter Guidelines

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

California Native Plant Society

Updated & Approved by Board
August 8, 2019
Approved at Annual Meeting
November 9, 2019


Section 1 Name

The name of the organization shall be the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS).

Section 2 Fiscal Year

The Chapter operates on a calendar year – January 1 through December 31.


Section 1 Purpose

This document, Chapter Guidelines, applies to the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, referred to below as the Chapter, and is for the purpose of regulating the Chapter’s affairs. The Chapter is a unit of the California Native Plant Society, 2702 K Street, Suite 1, Sacramento, California, and is an integrated part of the Society’s federated governance structure.

These guidelines and all Chapter activities are to be compatible with the Society’s articles of incorporation and bylaws.


Section 1 Chapter Membership

Any Person, Family or Group interested in California native plants is eligible for membership in the Chapter. Membership in the California Native Plant Society is a requirement for membership in the Chapter.

Section 2 Right of Chapter Members to Vote

Each adult in a Family membership shall be entitled to one vote on any question requiring a vote of the Chapter membership.

Any Group having a single membership shall have one vote. The official voting delegate of this group shall be so designated in writing.

Section 3 Termination of Membership

Nonpayment of dues shall terminate membership.

Membership may not be transferred.

Section 4 Meetings of Members

The members of the Chapter shall hold general meetings at such times and places as they deem suitable, necessary, or convenient to accomplish the purposes of the Chapter. There shall be at least four general meetings annually. The last general meeting held in the fall shall be designated the Annual Business Meeting. Written notification, via the Chapter newsletter, email, postal mail or other appropriate means, shall be sent to each member entitled to vote at that meeting.

Special meetings may also be held for a specific purpose.

All Chapter members shall be notified of any general or special meeting at least one month in advance of the meeting date, via the Chapter newsletter, email, postal mail or other appropriate means.

Members are welcome to attend Board meetings. They are not part of the Board quorum and may not vote at a Board meeting.


Section 1 Chapter Dues

The Chapter may, upon approval by the Chapter membership, assess Chapter dues in the manner and amount to be determined by a vote of the members.


Section 1 Members

The Board of Directors (Board) shall consist of the Executive Committee and at least ten (10) appointed directors (including the Recording Secretary), with the total number of Board directors preferably being an odd number.

Before the Fall elections, the Nominating Committee shall contact all Committee Chairs, and Individual Contributors to determine if they want to continue in their current position or serve in another position for the following year. Those continuing in a position and desiring to serve on the Board shall be appointed to the Board by the incoming Executive Committee before the Budget Meeting. The Nominating Committee may propose additional candidates from the Chapter membership for the Board. These additional candidates shall be subject to Board approval. At the first Board meeting of the new year the new Executive Committee shall formally ratify its Board appointments for the year.

During the year, if there are vacancies, the Board may appoint additional directors.

All Board directors must be Chapter members.

Elected officers and directors can be removed from the Board by the Chapter membership at a special meeting. 

Appointed directors can be removed from the Board by a 2/3rd majority vote at a Board meeting.

Section 2 Duties

The Board shall have the general power to administer the affairs of the Chapter between Annual Business Meetings and shall report its actions to the Chapter.

The Recording Secretary shall keep and publish minutes of all business meetings of the Board and the Annual Business Meeting, and shall perform such other duties as are prescribed by the Board or the President.

Board directors are expected to regularly attend the monthly Board meetings. If a director is unable to attend, the director shall contact the Executive Committee in advance, advising of his/her absence. Multiple unexcused absences may result in removal from the Board.

Board directors are expected to provide reports as related to their position or assignments. These reports should be sent to the full Board in advance of a Board meeting. All Board directors are expected to read advance materials before meetings.

In the event of a dispute within the Chapter, the Board shall handle such disputes pursuant to the Chapter’s established policy for resolving conflicts.

Section 3 Quorum

A quorum of the Board shall consist of 50% of its directors. A person who holds multiple Board positions, such as an officer who holds two elected positions, for example, a President who is also the Chapter Council Delegate, is counted once toward the quorum and has only a single vote in Board decisions.

Section 4 Executive Committee

Five members of the board, consisting of the President, Vice President, Past President, Chapter Council Delegate and Treasurer shall function as the Executive Committee. If any of the positions are open or if more than one position is held by the same person, the Board will appoint as many directors as needed from the current board to maintain a five member Committee., conducting business necessary to facilitate the activities of the Chapter. The Executive Committee receives its authority from the Board and its actions are subject to review by the Board.

