CNPS 2022 Conference Oct 20-22 in San Jose, CA

By Stacey Pogorzelski and Ann Elliott

The CNPS 2022 Conference Oct 20-22 in San Jose, CA, went beyond the traditional sharing of native plant science and conservation issues; it also included concurrent session tracks on horticulture and education. With the conference theme of Rooting Together, a broader community gathered to share ideas for restoring our connections to nature, conserving native plants, and honoring and including indigenous voices in CNPS’ work.

Conference Ann ElliottPlant Science and Conservation session topics included research and reports relating to climate change, fire resilience and recovery, biodiversity, invasive plants, livestock grazing, rare plants, seed banking, and bryology.

Many sessions explored the intrinsic and historically overlooked role of indigenous people in preserving, stewarding, and interpreting California native plants.

Sessions in native plant horticulture included technical challenges (climate challenges, phytophthora, ethics) as well as urban and suburban restoration challenges, including partnering with local governments and schools.

A selection of sessions:

Fire Resilience

Marin Chapter Co-President David Long described our taxpayer-approved Marin Wildfire Protection Authority (MWPA). The Chapter’s partnership with Marin Audubon and West Marin Environmental Action Committee (Fire and Environmental Resilience Network – FERN) advocates for environmentally sound practices by MWPA.  Marin Chapter Board Member and Field Trip Co-Chair Carolyn Longstreth reported how FERN uses the CalFire Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) to advocate for sound ecological practices in MWPA’s vegetation management projects and evaluate environmental compliance. https://www.cnpsmarin.org/protecting-natives/current-issues/item/763-fern-a-collaboration-to-protect-natural-resources-in-wildfire-risk-reduction-projects

Land Back Movements and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

The Amah Mutsun Land Trust enables the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (also referred to  as “Ohlone”) to access, protect, and steward lands from Año Nuevo to the greater Monterey area, lands known to them as Popeloutchom. https://www.amahmutsunlandtrust.org/

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians is calling for a co-management agreement with CalFire in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County, part of their traditional territory. https://www.pomolandback.com/

The Chico Traditional Ecological Stewardship Program of the Mechoopda Tribe is a Traditional Ecological Knowledge [TEK] certification program for land stewardship in California. https://tekchico.org/

Horticulture/Restoration

The Tule River Parkway Association has implemented a restoration in Porterville with 18 native plant demonstration gardens designed and maintained by various individuals and organizations. https://www.tuleriverparkwayassociation.org/

Westwood Greenway is a conversion of an abandoned railroad right of way to filter system and bioswale to  clean dry weather runoff from an urban area before it enters a creek and the ocean. https://westwoodgreenway.org/overview/

Green infrastructure in San Francisco (think native plant rain gardens!) is being created throughout the very urban environment of SF. We could certainly do the same here in Marin! https://sfpuc.org/programs/san-franciscos-urban-watersheds/what-green-infrastructure

The Chino Basin Water Conservation Agency has done some interesting and incentivizing work to help residents plant natives and created a garden planner to make it easy. https://waterwisegardenplanner.org/

CALSCAPE.org (a project of CNPS) has a new Bay Area Garden Planner. https://bayarea.calscape.org/

Equity in access to green spaces

Green spaces in urban areas improve mental and physical health. Urban and transportation planning should consider public and human-powered transportation access to “wild” green spaces in and beyond cities.

Literacy for Environmental Justice promotes nature-based activities and job training in a lower-income neighborhood of San Francisco.  https://www.lejyouth.org/