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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter


Horticulture Scholarship

CNPS SCV Horticulture Scholarship

To Promote the Horticultural Use of

California Native Plants


 In 2021, the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CNPS initiated a new Horticulture Scholarship Program to support a local student pursuing a horticultural career with a focus on California native plants. The scholarship amount is $750 and will be awarded to one student annually. The scholarship is intended to help with scholastic expenses such as books and tuition.

This Horticulture Scholarship is open to any community college horticulture student who attends an accredited college in our chapter area (*South San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and West Stanislaus County) or lives in our chapter area* and attends an accredited college anywhere, is currently enrolled, and has taken (or is taking) a California native plant class as part of their horticulture program.

All students applying for the scholarship will be provided with a Chapter-sponsored student membership to CNPS, and have volunteer opportunities where they can obtain a deeper understanding of native plant horticulture from experienced CNPS advocates and members. We hope that hands-on knowledge obtained in the field and on trails will help strengthen the student’s career path. These opportunities may include field trips with plant ID and observation of natural habitats, restoration and ecology work including invasive species removal, volunteering at native plant garden tours, garden maintenance, rare plant treasure hunts, and helping with events like native plant lectures and symposia.

Applications must be submitted by TBA.

Evaluation of applicants will focus on their interests in incorporating California native plants into their horticultural career.

Application instructions for the coming academic year are available at the link HERE

If you have any questions on the Horticulture Scholarship, please contact TBA.


The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CNPS has supported California native plant horticulture for many years with the Gardening with Natives (GWN) on-line discussion forum and hundreds of free talks in local libraries (pre-Covid) and zoom, on the subject of gardening with native plants. Our YouTube channel is a rich resource of information on native plant horticulture.



If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund, a check written to “CNPS”, with a notation to “SCV Horticulture Scholarship” may be mailed to the address below. Company matching programs are welcome.

The Treasurer, CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter
3921 E. Bayshore Road, Suite 205
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Horticulture Scholarship Application

Application Instructions



Scholarship amount: $750

Number of scholarships for 2022-2023: One

Requirements to Apply

  • Any student who is enrolled in a Horticulture program, and either lives in or is studying in an accredited college in our chapter area (South San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and West Stanislaus County).
  • The student has completed at least 8 units in the horticulture program.
  • The student has already taken or about to take a plant identification class focused on California native plants.
  • The student has a minimum cumulative 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • One letter of recommendation from the Horticulture Program Director.
  • Two additional letters of recommendation: one from an academic teacher, and the second from either a teacher or another program leader (can be from a volunteer program). 
  • Recipient be willing to meet with a representative from the CNPS SCV chapter to learn ways to connect with the chapter and use chapter activities to enhance their career path. The recipient be also willing to attend one CNPS chapter program meeting to introduce themself or if unable to attend, record a short video, or contribute a short article of introduction in the chapter newsletter, The Blazing Star.

Application Process 

  • Send a sealed official transcript from your college (copies or unsealed transcript not accepted) to the address below, and
  • Original sealed letters of recommendations should be sent directly to our office, postmarked by March 31, 2023:

    Horticulture Scholarship Committee
    CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter
    3921 E. Bayshore Road
    Palo Alto, CA 94303       

Application Dates

Application Opens: CLOSED

Application Deadline: CLOSED

Review process completed: TBA

Announcement to student: TBA

Presentation / program meeting: TBA

Scholarship Coordinator: TBA


CNPS SCV Scholarship Winners

The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CNPS has supported California native plant research by students since 1999.  Starting in 2018, the graduate student scholarships include the Donald Mayall Conservation Scholarship and the Sally Casey Shooting Stars Scholarship in recognition of the contributions of two of our Chapter’s CNPS Fellows who were very supportive of education, research and conservation activities.

