North Coast CNPS

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sawyer 240 85bbLast night [August 19] , if you felt a shifting of the spheres, heard a sighing of the (conifer) trees, and felt a sudden void, that was the spirit of John Sawyer passing. May he rest in peace, in his mountains.
Carol Ralph, president North Coast Chapter

A picnic for friends and family in celebration of John's life and accomplishments was held at Patrick's Point State Park on September 22nd.
(contact family at jos2 at humboldt .edu)

 9/4/12 obituary hosted by the Times Standard, includes guestbook - link

(8/21/12 communication from Mike Mesler, professor at Humboldt State University, to the HSU Biology Department)

Dear colleagues,

I'm writing to tell you the sad news that our friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus John Sawyer, passed away on Sunday evening.  John joined the HSU faculty in 1966 and retired in 2000.   Over the many years, he taught General Ecology, Plant Ecology, Desert Ecology, and Alpine Ecology as well as lab sections in Plant Taxonomy.  His particular forte was graduate education; he mentored more than 35 graduate students, many of whom now professional ecologists.   John was a community ecologist and widely regarded as an expert on the vegetation of California.  He was also an excellent general field biologist, an avid backpacker, and a very good plant taxonomist.  Many of the plant specimens in our herbarium, especially ones from remote montane localities, bear his name as collector.  John's special loves were woody groups like conifers and members of the rose, cascara, and huckleberry families.  He liked to call the herbaceous plants that I study "ground trash", but I suspect that he loved them too.   Along with his many former students and friends across the state and country, I'm going to miss John.

I'll let you know when we have details about the memorial.


 (8/23/12 communication from Brett Hall, president CNPS)

With deep sadness we are sharing the following news. Please distribute this message widely through CNPS and among your friends a colleagues. John Sawyer inspired countless students and native plant people.

(from Todd Keeler-Wolf)

Dear Friends and Colleagues;

It is with great sadness and loss, that I report the death of one of the founding members of the CNPS Vegetation Committee, John Sawyer. As you all know, John was there at the beginning when Michael Barbour convened the first meeting and has seen us through 2 editions of the Manual of California Vegetation, and innumerable other mileposts in the existence of our committee. John addressed his cancer as he did many other problems, in a practical and an analytical way. He was indefatigable and dauntless in his spirit through several mutated bouts of the disease and I really thought he would be able to beat back yet another one. However, this was not to be. His doctors told him in the way that he would have wanted to hear it -- the options were exhausted and his life could be prolonged somewhat, but the quality of it (most expressly his ability to walk and get around on his own) could not. He declined quickly from late July to mid-August and died comfortably, at home last weekend.

He loved and cherished his affiliation and relationship with CNPS, extending well beyond the Vegetation Committee to leadership, scholarship, and rare plant list aspects. John has influenced so many of us as botanists, ecologists, lovers of nature, and biogeography. His essence will continue to live on in our hearts and minds. He mentored and worked with scores of students, and colleagues including me, Julie Evens, Jim Andre, Josie Crawford, and many others who continue to play active roles in our committee and the Society.

I know that the legacy of CNPS and John Sawyer are both deeply intertwined. Some of us are already discussing some things that the Society can do to commemorate his life and his dedication. However, at this point let us just pause and reflect on the effect he has had on all of us.

Julie and I did speak with his wife Jane, and she is well supported by a wealth of family and friends. She tells us that there will be a picnic held in his honor toward the middle or end of September (Sept. 15 or Sept. 22 are likely dates), at one of his favorite places, Patrick’s Point State Park, Humboldt Co.


Todd Keeler-Wolf, Ph.D.
Senior Vegetation Ecologist
Biogeographic Data Branch
California Department of Fish and Game

Brett Hall
CNPS State Board President
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (831) 212-4853

Contact Us 

P.O. Box 1067, Arcata CA 95518

Our chapter functions thanks to many amazing volunteers.  The ones that might need to be contacted from outside the chapter are listed here.

