California Native Plant Society, Orange Co. Chapter

P.O. Box 54891
Irvine CA

Orange County is one of 34 chapters of the California Native Plant Society. OC CNPS is a volunteer organization, depending on the dedication, hard work and incredible initiative of our members. We are governed by an elected Board of Directors, each with a two year term. Chapter teams guide many of the activities and functions of the chapter.
Get involved. Assisting with a team is a great way to get started. You can help as much or as little as you wish and your time allows. Volunteering may be a single task or an ongoing committment. We are effective because of volunteers like you. As you read the team descriptions below, send a note to the team chair indicating your interest.
Help grow CNPS and support our mission to protect, conserve and enjoy California's native plants and their habitats
Need a speaker for your program, click here.
Want to find out about our grants, click here.
For student involvement opportunities, click here.


Your Chapter Leadership

Officers & Directors

Brad Jenkins
Term: 2018/2019

Sarah Jayne
Term: 2018/2019
Term: 2017/2018

Thea Gavin
Term: 2018/2019

Board Member
Jutta Burger
Term: 2018/2019

Board Member
Laura Camp
Term: 2017/2018

Board Member
Bob Huttar
Term: 2018/2019

Board Member
Celia Kutcher
Term: 2017/2018

Board Member
Jennifer Mabley
Term: 2017/2018

Board Member
David Pryor
Term: 2017/2018

Board Member
Ron Vanderhoff
Term: 2018/2019

Board Member
Dan Songster
Term: 2018/2019

Terms are two years, ending Dec. 31.


Your Chapter Teams & Responsibilities

Chapter Council

Representative: David Pryor          Alternate: Thea Gavin

This is our representative to the state organization. They attend quarterly Chapter Council meetings, read the state bylaws, various staff reports and review meeting minutes. These meetings promote communication and coordination between groups and are attended by representatives from each chapter, the Chapter Council officers,  the State Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and key staff members of CNPS. Council meetings are often the source and final approval for CNPS policies. As our representative, they forward any important communications from council meetings and report on any important state business, especially so that we can vote appropriately if necessary. This position also writes an annual chapter report.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • This is a position generally occupied by the Chapter President or a delegate(s) assigned by the President. There are no volunteer opportunities for this role.


Chair: Vacant                                  Newsletter Chair: Sarah Jayne              eNews: Laura Camp & Rachel Whitt
Publicity: Bob Huttar                     Website: Rich Schilk                    Publications: Brad Jenkins & Jennifer Mabley    

Responsible for our printed chapter newsletter our electronic email communications, website, social media and other communications. Printed newsletters are mailed six times per year. Approximately nine scheduled email communications are sent each year. The team gathers content for these communications from various sources, writes original content as well, designs and formats the publications and mails or sends the final documents. They manage the work and coordinate with other chapter leaders in order to meet the necessary deadlines. The team also maintains the mailing and email databases for these publications.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • If you have graphic arts abilities you may be able to help with the layout or graphics of our printed newsletter.
  • If you are familiar with email software (we use Constant Contact) you may be able to help create or send our email communications.
  • If you have creative writing experience and enjoy native plants perhaps you could contribute occasional articles to either the printed or electronic newsletters.


Responsible for producing the printed chapter newsletter, which is distributed six time per year. Responsibilities include editing the content, writing original portions of the newsletter, collecting content from various members and teams (programs, conservation, horticulture, etc.), formating the layout, printing and distributing.

Publicity & Social Media

Promote to the public the important meetings, events, tours, field trips and other activities that OC CNPS is engaged in. This committee works closely with our communications team on email and newsletter needs and produce media releases as needed. They use social media platforms to connect with members and the public keep them informed and engaged in the chapter. Our Facebook site can be accessed here.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • An easy way to help is to post native plant information, chapter activities, beautiful native plant photographs and other interesting information on one of our Social Media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
  • Do you know someone in the media? If so can you help us to connect with them on a native plant issue or project?
  • Are you creative? Help design chapter materials that we can use at outreach events and other activities.