2021 Scholarship Recipients

Annalise Taylor, UC Berkeley (Sally Casey Scholarship)  “Good Fire”: Impacts of Controlled and Cultural Burning on Diversity and Abundance of Amah Mutsun Food and Medicinal Plants in Central California (Blazing Star, March-April 2022)

Raphaela Floreani Buzbee, UC Berkeley (Don Mayall Scholarship)   Coastal Plant Community Composition Shifts in Response to Tule Elk Herbivory (Blazing Star, March-April 2022)

Lauren Hamm, UC Berkeley (Graduate Research Scholarship) Evolutionary Dynamics of Climate Stress ̶ Responsive Mobile Elements in Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus, aka Erythranthe guttata) (Blazing Star, March-April 2022)

Reed Kenny, UC Davis (Graduate Research Scholarship) Systematics of the Genus Juncus Using DNA Analysis of Various Gene Regions (Blazing Star, May-June 2022)

Michael Hahn, UC Santa Cruz (Undergraduate Scholarship)  Santa Lucia Fir ̶ Post Fire Stand Survivorship and Regeneration (Blazing Star, May-June 2022)

Alyssa Anzalone and Nicholas Mazzotti, UC Santa Cruz (Undergraduate Team Scholarship)   Does Seeding and Planting Plus Nitrogen Addition Result in Differentiated Seed Bank Composition in Restored California Coastal Grasslands? (Blazing Star, May-June 2022)

2020 Scholarship Recipients

Martin Purdy Claremont Graduate School / California Botanical Garden (Donald Mayall Conservation Graduate Research Scholarship). Martin has been exploring the flora of Coyote Ridge area, a 50 square mile alpine site located in northwest Inyo County for the past year.  This year, he will document the diversity and distribution of vascular and nonvascular plant species, publish a voucher based, annotated checklist of plants, and provide this information to the Inyo National Forest and California Natural Diversity Database and other appropriate agencies. The primary recipient of the plant vouchers will be the Santa Ana Botanical Garden Herbarium. 

Brook Constantz University of California, Santa Cruz (Graduate Research Scholarship).  Brook will be comparing the native grasses, understory, and woody species of four older riparian restoration sites along the Upper Sacramento River.  Most restoration sites are monitored for around three years but Brook will be looking at restoration sites that are 17-31 years old and compare them to intact remnant forests. Her work will help document whether riparian forests are recovering over the long term which may help guide future restoration projects. 

Emma R, Fryer, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Sally Casey Shooting Stars Graduate Research Scholarship). Emma is studying the verdict clay endemic flora of the San Joaquin Desert, a region which includes Cantua Creek, the Panoche - Coalinga Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and the Carrizo Plain. She will quantify the soil conditions that give rise to the community assemblage of 15 endemic plants as well as the mechanisms within each plant that allow them to tolerate these soils.  She is also evaluating how an invasive weed, Bromus madritensis, is impacting this native plant community. 

Thomas Samojedny Jr., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Undergraduate Student Scholarship).  To better understand and evaluate serpentine-tolerant nickel hyper -accumulators, Thomas will examine 44 California endemic serpentine-tolerate species with an X-ray Fluorescence (XRY) device to measure foliar Ni concentration.  What is unique about this technique is that herbaria specimens can be examined without destroying the specimen and is cheaper and faster than older chemical analysis methods. The researchers hope that the XRY device will result in the discovery of new Nickel hyperaccumulators and raise awareness of serpentine landscapes as repositories of unique plants. 

2019-2020 Scholarship Recipients

Sarah Gaffney, UC Davis, (Sally Casey Shooting Stars Graduate Research Scholarship) is researching plant-soil feedbacks to understand their role in California grassland invasions.  Specifically, how are Aegilops triuncialis (goat grass) and Elymus caput- medusae (medusahead) changing nutrients, the microbial community and soil moisture.

Samantha Spurlin, San Jose State University (Don Mayall Conservation Research Scholarship). Samantha is studying the rapid evolution of a rare, herbaceous wildflower, Collinsia multicolor (San Francisco collinsia) and its eco-physiological variation during the severe California drought of 2011 to 2015. Plants grown from seeds obtained in 2013 and 2017/2018 from three populations will be examined for differences in flowering times, an important indicator of when the flowers are open and available for pollination; and for stomatal density changes showing how the plant is adapting to a changing climate.