Our chapter is governed by a Steering Committee composed of the four elected officers and any other jobholders who want to be on it and are approved by the committee itself.   Most of our jobholders are listed in this table. Seventeen of these are members of the Steering Committee.  Election of officers is held in October of even-numbered years. 


Carol Ralph


Vice President

Greg O'Connell



Frances Ferguson



Anita Gilbride-Read



Rebecca Manion

Invasive Plants


Native Plant Gardening

Pete Haggard


Native Plant Consultation

Samantha O'Connell


Plant Sale, Co-chairs


Nursery Manager Chris Beresford 707-826-0259



Conservation Advisor

Sydney Carothers


Local Land Use Lead Marisa D'Arpino  

Evening Programs

Michael Kauffmann



Melinda Groom

Frank Milelzcik



Field Trips and Plant Walks

Carol Ralph


Rare Plants

Dave Imper

Greg O'Connell



Plant Communities

Tony LaBanca


Newsletter Editor

Barbara Reisman


Website & Publicity

Larry Levine


Poster Sales

Karen Isa


T-Shirt Sales

Karen Isa



Gordon Leppig


Wildflower Show


Chapter Council Delegate

Larry Levine


NEC Representative

Econews CNPS page editor Vacant

Darlingtonia LogoOur newsletter, the Darlingtonia, is a wonderful resource for chapter events, local plant profiles, field trip reports, and other articles of interest. The Darlingtonia is published quarterly (December, March, June, September).  Please submit for consideration articles, poems, photographs, etc. to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than one month prior to publication. Electronic copies of our newsletter (in PDF format), with color photographs, can be downloaded below.

Issue Highlights

Darlingtonia Summer 2020

  • Tallamy's latest Book Review
  • Curbside pickup plant sale
  • Virtual Wildflower Show in the time of Covid-19
Darlingtonia Spring 2020
  • Spring Wildflower Show and Native Plant Sale
  • Field Trip Reports: Spike Buck Mountain, Stone Lagoon north end
  • Scholarship Award reports
Darlingtonia Winter 2020
  • Field Trip Reports: Tangle Blue Lake and Lost Man Creek
  • North Coast Chapter 50 Year Anniversary
  • Book Review: Vascular Plants of Northwestern California
Darlingtonia Fall 2019
  • Native Plant Sale
  • Field Trip Report: Five Lake Weekend
  • Jefferson Pollinator Garden

Darlingtonia Summer 2019

  • Where do all the wildflowers go after the show?
  • Field trip reports: Horse Linto campground, Coyote Creek
Darlingtonia Spring 2019
  • Spring Wildflower Show and Native Plant Sale
  • Field Trip Report: Skunk Cabbage Trail
  • Native Plants for Baby Caterpillars

