Alicia Funk honored with William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership Award

Alicia Funk

Last Tuesday, the Bear Yuba Land Trust recognizedAlicia Funk during its annual Oak Tree Bash: Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony in Grass Valley.

The Land Trust honored Alicia with the William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership. How does this sound for a glowing testimonial: “I’ve known Alicia for many years and have seen how her passion for our local natural environment has really captured her imagination,” said BYLT Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt. “She has turned that passion into action by becoming our local expert on culinary and medicinal wild, native plants and traditional uses by indigenous peoples. She has advocated for our understanding and the use of them through tours and talks, lectures, writing and now filmmaking. This award recognizes exactly these qualities among people like Alicia in our community.”

Many of you will know that Alicia is the founder of the Living Wild Project and co-author of “Living Wild — Gardening, Cooking and Healing with Native Plants of California” which is near and dear to our heart because some of the proceeds of each book come directly here to us at CNPS. Buy the book at our website, if you don’t already have it!

Congratulations to Alicia, and read the whole article here.

If you are in Long Beach next week…

lax-logo-top-2015I’ll be speaking at the LA Expo – which is an industry conference for the landscape industry, with thousands of commercial design elements, lighting, structures, hardscapes and specialized products. Why are we there? To spread the message amongst the industry that is most affected by plant material choices!

We look to garden with natives, and in order to do that, we are supported by a ton of commercial interests: plant growers and sellers, gardens, designers, people with ancillary products, even companies that sell soils and synthetic chemicals.

And they all need to hear our message. So, I love to go out on the road and evangelize for our viewpoint. These sessions are fun and eye-openers. It is great to see how the industry is slowly but surely embracing better gardening practices.

And we are at the center of that!

The LA Expo is this March 12th & 13th at the Long Beach Convention Center. IF you want to check it out, I’ll be speaking at 9 AM on the 12th. Stop by and say hello.

Freeways versus openways

SR 163

Photo Courtesy of Our City blog

San Diego has an older freeway, called the 163, that zips through the downtown area, part of Balboa Park and on out into the eastern part of the city. I can remember that freeway from when I was a little girl – I was enamored of how attractive it was, compared to all the other highways I’d been on.

Sadly, it has gotten a little less attractive over the years. Budgets, congestion, and other issues. Whenever a project starts up to “improve” it, the public weighs in with criticisms and alternatives. “More natives,” “more grass,” “don’t spend any money,” and other rallying cries go up.

The most recent effort is a $6.7 million project adding trees, shrubs, turf and a new irrigation system. The grass has stirred up comment from, of all places, the San Diego Taxpayers Association! CNPS members locally have also made their voices known, but this surprising “environmental” group has an interesting slant on this.

Their vice president, Sean Karafin, says, “Caltrans is putting the equivalent of a fairway on the freeway where no one will ever play golf, go for a walk or play…The freeway, at a minimum, disrespects everyone that’s trying to cut back water use.” And he went on to comment that his estimation is that it could cost up to $70,000 each year to water that grass.

The head of the local building preservation society, SOHO, suggested that grasses were OK because there had once been grasses in that valley. But the grasses that CalTRANS will be using aren’t native. Hmmm.

Very messy.

At the end of the article, though, there was one quick reference to the idea of removing the freeway altogether! That also caught my attention. The author had a link to this article in Gizmodo. It discusses cities worldwide that have removed freeways and I was very excited to see these projects. The Los Angeles River is being revitalized and parts will run free-flow. The San Diego River is getting its due respect. So these large reversals are possible. The idea of removing an entire freeway is exciting!

Landscape Industry Show tomorrow

LIS CLCAI am speaking at the CLCA Landscape Industry Show tomorrow – the convention is in Ontario on Wendweday and Thursday. My presentation is California Native Plants For A Water-Challenged Future


This seminar is about reducing landscape irrigation needs, minimizing chemical use, and gardening for sustainability (building habitat and reducing green waste) are all important trends that benefit from the use of California native plants. This session will explore some of the myths of native plants; will show beautiful, low maintenance examples of native plant gardens in managed landscapes as well as individual residences; and explain the benefits of native plants over the broader Mediterranean or “drought-tolerant” plant selection categories.

Participants will learn about the key California native landscape plants that provide extended bloom, color and reliability; How maintenance strategies in managed landscapes differ from conventional practices; IPM the easy way – using native plants; The key benefits of California native plans over other plant selections, such as Mediterranean and drought-tolerant selections; How native plants are best adapted to exist in difficult soil conditions; Key resources for more information, training, marketing campaigns and partnering opportunities to create a new future; and the new CNPS Certification Program for licensed professionals.

Nursery Manager position is open!

native-plant-nurseriesTheGolden Gate National Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit support partner of theGolden GateNational Parks—84,000 acres of national parkland throughout the BayArea, including MuirWoods, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field, and Alcatraz. The Parks Conservancy is a membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. Park projects and programs include theCrissy Field Center, which promotes leadership and environmental justice training for youth; theNative Plant Nurseries, which grow over 150,000 plants annually to restore habitats; the Trails Forever initiative, which is at work building and rehabilitatingmiles of trails throughout the Parks; and volunteer programs that inspire 35,000 people annually to take action in support of the Parks.

The Presidio Nursery is one of six nurseries that support the mission of the Golden Gate National Parks, and is operated by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the Presidio Trust. The nurseries provide native plants for Park restoration efforts, serve as a community & educational resource, and inspire community land stewardship. Located in the Fort Scott area of the Presidio in San Francisco, the Presidio Nursery offers modern horticultural facilities, the opportunity to participate in cutting edge ecological restoration projects, and serves as a hub of vibrant community and education programs.

Position Overview 

The Nursery Manager is responsible for meeting annual propagation goals of up to 85,000 plants for projects throughout the Presidio. The Nursery Manager oversees all facets of operating and maintaining the Presidio Nursery while managing staff, interns, and volunteers in these efforts. This includes oversight of propagule collection, production, plant care, record keeping/administration, routine maintenance and improvement of the Nursery facilities, and special projects.

An ideal candidate will possess excellent interpersonal skills, be an effective communicator, and be invested in working in a cooperative environment with multiple partners. An ideal candidate will also be familiar with native plants of the Bay Area, have previous experience propagating California natives from seeds, cuttings, divisions, bulbs, and spores and be enthusiastic and adept at teaching these concepts and techniques to others.

Apply by e-mail: Please email your resume and thoughtful cover letter describing your achievement of the requirements by February 4, 2015 to: Alisa Shor, Director of Park Nurseries,

…and more pix from the Conservation Conference…


Ocean Friendly Gardens meeting after the Surfrider workshop


Deidre Kennelly stirring up auction bids at the Banquet


Daniel Gluesenkamp and Aaron Sims getting ready to raise funds for CNPS in our 50th anniversary year.


Back row: David Berman and Cesar Garcia. Front row: Kendra Sikes, Susan Krzywicki, Becky Reilly

Back row: David Berman and Cesar Garcia. Front row: Kendra Sikes, Susan Krzywicki, Becky Reilly

David Berman took these photos as well as the ones I posted yesterday.