Lacey Benson, San Jose State University (Graduate Research Scholarship). She is examining the desiccation tolerance of Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) gametophytes and their recovery rate and morphology along the coast redwood ecological gradient in order to understand how this fern will be affected by climate change.

2018-2019 Scholarship Recipients

Livia Braga, San José State University (Graduate Research Scholarship). Livia will be working with four species of the moss genus Scleropodium whose ranges overlap (sympatric species). She is studying the niche differences that may affect species diversity and composition in these non-vascular plants.

Alyssa Hanover, San José State University (Sally Casey Shooting Stars Graduate Research Scholarship). Alyssa is working in second growth coast redwood forest in Redwood National Park in the research area of assessing effective restoration of forest health. She notes that when using active management techniques to restore an ecosystem, it is critical to fully understand the potential benefits as well as impacts associated with implementation. The specific objective of her study is to determine how understory species composition varies between restorative treatments, including stands treated with and without mechanical thinning.

Keir Morse, Claremont Graduate University (Donald Mayall Conservation Graduate Research Scholarship). Keir’s work addresses the taxonomy and conservation of the genus Malocothamnus. This genus includes firefollowing shrubs in the mallow family (Malvaceae) that are taxonomically challenging. As a part of this work he plans to provide resources such as morphology assessments, extensive field work documentation and DNA analyses, to assist with resolving the taxonomy of the genus, including taxa that are on the CNPS rare plant list.

Nate Blackmore, University of California, Santa Cruz (Undergraduate Research Scholarship). Nate’s research topic for his senior thesis is serpentine endemics and the tradeoff between serpentine adaption and competitive ability. He will be assessing water use efficiency: competitive ability in greenhouse trials using nine native genera (species) and one non-native annual grass. Nate plans to share the results of his research at an undergraduate research poster symposium and with the Edgewood Weed Warriors.

2017-2018 Scholarship Winners

Alejandro Brambila, University of Oregon (Sally Casey Shooting Stars Graduate Research Scholarship). Alejandro is studying the effects of development on historic oak habitat composition and the distribution in the urban West Santa Clara Valley. He will be sampling sites in the peninsular west valley (roughly Palo Alto to Mountain View) and looking at how oaks are distributed throughout the urban landscape in the study area. 

Alexandria Igwe, University of California Davis (Donald Mayall Conservation Research Scholarship). Alexandria’s research seeks to understand how native plants adapted to serpentine soil utilize root-associated microorganisms to thrive in the presence of abiotic stress, such as drought and heavy-metal concentrations.

Kelly Santos, San Francisco State University (Graduate Research Scholarship). Kelly’s work involves Suaeda californica, a federally endangered low-growing coastal salt marsh shrub. 

Hannah Kang, University of California, Davis. (Undergraduate Research Scholarship). Hannah's research looks at how soil microbial communities vary depending on plant host with a focus on the effects of invasive annual grasses on native annual forb species. 

2016-2017 Scholarship Winners

Graduate Student Research Scholarships

Margot Buchbinder, San Francisco State University (Conservation Scholarship).  Margot is studying the effects of planting native California cordgrass (Spartina foliosa) in an active salt marsh restoration site at the Sears Point restoration site in north San Francisco Bay.  Margot’s work is designed to determine whether planting native Spartina can enhance recovery and reduce observed erosion.

Rebecca Hendricks, San Jose State University (Conservation Scholarship).  Rebecca’s studies focus on the Big Berry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca).  She is studying ecophysicological responses (including water stress and mortality) to seasonal drought across its range using sampling across 4 degrees of latitude at three locations (Joseph D Grant County Park, Los Padres National Forest and Condor’s Hope Ranch).  

Josephine Lesage, University of California, Santa Cruz.   Josephine’s work involves the effects of grazing and climate change on native annual forb persistence in California coastal prairies. Her work will assess coastal prairie sites from Monterey County through Mendocino County previously quantified by Grey Hayes and K.D. Holl.   The study is intended evaluate whether native annual forbs in coastal prairies are experiencing the same declines as native annual forbs in interior grasslands as the result of climate change and whether grazing management might buffer potential declines of native annual forb species.  