Darlingtonia Winter 2019

  •  Field Trip Reports: Dead Lake, The Lassics, Bear River Ridge
  • Articles: Restoring Nature One Garden at a Time, A Beautiful Weed
Darlingtonia Fall 2018
  • Field Trip Reports: Crogan Hole, Sugar Lake, Hidden Springs
  • Nursery Thanks, Help Needed
  • Fall Plant Sale photos
Darlingtonia Summer 2018
  • Field Trip Reports: Stony Creek  and East Fork Willow Creek
  • Articles: Mistaken Identity and Wildflower Show
Darlingtonia Spring 2018
  • Field Trip Reports: Rohner Park and Humboldt Botanical Garden
  • Articles: Wildflower Show & Native Plant Sale, Kneeland Glen Farm Stand Sells Our Plants, CNPS 2018 Fellow - Larry Levine, Azalea Update, Big Day at Ceremonial Rock, Nursery News, Report from the CNPS Conservation Conference, Doug Tallamy at the CNPS Conservation Conference, Conservation Corner
Darlingtonia Winter 2018
  • Field Trip Reports: Highway 299 Fall Tour and Patrick's Point State Park
  • Articles: Conservation Corner-This is Bigger than Climate Change and In Memory of Daniel Howard Norris
Darlingtonia Fall 2017
  • Field Trip Reports: Mattole River and Lost Coast Trail, Ruth Lake, Clover Gulch, and Boundary Trail, and Point St. George
  • Articles: A New Rubus Among Us, Ballot for Chapter Officer Elections
Darlingtonia Summer 2017
  • Field Trip Reports: Jacoby Creek Forest Redwood Ecology Hike - A Walk Amongst the Fairy Rings and Western Azaleas at their Prime, and a Bonus at Dry Lagoon
  • Articles: Take Action:  Lassics Lupine, Spring Plant Sales Thank You's, Plant Nursery Thank You's, Plant Nursery Update, Time to Plan...Time to Plant!, Recipe for a Wildflower Show, Call for Chapter Officer Nominations
Darlingtonia Spring 2017
  • Field Trip Reports: The Back Side of Freshwater Lagoon on the Old State Highway
  • Articles: To the Rescue: Western Azaleas, The Hikshari' Trail
  • Wildflower Show & Plant Sale Flyer
Darlingtonia Winter 2017
  • Field Trip Reports: Carrother's Cove Trail, Cold Spring on Day of Dispersal, Scenes from Groves Prairie
  • Articles: Protecting Western Azaleas, Learn About Azaleas and Other Rhododenderons, Oak Woodland Restoration
  • North Coast CNPS Research Grant (double-sided flyer)
  • Sedge Workshop (double-sided flyer)
Darlingtonia Fall 2016
  • Field Trip Reports:  Burnt Ranch and Grays Falls, Del Norte Weekend on the South Fork Smith River
  • Articles:  Native Gardens, North Coast Rare Plant Treasure Hunts Summary, New McKinleyville Trail
Summer 2016
  • Field Trip Reports: Arcata City Trail: bioswales and blackberries, Bryophytes in Arcata Community Forest, Dunes and Dunes Forest from Lanphere to Ma-le�l, Schatz Demonstration Tree Farm in Maple Creek
  • Articles: Native Plant Garden at Humboldt State, Got An App For That?, The Spring Plant Sale: a Parade of Plants, In Appreciation: the 34th Spring Wildflower Show, Fall Plant Sale Advertisement, Chapter Year End Financial Report, Chapter FY 15-16 Activities, Chapter Native Plant Nursery Update, Neonicotinoids in Your Garden, Nursery Thank You�s from Chris
Spring 2016
  • Field Trip Reports:  East Boulder Lake and Scott Mountain Botanical Area
  • Articles: Hands-on Phenology at the Wildflower Show, Save Our Local State Parks from English Ivy, Wildflower Art Show, Wildflower Show Information, Plant Sale Information, Native Plant Week Events, Rock the Redwoods II, Native Plants the Designer Way, Rare Plant Conservation Decisions
Winter 2016
  • Field Trip Reports: Elk River Spit and Pine Ridge
  • Articles: Nursery Update, Lawn Gone in Eureka, and Update on Lassics Lupine
Fall 2015
  • Field Trip Reports:  Coastal Trail, Hidden Beach Section from Requa to Lagoon Creek; Pink-margined Monkeyflower Rare Plant Treasure Hunt; Snow Camp Mountain; The Cusp of Horse Mountain; King Range
  • Articles: Native Sidewalk Garden Spear & Alliance; Digital California Plant Portal Hits Record Number of Specimens; Revised Wildflowers of California's North Coast Range; Wildflowers at Clarke Museum; Chapter Financial News; Wiyots & County Aid Coastal Checkerbloom; First State Lichen in US
Summer 2015
  • Field Trip Reports:  Flint Ridge Trail, Two Azalea Preserves
  • Articles:  Water Conservation Issue (Statewide Ditch Your Lawn Workshops, Catching the Rain at Trinity Valley School, CNPS Drought Resources), Conservation Corner, Nursery News, Ocean Friendly Gardens, Spring Plant Sale Thank Yous, Wildflower Show Musings
Spring 2015
  • Field Trip Reports:  Eel River Estuary
  • Articles: Shelter Cove Workshop, Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Program, State Parks Second Saturday Workdays, Native Plant Week Activities, Big Day of Giving, Wildflower Show & Spring Plant Sale Advertisement, Enhancing the Hikshari' Trail, Conservation Conference Event Summary, State Parks New Invasives Early Detection Program.
Winter 2015

