(CNPS) has a mission "to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants." So why is it important to protect California's native plants you may wonder. We are fortunate to live in a place that has a wonderfully diverse ecosystem. Amazingly enough, "California has more plant species than any other state in the nation". To make this even more amazing is that "at least one third of California's plants are found nowhere else in the world."
CNPS works to protect native plants by working on conservation, education, and plant science. The CNPS conservation efforts includes advocating "for maximum legal protection and science-based, ecologically sound land-management." This is an important step in protecting the ecosystems that these plant reside in as well as protecting the animals that depend on these native plants for their survival. CNPS is also active in educating the community of our native plants. These efforts include field trips, rare plant treasure hunts, plant science trainings and conferences. In addition, CNPS is putting together efforts to learn more about our native plants to help fight extinction. They have put together a rare plant inventory and ranks the critically endangered plants. This effort "play an important role in scientific research, conservation planning, and the effective enforcement of environmental laws."
So as you take your next walk in nature, take a pause to notice all the plant diversity around you. Many of these native plants are doing so much more than looking pretty. They are providing food, nesting locations, shelter, and depending on the species they may even sequestering carbon (storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide).