In December, CNPS members received a letter from the Societys Vice Presidents for Education, Carol Baird and Lorrae Fuentes, which identified some of the ways education volunteers are "reaching out to inspire in the next generation an awareness, understanding and appreciation of Californias native plants." They shared the Education Committees vision and commitment in developing educational materials, distributing them throughout the state school system, designing and providing training workshops for teachers and other professionals in education, and becoming a part of or hosting teacher conferences to ensure CNPS educational outreach to local communities. They put out a call to all members to build upon the successes of CNPS chapters and to collaborate in developing new resource materials. This is just what they have been doing and with much success.
Lorrae is the Director of Education for the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. Carol is the Founder and Director of the California Institute for Biodiversity in Oakland. They have worked together to develop the CalAlive! programs to give teachers resource materials dedicated to the unique and diverse flora and fauna of California. The letter from the Vice Presidents for Education inspired Nezzie Wade to write to them in support of their enthusiasm and commitment to education, and to offer some suggestions for regional and state meetings. She suggested hosting a common calendar of events which could provide for the generation and sharing of information for educational purposes. In her letter, Nezzie described the annual wildflower show and local teacher conference as examples of events that chapters might have on their common calendars. State and regional meetings could then involve an exchange of information and materials, including "how to" successfully host such events. In response, Carol Baird phoned to ask questions about the local chapter and the events in our community. In their conversation, Nezzie described many facets of the wildflower show. particularly the diligent efforts of Northcoast Chapter members in providing a stunning presentation of the flowers with signage and labels for education. All of the wonderful aspects of the show were discussed including the walks and educational displays of plant pollination and habitat.
In the end, Nezzie suggested that the best way to understand the event was to come and see the wildflower show. What a terrific idea! The Northcoast chapter and Nature Discovery Volunteers can now anticipate a visit from theVice Presidents for Education for California Native Plant Society to our 15th annual wildflower show, (May 1, 2, and 3, Humboldt County Schools Office of Education in Eureka). Nezzie has agreed to sit on the states Education Committee and to provide documentation from our annual endeavors as references and resources for other chapters that would like to know what we are doing and how we do it. The wildflower show has already drawn a good deal of interest and respect from the parent organization for its outstanding educational contribution in promoting an understanding of plants as well as the relationship between plants and people for preserving habitat. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the wildflower show this year, especially in developing materials or working with the schools, or if you are interested in helping with future educational activities, please contact Nezzie Wade at 445-5883 or Rita Orlandii at 443-2007.