The Executive Committee may make decisions between Board meetings when there is a timely issue that requires immediate action. In such instances the Executive Committee shall notify the Board, in a timely manner, by email or other appropriate means of their action and request approval at the next Board meeting.

Section 5 Term

The Term for all Board positions shall be from January 1 to December 31 following the election.

Section 6 CNPS Fellows

Chapter members who are CNPS fellows shall be eligible to vote at any Board meeting. Their presence or absence is not included in the quorum calculations.


Section 1 Officers

The elected officers of the Chapter shall be President, Vice President, Past President, Treasurer and Chapter Council Delegate.

Section 2 Election of Officers

Nomination of officers shall be by a Nominating Committee appointed by the Board. The Nominating Committee shall solicit input from the Chapter membership regarding potential candidates for the elected positions. Chapter members shall be notified by Chapter newsletter, email, postal mail or other appropriate means of the slate of officers to be nominated. Nominations may also be made from the floor provided written consent has been obtained from the nominee. The election shall be held at the Annual Business Meeting. Officers shall serve for a term of one year and can be re-elected.

Section 3 Duties of the President

The President shall preside at all meetings of the members and of the Board, shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Chapter, the Board, and the Executive Committee, shall serve as an ex officio member of all committees, and shall perform all such other duties as are incident to the office.

Section 4 Duties of the Vice President

The Vice President shall exercise the functions of the President during the absence or disability of the President, shall serve as an ex officio member of all committees, and shall have such powers and discharge such duties as are prescribed by the Board or the President.

Section 5 Duties of the Treasurer

The Treasurer shall keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of the financial transactions of the Chapter, including its assets, liabilities, receipts, and disbursements. The Treasurer shall deposit all moneys and other valuables in the name of and to the credit of the Chapter with such depositories as may be designated by the Board.

The Treasurer shall disburse the funds of the Chapter as may be ordered by the Board, shall render to the Board whenever it requests, an account of all of the transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Chapter, and shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board or the President.

Section 6 Duties of the Chapter Council Delegate

The Chapter Council Delegate shall regularly attend Chapter Council meetings, represent the Chapter at such meetings, and report back to the Board. The Chapter Council Delegate shall advise the Board on State policy, programs, etc. as needed or requested.

Section 7 Vacancies

A vacancy in any office may be filled by a majority vote at a meeting of the Board. An officer thus elected to fill any vacancy shall hold office for the unexpired predecessor's term.

Section 8 Records

Each officer shall upon the expiration of the term of office and the election and qualification of a successor deliver to the successor the records of the office.

Section 9 Duties of the Past President

The Past President shall participate on the Executive Committee and discharge such duties as are prescribed by the Board or the President.


Section 1 Committees and other Positions

The Board shall establish standing or temporary committees as well as other positions as needed to accomplish the goals of the Chapter for tasks such as conservation, field trips, membership, plant sales, garden tour, programs, outreach, and publicity. Some positions are not associated with a committee, but fulfill essential work for the Chapter as Individual Contributors. These positions may include responsibilities such as Newsletter Editor, Hospitality, Nursery Manager or Outreach Coordinator.

Chapter members interested in being a Committee Chair or Individual Contributor may contact the President or Leadership Development Committee Chair.

All positions obtain direction from the Board and report activities to the Board. These reports should be sent to the full Board in advance of a Board meeting.

Chairs and Individual Contributors are eligible, but not required, to serve on the Board. A Chair or Individual Contributor who is not a member of the Board may vote on any Board motion that directly relates to their committee or area of responsibility.

Meetings of committees are open to all Chapter members unless sensitive information is being discussed.

Section 2 Committee Chairs and Individual Contributors

The Board shall appoint the Chairs of each committee and the Individual Contributors. Committee Chairs shall facilitate the activities of the committee. Individual Contributors shall perform the duties corresponding to their specialty area.

Section 3 Closed Committees

Closed committees are standing committees which deal with restricted information such as leadership recruitment, volunteer recognition and preparation of the officer slate. Additional responsibilities as requested by the Board, such as fund raising and grant administration may also be assigned to these committees. Members of closed committees are appointed by the Board. Closed committee meetings are not open to the general membership. There are currently two closed committees: Leadership Development Committee and Nominating Committee.