Manages all aspects of the chapter website, which is a critical communication tool for the chapter. This includes website development, structural changes to the site, page management, de-bugging of the site, the quality of the user experience and maintaining current software, hosting relationships and certificates. This team works with most other chapter committees as well in order to coordinate their portion of the site. The committee also trains other chapter users to post articles, makes edits and perform other on-going maintenance. Our OC CNPS website is written on a Joomla platform, a popular and user-friendly open-source content management system.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • If you have experience with website development we can always use your help to improve the site and make the user experience even better.
  • Updates and changes that are generated by the various committee need to be incorporated an updated on the site. You can help.
  • We would like to develop an assistant webmaster.
  • If you are familiar with Joomla and the many extensions available you may have some ideas for enhancements you can assist us with.


Responsible for all inventory and sales, including merchandise like books, plants, posters, t-shirts and hats, etc. These sales frequently occur at our monthly chapter meetings. However, significant sales also happen at spring and/or fall offsite native plant sales events as well as during outreach events such as The Fullerton Green Scene and the South Coast Plaza Spring Garden Show. The team manages the inventory for these sales, by ordering books and others items from vendors, offering special prices on older items and by processing all transactions, whether cash, check of PayPal.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Staffing sales tables at chapter meetings or other events.
  • Setup and takedown of sales tables.
  • Storing inventory of books or other sales merchandise.



Chair: Celia Kutcher                      Assistant Chair: Vacant                         Members: Vacant

The Conservation team is the focus of the Chapter’s goal to conserve, protect and enhance Orange County’s native plants and habitats.  We work effectively with other conservation organizations on such issues as vegetation management, appropriate natural area landscaping, invasive-plant management and much more. The committee monitors and comments on development activities, provides testimony, engages in occasional litigation and communicates regularly with public agencies, land managers, stewardship and advocacy organizations and others on native plant conservation issues. Additional information about some of the current projects in which OC CNPS is involved can be found here.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Monitor local projects of conservation concern, in cooperation with other county and regional environmental groups.  This may include reading Environmental Impact Reports and similar documents, and, as the Chapter’s representative, writing comment letters on and speaking about the issue at public hearings, workshops, and similar sessions.  As appropriate, these are done with advice and assistance from the Rare Plant Committee, the Invasive Plant Committee, and/or the stewardship/advocacy groups most concerned with the issue.
  • Attend hearings, meetings, conference calls, workshops and forums on OC Parks, watersheds, flood control, and similar issues that relate to native-plant conservation in OC.
  • Maintain communication and coordination with public agencies, land managers, stewardship and advocacy organizations and others on native plant conservation issues including vegetation management, appropriate natural-area landscaping, invasive-plant management and much more.
  • Engage in occasional litigation, under CNPS Policy guidelines.
  • Write brief reports on chapter-related conservation issues, monthly for the Chapter Board, bi-monthly for our newsletter and website, as-needed for email blasts.  Present a selection of information on the issues at our monthly membership meetings.


Education & Grants

O'Niell Grant Chair: Jutta Burger              Reviewers: Bob Allen, Celia Kutcher, Fred Roberts, Ron Vanderhoff
Acorn Grant Chair: Sarah Jayne               Reviewers: The Board of Directors


The Orange County Chapter is interested in educating both the public as to the value of native plants and the habitats they are an essential part of, as well as improving our member’s knowledge regarding local plants and the impact they have on our ecosystems. In this effort, the chapter helped assure the publication of Bob Allen and Fred Roberts masterpiece “Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains” by Laguna Wilderness Press in 2013 and helps distribute that wonderful book. Many of our programs touch on this, including Field Trips and Conservation. The Chapter Education and Grants team also administer four very different grants, The Charlie O’Neill Grant, The Acorn Grant, The Horticultural Grant and The Traveler’s Grant. This team is responsible for the communication, administration, review of applications and the awarding of these grants. Information about OC CNPS grants can be found here. If you are looking for a speaker for a native plant program please check here.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Helping develop programs which could assist schools (and other institutions) include native plants in curriculums ranging from California History to Horticulture.
  • Assisting schools that need guidance planning, installing or maintaining a CA native plant garden.
  • Assist in getting word out to appropriate institutions and people regarding our various grants.


