Kristin Jakob receiving CNPS Fellow awardCongratulations are in order for Kristin Jakob who was made a CNPS Fellow at last Saturday’s Chapter Council meeting held at Point Reyes Station. This award was richly deserved. For those of you who are not aware of Kristin’s many years of dedicated service to the Marin Chapter of CNPS and the full range of her contributions to the organization, I have included a summary of her accomplishments and contributions to our chapter. Other Marin chapter members who have been made CNPS Fellows include Wilma Follette, Phyllis Faber and Doreen Smith.
How appropriate that Kristin received this award at a Chapter Council meeting hosted by our chapter.
David C. Long, Co-President


Kristin Jakob has been interested in natural history since childhood. She joined the Marin chapter at age 12, inspired by a neighbor, Virginia Stone, who introduced her to the world of plants. On her return in 1984 from several years studying abroad, she rejoined the chapter and has been a board member most of the decades since.

Kristin’s contribution to the ongoing running of the Marin chapter is enormous. She has held several jobs in the chapter for multiple decades, all of which she carries out with energy, creativity and great loyalty.  By 1991, she became program chair, a responsibility she has steadfastly rendered to the chapter, month after month, for over thirty years. As program chair, she has been responsible for producing monthly public educational presentations which have been one of the chapter’s most important vehicles for public educa­tion about native plants.

In 1992, she became vice president of the Marin chapter. Starting in 2001, the post of President was vacant, and Kristin stepped up to lead the chapter until 2010. She became co-president again in 2012–14, and returned to the job in 2016, sharing the responsibility with David Long, a position in which she continues to serve. Consequently, she has led or co-led the Marin chapter for two decades. Very few decisions and projects have been undertaken in the chapter without Kristin’s thoughtful input and dedicated support.

In 1995, we find notes in our monthly newsletter that she is helping chapter member Ken Howard purchase plants and organize the chapter’s two annual plant sales. She has remained co-chair of our plant sales since then, often investing substantial time to shop for plants and organize the complicated delivery of plants, tables, books, cashiering supplies and more to the sale location. She is always the first to arrive and last to leave after closing.

Entirely self-taught when it comes to understanding and identifying our native plants, she has nevertheless become one of the most knowledgeable botanists in our chapter. As part of her self-education, she has visited and photographed dozens of California native plant sites from Anza Borrego to the Oregon border and far beyond, as well as making excursions overseas to places like Chile to view and learn about compatible Mediterranean plant communities.

By 2004 she was leading field trips for the chapter, particularly on Tiburon’s Ring Mountain at peak time for Calochortus tiburonensis and Hesperolinon congestum, and Mt. Tam’s Rock Springs with Calypso bulbosa in mind. She has continued to do so each year since. There is no doubt that her enthusiasm about and knowledge of our native plants have greatly increased the appreciation for our local species in both members and the public.

Kristin is also an accomplished botanical illustrator. What is unique about Kristin is the success with which she has integrated her artistic talents and tastes with the promotion and protection of California native plants. She attended the Royal College of Art in London to study natural history illustration, graduating with a master’s degree in 1981. Turning her natural history interest into her vocation, she remained in London for a year and a half after graduation working as an illustrator. During that time, she was awarded silver-gilt medals in 1981 and 1982 for works exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society.

On her return to Marin, she has continued to pursue her career in botanical illustration through the present day. As a scientific illustrator, she creates paintings that are accurate enough to be used for plant identifica­tion. Her immense graphic skill is deployed to bring these plants to life.  Often this skill was put to work for the benefit of CNPS; the Marin chapter is particularly grateful to be a big beneficiary. She has provided the chapter with art for the plant sale poster for many years, illustrations for chapter newsletters, and design for the brochure for the symposium we held, “Go Native, Grow Natives.” She has displayed her work at over 30 group and solo exhibitions over the years, including four solo shows at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing.

Her first illustration commission was for a children’s book on poisonous plants of the world, by CNPS mem­ber Alan Eschelman. Her first published illustrations appeared in the CNPS Marin newsletters and the state organization’s quarterly journal Fremontia (now Artemisia). Two of her largest subsequent commissions, the poster “Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada” (1985), for which she illustrated 75 different species, and a set of four placemats/posters depicting California grasses (2004) were published by CNPS. Sales of these posters have brought in over a million dollars for the organization. She illustrated long articles about the genera Streptanthus and Hesperolinon in the Four Seasons (East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden annual journal) with precise drawings of the plants and their parts. Her largest project was to create pen & ink drawings for a book on the cultivation of California native Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses (2003, UC Press, Berkeley), which she also co-edited. During CNPS Conservation Conferences, she is frequently found setting up and running the botanical illustration gallery and contest.

Outside of her professional art sphere, Kristin has worked for years as a garden consultant. She contributed horticultural advice to the Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club, the City of Mill Valley’s Parks & Recreation Dept, Mill Valley Library, the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, and Mill Valley Bloomathon, for which she designed the logo. The City of Mill Valley recognized her talent and contributions a few years ago with the Milley Award, in recognition of her accomplishments in the arts that have brought honor to the community. She helped develop the planting list for our successful public pollinator garden at the Bay Model in Sausalito, as well as Marin county lists of fire-wise plants to use in home gardens. Her garden advice to customers and chapter members alike is highly valued.

It is difficult to imagine the Marin chapter without Kristin’s contributions and talents; there are many years when she was the force that kept us together. We have come to rely on her knowledge, expertise, thought­ful ideas and good common sense. We are very belated in acknowledging her enormous contribution to CNPS and hope you will look on her nomination favorably.


Kristin Jakob portrait photo by Marti Cagwin 2013 7 1 for Milleys