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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

2020 CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series

bannerThe CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series was started during the pandemic in 2020. Talks in the series cover a wide range of native plant related topics -- conservation, rare plants, gardening, plant science, tours of botanical hot spots, and more. The talks were live presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. 

DSC09065 mariposa lily moth croppedProject 467: Enhancing Native Plant Diversity at Edgewood, Stuart B. Weiss Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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Edgewood Natural Preserve near Redwood City is famous for its flower-filled serpentine grasslands. But the 467 acres of Edgewood support great biodiversity in the chaparral, oak woodlands, and grasslands on more fertile soils. The 100+ acres of fertile grasslands are by far the most weed-invaded habitat, and have been the focus of successful control of “macroweeds.” Learn how the Friends of Edgewood and Creekside Science are pursuing the goal of decreasing “microweeds” and increasing native cover and diversity.

A Rapid Assessment Plot (RAP) inventory with over 80 plots documented more than 90 native species in the fertile grasslands, albeit often at low cover. They are investigating treatments to reduce annual weed seedlings just after germination, including hydromechanical pulverization (HMP) -- basically pressurewashing the grassland, and close-mowing with string cutters.

Besides commercially available local seeds, they are using more than 15 species of “boutique” seeds grown at Edgewood Farms and the Native Garden. They are trying to develop a long-term “indigenous” approach to restoration, whereby a beautiful, colorful diversity of native plants is established and can spread naturally given occasional management.

Stu Weiss, Ph.D. (Stanford University) is Chief Scientist of Creekside Science, which provides scientific and conservation expertise to diverse organizations as they cope with the rapidly changing 21st Century environment. He has researched the Bay checkerspot butterfly and serpentine grasslands since 1979, and has authored numerous scientific papers concerning climate/microclimate, population dynamics, nitrogen deposition, and conservation ecology. Creekside Science executes many hands-on restoration projects, including butterfly reintroductions, propagation of endangered plants, and habitat monitoring and management. His research and advocacy were instrumental in the development of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, and he is Science Advisor for the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network. For more information see

                               Native Plants for Year-Round Color, a talk by Madeline Morrow

Thursday, December 3, 2020

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Learn how to select and group plants with varying bloom times so your garden is never without color. You’ll enjoy it and so will the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds! See how to choose different plant forms and include beautiful bark, berry, and seed producing species for maximum interest all year long.

Madeline Morrow is a past President of our CNPS Chapter and current board member. A former computer programmer, she now volunteers in her community and works extensively on her native garden. Her garden was featured in Bay Nature magazine in March 2013; and she solved her drainage problem by installing a rain garden.

Doug TallamyNature’s Best Hope, A talk by Doug Tallamy

Saturday, November 14, 2020 5:00pm

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Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current land management practices have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Doug Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can and must ̶ take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 103 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug’s new book, Nature’s Best Hope, released by Timber Press in February 2020, is a New York Times Best Seller.

Ameet ZaveriWildlife of the Bay Area, a talk by Ameet Zaveri

October 26, 2020 7:30pm

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We call the Bay Area our home. How well do we know the wildlife that inhabit this space? Over 400 species of birds, charismatic cats like puma and bobcat, even non-felines like Western Tiger Swallowtail? Can you tell a rattlesnake from a non-venomous snake? Do you know there are *two* whale-watching seasons every year?
Learn about these and other fascinating aspects of wildlife in the Bay Area from naturalist and photographer Ameet Zaveri. An avid naturalist from a young age and a long-time Bay Area resident, Ameet is the founder of the informative website He will share pictures and information about when, where, and how to experience wildlife in the Bay Area, and answer your questions.

Julie InField 2020 02 ByBillWaycott P1040199 croppedCNPS Vegetation Program: Fine-scale inventory and mapping, a talk by Julie Evens

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 7:30pm

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Julie Evens, the Vegetation Program Director of CNPS, will give an overview of CNPS's Vegetation Program and our broader collaborations on fine-scale vegetation classification and mapping in California to document our state’s incredible vegetation diversity. Julie helps maintain standard methods for surveying, classifying, and mapping vegetation in California and works with agencies, conservancies, and CNPS chapters on vegetation assessment projects, including current projects in the Greater Bay Area, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Sierra Nevada foothills, North Coast, Modoc Plateau, among other regions. She is a co-author with John Sawyer and Todd Keeler-Wolf of A Manual of California Vegetation, 2nd edition (, and she is a co-editor with Michael Barbour et al. of California’s Botanical Landscapes: A Pictorial View of the State’s Vegetation. She also helped compile the CNPS Fire Recovery Guide, 1st edition (available for download here: Julie has a M.A. degree from Humboldt State University, and she has two B.A. degrees from the University of California–Santa Cruz.