Field Trips

Chair: Ron Vanderhoff                  Members: Diane Etchison, Jonathan Frank, Kent Henry, Rachel Whitt

Responsible for all aspects of the chapter’s field trip program. The team solicits input to potential trips locations, coordinates access, schedules the trips, writes trip descriptions and in some cases manages reservations and fees. Field trip leaders may or may not be team members and often include outside experts for specific trips. The team ensures the trips are educational, enjoyable, the participates are safe and have a positive experience. The team published a field trip schedule and maintains it on the chapter website. Following each trip the team usually writes a brief summary on the website and sometimes a plant list of the species seen. Additional field trip information can be found here.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • We are always looking for people to lead or assist on trips. Often our members have inside knowledge of particular areas.
  • If you know an expert in an area, have a relationship with a ranger, a land manager, a botanical or natural history expert this can be especially helpful. You may be able to connect our committee to this person or even help to organize the trip. These are often the best field trips.
  • Scouting an area in advance of a field trip is especially helpful.
  • During the trip we need volunteers to keep plant lists or play the role of a “sweep”. After the trip, volunteers can write a brief summary for the website.
  • This is one of the easiest and most fun ways to get involved in your chapter.



Chair: Dan Songster                      Plant Sales: Laura Camp, Dan Songster
Garden Tour: Sarah Jayne, Dori Ito, Mabel Alazard, Jennifer Beaty


This team may have the greatest number of enjoyable and worthwhile opportunities for chapter volunteers!  We strive to improve and expand efforts in engaging, educating, and involving people in growing native plants, designing native gardens, and maintaining native landscapes. Whether increasing habitat for birds, butterflies, and other animals, using less water and fertilizer, or for the beauty they provide-we believe native plants should be an important aspect of every landscape in Orange County.

Volunteer Opportunities: Many opportunities exist for individuals with a love of native plants. These opportunities include:

  • Serve to provide the homeowners and businesses of Orange County a nexus to learn about the horticultural use of native plants.
  • Work with local governments, agencies, water districts, park districts, etc., to increase and improve the use of native plants in public gardens.
  • Assist with Chapter Plant Sales (spring and/or fall events) and/or at monthly meetings.
  • Assisting with our chapter’s Spring Garden Tour.
  • Assist with developing and implementing any Horticulture based symposia, conferences, or workshops.
  • Promote the development of new avenues of Horticulture related events, serving to expand our efforts involving Orange County’s citizens interested in gardening with our wonderful native plants.

Garden Tour

The Orange County Chapter has offered a garden tour annually since 2002, excepting for the years 2005 and 2006, usually on the first Saturday in May. Preparation for the garden tour begins in the fall and early winter with a call for gardens with notices in our newsletter and announcements at the chapter meetings. The team follows up on all offers and visits to the gardens to assess their suitability. The team produces solicits sponsors, develops promotional materials, organizes information on the website, creates a tour brochure and secures liability insurance. Prior to the tour, directions are finalized, signs are created and publicity is generated.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • This is one of our most important and fun events with many ways for volunteers to get involved.
  • If you have or know of a great native plant garden, perhaps you can connect us to the homeowner/gardens or even makes the connection yourself.
  • We prefer to have two docents as greeters for each garden, which allows each an opportunity to visit other gardens.
  • Perhaps you know a potential sponsor (water district, garden business, etc.) or are willing to help solicit sponsors.


Invasive Plants

Co-Chair: Jutta Burger                         Co-Chair: Ron Vanderhoff         
Members: Celia KutcherThea Gavin, Bob Huttar, David Pryor, Dan Songster, Josie Bennett
A very active team that administers all aspects of invasive plant detection and management in the chapter. The team monitors and comments on various invasive plant matters, but is especially involved in Emergent Invasive Plant Management. This aspect of the team is especially active in Early Detection of new, high-priority invasive plant species as well as the coordination and communication of these detections to various land managers, agencies and stewardship organizations. The team maintains priority species lists, reviews new detections, maps colonies and communicates with many allied groups and persons. The team maps and updates state databases and our OC CNPS website as well as maintaining a rigorous data-driven scoring protocol for existing and candidate species. Additional information our OC CNPS invasive plant issues can be found here.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Volunteers to assist with new invasive plant scouting in the field or to field-check and report on existing known invasive colonies.
  • Help organizing and conducting occasional invasive plant “pulls” of high-priority emergent species.
  • Transcribing and updating the Calflora database and our OC CNPS records from data supplied to us by members, organizations, land managers, etc.
  • Many other volunteer opportunities abound. If you have an idea or want to help, email us at