  • Field Trip Reports: South Fork Janes Creek
  • Articles:  Our New Plant Nursery, Book Review:  Eat the Wild, Officer Election Results, Fall Plant Sale Thank You, Southern Humboldt Fern Project, Horse Mountain Botanical Area Clean-up Project, and Winter Garden
Fall 2014
  • Field Trip Report:  Rare Plant Treasure Hunt:  Oregon Fireweed, Big Lagoon Bog & Environs, and Wetlands & Cascade Mountains in Rocky Point, Oregon
  • Articles: Native Plant Gardening News, In Memory of Rick Storre
Summer 2014
  • Field Trip Reports:  Patrick's Point Rare Plants, South Spit Rare Plants, Trinidad Rare Plants
  • Articles:  CalFlora's Observer Software Applications, Chapter Fiscal Report, Wildflower Show Summary
Spring 2014
  • Field Trip Reports:  Horse Mountain and Cold Spring
  • Articles:  Rare Plant Treasure Hunts and Big Days, Celebrate Native Plant Week, Celebrate 50th Anniversary of the Federal Wilderness Act, Wildflower Show & Plant Sale, Humboldt Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance, Siskyou Field Institute Classes, Humboldt Botanical Garden Native Plant Tours.
Winter 2013
  • Field Trip Reports: Gold Bluff Beach Wetlands, Mt Elijah, Bigelow Lakes, and Oregon Caves, and Russ Park, Ferndale.
  • Articles:  New and Improved California Rare Plant Ranks, Stems Clear and Shining:  New Invasive Geranium, Bulbs on the Move
Fall 2013
  • Field Trip Reports:  Horse Linto, Swift Creek, Lady Bird Johnson Loop
  • Articles: Chapter Council Hosting Report, Fall Plant Sale, Autumn Haiku
Summer 2013
  • Field Trip Reports:  The Dunes from Mad River to Lanphere and Craig's Creek Trail
  • Articles:  A Garden Mistake:  The Viola Interloper, New Plant Names, Revisiting the Spring Wildflower Show, CNPS Chapter Council in Arcata, Chapter's Financial Report, Science Fair Winner, State Parks Volunteer Restoration Events
Spring 2013
  • Field Trip Reports:  Rohner Park & Hikshari Trail, Mad River Wetlands, Berry Glen Trail
  • Articles:  Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, Spring Plant Sale & Thank Yous, Spring Wildflower Show & Plant
Winter 2013
  • Field Trip Reports: Umbellifer Quest, Looking for Lichens at Cold Spring, Jacoby Creek Forest
  • Articles: California Bay Laurel, Mad River Beach Restoration Project
Fall 2012
  • Field Trip Reports: Sanger Lake and Youngs Valley
  • Articles: John O. Sawyer-Kin to the Earth, Thank you-City of Arcata, How to Introduce Native Plants into an Urban Garden, Native Plants Come to Old Town Eureka (Part 2), Ballot for Chapter Officers, Proposition 37 Endorsement.
Summer 2012
  • Field Trip Reports:  Bluff Creek and E-Ne-Nuk, Walker Ridge / Cache Creek, Mad River-Blue Lake / West End Road
  • Articles:  Native Plants Come to Old Town, Native Plant Gardening�Part 3 in a Series: Lessons of a Laissez
    Faire Gardener, Spring Wildflower Show Recollected, Conservation Update
Spring 2012
  • Field Trip Reports: Patrick's Point
  • Articles: Madrone Leaf Blight, Pruning Tips for Natives, More about Phenology Project, California Native Plant Week, Dynamic Concordance:  Help from Taxonomists, Gilded Darlingtonia Award, Conservation Conference Results, Budding Young Scientists, Recycling Botanical Books, Humboldt Weed Management Area Annual Report, Spring Garden Walk, Native Plant Sale, 30th Annual Wildflower Show, Walker Ridge
Winter 2012
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Fall 2011
  • Field Trip Reports:  Cook and Green Pass, Looking for Lewisia
  • Articles:  Discover Native Plant Gardening, Butterfly Gardening, Cook and Garden Poem, Arcata Plaza Plant Bed
Summer 2011
  • Field Trip Reports:  Benbow to Garberville, Mattole Rd, Brown Creek
  • Articles:  Value of Native Plants and Local Volunteers, Trails on Horse Mountain, Wildflower Show Memories, Ivy Bash
Spring 2011
  • Field Trip Reports:  Trinidad Head to Elk Head
  • Articles: Humboldt County "Pioneer" Survives, Native Plant Week, Discovery of the Little Prince's Pine, Kalmiopsis Leachiana-Survival in a Land of Extremes, Native Plant Brain Teaser, Native Plant Propagation Workshop Summary, Pritzlaff Conservation Award Winner-John O. Sawyer, General Plan Update: Open Space and Biological Diversity
Winter 2011
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Fall 2010
  • Field Trip Reports:  Mendocino Coast, Poker Flat
  • Articles: Brewer Spruce, General Plan Update, Chapter Financials, Conservation News, Focus on Grasslands
Summer 2010
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Spring 2010
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Winter 2009
  • Field Trip Reports:  Horse Mountain, Lake Earl / Tolowa
  • Articles:  Spartina Eradication, Horse Mountain Trail Group Update, New Plant Species Found in Six Rivers, Illiama (Globe Mallow) Fencing Project Update, Humboldt in 2050, California Invasive Plant Council Symposium Report, Weed Alert:  Panic Veldt Grass
Fall 2009
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Summer 2009
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Spring 2009
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Winter 2008
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Fall 2008
  • Field Trip Reports:
  • Articles:
Summer 2008  
Spring 2008  