2015 Scholarship Winners

Graduate Student Research Scholarships

Prahlada Papper, University of California, Berkeley. (Conservation Scholarship) Prahlada is studying the movement of genetic characteristics through wind-borne pollen hybridization, focusing on blue oak and Oregon white oak. Understanding the degree of gene flow between these species is an important step towards an understanding of their potential responses, as well as management implications.

Kyle Christie, University of California, Davis. Kyle’s studies are designed to improve the understanding of the taxonomy and species delineation of the Streptanthus breweri complex of jewelflowers.

Julia Michaels, University of California, Davis. (Conservation Scholarship) Julia’s work involves a study of plant diversity in vernal pools. Her studies will be looking at the effects of grazing on vernal pool plant diversity on an 1,132 acre site in Sacramento County.

Undergraduate Student Scholarship

Jannah Wren at University of California, Davis. The purpose of her research is to evaluate the effect of root nodule symbiosis (nitrogen fixation) in native, non-legume (actinorhizal) plants.

Native Plant Roots and Serpentine Soil (Scholarship Report)

Native Plant Roots and Serpentine Soil

ln December 2017 Alexandria Igwe, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, was awarded the Donald Mayall Research Scholarship by our Chapter. Alexandria (Allie) has shared with us an article describing the purpose of her research along with some preliminary results.

Native Plant Roots and Serpentine Soil

By Alexandria Igwe, UC Davis July 2018

Green forest (nonserpentine) adjacent to grassy field (serpentine)Soil found at Coyote Ridge, McLaughlin Natural Reserve, Hopland Research and Extension Center and Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve have one thing in common: they were created through the weathering of ultramafic rock. Soil created from ultramafic rocks, serpentine soil, covers about 1% of California, but 13% of the state’s endemic plant species call it home. Serpentine soil is easily identified when it exists next to nonserpentine soil. There is usually a sharp change in vegetation from oaks and tall grasses in nonserpentine soil to small wildflowers and sparse trees in serpentine soil. In general, serpentine and nonserpentine soil can be considered a world divided. Many plants that exist on one soil type cannot survive on the other. Still, there are a class of serpentine-indifferent plants that are able to grow on both serpentine and nonserpentine soils.

Read more:

We thank Alexandria for her research and look forward to hearing more about her interesting work in serpentine habitat as her studies are completed. Alexandria may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Research Scholarship Application Instructions and Deadlines

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are being accepted through November 1, 2023.

The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society provides scholarships to students doing research on native plant or plant community conservation, plant ecology, plant community restoration, plant systematics, rare plants or other related botanical studies of native plants that grow in habitats in Central and Northern California. Scholarships are available for:

  • graduate students; or
  • an undergraduate student or undergraduate research team (consisting of one or more undergraduates and a supervising faculty member).

Students researching topics related to native plant and native habitat conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area are encouraged to apply.

Research scholarships of up to $3,000 are available. The amount granted will depend on the project's requirements and available funding. Evaluation of applications will focus on the stated purpose of the research, experimental design, relationship to native plant and native habitat conservation, and overall impression of the research project.

Scholarship Requirements

Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in an accredited college or university and undertaking botanical research related to native plants or native plant communities in Central or Northern California.

Required Information

Send required application materials to our scholarship committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications must be submitted by November 1, 2023.

Graduate Research Scholarship

  1. Graduate Research Application Form
  2. Copy of Transcript (showing course work)
  3. Recommendation/Statement of Qualifications from Major Advisor

Undergraduate Research Scholarship

  1. Undergraduate Research Application Form (completed by Academic advisor and student(s))

Scholarships will be awarded by December 31, 2023. Recipients are requested to share the results of their study by making a brief presentation on their research at a Santa Clara Valley CNPS Chapter meeting in 2024 and writing a short article for our newsletter.

The SCV Chapter would appreciate receiving an electronic copy of research results (thesis, dissertation, reports and/or journal articles) once research is complete.


Questions regarding the scholarship application can be e-mailed to our scholarship committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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