Section 4 Duties of Current Closed Committees

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee manages the Chapter elections. It recruits and prepares the candidate slate for the annual election, and is responsible for publication of the slate in advance of the election.

Leadership Development Committee

The Leadership Development Committee is responsible for volunteer recognition, leadership recruitment and facilitation of job descriptions for Committees and other Chapter positions. It may take on the responsibilities of the Nominating committee if approved by the Board.

Section 5 Procedures

Each committee may establish its own procedures, provided that they are consistent with the bylaws of the parent society and with the Guidelines, policies and practices of this Chapter.

All members are expected to participate civilly in committee activities and to communicate respectfully in all committee discussions. If a conflict arises that cannot be quickly or easily resolved within a committee, the Committee Chair shall notify the Board or Executive Committee, in a timely manner, of the conflict.

Section 6 Terms

All positions (Chairs and Individual Contributors) shall be renewed on an annual basis at the beginning of the fiscal year. The Board may disband a standing or temporary committee by 2/3rd majority vote at a Board meeting. Chairpersons and/or members may be removed from a committee by 2/3rd majority vote at a Board meeting.


Section 1 Limitation of Authority

No Officer, Committee Chairperson, or member shall have the power to act for or bind the Chapter in any manner without the express authorization of the Executive Board. Any legal obligation, such as a contract, shall be reviewed by appropriate state CNPS staff.


Section 1 Effects of Guidelines

These new guidelines replace the Chapter’s previous bylaws and all amendments.

Section 2 Amendments

New guidelines may be adopted or these guidelines may be amended or repealed by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for such a purpose. A copy of the proposed changes shall be included in the notice of the meeting.


Board of Directors: The Chapter’s Board of Directors (Board) as defined in Article V.

Executive Committee: The primary committee responsible for Chapter governance as defined in Section 4 of Article V.

Standing Committee: A committee that carries out regular, on-going functions.

Temporary Committee: A committee that carries out a short-term function. An expiration date for the committee is set at the time it is established.

Chapter member: a CNPS member associated with or assigned to this Chapter in accordance with CNPS bylaws.


Volunteer Awards

Volunteer Awards

CNPS is a volunteer-based organization, and the CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter is fortunate to have many volunteers who contribute to the success and vibrancy of our chapter. Indeed, this has been a hallmark of our chapter since its inception.

Each year, our chapter recognizes one or two extraordinary volunteers. Recipients of the annual award have typically contributed at least a decade of service and made a significant contribution to the chapter over their many years as a volunteer. The Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their contributions to the chapter, and who has volunteered for the chapter in the current calendar year. The Native Plant Ambassador Award is intended for a person who has made significant contributions to the promotion and understanding of California native plants in urban landscapes or in the wild.

We invite you to submit candidates for a volunteer award at any time of the year. You may submit your nominations here. If you have questions or need help with the nomination process please contact the Leadership Development Committee Chair or Chapter President.

2022 Outstanding Volunteer Award - Georgia Stigall

Georgia StigallGeorgia Stigall joined the Chapter in the late 1980s and has been a constant presence ever since. She has volunteered in a variety of roles: Edgewood Preserve weeder, Recording Secretary, Vice President, President, Chapter Council Delegate, Officer at Large, GNGT docent, and New Member Outreach. She spent over 23 years as a Chapter Board Member, 10 of those as a Chapter Officer. Georgia has been a regular presence at plant sales, wildflower shows and other Chapter events since the late 1990s. She facilitated process changes for our Chapter that significantly streamlined the management of these events. She hosted numerous CNPS board retreats and potlucks. Her passion is habitat relationships between native flora and fauna by teaching, “Native critters need native plants!” She has been the go-to person for consultation, communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving. The Chapter has thrived and grown due to Georgia’s efforts. She has recruited many members to the society, who continue to be inspired by her commitment to the environment.

Read more about Georgia in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of the Blazing Star.