Chair: Laura Camp (Interim)          Outreach: Jennifer Mabley         Volunteer Recognition: Dan Songster
Programs: Dan Songster               Hospitality: Sarah Jayne             Greeters: Dori Ito, Jennifer Beatty  
Audio-visual: Bob Allen, Thea Gavin, Bob Huttar

Manages all aspects of membership for the chapter, including maintaining a current roster, recruiting new members, coordinating contact information with the Communications team and assisting with membership opportunities at chapter meetings and outreach events. This team not only solicits and manages new memberships, but also works toward retention of current members. The team communicates regularly with state membership staff to stay current on membership benefits and other details.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • CNPS is a membership organization and depends greatly upon membership dues. Recruitment of new CNPS members at meetings and outreach events and hosting of membership tables at these events is easy and fun. 
  • Following up with individuals whose memberships have lapsed.


Hospitality welcome people, hosts check-ins, distributes badges, etc. at chapter meetings. This also includes handling the refreshments and snacks at the meetings. 

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Purchase refreshments and/or snacks for general meetings.
  • Be a greeter to welcome members and the public at our general meetings and other public events.
  • Assisting with the Pot Luck portion of our annual Membership Appreciation meeting each June.


This includes the events that OC CNPS appear at, such as Green Scene, South Coast Plaza Garden Show, OC Wilderness Day, Panhe Celebration, etc. If we are putting brochures on a table, answering questions and promoting OC CNPS, that is outreach. This committee is also the contact point for requests of OC CNPS at other events.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Help to staff an OC CNPS booth or table at a public event, like The Green Scene or The Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza.
  • Help to set up or take down our booth and displays at various outreach events.


The Program volunteers arrange for speakers to visit the chapter and make presentations during monthly general meetings on the third Thursday of each month (excepting July and August). The team selects quality speakers who speak on a wide range of topics including conservation, taxonomy, horticulture, botany, local and/or rare plants, exploring the county, etc. Basically, if the speaker is a good one and native plants are involved it is likely a worthy combination for the Chapter. The committee strives to make sure the speaker is accurately directed to our meeting location, is welcomed upon arrival, introduced to others in the chapter, and has all the technical needs of their talk (projector, speaker system, laptop, etc.) provided.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Finding, evaluating, securing, and scheduling monthly speakers.
  • Obtaining from the speaker a talk description, speaker bio, as well as a picture of the speaker for publicizing the talks in the chapter newsletter.  (Such information is also provided to the Publicity Chair, Webmaster, and E-News Editor.)
  • Serve as speaker liaison, helping to welcome the speaker to the meetings and make sure they have everything they need for their presentation-including projector and speaker setup.
  • Occasionally coordinate a dinner prior to the meeting for speakers who are not local and who would appreciate a break before they speak.


Plant Science

Chair: Bob Allen                             Members: David Bramlet, Fred Roberts, Ron Vanderhoff

Rare Plants

Monitors impacts or potential impacts to California Rare Plant Ranked species within the county. These rare plants usually have special conservation protections afforded to them. This team contributes to our knowledge of the status, distribution and abundance of these rare plants. The Rare Plant team works closely with the Conservation team coordinating comments on EIR’s, restoration and vegetation plans, fire abatement impacts to rare plants and in other ways. They also provide critical research and information to the state CNPS Rare Plant Program.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Occasional monitoring of rare plant populations, field surveys and ground-truthing of unchecked data.
  • Reviews of environmental documents related to rare native plant populations or potential populations.
  • Continual monitoring of government documents that may have a potential impact on native of rare plants and reporting those to The Rare Plant team and/or Conservation team.