Join or Renew - Please join us!


To Join

1.  Send your name, address, and check (payable to CNPS) to CNPS, 2707 K St., Suite 1, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Membership fees: Individual $50; Plant Lover $120; Sudent or Limited Income $25. Higher levels available; see the state web site.


2. Join online by going to the state's web site (link in top of left column of this page).


Your membership makes us a larger organization, so legislators, other politicians, agency workers, and the public will listen when we talk.

Your membership provides financial support to the organization doing the most to preserve California's rich native flora.

Your membership makes you part of a group of like-minded people interested in, enthused by, and appreciating native plants.

Your membership gives you a way to share and spread your appreciation of native plants.

Your membership brings you our quarterly chapter newsletter Darlingtonia (on paper or online), the thrice-yearly state journal Fremontia, the quarterly Flora, and discounts at local and state plant-related retailers (See the most recent newsletter and the state web site for details.).

Membership is not necessary for attending our events, participating in our activities, or even reading our newsletter online. We think it is important to educate as many people as possible, so we offer these to the public free or low cost. We think people join our organization for what it does, not for what they get.

The North Coast Chapter is a member organization of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), a valuable voice for conservation in our area. We have a seat on their board of directors. The NEC is the only organization with which we share our mailing list. We think it is important that our members receive Econews, an informative publication about local conservation issues. If you are not a member of NEC, we pay for you to recieve Econews. You can reduce this cost to our chapter by joining NEC at or requesting your Econews be electronic.


The state office handles renewals. You will be sent a renewal notice a  month or more before your expiration date, which is printed on your newsletter mailing label.  Lacking that letter, you can renew by mailing the same information as when joining and, specifying it is renewal, or by registering on the state web site and proceeding there.

Address change.

If your address changes, please notify us (through the Contact Us page)! We don't want to lose you! You can also tell the state office by sending a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with "Member Address Change" in the subject line. They will notify us monthly of changes.

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