IMG 1356Planting Demo, Nursery Tour and QA session

Saturday, October 10, 2020 10am

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There's a twist on our Going Native Garden Tour session in October -- rather than our usual garden visits, we'll be visiting the CNPS SCV and Grassroots Ecology Nurseries. Our 2020 fall plant sale is going to be online and will start immediately after the session (more information about the CNPS SCV plant sale at, and Grassroots Ecology's at: Since you won't be able to come to the nursery to pick your plants out, we're doing our best to bring the nursery to you. This session includes a planting demonstration by Krzysztof Kozminski and tour of the nursery followed by a QA session with knowledgeable native plant gardeners from both nurseries so that you can ask for advice and get answers to questions about specific plants that will be available at their sales.


dee orangutanCNPS Explorers: A Botanical Quest in Asia & Europe, by Ken and Dee Himes

September 24, 2020

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Join Ken and Dee Himes as they highlight their 2019 travels from May to November: a journey to Hong Kong, Borneo, Singapore, Penang, India and parts of Europe, on a botanical quest to compare flora and geological features with those of California. The main botanical focus of the trip was in Munsyari, the southern side of the Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, India. They will share some of their experiences from a once-in-a-lifetime trek in the Himalaya with three other Chapter members: Arvind Kumar, Ashok Jethanandani, and Joe Cernac. See a surprising geological feature in Hong Kong; orangutans in Borneo; amazing flora in the Himalayas; and other botanical interests in the other countries visited. Of course there will be some interesting insect and bug photos as well.

Ken and Dee Himes have been Chapter members since 1974 (Ken) and 2007 (Dee). Ken is a CNPS Fellow who has held nearly every Chapter position, in addition to leading long-term habitat restoration efforts at Edgewood. Since joining CNPS, Dee has been our Chapter treasurer, field trip chair and board member, a member of the CNPS State Board; and has inspired many with her exceptional photography skills. Ken and Dee were married in 2016, and have continued to celebrate by enjoying interesting plants and habitats wherever they travel.

GNGT: Matadero Garden and Bol Park

September 15, 2020

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View two fabulous native plant gardens in Palo Alto with talks and Q&A sessions by their owners and designers. This is a terrific opportunity to get ideas for your own garden and receive advice from experienced gardeners and designers.

Matadero Garden,, Melanie Cross & Stephanie Morris

Bol Park Native Garden,, Melanie Cross & Claire Elliott

GNGT: Hernandez Backyard & Butterfly House Native Garden

September 2, 2020

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Going Native Garden Tour (GNGT - - virtual visits to two of the garden on the tour.

Hernandez Backyard in San Jose,

Carrie Levin, Butterfly House Native Garden in Sunnyvale,

Bruce Homer-SmithPlant ID for the Curious, a talk by Bruce Homer-Smith

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Watch on Youtube is a website for people who see a plant in the wild and wonder about it. You enter what you know about your plant (where you are, plant type, color, leaf arrangement, deciduous, has berries, etc.) to get a short illustrated list of possibilities. Then you dive down into photos and captions to learn about your plant.

Bruce is a retired database developer. He loves to learn about plants in the wild because it helps him notice more when he’s out. Since 2012 he’s spent about half of his time programming and adding content to – a labor of love. He works with a large community of plant enthusiasts, adding ID tips and stories to make an extraordinary place to learn about California plants.


Matt BergerDeath Valley ̶ Botanizing High and Low, a talk by Matt Berger

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Matt Berger has hiked from the lowest to the highest points of Death Valley National Park, observing and recording flora throughout its diverse environments. Matt provides an overview of the biogeography and microhabitats of the park, and shares his photos of the limestone endemics and other rare plants. Hear a few of his secrets to finding rare plants in the desert and mountains.

Matt is preceded by the recipient of the CNPS SCV 2019 Graduate Research Scholarship, Lacey Benson from San Jose State University. She describes her research doing a morphometric analysis comparing western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) pinnae size across the coast redwood ecological gradient. Analysis of pinnae morphology will be compared to climate data and will aid in understanding how the longevity of this fern may be affected by climate change.

Matt Berger received his BS in horticulture and and his MS in plant pathology at West Virginia University. Matt is a passionate backpacker having thru hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail twice, Continental Divide Trail, Arizona Trail and other long distance trails for a total of over 11,000 miles in the last 8 years. Matt is an accomplished photographer of the plants, fungi and animals that he encounters on his adventures. You can find his photos on Instagram at @sheriff_woody_pct and on YouTube at sheriff_woody_pct.

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