2021 Outstanding Volunteer Award - Carol MattssonChapter newsletter editor Carol Mattsson at Magic’s Stanford Dish Deer Creek planting, January 2016 by Hillary Hug

Carol Mattsson became the editor of thie Blazing Star newsletter in 2001 when she was recruited by Jean Struthers. She produced her first Blazing Star issue for the November/December 2001 issue. In all the years since, she made each and every newsletter ̶ a whopping 120 issues ̶ engaging, informative and enjoyable. Year after year, Carol has also volunteered enthusiastically at other Chapter events like our plant sales, the Wildflower shows, the nursery, habitat restoration projects, and more. She was a Board member for many years is also an avid and inquisitive participant on many of our field trips. We are very proud of and grateful to Carol Mattsson for her 20 years volunteering as our Blazing Star Editor and her many other volunteer accomplishment

Read more about Carol in the January/February 2022 issue of the Blazing Star.

2020 Outstanding Volunteer Award - Krzysztof Kozminski

KK TruckKrzys (KK) has been a Chapter member and volunteer for over twenty years. He has a beautiful and mature collector’s garden which contains over forty species and cultivars of Ceanothus alone, and has conducted many public and private tours of his garden. KK has served on the Going Native Garden Tour committee continuously since 2002. He developed the website that has been used to support the tour for over a decade. His position as tour webmaster belies the enormous responsibility and effort involved: keeping the website running, handling registrations, updating garden pages, sending notifications, and more. Nella Henninger calls him “the backbone of the tour.”

2020 Garden Ambassador Award - Sherri Osaka

Sherri Osaka Memorial ServiceSherri Osaka made numerous contributions to the chapter to promote native plant landscaping and sustainable living. An electrical engineer by training, she switched to landscape design in mid-career. Her gardens were featured on the Going Native Garden Tour for many years. She led the Gardening with Natives (GWN) committee of the Chapter, arranging over 30 public talks annually throughout two counties, touching the lives of over a thousand attendees each year. She was a passionate advocate for living lightly on this earth and giving back.

2019 Garden Ambassador Award - Patrick Pizzo

Patrick PizzoPatrick Pizzo made countless contributions to the promotion of native plants in this area. A San Jose native, he had a long academic career at San Jose State University. After retirement, he threw himself into native planting projects around the valley, including Capitancillos Drive, Fontana Park, and the Hellyer Park Interpretive Center. He engaged with the Chapter, Our City Forest, County Parks and community members to advocate for native plants in everyday landscapes like streets, local parks, and schools. He had a vision and was constantly engaged in implementing it with passion, persistence, and good cheer. He was a frequent contributor on the Gardening With Natives email group, lead Chapter field trips to visit his planting projects and provided encouragement and guidance to novice and experienced native plant gardeners.

 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Award -Toni Gregorio Bunch Toni Gregorio-Bunch Award 2019

For over a decade, Toni Gregorio-Bunch has had a hand in coordinating and managing Chapter activities and administration: Vice President for three terms, volunteer recruiter and coordinator too many times to count, Outreach Coordinator, and Publicity Chair. She was the co-coordinator of our Chapter’s Wildflower Show for several years and the Fall Plant Sale Manager. Even when she is not coordinating an event, she shows up to help: from tabling at many local outreach events, staffing plant sales and the Symposium, and showing off her buckwheat (and more) garden on the Going Native Garden Tour - she’s ‘been there’ for the Chapter.

2019 Annual Meeting and Potluck!

dang croppedWe hope that you can join us for our annual potluck and meeting. This fun evening begins at 6pm on Saturday, 11/9/2019. Bring your favorite dish, whether it be a salad, main dish, dessert or beverage; it always works out that we have just the right amount of everything! A label identifying your dish will be helpful. Be sure to bring a plate, drinking glass, and eating utensils for yourself, as well as a bag in which to take home unwashed dishes.

The potluck will be followed by our Chapter's annual election, and a vote on the updated Chapter Guidelines. For more information about the guidelines, please see We'll wrap the evening up with a talk by Dan Gluesenkamp, Executive Director, CNPS: 

Everything’s Changing So Fast: An Update

Read more ...

Chapter Guidelines Update - 2019

Our Chapter guidelines are like our constitution: the basic rules for how we are organized and how we perform our activities. We made a major update of the guidelines in 2016. Since then, we have found a few problems with the update. Our Board has approved a draft set of revisions to address these issues. The changes include provisions to deal with open positions and also bring the guidelines in line with actual practice. The changes update:

  • the definition of the Executive Committee to include provisions for open positions.
  • the composition of the Board to consist of the Executive Committee and at least ten (10) appointed directors.
  • the requirement for a quorum at the general meeting in November.

Read more ...

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